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Report of Discussion

Tuesday, 12 October 2004. A Discussion was held in the Senate-House of the Consultative Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 19 July 2004 and 16 June 2004, on a new pay and grading structure for non-clinical staff (Reporter, 2003-04, p. 971). Given the large number of individuals wishing to speak on this Report, discussion of the remaining five Reports scheduled for consideration at this Discussion was deferred until 19 October 2004.

Professor ANDREW CLIFF:

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, this joint consultative Report outlines the current thinking of the Council and the General Board on the implementation of the National Framework Agreement in Cambridge. The Agreement, signed in 2003, was the culmination of two years of negotiations between the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA) and the various trades unions recognized across the Higher Education (HE) sector. The Agreement has been designed both to modernize pay structures at an institutional level throughout the HE sector and to introduce equal pay for work of equal value across all staff groups.

Under the Agreement, implementation of new pay and grading structures is a matter for individual institutions to take forward with their own staff and trades unions. Implementation in Cambridge will not be an easy task. The University presently has over 200 different stipend scales, reflecting the complexities of an 800-year old collegiate University. Many of our present scales (for example, Language Teaching Officers and Assistant Directors of Research) have no equivalent in existing national scales nor in the sample grading structure contained in the National Framework Agreement.

In developing their proposals, the Council and the General Board have been mindful of a number of key issues. These include the need for a transparent mechanism by which the University can provide equal pay for work of equal value, regardless of who performs the task; the need for the University to have much greater flexibility to reward all its staff in a way that recognizes individual contributions to supporting and delivering the teaching and research of which we are justifiably proud; the need to provide competitive salaries for support staff which take account of the buoyant local labour market as well as competition in the national labour market; and, for academic staff, the pressures inherent in the international labour market within which the University works.

In line with the National Framework Agreement, the proposed new scales will recompense contribution as well as years of service in an individual's job. By recognizing contribution appropriately, staff retention should be greatly assisted. Evaluation of job content will be underpinned by the national Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA), modified by 'Project Scholar'. HERA will greatly facilitate the University's ability to deliver transparently equal pay for work of equal value. The aim of 'Project Scholar', undertaken by seven universities, was to adapt the HERA methodology to reflect more accurately the relative importance of elements of HERA in research intensive institutions like Cambridge. The Personnel Division is undertaking the necessary local testing of HERA as well as staff training in the use of the methodology so that the University can have confidence in its application.

In proposing the new scales and grades, the Council and the General Board are acutely aware of the overriding need to protect the existing interests of all staff. The location of each individual on the new scales will be determined by fair and consistent application of HERA. If this crucial point is not taken into account, Appendix 6 of the present Report will appear misleading. It is not possible simply to 'read across' from the illustrative current job titles to the new scales listed in the Appendix. In view of the confusion that this appears to have caused already, the Director of Personnel wrote on 30 September to all members of staff in the University to give reassurance upon this point. In fact, following migration to the new grading structure, most staff will be at least as well and, in many cases, better remunerated by around 1-1.5%.

Nevertheless, given the complexities of the University's current pay scales and grades, the migration process using HERA will undoubtedly identify some anomalies between current job content and pay. This is borne out by a number of responses already received to the consultation paper which indicate that the proposals, as presently formulated, may well cause migration difficulties for support staff on discretionary points at the top of their grades. Consideration is already being given to how these difficulties can be addressed - for example by adding points and deleting others on the projected new grades, or by introducing a further grade or grades in addition to those outlined. When the proposals of the Council and the General Board are developed in the promised second Report, it can be expected that changes to the grades will be incorporated so that the number of staff likely to be in an anomalous position by that stage will be small. For these staff, the Consultative Report makes provision for salary protection, in accordance with terms of the National Framework Agreement, which will be applied to allow sufficient time for anomalies to be resolved. No staff will lose income as a result of the migration process. The Second Report will also include enhancement of the present text so that the contribution of support as well as academic staff to the intellectual endeavour of the University is more explicitly recognized.

The cost of implementing the National Framework Agreement in Cambridge will be substantial and is expected to be about £4m recurrently. It is estimated that over 75% of this will be used to remunerate support staff in the new grading structure. Of the £4m, about half is being supported by additional funding from Government via the Higher Education Funding Council's Rewarding and Developing Staff initiative. The continuation and mainstreaming of this funding is wholly dependent upon institutions being able to demonstrate real achievements in HR modernization which, in the case of pay restructuring, is implementation by 2006. The remaining recurrent cost will be met by the University and has been factored into its forward financial estimates.

The Council and the General Board hope that all members of the University who wish to comment upon the proposals in the Report will do so, either in the Discussion today or directly to the Director of Personnel. Because the Report was published at the end of the academic year, the consultation period is being extended to 12 November to allow due time for considered responses from all quarters of the University. This extension was notified to all staff in the letter from the Director of Personnel on 30 September. In addition, the Director of Personnel and I will attend a meeting of each of the Councils of Schools during the Michaelmas Term, as well as meet the Heads of non-School institutions. The Director of Personnel is also in The process, through the Schools, of discussing the proposals with Departmental and Faculty administrators. Consultations between the Director of Personnel and local trades unions have been on-going for some time. The Council and the General Board will consider all of the comments received before bringing forward detailed proposals for implementation of the new pay and grading structure in a second Report.

In concluding, I wish to stress that this is a consultative Report. Although the General Board and the Council expect that the broad thrust of the present proposals will reappear in the second Report, appropriate changes will be made to respond positively to justifiable concerns.

Professor JOHN SPENCER:

Mr deputy Vice Chancellor, I am making these remarks on behalf of the Board of Scrutiny, of which I am for the moment the acting Chairman. (By Statute the Board elects a Chairman for the academical year at its first meeting of that year, which takes place on Thursday.)

The Board is pleased to see that the period for consultation on this Report, which was supposed to end today, has been extended for a further month until 12 November. The revised timetable will enable the Board (and other bodies) to consider it carefully and produce detailed comments - which the original timetable would, regrettably, have not. In the light of the new timetable, our remarks today will be brief and general.

First, the Board recognizes that a new pay and grading structure is necessary - if only because HEFCE requires one.

Secondly, we recognize that the Report and its appendices are the product of much hard work from our colleagues, both in the administration and on the Council and the General Board. For their efforts the University should be grateful.

Thirdly, we recognize that, if the proposed new scheme achieves the aims set out for it in the first two paragraphs of the Report, it will be good.

Fourthly, and less happily, it is very clear that the scheme also has the potential to go badly wrong. If the details are not right, we could up with a scheme that is widely regarded as arbitrary and unfair, the results of which leave wide sections of the University's academic and non-academic staff disgruntled and demoralized. In other words, it could be another CAPSA.

With this last point in mind, the Board believes that the Regent House would like know to know the answer to the following questions:

How exactly will the proposed regrading be done? On whose shoulders will fall the mammoth job of working out who ends up on what new grade: the staff of the Personnel Division? Or Faculty and Departmental chairmen and secretaries, and their administrators? What training will they receive to do it? What exactly will be the process that is followed? And what is the projected timetable?

What other universities, if any, have already succeeded in implementing such a scheme, and with what success? Can we learn anything useful from their experience?

Who, to use the current jargon, 'owns the project'? We know that in broad terms it is the Council and the General Board. But what person or group of persons is responsible for working out the details, and then seeing that the scheme is applied? To put it crudely: who will be entitled to the blame if this scheme goes wrong - or to think positively, the credit if, as we all hope, it is a success?

Mr MICHAEL GRAY:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am speaking today as a member of the Executive Committee of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers (CAUT). I am sure some of my colleagues will be speaking in more detail later, so in some senses my comments are intended to prepare the ground for them. To place our concerns about the Report in context, I must briefly describe some of the history.

On the national stage, the players include the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA), the Association of University Teachers (AUT) and the other unions representing staff in Higher Education. In July 2003, after two years of joint work on modernizing pay and grading arrangements, UCEA made an initial offer in the form of the National Framework Agreement.1 AUT had serious reservations, and AUT analysis had also revealed that academic, related, and research staff could face a career earnings loss of as much as £40,000 under the model grading structures originally proposed. When AUT registered a failure to agree on the Framework, and UCEA refused to negotiate further and asked us to leave the negotiations, AUT members voted for national industrial action which began at the end of February 2004.

This action prompted further talks held under the auspices of the TUC. These talks lead to an agreement known as the 'Memorandum of Understanding'2 between AUT and UCEA on a set of principles to be adhered to when institutions come to implement the new framework. The Memorandum addresses some of AUT's key concerns about the length of the pay scales, the academic/academic-related link, and the inadequacy of the pay proposals, and it provides a strong platform for future work. The Memorandum of Understanding offers guarantees that are of benefit to all academic and related staff in the University.

The University of Cambridge is a member of UCEA, and our Director of Personnel, Peter Deer, was a lead negotiator for UCEA. It therefore follows that the University should accept in full the principles laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding, and I ask the Council and the General Board to confirm that this is the case.

How does the Report measure up against the Framework Agreement as modified by the Memorandum of Understanding? Sadly, the Memorandum is mentioned only once, in section 8.2, itself a very confused and misleading section, to which I shall return later. The Memorandum opens with the following sentence: 'The AUT and UCEA agree that the proposed Framework for the modernization of pay structures should provide a platform for the long-term improvement of salaries across higher education to address the problem of historical decline in the relative value of earnings.' This vital understanding is missing from the Report before us, and I urge the Council and the General Board to ensure that it is given due weight when producing the next version.

The Memorandum goes on to state: 'Pre-1992 universities and colleges have therefore agreed that the detail of the new pay arrangements which they adopt under the terms of the Framework Agreement will be designed with the intention - as far as practicable and foreseeable - of avoiding detriment to the present pay progression expectations of academic and related staff.' It is this section that is quoted in section 8.2 of the Report. When the Framework Agreement talks of a maximum period of protection of four years, this is for staff whose salaries have been red-circled following downgrading as detailed in Appendix F of the Agreement. The protection offered by the Memorandum of Understanding is not limited to four years, and is intended to protect the expected career earnings of academic and related staff. I ask that this erroneous conflation is removed from the next version of the Report.

Sections 9.3 to 9.5 of the Report address how this protection is to be achieved. The Report's preferred course of action would seem to be that outlined in section 9.3(iii) of making additional pensionable payments to existing staff who would otherwise lose out. This option is unacceptable not simply because of its erroneous limitation of 'up to four years'. This option would create a two-tier pay system where new or newly promoted members of academic and related staff would receive second-rate remuneration. It is the AUT's understanding, backed by the General Secretary of the TUC who brokered the Memorandum, that the entire Memorandum applies to all staff, existing and new. The agreement is about creating a single new grading structure for all staff, and the protections in the agreement should apply to the whole grading structure, not just to an interim arrangement for existing staff. That this should be so is important not just for new staff, but for existing staff on lower grades who can reasonably expect promotion during their careers with the University.

There is an unwritten option (iv) to section 9.3: the University could adopt the AUT's preferred approach of designing the new grades such that progression at single increments leads to a maximum non-discretionary point that is no worse than the current maximum, and that the maximum is reached in no more steps than would currently be the case. Agreements based on this approach have recently been reached at Loughborough and at the Open University. I ask the Council and the General Board to confirm that option (iii) of Section 9.3 is unacceptable, and ask that they encourage the Personnel Division to work with AUT to produce a grading structure that meets the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding, and that meets the spirit of the opening section of the Memorandum.

The Memorandum of Understanding moves on to discuss grading for academic-related staff, and states: 'To address the AUT's concern about grading arrangements for academic-related staff, it is emphasized that the requirements in the Framework Agreement about common grading across staff groups will embrace both academic and senior administrative, library and computing staff.' The AUT has always seen administrative, library, and computing staff as part of the team, working alongside academics with the same goal of delivering the best teaching and research. I believe that until recently, the University has shared that ethos. It seems to me that the Report as it stands goes to great lengths to protect existing arrangements for academic staff, whilst introducing sweeping changes for academic-related and assistant staff.

This is illustrated by the proposed new grades six and seven, which the Personnel Division would have us believe constitute two grades whilst themselves labelling them 6(a), 6(b), 7(a), and 7(b). On closer analysis, I would argue that there are in fact seven grades contained within grades 6 and 7, with little correspondence between the academic grades and the academic-related grades. There are many other matters in the Report which, left unchecked, will widen the gap between conditions for academics and conditions for the rest of the research and teaching team. I ask the Council and the General Board to ensure that the next version of the Report seeks to close rather than widen this gap.

The Memorandum of Understanding is not the whole story, and there is much within the Framework Agreement which the AUT supports wholeheartedly. We welcome, for example, the recognition of the need to tackle issues of pay equality, and welcome the undertaking in section 15.7 of the Report to conduct Equal Pay Audits. Under the heading of 'Staff Development and Review', the Framework Agreement states: 'Access to training and development is important both for the motivation of staff and to enhance their contribution to the institution. HE institutions will make available suitable training and development opportunities to all staff, irrespective of their present grades or career pathways.' The Report is sadly lacking in this area. A poorly-constructed system based on HERA runs the risk of treating staff as no more than units of labour to fill pre-determined, pre-ranked, and pre-graded roles. I therefore ask the Council and the General Board to ensure that the revised Report addresses this gap and identifies how the University will ensure that its employees' needs for career development and career progression are properly addressed.

May I close by stating that the Cambridge Association of University Teachers, together with our national officers, are willing to work with the Personnel Division and our sister unions to help ensure that the implementation of the Framework Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding in Cambridge is fair to all staff and that it forms the basis for better remuneration and working conditions for all of us.

1 http://www.aut.org.uk/media/pdf/frameworkagreement.pdf

2 http://www.aut.org.uk/media/html/memorandum.html

Professor Sir RICHARD FRIEND (read by Professor ATHENE DONALD):

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am speaking today as Chair of the School of Physical Sciences and on behalf of the Council of the School.

We recognize that the Report is consultative and we welcome the level of detail published in the Report, in particular the illustrative grading structure, since publication of these details has enabled us to identify very serious potential problems whilst the proposals are still in consultation.

The general drift of the proposals as published would be unacceptable to CSPS since it suggests pay cuts for a large number of staff whose contributions we value highly.

We welcome subsequent recognition in the letter from the Director of Personnel to all staff that the published proposals, if implemented, would disadvantage some groups of staff. According to our own consultation these disadvantaged groups include administrative staff up to and including Administrative Officer, Grade I, almost all grades of CSx staff, and T5. Taken together these grades account for over 250 members of staff in our School alone. The detailed response made by the School to the Consultation is available on request to the School office.

We welcome the further statement in the letter from the Director of Personnel that it is intended that most of our staff will be at least as well off, and in many cases better remunerated, than they are at present, and we welcome the statement that changes will be necessary in the second Report to some of the new illustrative support staff grades. We look forward to receiving revised proposals in the second Report.

We are not familiar in detail with the research and benchmarking behind the illustrative transfers listed in the Notes to Appendix 6 (as in … the majority of CSx will translate to HERAy). The concern remains that there might be a major, inherent problem with the HERA methodology which could invalidate it as a method for comparing the relative values of different sorts of work, for example between academic posts and support posts. The University needs to test very carefully whether the HERA scoring system gives appropriate value to the contributions made by those categories of staff who would appear to be disadvantaged by the current proposals. We hope the Personnel Division will be cautious in implementing a radically new grading approach to avoid transferring resources from one group of staff to another without overwhelming evidence that doing so would benefit the University's teaching and research.

Departmental administrators in the School who have worked through the Report have suggested that the proposals would be improved in more than one respect by adding two new scales, one either side of HERA5, and then making adjustments to the lengths and levels of the scales.

Finally, we note a contrast which suggests to us that there is a serious weakness in the University's systems. Some grades of staff (including some senior academic staff and some administrators working in the Centre) were able to comment on the Report at a very early stage and were able to argue for changes before publication. The Assistant Staff had no such opportunities, instead having to respond to a published Report. Nor will the Assistant Staff have an opportunity to vote on the final proposals. The problems which have now been identified in the Report might have been identified before publication if the composition of the Personnel Committee had been different.

Professor ATHENE DONALD:

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak as Chair of the Cavendish Laboratory's Personnel Committee. The Department of Physics is one of the largest Departments in the University and one that is likely to be particularly affected by the implementation of this Report or its successor. Firstly, I would like to endorse what has been said by the Chairman of the School of the Physical Sciences. He has expressed concerns at the implications of this Report for staff, in particular assistant staff, in the University. Since the publication of the Report, representatives of the School and of the Departments have been engaged in discussions with the Personnel Division and we welcome this interaction. Throughout these discussions it has been emphasized that this is only a Consultative Report, and it is better that these issues are debated now. Of course. No one could deny that. Nevertheless it would have been better if more consultation with Departments had taken place prior to publication, not to pre-empt the role of the Regent House, but to help prevent the anger and distress that has been engendered over recent weeks.

We have been presented with a Report that reads as if the authors were simply not interested in the pay of our assistant staff. Throughout the Report great attention is paid to those of us at the top of the new spine (see for example clauses 12 and 13), but equivalent interest is not shown to those currently clustered at the bottom, the several thousand assistant staff who work in various grades throughout the University. We should not be surprised if the conclusion is reached by some that the Professors are as bad as City fat cats, only exhibiting self interest yet at the same time supporting something that purports to assist recruitment and retention for all.

This Report demeans our assistant staff. I am sure this was not the intention. Nevertheless, damage has been done to their morale that will take time to repair, whatever the second Report proposes. Our University will be seen by the local community as an unattractive place to work, due to the message of casual contempt conveyed in the Report.

The School of the Physical Sciences has produced an excellent document, giving precise information on how the T, CS, and M grades are affected by the proposals, almost universally to their detriment. Speaking as Chair of the Cavendish Personnel Committee I wholeheartedly support this document and do not wish to rehearse here the nuts and bolts of exactly how many secretaries, technicians, and maintenance staff will be disadvantaged and by how many hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds per annum. However, I would like to state categorically that I reject absolutely the impression given by the Consultative Report that these same staff are currently overpaid for the work they do, and I hope all sections of the University will join me in that.

Perhaps not all members of the Regent House will appreciate how much an internationally leading laboratory such as ours relies on the skill and dedication of these colleagues, but such is the case. Let me give some specific examples. Our workshop technicians are gifted at making extraordinarily complex items for sophisticated experiments, and can even tolerate the academic who keeps changing their mind with good grace. Our secretaries are used to handling all kinds of tricky situations, such as holding the fort when senior industrialists and other dignitaries visit whilst that archetypal nuisance, the absent-minded Professor, is tracked down. These staff should be celebrated, not ignored and squeezed in as an after-thought at the bottom of the pay scale without a check being made on what the arbitrary assignment of their pay scales does to their take-home pay. What does this do to help 'recruitment and retention'? As things stand we would already expect to have an order of magnitude more people applying for a lectureship as compared with a secretarial or technical post. This being so, maybe market forces mean we should be concentrating on increasing these assistant staff salary scales and not the academic ones.

In the recent letter circulated by the Personnel Division under Peter Deer's name, we are told (in apparent contradiction to the Notes to Appendix 6 of the Report), that the Report does not propose the automatic transfer from an existing grade to grades in the new structure. This is reassuring, but it does beg the question as to why these illustrative grades were inserted in Appendix 6 as such a hostage to fortune. It does not make any sign of an apology to those staff who, on any reading of the Report as written, appear to be disadvantaged. The message that the General Board 'were acutely aware of the need to protect the existing interests of all staff' rings hollow when set against the content of the Report for those at the bottom end of the spine. By working through the implications of the statements made in the Report for the remuneration of these people in advance, so much anger, frustration, and damage to morale could have been avoided.

As a Department we recognize the importance of moving to the new pay scales smoothly and without a significantly increased long-term pay burden. But we cannot accept the principle that currently seems enshrined in the Report, that those at the top of the spine should be rewarded at the expense of those at the bottom. We very much hope that, before the next Report is published, a considerable amount of work will be done with individual institutions to test the implications of any revised proposals for all our staff. It is essential that institutions see exactly what the revised scheme would mean to them, for their staff and their finances. Without this type of work, the future of these reforms could be seriously jeopardized.

Mr BOB DOWLING:

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, I wish to restrict my comments to Information Technology staff and the current application of HERA profiling, not because it is the only place in the Report where there is scope for comment but because it is the topic on which I can speak from most direct experience.

I manage a small division within the University Computing Service. I have recently been required to create role profiles for some of my staff as the inevitable cost of interacting with the University's Personnel Division. Let me tell you that until you try to work the system you cannot truly understand just how broken it is.

The manager's job becomes one of shoe-horning facts into answers to inappropriate questions because there are no appropriate questions. Am I grading the role or am I grading the member of staff? Well, I'm having to do both and fighting the ambiguities of the system every stage of the way.

IT support staff are specialists. The University has many specialists of various flavours. Each speciality has its own parameters that define the scale of a role and its own measures of the quality of a holder of that role. This should have been obvious. Why did the Personnel Division not approach the centres of expertise for those specialities, such as the University Computing Service for IT Support, when framing their HERA implementation? For them to believe that they are capable of doing it themselves smacks of the worst sort of arrogance.

The Directors of various Russell Group IT services recently met and talked about HERA, among other topics. There was a direct correlation between those institutions who were happy or unhappy with their HERA implementations and those institutions whose personnel departments had or had not bothered to consult with them on the scheme. The openness of the various personnel groups made all the difference.

This Report is a consultative document. Here is my response:

(1) Stop the current trial before you do any more damage.
(2) Consult with the specialists about how they should be graded.
(3) Make it clearer whether roles or people are graded. If roles are graded make it clear how the quality of the role-holder will be rewarded.

Dr NICK HOLMES:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, although a member of the Board of Scrutiny, I speak in a personal capacity. This Report describes its proposals as 'radical'; this seems an accurate description. My concerns are that the proposals, as presently formulated, are at best high-risk and at worst dangerous.

Let me be quite clear about something. I am not confused about the status of Appendix 6. I understand that the indications on the mapping of the new grade structure to existing categories of staff are illustrative not prescriptive. I appreciate that individuals at the same grade today will map to more than one, possibly more than two, different new grades. However, if we are to make a judgement about whether the proposals are good for the University, we need to know, for example, what expected fraction of T5 technicians will map to grade 4 and others. Indeed, we need to know these data for all of the major categories of staff.

The only way in which we can know this is for the University to undertake a full HERA analysis of a large enough sample size of each type of role. My first concern is that we do not have enough data to do the kind of modelling which is needed, to the degree of certainty which is needed. Actually, we, in the shape of Regents, have an even more limited dataset. The only data we have is provided in the appendices to the Report. In this place it should be unnecessary to explain that an extrapolation based on a sample size of 2% has great uncertainty, but that one based on 10% has less uncertainty. I will say now that I think we are much nearer 1% for many key staff grades. Indeed, exactly how many staff have been analysed sufficiently to rely on the results to construct grade scales and assess the effects is not clear. The report mentions 400, Personnel's website suggests 180, and elsewhere a figure of 143 has been quoted.

Despite this uncertainty, I still believe we can make some tentative conclusions about the proposals in this Report. Indeed, it is necessary for us to do so if the second Report is to be suitably improved.

There is a significant problem with the scales proposed for research staff, the majority of whom are on the Research Associate scale (more than 1,200 staff, probably the largest single grade). This primarily arises from the rigid 3% pay spine.

I recognize that it will be difficult for members of Regent House to follow my analysis and verify my figures, so I have provided a full explanation on the Web at http://www-immuno.path.cam.ac.uk/~nh106/CamPro.html. All figures are current pay from 1 August and compared to the corresponding figures drawn from the national framework.

Let us examine the position of a new postdoctoral Research Associate starting after the implementation of the current proposals and compare it with their position under the present system. In the proposed scheme, a new Ph.D. will be earning over £1,000 more at the start but within four years they will fall behind current expectations. This deficit will persist and worsen so that after nine years' experience they will earn nearly £2,000 less than they would do under our current system. Please note that over one-third of our Research Associates have nine or more years' experience. Of course this analysis assumes that the new post is assigned to grade 5 and that the person is not promoted or given accelerated increments, but the situation I have analysed is the normal pattern. You will also note that my analysis looks at a new member of staff so assimilation and protection arrangements do not confuse the issue.

Postdocs occupy a key position in the University's research capability. A reduction in their expected earnings will reduce the competitiveness of the University. This is the reverse of the stated objectives in the Report's preamble.

In order to ensure that postdocs are properly paid under the new arrangements, the grade they map to needs to run up to a service maximum of point 49 on the scale. I can see two ways of constructing a new scale which does not result in a reduction in earnings. One possibility is to count back so that the start is at point 40. The problem here is that the cost is comparatively high (about 5.3% assuming a similar seniority structure to present). The positive side is that this solution really begins to address the problem, acknowledged widely including by Bett and last year's White Paper, of low pay among postdocs.

The alternative is to use a scale which is non-contiguous, that is it skips some points of the 3% spine. The Report acknowledges the possibility but claims, in para. 9.3, that a non-contiguous solution is 'too expensive'. However, I have analysed the cost of a replacement grade for postdocs which starts at the new spine point 37 (as grade 5 in the Report), finishes at point 49, and skips 41, 44, and 47, and the cost is 1.9%. I believe this scale to be affordable and it has the further advantage that there would be no need for transitional protection arrangements for existing staff. I can see no objection in principle to deriving a pay scale which does not use all the contiguous points of the pay spine. The Framework Agreement allows for local variation and grade 7b is non-contiguous.

