Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6188

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Vol cxl No 29

pp. 813–844

Fly-sheets reprinted

The following fly-sheets etc., are reprinted in accordance with the Council’s Notice on Discussions and Fly-sheets (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 112).

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on disciplinary, dismissal, and grievance procedures

Ballot on Graces 1 and 2 of 17 February 2010

Statute U ballot – Summary Flysheet

The proposed reforms to the University’s grievance, discipline, and dismissal procedures are intended to facilitate compromise, to provide independent judgement, and to do so in a timely way. They are the result of two years of detailed consultation and refinement through a succession of published reports. This flysheet simply recalls the key issues in question and answer form.

What has changed since the present procedures were introduced? Over the past twenty or so years there has been substantial change in the sort of protections that the British legal system expects employers to offer their employees. The handling of employees’ grievances against their employer, and the treatment of employees caught up in discipline and dismissal cases, are expected to conform to certain standards. Politically uncontroversial, and fine-tuned by ACAS, these are in part intended to prevent the hardening of attitudes and prevent disputes ending up with Employment Tribunals. It is expected that there should be time-limits built in to procedures, so that delays are not used as a weapon. Employers are expected to offer employees the opportunity for the independent mediation of problems. They are expected to ensure that employees have a right of fair process in relation to their managers’ decisions on grievances and discipline. The weightiness of the process involved in resolving a problem should be proportionate to its gravity for the employee.

What is wrong with our present procedures? Our University’s procedures are no longer fully adequate. The absence of effective time-limits means that grievances have been slow to resolve. The ten or so new grievances arising annually have been taking on average a year to resolve, with much anxiety associated with the delays. An officer currently has no right of appeal against a disciplinary decision by their head of department, other than through the grievance procedure. Our present redundancy procedure is defective; after the University has decided that there should be a redundancy situation through a ballot of Regent House, there is currently the requirement of a second ballot on the names of the individual officers affected.

How are procedures to be changed? The new procedures would introduce a process of mediation. A fresh and disinterested intervention can often facilitate an acceptable change in work arrangements before attitudes become litigious and polarized. The University is currently training a panel of mediators from a cross-section of staff. The new procedures provide for a timely and proportionate disciplinary process, retaining a University Tribunal hearing and right of appeal to the Septemviri in the case of removal from office.

Why is the ballot offering a choice of Graces? University officers can be divided between those with duties of teaching and research, entitled to study leave (defined by Schedule J), and the others, such as administrators, librarians, and computer officers. All but one of the new procedures will cover both categories. The one exception relates to the declaration of a redundancy situation which, as mentioned, requires a ballot of Regent House. Since it is intended to protect academic freedoms, should it just relate to those engaged in teaching and research, or should it cover all University officers? That choice is up to you.

Why are these reforms only affecting University officers? The present procedures for assistant staff have a different history. The revision now proposed would facilitate convergence in relation to grievance, discipline, and dismissal procedures for all categories of University staff, in accordance with the University’s general policy.

Are not the proposed reforms unnecessarily complicated? The proposed new Statute is substantially shorter and simpler than that which it replaces. The subordinate legislation is relatively longer because modern employment law expects more detailed codes of practice than was the case in the past. The amendment of that more detailed material is now placed within the control of the Regent House.

Do the proposed changes weaken academic freedom? They do not. Precisely the same rights remain enshrined in the Statutes.

Do the proposed changes weaken the democratic nature of the University? They do not. Under the proposals any variations in the relevant Statutes and Ordinances, including any codes of practice, will be subject to approval by Regent House.

We urge you to vote in favour of the recommendations of the Joint Report.

If you support the recommendations in full, then vote placet to both Grace 1 and Grace 2.

If you support the proposals but not the distinction between Schedule J and non-Schedule J officers regarding redundancy, then vote non placet to Grace 1 and placet to Grace 2.

A. J. Badger

I. M. Le M. DuQuesnay

D. Lowther

N. Bampos

Richard J. Evans

Ian McConnell

Z. G. Barański

A. C. Ferguson-Smith

R. Padman

John Bell

David F. Ford

J. S. Parker

W. A. Brown

Simon Franklin

Katharine B. Pretty

B. Burchell

Andrew Gamble

Martin Rees

H. A. Chase

C. A. Gilligan

George Reid

Andrew Cliff

Andrew Harvey

H. Sabourian

Timothy M. Cox

Ian Hodge

J. K. M. Sanders

Martin Daunton

L. E. Howe

M. Schofield

Sandra Dawson

Christopher Hum

E. Shuckburgh

Simon Deakin

Gordon Johnson

J. G. P. Sissons

A. De Meyer

Martin Jones

R. M. Smith

Adrian K. Dixon

W. Jones

John Swenson-Wright

Athene Donald

M. Lamb

Joan M. Whitehead

Ann Dowling

Ian Leslie

M. R. Younger

Flysheet on Graces 1 and 2 of 17 February 2010

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on disciplinary, dismissal, and grievance procedures

It is widely accepted that the University’s procedures for dealing with grievances need refinement because of the delays often suffered by staff members. However, this is not the issue on which the Regent House is being asked to vote. Instead, the need for relatively minor reforms is being used as a Trojan horse to repeal Statute U and replace it with controversial new procedures that will remove important safeguards from our discipline, dismissal, and redundancy mechanisms. The present checks and balances are important practical ingredients in preserving academic freedom and the University’s democratic processes. Assurances of academic freedom need to be supported by legislation that is sufficiently tightly drawn that it cannot be abused by any future administration.

Statute U was composed 23 years ago following passage of the Education Reform Act 1988 which allowed academics to be made redundant. It provides a number of safeguards to protect both academic freedom and our democratic processes. Many of these would be repealed, as illustrated by the following examples.

First, if the Regent House decides that there should be redundancies, Statute U provides for the selection of individuals by a redundancy committee of defined composition that includes members of both the (mostly elected) Council and the (appointed) General Board. The new proposals give the selection to the ‘competent authority’ (in almost all cases the General Board), although the Report suggests that the task will be delegated; a significant weakness is that such delegation will be entirely unregulated.

Second, Statute U requires the approval by Regent House of a second Grace ratifying the final selection. This requirement has been much criticized since the Regent House would be voting on named individuals. However, the proposed new procedure is vague on detail; precisely when Regent House would vote and on what terms is unclear. Moreover, once a ‘redundancy situation’ is accepted by Grace, the details of scope and extent could lie with the competent authority not the Regent House.

Third, appeal to the Septemviri is replaced, for redundancy, by appeal to a 3-person panel appointed by the administration. Further the time window for submitting all appeals is reduced from 28 days to 10 working days after the date of the notice of selection; this is too short given that only arguments produced at the time of appeal will ordinarily be considered.

In addition to the changes to redundancy procedures, there are also notable changes to dismissal procedures. The devil is again in the detail and a number of examples could be given. For instance at present a charge leading to dismissal must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but under the new procedures this standard of proof is no longer required. Further, the ‘good causes’ for which an officer can be dismissed have been widened. The current test of ‘conduct of an immoral, scandalous, or disgraceful nature incompatible with the duties of the office or employment’ has been replaced by ‘gross misconduct’ and a vague list of disciplinary offences approved by the Council including ‘unreasonable refusal to carry out a reasonable instruction’ (apparently only once) and the catch-all ‘any other act of serious misconduct’.

The abolition of Statute U is unnecessary. We would support legislative amendments that provided fair and effective grievance and disciplinary procedures. However the proposed wholesale repeal of Statute U would be a serious step backwards; we therefore urge members of the Regent House to vote Non Placet to both Graces 1 and 2.

A. B. S. Abulafia

D. J. