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The Council have received the remarks made at the Discussion of this Report on 11 March 2003 (Reporter, p. 741) and have referred them to the General Board who have agreed to comment as follows.
Professor G. R. Evans asserts that introducing greater coherence into policies concerned with the recruitment, reward and retention of academic and academic-related staff is piecemeal and that it is difficult for employees to see the 'game-plan for this evolving process to reform'. As stated in the Report's second paragraph, the need for these particular reforms was referred to in paragraph 17 of the Human Resources (HR) Strategy (Reporter, 2001-02, p. 777), which has been approved by the Regent House following wide consultation and by the HEFCE. Implementation of the Human Resource Strategy within a time-frame acceptable to the HEFCE and in observance of the University's constitutional requirements means that reform has necessarily proceeded on a step by step basis.
Professor Evans questions whether there are policies in place intended to provide a 'fair deal' for the staff of the highest calibre already in the University. The Board wish to refer Professor Evans to paragraphs 15-17, 20, and 23 of the HR Strategy. They would also wish to remind her that schemes have been in place for some considerable time for rewarding staff groups for their contribution and achievement, for example the supplementary payment scheme for Professors and the several discretionary increments schemes for other members of staff (which are currently the subject of proposed reform, as indicated in paragraph 42 of the HR Strategy). The Board do not accept Professor Evans's assertion that the abolition of the University Assistant Lectureship and the introduction of the University Senior Lectureship are intended as a demotion of the University Lectureship. They are a development of a reward policy that will benefit the great majority of the University's established academic staff - the Board expect that a substantial majority of University Lecturers will achieve promotion to a senior academic office in the course of their University career - and will align the University's career structure more closely with the structure that is prevalent throughout the HE Sector, thereby enabling the University to compete more effectively in recruiting academic staff.
With regard to probation, the introduction of structured probationary arrangements for all staff groups is also a key element in the University's response (paragraph 41 of the Strategy) to the Performance Review criterion which was identified by the HEFCE as one of the six key priority areas of HR Strategy for the HE Sector. Wide consultation within the University revealed a clear consensus that the abolition of the University Assistant Lectureship should be associated with the introduction of a structured probationary scheme for academic staff and the General Board have recently approved a probationary scheme for academic staff for consultation. The scheme provides an appeal provision for those who are not confirmed in office at the end of probation. At present the appeal provision will operate through Statute U, V. Consideration is being given to the possible amendment of Statute U in the light of the revision, recently approved by the Privy Council, to the Model Statute which arose from the Education Reform Act of 1988 and on which the University's Statute is based.
With regard to administrative duties and probationary assessment, Professor Evans asserts erroneously that it is proposed in paragraph 6 of the Report that University Lecturers will be required to carry out administrative duties. In fact, she omits to mention that in the same paragraph the Board acknowledge that opinion may vary significantly as to whether there should be probationary criteria relating to general contribution. The consultative documentation on a draft probationary scheme for academic staff proposes that in the case of University Lecturers and University Senior Lecturers a positive annual contribution to the work of an institution may be taken into account in the overall assessment of performance but indicates that, given the current provisions of Statute D, it would not be appropriate to take into account a perceived lack of general contribution in making such an assessment.
With regard to Professor Evans's point about the University Senior Lectureship and open competition, it will obviously be possible for University Lecturers in Cambridge to apply for a University Senior Lectureship as advertised; this has been the case for many years with all advertised offices and posts.
With regard to Professor Evans's comments on parity between University Senior Lectureships and Readerships, the Board wish to make it clear they do not regard the University Senior Lectureship as a promotional cul-de-sac. They have indicated that it should be possible to achieve promotion to Readerships and Professorships from University Lectureships and University Senior Lectureships. Since the inception of the University Senior Lectureship, University Senior Lecturers have obtained promotion to personal Readerships. The Board would wish to see this trend continuing.
The Council have agreed to submit a Grace for the approval of the recommendations contained in this Report (Grace 10, p. 882).
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Cambridge University Reporter, 8 May 2003
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