One of the strangest aspects of the current proposals is that full implementation stands to 'save' about one million pounds on Research Associates (assuming HERA does not place many RAs in grade 6). Bizarrely, this saving will not much benefit the University even financially, as most of the post-holders are on external funds. However, the same situation, caused by the 3% increments, applies to other comparable categories of staff such as Computer Officers/Associates. Here again the proposals disadvantage staff and potentially reduce the University's wages bill.

I want now to turn my attention to another key category of research support staff, at least in science Departments. In February 2004 there were just over 281 staff in the T5 grade of technical staff. From the bench-marking done so far, the Report provides us with the guidance that many T5s might map to the new grade 4. Obviously, some of the T5s benchmarked must have fallen in grade 4, presumably the majority, with the caveat that this might be 2 from a total of 3.

Today 80% of T5s earn more than £22,111, the highest discretionary point of the new grade 4. From this I conclude that, unless the illustrative guidance in Appendix 6 is highly misleading, many T5s will suffer a pay cut (after the four-year protection period). Certainly it would seem folly to assume that 80% of T5s will map to grade 5. It would be financially painful for the University if they did, as they would then automatically progress to £28,009, at a total cost to the University of nearly £1.5 million.

A similar problem applies to CS4 staff, of whom 430 - also 80% of the total for the grade - currently earn more than the proposed maximum for grade 3.

T5 technical staff are the most experienced and skilled laboratory bench technicians and my Department's CS4 grade secretaries occupy key roles in supporting research and teaching. What would be the outcome of regrading them to cut their pay, in some cases by more than 10%? They would leave.

I know this because the possible impact of these proposals has become known in my own Department and our staff have made their feelings quite clear. Frankly, I wholly understand their position. These people are doing their jobs well - after all 40% of the T5s have been awarded discretionary increments. It would be a gross betrayal of trust for the University to treat them in this way. The result will be that, in science Departments at least, we shall lose our most valuable support staff. That cannot be good for the institution as a whole.

What is the solution? What is needed is an upward revision of the grade boundaries, by three points in the case of grade 5.

I now turn to other issues. The arrangements for assimilation seem unclear or flawed. Can we have an assurance that staff whose current pay is lower than that for their new grade will have an unquestionable right to being paid at the bottom of the pay range for their new grade?

Paragraph 9.2. (iii) makes no sense unless 'where current pay is higher than pay for the grade' means higher than the non-contributory maximum rather than the grade maximum. This is a crucial issue to understanding the plan, and in the worst case scenario could see pay cuts of 16% or even 20%. In the more sane interpretation, in para. 9.2 current pay is compared to the contributory maximum for the new grade but in this case the assimilation of people whose current pay is higher should be at that maximum not the non-contributory maximum as proposed.

The issue of 'market supplements' is a very difficult one. In general they are undesirable. If the University rewards its staff appropriately they should not be necessary. If we are to allow them, there must be strict safeguards and criteria. First, the existence and the justification of any such supplement should be publicly disclosed. Second, any market supplement must be paid to existing staff fitting the same criteria as well as new staff. Third, if such supplements are allowed, they should not be confined to senior roles - I am well aware that a local case for market supplements could be made for electricians and cleaners!

I am well aware that I am short of time, so let me ask a few important questions.

Is the new scale notionally infinite, so that everyone will be fitted to some value of the minimum times 1.03{n-1}? The implication of paragraph 13.3 is that £109,000 is not now sufficient to reward academic-related staff in the professorial grade and the proposals in 13.4 seem to permit almost any salary level to be justified. Given that the base salaries of such staff will not be limited to point 69, as they are for Professors, is it necessary for supplementary pay to increase to a maximum of nearly £42,000 for administrative staff as well?

Whether or not HERA is used to determine the base salaries for Directors in the UAS, will these salaries continue to be published? Incidentally, could the central bodies publish cumulative information on supplementary awards for academic-related staff in the professorial grade as they now do for academic Professors? It is hard to make sense of the effects of the successive award rounds, whereas I am glad to congratulate them on the clarity of information provided for professorial supplements.

In evaluating models for the pay grades, did the Personnel Division make a projection of the cost of the model? If they did, they must have made assumptions about mapping of staff, so they can tell us their projected numbers of 'red-' and 'green-circled' staff? I strongly urge the central bodies to include this information in any further Report, without it the Regent House is being asked to approve a scheme without knowing its effects. Actually, I would prefer the real numbers of all those used to construct the final grade model and the number of such that are above and below the pay for their new grades as well as the projected costs of implementation. It would also be helpful for some breakdown of projected costs so that we can see that particular categories or grades of staff are not selectively disadvantaged.

Let me finish with two general remarks.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the current proposals is that the ultimate result could be pay cuts for a significant fraction of middle ranking staff and big pay rises for a small number of our most highly paid staff. On a more happy note, I will also observe that it should improve the pay of some of our poorest paid staff.

The letter recently circulated to all staff basically says the intention is that the majority will be better remunerated. Bland assurances are not enough, nor are good intentions. If the new system is not right, the University will suffer. Are we content to implement this radical new system without sufficient data to be reasonably sure of a positive outcome? I, for one, could not in all conscience approve a new pay and grading plan without reasonable certainty that it was both fair and affordable.

Dr SYLVIA MARTINELLI:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak as a member of the Executive Committee of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers. I should like to make my points under several headings starting with HERA.

Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) and Job Matching

The University has chosen HERA for job evaluation after carrying out pilot studies. In these pilot studies, 40 job holders in four Departments were selected for full-scale HERA evaluation, involving oral evidence gathering. This was followed by a bench-marking exercise of a further 140 jobs in several more Departments and across a wider range of posts. This mainly involved the use of written job descriptions. How can the University justify only testing properly such a small sample of 40 jobs, from a potential 8,300 staff in over 300 different grades? I suggest that a much larger sample needs testing in order to promote confidence in the scheme and to form a stronger base from which to build any local job evaluation scheme which would be acceptable to the trade unions.

Furthermore, on this scanty evidence, the University has decided to use a simpler home-made job classification scheme based on job descriptors and job-matching. We need to know how this compares with HERA which has 14 types of elements giving rise to 50 statements or questions with up to six answers each. The in-house scheme proposes using job descriptors instead together with job-matching. Will the Personnel Division perform an in-depth test of this job-matching scheme using the equivalent of double-blind trials before its introduction for use throughout the University?

Who will be carrying out the main job-matching exercise across the University and will these people have any specialist knowledge of the type of job they are evaluating. Have those people drawing up the job descriptors in the first place any specialist knowledge of technical, clerical, manual, research, teaching, or computing work?

If current job descriptions have a function in the job- matching exercise, what will happen if the job description is out of date or doesn't exist.

Based on my current knowledge of the Cambridge job-matching scheme, it appears too coarse a mechanism for comparing 300 grades of jobs across the complete job spectrum in the University.

Trade Union Involvement

The Personnel Division claims in a letter to all staff to be in consultation with the trade unions about the pay and grading structure but I submit that the information transfer is one way with little notice being taken of our input other than this letter being sent out at our insistence. It is not yet a real consultative process. I remind you that, ultimately, the Framework Agreement clearly expects there to be negotiations not just consultation with the nationally recognized trade unions, in order for the new pay and grading scales to come into force and for that to happen by August 2006.

Concerning trade union involvement in the actual procedures: will the University permit union representatives to sit in on job-matching procedures at least as observers?

Concerning disclosure: will the University show Union representatives the full analysis of the HERA grading exercise performed on the sample of 40 jobs, also the results of the bench-marking exercise and the test application of the job profiles and job-matching?

Appeal Procedure

Since there is great potential for dissatisfaction perhaps even unfairness in the job evaluation exercise, what mechanism does the University plan to redress any wrongs. The trade unions would favour a proper and formal appeal process which includes the right to have a trade union representative involved, the right to see all the evidence for the job evaluation, the right to contest the job evaluation to an appeal hearing, at least one member of which should be from a suitable trade union. Within this appeal procedure, a full HERA analysis should be done on the contested job, with a one to one interview.

Memorandum of Understanding and Academic-related Staff

In moving to the new scales, academic-related staff members are likely to suffer the worst treatment from amongst those currently on academic scales.

Those of us about to be re-graded have no idea to which spine point we might be allocated and many of us may suffer from fear of the unknown. For example, we can only gaze at the proposed grades and mentally transfer ourselves from top of CO I to the new top of CO I, or the bottom of CO III to the new bottom of CO III. If the current grading structure is approximately correct, then 47 CO I post-holders at the top of their grade could find themselves £1,000 worse off, those newly promoted to CO I would start at a lower salary than previous CO Is; 85 post-holders at CO II could be transferred either to a post attracting £4,000 a year less or into the purely discretionary zone of the new grade 5. Similarly, newly appointed holders of CO III posts would be paid £2,000 less than those previously starting employment. If this happens in practice, not only will it be a flagrant breach of the Memorandum of Understanding, it may also lead to a mass exodus of Computer Officers from the University. I haven't even tried to deal with the subject of smaller annual increments, accumulated salary loss, and length of scales in each grade which will be covered by others in the discussion. To avoid large-scale panic, we really need to see evidence that this nightmare scenario of diminished salaries is just that and not a future reality.

There is an even worse implication encapsulated in these new grades. Under the old arrangement, new University Lecturers (ULs) started at a salary equivalent to point 2 of the CO III scale and moved up to a point equivalent to the top of the CO I scale. In the future, ULs will start at a point equivalent to the start of the new CO I grade and finish in parallel. Does this signal a deliberate unlinking of academic-related jobs and hence their status from the academic status of teaching and research officers?

Perhaps it is worth mentioning here that the job weightings from Project Scholar applied here in Cambridge overvalue research and teaching whilst minimizing the support and service contribution to this University compared with others. This further undermines the value placed on work done by those of academic-related status.

Changing Grades and Job Protection

How does the University plan to handle re-evaluated jobs which merit a higher pay grade or alternatively a lower pay grade than at present? In the Report (9.2) the Framework Agreement suggestions are reiterated but without conveying the University's intentions towards any or all of these measures. Moreover, I should like to ask: what proportion of posts are likely to be upgraded to a higher salary, what proportion downgraded to a lower salary, and what proportion remain more or less on the same salary as now? The Framework document proposed red-circling the salary of those posts marked for down-grading for up to four years and I would suggest that four years' warning is the least the University can give to people in these posts. Mechanisms for job protection need to made clear and to be negotiated with the Trade Unions.

Further, can the University guarantee that no employee will be forced out of academic-related status and the linked USS pension scheme and into a technical or clerical support role with a local Cambridge University pension?

Professor JEREMY SANDERS:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I was a member of the Assistant Staff Committee and then of the Personnel Committee continuously for seven years until December 2003. So, I have had no part in the preparation or discussion of the present document but I believe I am fully aware of the background to HERA and of the wider issues.

I endorse the CSPS statement delivered by Sir Richard Friend and wish to add my personal perspective. As Head of the Department of Chemistry, I am directly responsible for managing over 70 academic and academic-related staff, over 100 contract research workers, and - most crucially for my remarks today - over 100 assistant staff. Staff morale, recruitment, and retention are not abstract concepts in my life: at the level of individuals, and as strategic issues, they are daily topics of concern for me and my senior colleagues. This very month Chemistry is losing a talented T4 technician to a similar level job in the private sector at a higher salary. And as I speak today, 40% of my Department's cleaning posts remain vacant because pay rates are so low, with the associated health and safety risks.

I welcome the long-term aims and strategy set out in this document, which represents a significant step in the right direction. There are many areas where I should like to move further and faster - for example, the term 'assistant staff' seems to me both patronizing and inaccurate; it should be consigned to history. I particularly welcome the lengthening of the professorial stipend range at both ends, the scope for career progression beyond Assistant Registrary level for academic-related staff, the greater recognition given to individual contribution by way of more discretionary points, and the need to respond to market conditions.

My Department does have concerns about the proposed treatment of Computer Officers, but my main remarks today will focus on the technical and clerical grades. I will comment both at the level of detail and, more importantly, on what this Report says about our culture at the level of community and institution.

First, the details. I accept the general HERA approach and methodology but am concerned that the parameters used by HERA nationally, even modified through Project Scholar, undervalue the contribution made by highly skilled and highly qualified staff in the competitive employment environment of Cambridge. If one were to take at face value the indicative tables in the Appendices, then the majority of our most valuable technicians, secretaries, and junior administrators would face downgrading and salary reduction on moving to the HERA-derived grades indicated in the Report. There would also be a transfer of resources from the assistant staff to the academic and academic- related staff; that would be totally unacceptable. Either the Project Scholar HERA score sheet, or our indicative implementation of it, is wrong. This reading of the indicative tables has led to serious, and perfectly understandable, demoralization of the potentially affected staff in Chemistry, 69 of whom signed a letter to the Director of Personnel. Peter Deer's latest letter to the staff, and Andrew Cliff's comments this afternoon, assure us that that there is no intention that this should be the actual outcome. It is essential that the follow-up Report rectifies these anomalies in the ways that they have indicated.

However, I am disappointed by the institutional culture revealed by the structure and content of the Consultative Report itself. As an employer, the University is responsible for twice as many technical, clerical, and cleaning staff as Professors. In the experimental sciences at least, most Professors are helpless without the technical infrastructure around them. Effective day-to-day operation of the Chemistry Department depends more on technical and secretarial staff than it does on the presence of Dr A or Professor B. Yet the Report barely mentions these grades. It is almost as if they did not exist. The focus of the Report is almost entirely on Professors and senior administrators. It seems that our representatives on the Personnel Committee, the General Board, and the Council spent their time discussing the stipends of their own grades rather than fulfilling their duty of care to all the University's employees. I do not underestimate the long-term recruitment problem we face at senior levels, but we collectively must take responsibility for thinking about the vital but disenfranchised staff who generally have neither a voice here nor a vote.

Let me remind you that this summer these staff have suffered effectively a 5% pay cut through changes to the Contributory Pension Scheme. For over a decade the University and the assistant staff enjoyed a pensions holiday, with just 1% contribution each from employer and employee. This was never going to be a sustainable position, and for several years the annual newsletter warned CPS members that they would have to move towards a 6% contribution. However, year after year the newsletter repeatedly assured members that such a move would be phased in over several years to minimize hardship. In Chemistry this was carefully explained to all new members of CPS thanks to my administrative colleagues' deep understanding of these issues. So what happened? Out of the blue, both employer and employees were faced with massive overnight increases. This severely dented the University's budget, but more relevant for today's Discussion, it simultaneously left the CPS members significantly worse off and feeling that they have been treated shoddily. Once again, it feels to them that they and their concerns did not exist. We, collectively and as an institution, appear patrician and high-handed: is it any wonder that they don't trust us to get it right on their pay?

Our present mechanisms clearly do not work for our support staff. These problems could be avoided, or at least mitigated, if they had effective representation, or if communication and consultation occurred earlier and more informally. A serious consultative group of School and departmental administrators with responsibilities for large numbers of support staff would have quickly identified the problems that have so exercised many of us over the past two months. I hope that the Personnel Committee, General Board, and Council will quickly bring in a new approach to engage these staff far more positively, actively, and effectively in the future. We must signal, both through engagement and financially that our support staff are a central feature of our academic community, or we risk losing their support.

Mr WILL SMITH:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on this occasion. As a member of the assistant staff, and as a trade union representative, representing AMICUS, it is reassuring that you acknowledge the need for the assistant staff to voice their many concerns about this consultative document and the proceedings which saw its publication.

I would briefly mention, if I may, the 'Framework Agreement'. It has been alluded to in previous comments, and I feel it would be useful if I were to explain the Agreement and how it is seen from the recognized unions, and therefore assistant staff point of view.

The Framework Agreement is an enabling agreement. It is an agreement between the UCEA and the national unions which enables further negotiation to take place between universities and their locally recognized trade unions. It is, as it says, the framework to which these negotiations should adhere. The unions agreed to it as part of the 2003 pay deal - UCEA agreed to it because they saw it as a way forward. It is in our view a binding agreement - one which should not be broken. Support staff unions welcomed this agreement. They saw that it had many good things written into it. Its first premise is echoed in the University's Human Resource Strategy: 'Staff are the University's most important and most valuable asset.'

The Framework Agreement promises much: equal pay for equal value of work; an equitable and transparent pay and remuneration system; equal opportunities for all staff; harmonization of working hours; fairness; openness; proper and meaningful negotiation. It refers many times to a partnership between the unions and management - a partnership of negotiation and open consultation; a partnership which would enable the University to communicate to all members of staff, information that is clear, accurate, and not misleading. Could anyone blame us for recommending the agreement to our members? Surely there is no need for us to worry.

And so we come to the Consultative Joint Report of the Council and General Board on a new pay and grading structure for non-clinical staff.

And we are worried.

We are worried because on two occasions the University Reporter has stated that 'Higher education institutions are free to bring in variants or alternatives' to the pay structure as illustrated in the Framework Agreement without once referring to the clear qualification which is written into the agreement: 'in partnership with their recognized trade unions and in accordance with the principles set out in Appendix A.'

We are worried because the 'partnership' we had been promised in the Framework Agreement, the partnership we had envisaged would be the basis of this Report, does not exist. The openness, the transparency, which the agreement promised is not there.

And we are very worried that the information this House is receiving is not only misleading, as admitted by the Head of Personnel in his letter to all staff, but is also vague and incomplete.

We are told that 400 jobs were evaluated in completing this exercise. How many of those were evaluated using the full HERA methodology? How many of those with an interview?

We are told that 'most' members of staff will remain with or receive slightly higher wages than they earn now. What percentage will lose out? And in which grades will the losses predominantly fall? How many is 'most'?

We are told that it is misleading to assume that the old grades will automatically move across to the corresponding grade in the new pay structure. But how many will? And what grades are they?

Finally, we are worried because we believe this Report has been produced too soon. We do not believe 180 bench-marked jobs are enough to build a completely new grading structure around. We ask that communications between the University Personnel Division and staff representatives be improved. That future harmonization and job evaluation committees include union representation, and that all staff should have a voice, not only for consultation but for proper and meaningful negotiation that is implicit within the Framework Agreement. Then and only then will we achieve the transparent, open, and fair transition to a new job evaluation scheme the Framework Agreement was negotiated to provide.

Professor ROSS ANDERSON:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, two years ago this House elected me to serve on Council, and I promised to safeguard academic freedom. I found myself unable to sign the Report proposing a new pay and grading structure. I have many concerns, but for brevity I will focus on three: freedom, effectiveness, and fairness.

Unfortunately, when it comes to freedom, we have two classes of academic at Cambridge - those who signed the contract offered to them by the General Board, and those of us who merely signed the admissions book and rely on the provisions of Statute and Ordinance. Academics in the former category may suddenly find themselves bound by all sorts of regulations that the Old Schools see fit to issue from time to time. The unfortunate e-mail policy of a few years ago springs to mind, when we were suddenly informed that any academic sending any e-mail to which someone might conceivably object would be fired (Reporter, 5853, Report of Discussion, 10 July 2001). That is not the way to run a great university, and in my view the General Board should cease and desist from offering these contracts to newly hired and newly promoted staff. Instead, we see here a move to impose uniform conditions of employment on academic and non-academic staff alike. I have grave reservations about where this may lead. When it comes to conditions of employment, we should level up, not level down.

When it comes to effectiveness, I have serious doubts about the HERA methodology proposed for job grading. This may be suitable for grading personnel managers, but it appears to take no account of technical skill. Among Computer Officers, for example, it is skill that makes most of the difference between senior and junior staff. It really matters whether you can manage complex system software, or whether you are still at the level of routine housekeeping tasks. The adoption of this methodology would appear to leave us with no formal means of discriminating between someone on £40,000 a year and someone on £20,000 a year. That could spell trouble in the courts; and even if not, it will surely cause resentment. Similar considerations apply to academic staff. HERA offers no obvious way to discriminate between the most senior Professor and the most junior Lecturer. Our existing promotion procedures are what works for us; rather than marginalizing them, we might consider extending them.

This brings me to my third point - fairness. Consider, for example, the supplementary payments available to senior staff at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor. These are the cause of considerable dissatisfaction, as most of the recipients appear to be Professors who have been hired from outside, rather than promoted from within. This is a clear violation of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. The Report would perpetuate this injustice; I would prefer to remove it. Deputy Vice-Chancellor, what I propose instead is that supplementary payments be handled in the same way as senior academic promotions. They should be awarded by a committee, constituted by the General Board, with transparent criteria and some external membership. Finally, awards should be published.

More generally, we should focus on devising consistent and transparent procedures for appointment to all pay grades, whether by promotion or by appointment from outside. Let us take what we already have, and perfect it.

Professor GILLIAN EVANS:

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, this Report needs to be considered in conjunction with the Review of the Personnel Division which I am puzzled to find is a Notice not a Report (Reporter, 11 August, 2004, p. 1035). Surely, since the recommendations in it include matters on which Regent House approval will have to be sought, just as they will for the related proposals adumbrated in this Report, it would have been appropriate to allow us to discuss them both today. The evidence submitted to the panel is not being made available. I would have thought it was essential for the members of the Divisions reviewed and the Registrary to be able to see this evidence. How else are they to weigh the recommendations? In the case of the Hutton Report the publication of the evidence was crucial when the public came to take a view of the appropriateness of Lord Hutton's inferences from it. It would be material evidence for us to have before us in assessing the reflections and the tentative (we do hope tentative) proposals in the present Report.

The thing most damaging to staff morale in Cambridge is the perception of unfairness. When I first came here a quarter of a century ago, there was plenty to grumble about, but I do not remember that being often mentioned. When you move from collegiality to line-management, from a community of equals to a hierarchy of masters and servants, even the most benevolent masters, and when you allow the masters to give or withhold secret special deals for those at the top, and treat assistant staff very differently (as has been pointed out), resentment is bound to follow: resentment of unfair distribution of tasks; of unfair criticisms about the way the job is done; of unfair distribution of rewards, such as promotion or higher salaries.

This disease of perceived unfairness has been getting worse in recent years. Far more important than the chanting of the mantra of recruitment, reward, and retention (the R words), is the curing of this problem by doing something to build trust (the T word) in the University. A year on from the new Vice-Chancellor's opening speech on the subject, 'Trust does not spring up just like that, I know,' she was saying this October. Nowhere is the rebuilding of trust more urgent than in the area of employment in the University.

Where does this Report begin? Not with the grand questions but with some very nitty gritty. It is pointed out in one breathless paragraph (2.2) both that there is considerable variety in the numbers of steps on various scales and (though there seems no logical reason why this should be so), and that 'those grades which are long tend to reward service rather than contribution'. Is not service itself a contribution? We move on (2.4) to another omnium gatherum paragraph embracing performance, contribution, and 'size'. ('Size matters in Cambridge' will make a striking headline.) Then we rattle on to the usual empty assertions about the need to be competitive and to a requirement of equality, conceived apparently entirely in terms of discrimination legislation and not at all in terms of a general ideal of fair treatment for everybody. Those 'sensory and physical demands' in 'Project Scholar' will be hard for the disabled to meet.

Surely one of the most important grand questions we need urgently to look at is the concept of an 'office' in Cambridge and the ways in which it differs from a mere 'job'. The grading proposals purport to be able to grade all alike in ways which must throw into question the very continuance of the concept of a University office, and if that is the plan, they should tell us so frankly. It is high time the concept was re-examined, for anomalies have proliferated and anomalies mean unfairness, particularly among computing, technical, and secretarial staff. But that does not mean officers should go.

If you are an officer you have the vote; you are entitled to have any disciplinary, grievance, redundancy, or ill-health processes dealt with under Statute U (not that that will do you much good), while other post-holders have different procedures applying to them. Surely a working party ought to be working on the important question, where does the difference lie?

This needs to be explored in conjunction with the related question, which posts other than University offices entitle the holder to membership of the Regent House. Nothing would be more dangerous to the future of our democracy than an Old Schools policy of divide and rule on this point. I know the AUT is exercised about the fact that people entitled to USS membership and therefore allowed to join the union are not all entitled to be members of the Regent House. It would take someone with Professor A. W. F. Edwards's way with a Venn diagram to set out the patterns of overlapping and abutting categories into which our employees are divided, though you would never guess from this Report that we have so many tribes. The proposals before us, geared to grading and pay, are not going to be of the slightest help here.

The other enormous question we ought to be considering in this general overhaul of stratification is the position of the Fellows of Colleges who are ipso facto members of the Regent House, and some but not all of whom are also employees of the University. This Report does not consider the position of College Teaching Officers as such. On the face of it, it cannot do so, since they are employees of their Colleges and not of the University. In Oxford, most appointments are conjoint and a report on pay and grading structures there would necessarily look very different.

However, it has ceased to be the case that all Cambridge appointments are either UTO or NUTO. The days when Colleges appointed bright young things on the nod from the Faculty that they would get the next available University Assistant Lectureship, relieve the College of the expense of paying them and the dilemma about their futures, is over. Thanks to the generosity of Trinity College, money is made available to fund posts in the poorer Colleges. The aims of the Isaac Newton Trust in this regard, as set out in 1992, are 'to increase CTO involvement in Faculty reaching'; 'to increase the amount of University teaching available'; 'to allow Faculties to choose such extra teachers from CTO ranks as they wish'; 'to make it possible for the tuition funds of poorer Colleges to afford the implied loss of CTO teaching'; 'to provide a scheme that is simple to operate on both sides'. It is asserted that 'the CTO remains a College employee' but that is to make it clear that neither Trinity nor the Isaac Newton Trust can be held liable for discharging the duties of an employer. In these times of the EU Directive the question of the University's duties, with reference to the continuance of such posts, can no longer be simple.

Trinity's stated reason for making this money available is 'maintaining the provision of high-quality undergraduate teaching across all Colleges'. But Colleges are being 'encouraged to seek individuals who would not only contribute to undergraduate teaching but who would develop a research profile which would assist the University in research assessment exercises'. Success in the RAE is primarily of value to the University though there is a distribution of a proportion to the Colleges, currently by means of a formula. Statute. C, IV, 9(c) allows Faculties to authorize courses of lectures and p. 700 of the Ordinances (2003) deems Affiliated Lecturers thus authorized to be Officers. Although for some reason the heading is in italics, the chapter in which this is printed is entitled 'Special Regulations for University Officers' so they seem to be University Officers. Whether or not that makes them University employees and for what purposes is surely a matter on which clarity is important. When it comes to renewals 'the Trust decides, on the advice of the Academic Division, whether to offer a further five-year appointment in the same Faculty'. That sounds awfully like the University taking to itself the powers of a prospective employer to me, and it seems to mean that the Academic Secretary has a hands-on role in determining the future of current employees of the poor Colleges.

At this point, the deputy Vice-Chancellor requests that Professor Evans concentrate her remarks on the Report under discussion.

So what is proposed? Job evaluation. We are asked to comment in particular on the adoption of the HERA scheme, as modified by 'Project Scholar'. A pilot has been conducted, with a very small sample. I saw the letters of invitation which went round to those who were to be sampled. There was a hint of line-management 'requirement' and to my certain knowledge in some cases individuals were encouraged to think that cooperating would assist their upgrading. There were no 'visible controls' (in the experimental or the managerial sense) and it appears to be impossible to get any statement about criteria employed, except for 'Project Scholar' 'controls', or the understanding that those conducting this experiment with all our futures had of the nature of academic work.

No explanations are forthcoming about the 'methodology' which is proposed for comparing incommensurables. I am aware that they are likely to stop short for the present attempts to fine-tune distinctions within categories of University Teaching Officers, but let me set out some of the absurdities, because I think they apply, mutatis mutandis, to non-academic posts. The unclarity about the difference between assessing the work of a person and assessing the role or job really is important, and it is another thing which is being glossed over in these proposals.

Surely it is as imponderable whether I am a better medieval theologian than you are an astrophysicist as whether I am a better cabbage than you are a giraffe? Other factors militate against formulaic comparisons, such as whether a medieval theologian ought to be doing different things for different amounts of time in order to be 'better' than an astrophysicist and which of them would deserve more money. Writing speeches for discussion of the Senate about grading methodologies is not my job, surely? And how is a medieval theologian to be 'valued' against a Director of Personnel? How can these contributions possibly be cash-valued against one another? The T word cannot just be imported here. We cannot be expected to trust blindly. We are entitled to clear explanations and a proper process.

We are asked to comment on the 'equivalency' of academic and academic-related staff, but no criteria are provided for judging our administrators against our scholars. May we apply HERA to these 'objective and more transparent systems' (8.1) themselves, and to those who will be paid a lot of money to devise this cruel and unnatural manner of weighing us up? (A mere glance at the assertion that the Directional norms should be about £30,000 above the professorial norms (13.2) should be making blood boil, and I don't mean just professorial blood. Will it include the new 'Executive Director in Economics')? This has consequences all the way down the scales and ladders. Can anyone have any faith in the 'objectivity' of the evaluations which are going to 'deliver' still more perceived unfairness as individuals are moved down from where they are now as well as up (even if their current salaries are temporarily protected) (8.2); and 'new blood' is bought in over the heads of existing staff at premium rates. This surely is a recipe for still more discontent.

For it is on the record that you may find yourself not only down but out. 'The Division is perceived as being risk averse in personnel management and not always able to take a broad enough view of the University's interests in particular cases' (18, Recommendation (c), Reporter, 11 August, p. 1038), sounds to me like code for 'let's stop being so mealy-mouthed about unfair dismissal. Sack 'em! Sack 'em!' The University could pay the costs of getting rid of people at whom the goddess HERA points her capricious disapproving finger. It is happening in other universities.

And who does own the project? With which of the above proposals is the Director of Personnel going to be 'tasked' so that he may implement them 'single-mindedly' if they are 'endorsed by the Personnel Committee' (not even the Council, let alone the Regent House). (Reporter, 11 August, p. 1036). Perhaps the term 'single-mindedly' is one of those infelicities of drafting for which we pay higher salaries to senior administrators than academics (HERA probably awards a lot of extra points to administrators who cannot write clearly - that is a very useful skill in this University). We are genuinely grateful for the consultative nature of this Report, but we hope there is going to be some hard listening.

Professor KEITH GLOVER:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, there can be little doubt that a simplification of the current arrangements for pay and grading are long overdue. The principles set out in the Consultative Report to reward staff more appropriately and allow the University increased competitiveness in the job market are welcomed. The Department of Engineering will be submitting a detailed written response to the Director of Personnel. However, I would like to comment briefly at this Discussion on the particular implications for support staff. The transition to a common grading methodology and a single pay spine is not straightforward given the complex nature of the current arrangements and differences in terms of conditions of employment of groups of staff. The Council and the General Board assert that staff will on the whole benefit from the introduction of the new scheme but do not provide evidence to support this. A guide to mapping existing grades onto the new scheme is provided in Appendix 6 with the proviso that a direct reading across from the current grade to an indicative new grade might be misleading. However, it is likely that the new scheme will stand or fall on details of such a table being both acceptable to all groups of staff and affordable to the University.

My particular concern is that the Department of Engineering depends heavily on the commitment of its support staff, a majority of whom have been in post for more than five years and are now either at the top of, or in the discretionary range of the existing salary scales. Our analysis within Engineering and its staff profile would imply that most of our support staff would be disadvantaged by this table. One presumes that this table was derived from the HERA pilot study and if we are not to use this table then it needs replacing by another table whose implications can be fully considered in advance of implementation, rather than an assurance that HERA will be fairly applied and all will be well.

In conclusion I urge the central bodies to provide these clarifications and detailed proposals for further consultation.

Dr MIKE O'DONOHOE:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, any role analysis scheme will be a simplification of established evolved practice. Simplification does not necessarily work in favour of fairness. For example, if salaries were awarded by some kind of lottery then all forms of bias would be removed, but no one would think it fair. I fear that the implementation of HERA may introduce new kinds of unfairness, purely because it is a simplification.

I believe that I have read most of the HERA documentation, using websites around the country, but note that most of this is not available via our Personnel Division website.

The Consultative Joint Report is somewhat bland, containing few of the details that might be contentious. The word 'transparency' is used, although there are no references to documentation of the details of HERA, and this is indeed a case where the devil is in the detail.

The Report states: 'The scheme has also recently been used to corroborate the assessment of grades in the 1 January 2004 regrading and discretionary increments exercise.' I have been involved in two cases, and in another regrading exercise (not part of the annual cycle) where HERA has been used experimentally and my, admittedly very limited, experience suggests that this exercise has been a disaster.

It would be interesting, and provide some transparency, if some simple statistical results for this exercise were to be published, giving some measure of the deviation of the HERA grades from the existing grades. It should not be difficult to de-personalize the data if the sample size is big enough. Were there cases where particular staff groupings were systematically disadvantaged by HERA gradings? It would be interesting to know.

I think we all would agree that an ideal system should be fair to any identifiable group, whether differentiated by gender, ethnicity, profession, or whatever. However, unfairness to the individual is also unacceptable, which is why an appeal mechanism is essential. Indeed an appeals procedure is required by the Framework Agreement. I would go further and say that if an individual's HERA score indicates a lower grade than currently held, or if an application for upgrade fails, then a detailed report of all HERA questions and scores should be made available as a basis for discussion. Otherwise there is no transparency and unfairness may result.

The verification and appeal procedures are essential parts of the process and, if taken seriously, should make the scheme transparently fair.

The scales in Appendix 6 of the Report appear to break the HERA principle of equal pay for equal work in that alternative scales are proposed for academic and academic-related staff. In particular, an academic with precisely 501 HERA points would be placed two scale points higher than a non-academic!

The fourteen HERA elements are designed to be as independent as possible. If HERA works as intended then one would expect the relationship between HERA points and scale points to be roughly linear, which is equivalent to saying that each scale point should be worth roughly the same number of HERA points. The proposed scales in Appendix 6 of the Report differ far from this ideal, no matter how the calculation is done; indeed it is difficult to see exactly how the HERA point ranges were assigned to the grades as there is no discernable trend in the values used.

As HERA rewards responsibility rather than merit, it would seem inappropriate to make candidates for promotion wait up to a year for an upgrade. If the current timescale for the annual round cannot be shortened then upgrades ought to be backdated, as far as possible, to the date at which the Role Description became current.

The scheme in Appendix 6 of the Report differs considerably from the suggested 'Model Pay Structure' in Appendix C of the Framework Agreement. The Cambridge proposal uses only seven grades rather than ten, which looks elegant, but presents formidable barriers to promotion. One aspect which the 'Model Pay Structure' gets right is that every spine point is a normal (non-discretionary) point on at least one scale. The lack of this consistency can be seen as a direct threat to existing staff whose current scale point does not translate into anything meaningful on the proposed scale. Computer Officer, Grade II, is affected in this way, but similar remarks apply to T5.

The scheme in Appendix 6 of the Report seems to be very harsh on the current Computer Officer, Grade II. The proposal leaves 87 staff stranded on the top of scale and probably all needing individual HERA evaluations.

Referring to section 9.1 of the Report, I have seen a draft of the 'generic role descriptors', but these are very role-specific and seem to fit administrators (such as personnel officers!) very well, but are largely irrelevant to certain specialist areas, such as IT support. If these are not improved then most IT staff will need to be individually evaluated, which would be an expensive and unnecessary exercise.

The Framework Agreement requires 'objectivity'. This implies that role analysis must progress rapidly to being an exact science rather than the opaque and subjective process that it currently appears to be to those on the receiving end. I note that the Consultative Joint Report does not mention the verification part of the HERA assessment. I acted as verifier for one upgraded post and feel that, as verifier, I was not sufficiently consulted. The process was anything but transparent. The HERA 'Guide for Verifiers', which I was not shown but have since obtained, points out errors that role analysts may be expected to make because they are not sufficiently expert in different disciplines. I believe that this is what is systematically happening in the case of IT staff, and the lack of IT professionals in proper verification and appeal stages is preventing HERA from working for this staff grouping.

Perhaps verifiers should be present when HERA evaluation is performed, at least during this transitional phase, so that systematic errors of interpretation can be corrected. I understand that this is being done at some other universities.

I intend to submit a longer, and perhaps more constructive version of these comments to the Director of Personnel by e-mail.

Dr STEPHEN COWLEY:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, since this Report concerns pay I declare an interest as a Senior Lecturer. I also note that my spouse is a Senior Assistant Registrary, and that I am a member of the Board of Scrutiny.

In her address to the Regent House on 1 October 2004, the Vice-Chancellor commented that the salaries for starting Lecturers make it difficult to buy a home in Cambridge. The significant rise in the minimum salary for Lecturers and Assistant Registraries is a welcome step towards addressing this issue (even though it is some years after Imperial College adopted a similar change, and it is not clear that the new minimum is sufficient to buy a home). Indeed, there are a number of other positive aspects of this Report, such as the increased discretionary maximum for Grade I Computer Officers; I will however concentrate on the negatives.

The proposals in this Report, in essence, consist of two main parts. The first part is whether the University should adopt HERA, or another job analysis scheme, for deducing a rank ordering of jobs, and if so what that scheme should be. The second part is, once a job analysis scheme has been adopted, how should the output be mapped to steps on a salary spine. These two fundamental issues are independent, but are unfortunately muddled in the Report.

I will try and illustrate this point. Suppose that, for the sake of argument, HERA produces the correct rank ordering of jobs. According to the mapping in Appendix 6, 150 HERA points then guarantees that you will at least be on step 7 of the spine at the bottom of Grade 1, while 200 HERA points guarantees you at least step 20 at the bottom of Grade 2. From this one might deduce that 50 HERA points equals 13 steps on the pay spine, i.e. one extra 3% step is awarded for each 3.8 HERA points. What happens if you compare the bottom of Grades 2 and 3, 3 and 4, 4 and 5, 5 and 6, and 6 and 7a/7b. This would suggest that one extra 3% step is awarded for 8 HERA points, 15 HERA points, 6.25 HERA points, 7.7 HERA points and 4.2/3.6 HERA points! I fear that as a mathematician I can deduce no trend or logic in this rather drunken collection of numbers.

I conclude that it is far from clear what an extra HERA point is worth. Some might say this is an academic question, and for most of us it probably is rather mute. This is not so if you are a top grade 7a administrator; in fact it's rather important. In paragraph 13.4(i) it is stated that 'the HERA methodology would determine the salary range applicable on appointment' for academic-related staff at or above the equivalent of the professorial standard! So what is it going to be? An extra 3% step for 15 HERA points or for just 3.6 HERA points?

I realize that the above is rather technical, but the fact that the Report muddies the water over such a fundamental issue is worrying. It suggests either that the Council do not understand the issue, or that it does and that the waters are deliberately murky in order that there is some freedom in the fixing of Grade 7a stipends (e.g. so that the Director of Public Affairs can be awarded a six-figure salary, despite an advert stating £75,000). Cock-up or conspiracy?

Given the precedents set in recent years, one is tempted to opt for the cock-up theory. Indeed, there is evidence to support this view elsewhere in the Report. For instance, in paragraph 12.5(vi) it is stated that professorial supplementary 'awards would continue to be permanent subject to a six-yearly review'. However, they cannot continue to be permanent, because they are not permanent at the moment. There is nothing in the Report of the General Board on the recruitment, reward, and retention of academic and academic-related officers of 17 June 1998 suggesting that the supplementary awards for Professors are permanent. Indeed, the Report states that the 'awards would be made for periods of six years'. What were made permanent were the stipend reviews of academic-related staff in the professorial grade. It may be that professorial supplementary awards should be permanent (and I would vote for that), but the fact remains that this Report is factually wrong. I find this rather surprising given that one of the reasons that this Report appeared in the middle of the long vacation was that it had been rewritten a couple of times to correct inaccuracies.

Further, in addition to being inaccurate, the Report is inconsistent and potentially misleading. For instance, it is inconsistent since it argues that all increments should be a fixed percentage, i.e. 3%, even though such steps could disadvantage some current staff. Yet when it comes to Grade 7b supplementary payments, which at present have almost uniform steps of 13% of a professorial stipend, the proposed increments are 4, 3, 4, 3, 2, and 4 steps on the spine. If uniform increments are good enough for everyone else, why are they not good enough for Professors?

As an example of why the Report is misleading consider Appendix 6; this suggests that the maximum point on the spine will be step 90 at a stipend of £96,907. However, since the maximum number of HERA points is 1,000, and since the Report does not give a mapping of HERA points to stipends for more than 560 HERA points, how do we know what the maximum stipend is? Are the stipends of the Vice-Chancellor and the Development Director going to be reduced to £96,907 or below? Indeed, in addition to explaining what happens above 560 points, the Council should explain clearly how market supplements for recruitment and retention would work. Would these payments be within the range of declared supplementary payments for contribution, or would a Grade 7a administrator get their HERA salary (whatever that is), a possible supplementary recruitment or retention incentive, and then supplementary payments for contribution above that? Indeed, what would the supplementary payments be? Would they be an extra 4, 3, 4, 3, 2, and 4 steps on the spine, or would they be, as now, the equivalent of the professorial supplements; if the former, then that would correspond to a hefty pay increase for some lucky individuals, if the latter then the supplements would not correspond to steps on the sacred spine.

How will the recruitment and retention incentives work? I know of at least one Professor who had an offer of three times his salary. This was not matched, and even if this Report was accepted he could only have been offered a maximum 78% increase. He left. What happens if an administrator gets offered 50% more? Will that be matched in full, or will the incentive be scaled down proportionately as for an academic, say to an offer of an extra 20%?

My main point should now be clear. We have heard a number of speakers this afternoon note that lower-paid staff, particularly new recruits, are potentially going to be at a disadvantage by the introduction of the new spine. It seems to me that it is highly unlikely that the most senior staff are going to be disadvantaged. Indeed, the current proposals seem to continue the trend over the last few years of senior academic-related staff benefiting more than other staff (see my speech of 13 July 2004).

Let me give another example. In the current Report it is proposed that scales be introduced for Readers, Professors, Senior Assistant Registraries (SARs), and Principal Assistant Registraries (PARs). Surprise, surprise, the minima of Readers and Professors go down, and that of SARs and PARs are almost unchanged, and the maxima of Readers and Professors (excluding supplementary payments) are almost unchanged, and the maxima of SARs and PARs increase. What would you expect from a scheme entitled 'Project Scholar'? As a side point, are the criteria for promotion to Reader and Professor going to be changed, or are you going to just get less money for jumping the same hurdle? What's more useful for buying a home: a title or hard cash?

A further point. SARs are classified Grade 7a, while Readers are classified Grade 6. I presume this is because Readers score less than 500 HERA points, while SARs score more. Historically in this University Readers and SARs have had comparable status; is this another success for Project Scholar?

Do not get me wrong; my life would not be worth living at home unless I valued academic-related staff (and in particular SARs). Indeed, the University needs a high-class Civil Service. However, it also needs high-class academics. When my wife was appointed, her job description stated that one of her key tasks was 'to engender an atmosphere [in which] Heads of Department accept with enthusiasm that to hang together is better than to hang separately'. This University works best when academic, academic-related, and assistant staff hang together. I do not see this happening now as far as stipends of senior staff are concerned.

Let me also briefly address the point as to whether we should accept the HERA job analysis scheme. Over the past couple of years the Board of Scrutiny has tried to keep a watching brief on HERA, and it has asked to see relevant papers. From those papers I have read, it seems that no other job analysis scheme was seriously considered. This may have been a mistake, although I agree that Hay would have been even worse.

Also, as I understand it, HERA is meant to reflect the values of Higher Education (HE); indeed a key input to the model was the views of HE staff on the merits of different posts. So does the proposed model actually reflect the values of HE? Maybe the Council would like to answer the following question. Who scores more HERA points: a Professor pursuing research that leads to a Nobel Prize or Fields Medal, or the highest paid of our growing collection of Directors? If outstanding academic staff do not score more HERA points than, say, the Director of Public Affairs, then HERA does not reflect the values of HE, and to suggest otherwise is spin (indeed given the hundreds of coefficients or weightings in the HERA model, not being able to come up with any answer you want seems to be gross incompetence). Similarly, Personnel are spinning when they suggest that all staff are valued because there are no zero scores in answer to any of the HERA questions; this is a mathematically illiterate statement which yet again illustrates the point that Personnel do not understand the independence of the HERA score from the mapping to the pay spine.

I could go on, but I am running out of time. A few more brief points.

If we are to take equal pay seriously, then all stipends including recruitment, retention, and supplementary payments, and any perks, should be published. Otherwise how do you know that you are being discriminated against?

We are told that the cost of the new pay and grading structure will be some £4 million. Will the Council publish a table indicating which groups are the relative winners and losers? If not, why not?

Given the explosion in staff costs, is it wise to introduce a job analysis scheme that rewards individuals for the number of staff that they manage? Will this not encourage even more empire building, whereas what ought to be rewarded is running a cost-effective ship?

In summary, I find this Report lacking in rigour, clarity, and candour. It seems to be the product of the same type of woolly thinking that led to CAPSA, yet in this case the results could be far more disastrous involving as it does almost all members of staff. The University needs proposals that are seen to be fair to all; we need a 'Project Inclusive' rather than a 'Project Fat Cat'.

Mr DAVID GOODE:

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, I noted in the Report that the Council and the General Board welcome comments on the arrangements for pay progression (including market forces). The referenced sections, 7.1 and 7.2 do not, however, deal with market forces at all.

I am a Computer Officer (Grade III); I have no staff, but manage all aspects of IT in the Faculty of Divinity single-handedly, in addition to other responsibilities such as membership of the Learning Resources Committee or the Examinations Working Group. These two examples require me to extend my responsibilities to library resources on the one hand and devising a new scheme to help with marking and managing the results of Tripos examinations on the other.

I am also a subscriber to Computer Weekly magazine, which means I see a large number of job advertisements in the IT industry every week. Ours is a market economy, where salaries are driven by market forces, presumably the same market forces to which the Council and General Board refer in the Report. In last week's issue of Computer Weekly, I found the following jobs with a similar salary to a Computer Officer (Grade III):

These jobs, though in the same salary range as mine, are nowhere near equivalent. Only help desk operative vacancies offered my salary last week. While not wishing to 'do down' help desk operatives, there is a world of difference between reading answers from a predetermined list to people on the telephone, and single-handed responsibility for a Faculty's IT plus other responsibilities. Well, there is a world of difference in everything except the salary.

None of us working in academia are in it for the money. We knew that when we came here. But, I couldn't help wondering if the Council and the General Board were serious about taking 'market forces' into consideration when appointing us to a new grade, and assisting us to progress in that grade, if HERA is adopted. If so, I suggest they take out a subscription to Computer Weekly magazine to ensure they are well acquainted with market forces in the IT industry. Or, better still in these days of tight financial constraints and concern for the environment, they can have mine every week when I have finished with it.

Mr JAMES HALL:

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, I welcome the chance to contribute to the Discussion of the Joint Report, and to comment upon some of its content.

We are told in Section 3.3 of the Report that protracted national negotiations have recently been concluded and have resulted in the acceptance by the trades unions nationally of a framework agreement. This statement should be accepted only with reservation. I speak as a member of the Association of University Teachers (AUT), a party to those negotiations and, although not formally recognized by the University, the union most appropriately representing academic and academic-related staff employed here. The AUT agreed the framework unwillingly, and only in the face of intractability on the part of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association who had unilaterally excluded the AUT from the final stages of negotiation. This agreement was only achieved after the intervention of the Trades Union Congress and upon the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding which outlined a set of principles to be adhered to when institutions come to implement the new framework. A major component of the Memorandum was that, in the transition to new pay scales, employees' salaries and career-long earnings should not be adversely affected. I will later describe a case where the proposals of this Report do not honour the memorandum, and you may hear from others that the proposals break the framework in some areas and ignore the Memorandum of Understanding.

I refer you, Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, to Section 3.1(i) of the Report in which it is stated that the University 'must compete effectively in local, national, and international labour markets for staff of the highest quality in academic and support functions if it is to maintain its current pre-eminence'. It is to be hoped that the recognition of this need translates into an aim of the Report's recommendations, and it is instructive and appropriate to test the recommendations against such an aim.

As other universities are currently arriving at their own local implementations of the framework it is not yet possible to judge to what extent our own proposals, if accepted, will make us competitive with them for staff of the desired calibre. We do not compete, of course, for staff only with other academic institutions, but also with industry and commerce. In a world where interchange between these spheres is increasingly encouraged we will be severely disadvantaged if we do not offer competitive salaries and terms.

The AUT claim that academic salaries have fallen some 40% behind those of comparable roles in industry over the twenty years to 2002. Should such a figure be regarded as suspect due to lack of objectivity on the part of the union, it should be remembered that the Bett Committee heard evidence in 1999 that academic salaries in the pre-1992 universities had increased by 18% less than the average for public sector salaries, and 30% less than the average for non-manual employees, since 1981. When the general fall of public sector salaries compared to those in the private sector is taken into consideration these figures generally support those produced by the AUT.

The Report before us quite rightly considers the expense of any recommendations made, and it is, no doubt, impossible on grounds of affordability to expect such a significant fall-behind to be remedied immediately and in its entirety. It is, however, to be hoped that these figures were considered when balancing the need for competitiveness against affordability. I am sorry that the Report does not reveal the reasoning of its authors in arriving at the balance recommended, and it is perhaps a little disingenuous to omit all mention of this awkward, but critical, context so that this body may also properly consider the matter.

I suggest that the Report, as it stands, fails the test that I mention - will its recommendations enable us to compete effectively for staff of the highest quality?; the recommendations for the implementation of the framework, and the salary scales suggested, make some small inroads into the current shortfall in academic salaries in some circumstances, but fall very far short of what is needed.

I would like to move on to address the position of one particular group of staff as affected by the proposals - postdoctoral researchers, or research associates. This group will be severely disadvantaged by the proposals as they stand. Although the proposed scale has a higher starting point than at present, a smaller (3%) increment results in a lower salary after four years and a serious shortfall in annual and career earnings at higher points in the scale. 86% of this group are above spine point 7 (where proposed salaries become less than those paid at present). At the contribution threshold, earnings, far from becoming more competitive, may be decreased by over £1,000 per annum, and you will have heard a career-wide loss of £40,000 mentioned. Existing salaries will be partially protected by transitional arrangements for a period of four years, but are we to understand that the University is concerned to be competitive, with decreasing effect, for this class of employee only for this short period? It may be that competitiveness known to be effective for only four years, and which results in an overall reduction in salaries, is no competitiveness at all.

The top one-third of the proposed Grade 5, applicable to research associates, is above the contribution threshold and this group will thereby be further disadvantaged - as a significant proportion of them are employed upon recurring short-term contracts (following specific and finite research grants), progression beyond the threshold will be more difficult than for longer-term or established employees; it may be difficult to factor contribution-based increases into funding applications, and budgetary constraints upon grant-holders may result in pressure to resist progression.

It seems to me that the proposal regarding this staff group falls short of the framework commended model, and very far short of the corresponding model representing the AUT's understanding of the framework implementation.

It is to be expected that a fundamental re-jigging of terms and salaries will produce anomalies, and it is these that the transitional arrangements are intended to address. That an entire class of employee requires protection under these arrangements suggests a deeper, and structural, fault in the proposals before us, and I would urge an appropriate revision.

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, having listened to this discussion so far, I come to realize that the position of Research Associates under the current recommendations is far, from unique. No one can propose that we will compete more effectively for high quality staff, in whatever role, by introducing a scheme which will reduce earnings. The conclusion seems inevitable, then, that either the new framework, as recommended, is fatally flawed as a vehicle for competitiveness - or that the earnings and contribution of whole swathes of the University's employees are regarded as currently over-valued by the authors of the Report. A radical redrawing of some of the proposals before us is essential.

Dr MICHAEL RUTTER (read by Dr DOUGLAS DE LACEY):

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, I apologize for not being able to make these comments in person, but another meeting required my presence.

The Report on pay and grading starts with the aim of achieving equal pay for work of equal value. This aim is so transparently fair that at first glance it would appear to be above criticism. However, its full implications in a research institution are quite interesting. It is often said that one does one's best research before the age of thirty-five, and very infrequently after the age of fifty, and yet one rarely sees researchers, or anyone else, moving down pay scales as they become older and less effective.

The aim of attracting and retaining world-class Professors is an ideal which must be central to the survival of this University as a pre-eminent research establishment. However, can one really do that with pay alone, competing against extremely well-funded American institutions? In the past we have succeeded not by offering high salaries, but by offering a liberal IPR regime which enabled, even encouraged, people to supplement their incomes, and by offering light administrative loads, enabling researchers to do what all good researchers love: their research. Is the need for significantly increased salaries caused by the need to compensate for increasing bureaucracy and potential threats to IPR? And are we in danger of attracting people who love money more than research? If someone cannot earn more outside this University, one could question whether he should be inside it.

There is fault to be found with the detail of these proposals too. Pretending that Grade 6b is a single grade whilst it covers Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, and Readers, and thus contains two break-points which require explicit promotion to pass seems odd.

More drastic concatenation occurs elsewhere. The current eight technical grades (T1 to T8) are reduced to three (Grades 2, 4, and 5). The Computer Officer grades are reduced from four to three, with both CO IV and CO II losing money. As CO IV is already little used, its complete death is likely, leaving just two grades.

And yet one sees seven different classes of Professor: the standard model, and then six different bonus packs. I find it quite astonishing that one can now discern seven forms of Professor, where there had previously been thought to be five, but just three of technician, where previously eight levels had been identified.

The retention of automatic service-related increments seems to go against the stated basis of this review. These increments are worth more, now that many grades are longer, and clearly favour those who are older, and thus likely to have to achieved more years of service. The idea that ten years' experience, and one year's experience repeated ten times (the latter refering to someone who appears unable to learn from experience), are significantly different is not apparent in these proposals.

I cannot resist commenting on the preference for HERA over HAY as a grading methodology. HERA has fourteen different criteria, and HAY just three principal headings. One of HAY's headings is called 'Accountability', which is not the title of any of HERA's criteria. In some circles, that word just never seems acceptable.

That the details of HERA's scoring system are not published makes HERA a less transparent, and harder to challenge, grading system than the current, somewhat vague, guidelines from the Personnel Division. This would be a significant step backwards.

It is easy to end on a positive note: I, personally, would see a slight increase in my salary under this scheme. On a less self-interested note, I welcome the addition of discretionary points to the top of all scales. However, I think tuning the current system to remove some of its anomolies would be more beneficial than this wholesale revision which introduces at least as many problems as it fixes. That the problems would appear to fall disproportionately on the lower grades of staff does no credit to the Council and General Board.

Mr NICK MACLAREN (read by Dr DOUGLAS DE LACEY):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am saddened that the University has produced this Report. As usual, it is not its main intent that is flawed, but the details.

I shall not repeat my remarks made at the Discussions on 29 April 2003, 2 December 2003, and 27 January 2004, nor comment on their responses, though most of that would be relevant. The grievances were referred to by several other people; this Report not merely does not address them, but exacerbates them.

I described in detail on 2 December 2003 that there is a significant problem with academic-related staff being given or shouldering responsibilities and workloads above the grade of their post. There is no formal mechanism for rewarding them or for them to appeal against their situation if their Head of Institution fails to deal with it, and the Council said bluntly in their response of the 16 February 2004 that there should be none. Section 9 of this Report continues with this policy, as this Report makes no reference whatsoever to the performance of junior academic-related staff, but only to the role of their posts.

This is made worse by an unfortunate accident, which is almost designed to offend many Computer Officers: the handling of the anomalous Grade II. This has only three steps, and 78% of staff in it are on the top one. This Report effectively merges Grades II and III which is, in itself, not harmful. But it fails to address the long-standing grievance that many Computer Officers, Grade II, in small Departments and groups and even some in larger ones bear responsibilities more appropriate to a Grade I, but have been denied promotion because their post does not include enough personnel management, ignoring any financial and related responsibilities. In some cases, those people also make significant teaching and research contributions, but those do not count towards regrading, because of the aforementioned University policy.

On another matter, section 9.1 of this Report is at best surprising. I have not heard of any Computer Officer who has been approached to help produce generic HERA roles, and there is enough variation and complexity that it could not be done by using a small sample. Will the Council say how many Computer Officers helped with this, at what grades, and which Departments were involved?

Dr DOUGLAS DE LACEY:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, it is a convention of our Discussions that lists of names of those agreeing with a position be not read out. But if justification is needed for my making a contribution, as one recently retired from office and hence beyond the vicissitudes of restructuring salary and grading, it is the extent of concern I have heard voiced by former colleagues, who for various reasons feel unable to speak for themselves here.

There are two recurring themes I hear from former colleagues. It may be that their concerns are misplaced. It is possible that under these new arrangements all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well. But perception is an important aspect of workforce wellbeing, especially after the demoralizing blows dealt by CAPSA, by the RAM, and by the expanding hole in our finances. And perception appears to be that the proposed changes appear unfair, and depend too largely on trust over hidden details. This skeleton has received some flesh already today.

Before I enlarge on these concerns, I congratulate the Council and the General Board on proffering a consultative Report rather than a fait accompli. But even that congratulation must needs be muted, for the Report lacks the clarity one might expect of a solid proposal; it appears ill-digested and indeed somewhat self-contradictory. Further, the Director of Personnel has stated to the University1 that some changes are already envisaged as a result of initial feedback. Yet we are not to be told what these changes might be, to inform this Discussion. Why not? There is an active newsgroup specifically for the debate of such issues. Two members of the Council have been more than generous in their time and self-exposure in helping contributors to that group think through these proposals. Why has no one in Personnel, or from the General Board, or the upper echelons of the administration, dared to join them? The word 'transparency' occurs three times in the Report. Yet the discussion is anything but transparent: Personnel's preferred mode of feedback was in private rather than through this Discussion.

Are the proposals fair on the University's staff? It is interesting that they include two elements which appear to be in conflict: on the one hand the use of market forces to allow us to 'compete' and to provide 'appropriate' rewards, on the other the solid objectivity of role grading through HERA. Or rather, not quite HERA but HERA modified in inscrutable ways via 'Project Scholar' and what appears to be local tweaking. Be that as it may, my colleagues appear sceptical that the carrot of these 'appropriate' rewards in line with market forces will do anything except enable our administration to fatten itself while the lowly Computer Officer, Librarian, and Technician will be expected to be grateful for whatever they are given.

Can we trust that the details will be worked out satisfactorily? Well, the University has already been told2 that the use of Appendix 6 to understand the implementation is 'misleading'. The cynical may derive savage satisfaction that the Personnel Division continues to do what it does best according to the recent Review of its activity: providing 'inaccurate, contradictory, or confusing' information.3 A year ago our Vice Chancellor urged us to trust her.4 This year her appeal appears tempered by a greater awareness that trust needs to be earned 'Trust does not spring up just like that'.5 A full, open, and transparent debate of issues such as this might prove to be a major way of restoring trust in this University. Instead, we are threatened by urgency, coupled with the stifling of debate (what has there been, outside the Governance Newsgroup, since July?) and very much the secretive mixture as before.

There is one further factor in these proposals which baffles me. The effects of the RAM and our deplorable financial state are, we were told last academic year, that we would all - outside the central administration - have to pull our belts in: my own School was told it would have to lose several posts. Yet now we are cheerfully told that we can afford lots of extra money - 'some £4m' according to Mr Deer's letter - to implement hikes up into the new pay scales. And no doubt we shall be told that new administrative staff will be needed to do the implementation. So I wish to end with a quotation from an alumnus whom we have, I believe, too long ignored in this University. In 1914 Britain had the largest navy in the world, at 542 ships, and the Admiralty had a staff of 4,366. In 1967 we had just 114 ships, but 33,574 people on the Admiralty staff, most of them clerical/administrative, not technicians. This is the essence of Parkinson's Law. ''I think Parkinson's Law came to me, or is based upon, experiencing the armed forces', Parkinson says. 'I was serving in a joint headquarters, ... and the headquarters was headed by an air vice marshal, who was assisted, or possibly impeded, by a colonel in the army, who was impeded, or possibly assisted, by a wing commander in the air force, and then all three of them were assisted (but definitely assisted!) by me. I was then a major in the army, and we were all very busy winning the war. But the day came when the air vice marshal went on leave. Shortly afterwards, as it happened, the colonel fell sick. The wing commander was attending a course, and I found I was the group. And I also found that, while the work had lessened as each of my superiors had disappeared, by the time it came to me, there was nothing to do at all. There never had been anything to do. We'd been making work for each other.''6

I dare to suggest that a comprehensive pay review should look at more than just a salary scale and grading issues.

1 Letter from the Director of Personnel to all staff dated 30 September, reference PJD/BA.

2 Letter from the Director of Personnel to all staff dated 30 September, reference PJD/BA.

3 http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2003-04/weekly/5972/4.html.

4 http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2003-04/weekly/5935/19.html.

5 http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2004-05/weekly/5973/33.html.

6 Quoted at http://www.vdare.com/pb/parkinson_review.htm.

Dr TARAK BARKAWI (read by Dr NICK SAVAGE):

Mr deputy Vice-Chancellor, I note with concern that there is no mention in this Report of the provision of training for those who will be carrying out the role analysis. This is a highly important part of the whole HERA process. Could the Council explain what plans there are for training on HERA and if this training will be offered to union representatives as well as those carrying out the role analysis? I would also like to ask if this training will be carried out by the Educational Competences Consortium who designed HERA.

Dr NICK SAVAGE:

Mr Deputy Vice Chancellor, I wish to make clear my great unhappiness at the handling of this Report. Until recently the only real publicity given to this Report was that required under the statutory obligation to publish it in the Reporter and to hold a Discussion in term. A letter to staff was circulated less than two weeks before this Discussion and the deadline for comment extended, but only after pressure from the unions. I am not aware of any attempt to explain these complex proposals to members of the University. Without proper explanation it is difficult for staff, who have very heavy workloads already, to understand and then make informed judgements about these proposals. Given that, as the Report itself states, these are: 'some of the most radical proposals about the pay of the staff of the University which the Regent House will have considered for many generations' this is at best a serious oversight.

This would not be as great a issue if the Report itself was less problematic than it is. In several respects it does not comply with the framework agreement which was agreed with the trade unions in national negotiations. It also seems to completely ignore the safeguards in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between AUT and the pre-1992 universities. This memorandum was the basis for AUT calling off industrial action and to ignore it to the extent that this Report does is disgraceful. If the new grading structure correctly applied the principles of the memorandum it would ensure that both current and new staff would not see lower salaries as a result of the new grading. However, the proposed grading structure will mean lower earnings for new research associates. Cambridge already has the lowest proportion of staff on permanent contracts. If these proposals are implemented we may end up with the lowest paid research staff as well. In many other areas these proposals are also totally inadequate, such as: the lack of appeals procedures; the failure to address the erosion of academic salaries over many years; and the potentially very severe implications for the pay and conditions of several groups of staff.

I also have one more specific issue which I wish to raise here. I am very concerned by the paragraph on pensions in this Report.

This states:

'Currently the University offers the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) to officers and the Cambridge University Assistants' Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to assistants, each with different contribution levels and benefits. For new staff eligibility for USS would continue to be based on whether a particular post is an office (or comparable unestablished post) specified in Statutes and Ordinances.'

Where does this leave Research Associates? Currently Research Associates are offered USS membership (I am a member of USS myself), however this paragraph seems to imply that in future they will not be. Is this just an oversight or is this a planned change to current practice? If the Council plan to make this change will they remove the eligibility of current members or just prevent new staff from joining the scheme? This also illustrates the anomalous situation where College employees are able to vote on, and amend, proposals which do not directly effect them while the majority of contract research staff are denied a voice in Regent House or on the Council.

I would urge the Council to make major changes before bringing a new Report to the Regent House. I also consider it vital that more extensive information is provided as a part of genuine negotiation process with the trade unions and others. This negotiation should not merely consist of the unions putting forward their concerns and then being ignored. We need a real dialogue between the Personnel Division and the unions as well as with other stakeholders. The framework agreement states:

'It is expected that institutions and their local union representatives will work in partnership to this end, with mutual respect for the interests of all stakeholders, and will negotiate to reach agreement on a timely basis ...

HE institutions will negotiate with their recognised trade unions details of

- The timetable for implementation of new pay arrangements ...

- How Staff will be assimilated to the new pay and grading structures ...'

With genuine negotiation and co-operation we can make these new pay proposals work. If we get them wrong however we risk seriously damaging the morale, recruitment and retention of many groups of staff. Cambridge should seek to show true leadership by implementing a pay scheme which justly rewards the hard work and outstanding achievement of all of its staff.

Mr VINCE WOODLEY:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I would like to comment on Project Scholar in particular and transparency in general.

By using Project Scholar to adjust the local weighting applied during HERA to something which reflects the different values of a 'research intensive University' and then applying it to not just to teaching officers but also to support staff, I would suggest that the value of support staff (who will find it hard to score highly in the research centred 'elements') will be effectively and unacceptably reduced.

As requested by the Consultative Report, I have sent the previous comment to the Director of Personnel. I ask that all comments both from this Discussion and those submitted in alternative ways be fully and openly addressed. This whole grading process needs to be seen to be just to all staff - not just those who can come here.

Dr ARTHUR KALETZKY (read by Dr MIKE CLARK):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak today as a member of the executive committee of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers.

I believe that HERA by its nature - no more than 19, usually far fewer, levels of skill (termed 'element' in HERA jargon), but a large number (14) of admissible skills per role - is biased towards roles mixing a large number of skills (such as managers?) as against roles requiring excellence in one or a few skills, and towards roles requiring routine exercise of skills rather that those requiring rare or sporadic excellence. Is this really appropriate for a research university? A very disturbing consequence of this approach, which is of great concern to the AUT, are the very low estimated positions of contract research staff (Research Assistant, Research Assosiate, Senior Research Associate) in the Appendix 6 table. The contribution of these very numerous staff, many of whom are AUT members, is absolutely essential to the University's research mission and yet it seems they will be in the greatest danger of being downgraded.

I would also like to mention that the agreement with the trade unions referred to in para. 3.3 of the Report was conditional on the Memorandum of Understanding with the AUT. Although the Memorandum is mentioned in a very restricted context in para. 8.2, as it is an essential precondition of union acceptance it must be referred to explicitly in section 3 or above - in fact, wherever the Framework Agreement is mentioned.

I am very concerned by the wording 'up to four years'. Who decides the actual figure in a given case? If accepted, the wording should be 'for four years, unless the employee wishes to end this arrangement earlier'.

More generally, I believe the Report does not adequately present the role of the trade unions in the possible introduction and continued operation of a job evaluation scheme. An obvious example is the need for the trade unions to monitor, verify, and audit the work of the job analysts. If HERA or another job evaluation scheme were introduced, it would be necessary to institute procedures for appeals by trade unions and/or their members against job evaluation results. There is no mention of such changes in the Report.

Another related problem is the Personnel Director's recent letter to all staff. This states that any comparisons to current grades are pointless because all jobs will be assimilated to new grades based on the results of job evaluation. However, it also indicates a headline figure of £4 million and includes an estimate of the number of staff whose pay will be altered. Clearly, assumptions about the outcomes of assimilation have been made with no agreement with the trade unions and only the minimal exchange of information.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that the Cambridge AUT is very ready to co-operate with the Regent House, the Council, and the other trade unions in revising this Report to benefit its members and the University.

Dr MIKE CLARK:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I would like to address some comments to this consultative Report in my capacity as President of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers. Firstly I welcome and acknowledge the fact that this Report has been published as a consultative document and I therefore very much hope that the Council and the General Board will indeed take notice of the very many concerns raised by previous speakers. Indeed I would go so far as to endorse all of the previous speakers, with the exception of Professor Andrew Cliff. I must confess that despite having more information available to me in my capacity as an executive member of the Cambridge AUT, than has been published in the Report, that I had great difficulty in understanding the intentions and implications of many aspects of the proposed pay restructuring. I would thus like to register my appreciation of the willingness of one member of Council and of the Personnel Committee, James Matheson, who was prepared to engage in public discussion and explanation of this Report on the Governance newsgroup, and answered questions of those like myself who were uncertain in our interpretation of crucial details. I think it would be good to see more members of the Council and the General Board showing a willingness to engage with members of the University in this way. I would regard Ross Anderson as an exception in this respect, who also makes many comments on the Governance newsgroup.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff in his remarks tried to allay fears and deflect criticism by emphasizing the consultative nature of the Report and by pointing out that Appendix 6 was only illustrative. He tried to reassure us by saying that staff will not be mapped across literally from one grade to another, but that they will be moved across to the new grades as individuals according to their role assessments. Unfortunately if Appendix 6 cannot be relied upon many staff will have great difficulty in interpreting the implications of the new pay structure. What most staff are concerned about is their future pay and career prospects and unfortunately there is very little data within the Report to reassure the vast majority of staff that they will definitely not lose out under a restructuring. From our union discussions with the Personnel Division we have been led to believe that pay modelling of the effects of the pay restructuring has been undertaken, and estimates prepared of the costs of different solutions to the University, see for example section 14 of the Report which records the likely costs at £5 million. It would be nice to see more of this data included in the next Report, particularly estimates of the numbers of staff in various existing grades who have been modelled as red circled or green circled.

It should not be surprising to the General Board and the Council that there is considerable concern over the contents of this consultative Report. If they take a good look at what it does illustrate, then it is easy to see why the main overall conclusions drawn by many in the University, are that a number of senior academic staff and administrators are likely to be green circled and will thus get substantial pay increases, whilst it is also unlikely that any of the other staff at these levels will be red circled for a pay cut. So as the Report quite clearly indicates that there will be red circled staff, it is very reasonable to assume that these staff who are destined for pay cuts will be in the middle to lower grades of the University. If that is indeed the intention of the Council and the General Board, in their instructions to the Personnel Division, then they should provide fuller details of which groups of staff they have identified as being currently over-paid!

Part of the problem with the Report is that it conflates several different issues into one exercise but this may not be appreciated by many in the University. Job evaluation which is carried out here using HERA, and the new grading structures are two very different, complicated, though intertwined things. My understanding is that the requirements in the Report on equal pay are lifted directly from the Equal Pay Act as Amended by the 1983 Regulations, whilst the issue of work of equal value is however quite a different one. It has been explained to me that until 1983 employers used the fact that work was not similar to justify giving different pay rates to jobs traditionally done by either gender. The equal value clause led to comparisons between incredibly disparate jobs which in essence were worth the same to any organization. This is the basis for the Enderby claim in the NHS where a case was made that senior speech and language therapists' work (traditionally a women's field of work) was on a par with that of senior pharmacists and psychologists (traditionally male fields). The three jobs are vastly different and yet they were determined to be of equal value to the employer. On this basis the European Court of Justice ruled that there had in fact been discrimination against the senior speech and language therapists. Clearly there are obvious parallels that might be drawn between this example and various roles that exist within our University.

Thus if an employer has people doing vastly different work they have to have some system that allows them to determine in which order they rank all of these jobs. An analytical scheme allows them to do this and HERA is one such scheme that is applicable to a university such as ours. In principle the AUT has no objection to the use of HERA, however we do have reservations about how this role analysis is implemented, and from what we have learnt of the particular implementation in Cambridge we feel that the Council and the General Board need to review very thoroughly whether it is being used appropriately (I refer you to the previous comments made by Sylvia Martinelli, Arthur Kaletsky, and many others who have spoken before me). For example, the Report rather misleads by implying that 400 roles have been analysed using HERA. Yet my understanding from presentations made to the unions by members of the Personnel Division is that only about 180 (made up of about 40 done by initial interview and 140 done by detailed role matching) have been done in any detail, and these were used for the bench-marking. Clearly 180 is a very small fraction of the total number of staff of 8,300, and doesn't even allow for a sample of one person from each of the existing 300 grades. As a further example looking through the breakdown by roles of 143 that were analysed, I see five of these were Professors, three were Readers, one a Senior Lecturer, and four Lecturers. In other words it appears that grade 7b in the illustrative Appendix 6 is based on HERA analysis of about five posts, and grade 6b on about seven posts. There are 1,288 UTOs in the University (according to Appendix 1) so 12 samples represents less than 1%. Indeed Appendix 1 indicates that there are 248 University Senior Lecturers, so a sample size of one represents 0.25% How you can possibly argue for an 'objective' mapping of old scales to new scales based on such a statistically unrepresentative sampling simply beggars belief! The process seems unworthy of a university of our standing. If a student of mine were to bring me data collected and analysed in such a way I would send them straight back to the laboratory to do a proper job. Yet the General Board and the Council seem to have signed the work off and published it.

I would also like to point out that the difference between the basic HERA and Project Scholar had major implications for some staff. We were told that when Project Scholar weightings were applied to the same data set that 60 scores went up, 47 went down, and 16 remained the same (a total of 123 for some reason) The rank order for 20 was different, with the most places up being two places, and the most places down being four places. Clearly for those who move down it may matter a lot, particularly if the new score happens to put them below where a grade boundary is placed in the new scales. So we have to be sure that we get the implementation of HERA right.

At this point I would like to separate out the difference between job evaluation and unification of pay spines. A job evaluation scheme is not always directly involved in the unification of the pay spines. All HERA does is analyse the jobs and see in which order they should go. Ultimately although in a purist job evaluation world this can then lead to devising a new grading structure, we know that essentially this next step is a political decision. We can accept that having separate grading structures can lead to real inequality (as in the Enderby case above) and that there is a need to harmonize the different grading structures into one. We can also accept that a job evaluation scheme (such as HERA), if applied appropriately, can be used to analyse where on that grading structure individuals should go. However, we have to have reassurance that this process is fair and transparent, and that there is a robust and independent appeals procedure available to any member of staff who feels that they have been incorrectly graded. The next Report needs to address this lack of detail of an appeals procedure.

Another aspect of the Report that concerns us is that it could imply a two tier system. - Point 8 of the preamble to the Report outlines 'Protection of existing interests'. The AUT nationally has run into a number of difficulties with institutions considering the implementation of an improved pay structure for existing staff but with a different set of grades for future staff. Point 8 is limited to a description of possible means of pay protection where staff are downgraded in the assimilation process. However, we ask the Council and the General Board to make it quite clear that the new grading structure proposed for Cambridge would apply equally to new, and to newly promoted, as well as to existing staff.

The Framework Agreement and the MoU were agreed nationally between the unions and UCEA, and as a member of UCEA, we consider that the MoU must be implemented in full in Cambridge. However, we note that as currently presented, the proposed grading structure illustrated in Appendix 6 fails to comply with the MoU. The MoU set out three principles, that new grades should: (i) have contribution thresholds set no lower than the current non-discretionary maxima; (ii) give staff the normal expectation of annual progression to the contribution threshold for their grade; (iii) as a result of this, progression to the contribution threshold should take no longer than usual. The illustration of the grades in App 6 make a comparison to these principles difficult, but this remains our starting point. A closer analysis which disaggregates the grades (especially grades 6 and 7) shows that only a small number of the grades meet any of the principles of the MoU.

Partnership. We heard from the AMICUS trade union representative, Will Smith, that one of the important aspects of the agreement was that the University should move in partnership with the unions. The Report seems to give the impression that the unions have been involved in discussions. As the representative of the AUT who has been present at many of the presentations made to us by the Personnel Division, I can assure you that there has been very little opportunity for us to provide feedback that appears to have been heeded, except for when we put pressure on Peter Deer to write to all members of staff to bring this consultation exercise to the attention of all staff. So in moving forward, we would like to see that partnership is the real approach that this University adopts, and I would repeat the request I made to the Vice-Chancellor, that the CAUT should be made a partner in this work.

Finally to reiterate some of the key points made by earlier speakers, in particular the clear explanation by Michael Gray, the AUT expects any pay restructuring to conform to the National Framework Agreement and to the Memorandum of Understanding. That means that selected groups of academic and academic-related staff should definitely not be faced with the prospect of having a career earnings loss when the new grades are introduced. Also we expect that the interests of academic-related staff are regarded as of the same importance as academic staff. We also do not wish to see a two tier salary structure introduced whereby the pay scales for existing staff are protected, but those for new staff, or for newly promoted staff are not. The UCEA guidelines and the National Framework Agreement both refer to universities developing their new pay structures in full partnership with the trade unions. We hope that Cambridge will improve efforts in this regard and be more inclusive in the further development of pay restructuring, and certainly we request that the next Report includes more substantial data from which to draw firm conclusions.


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Cambridge University Reporter 20 October 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.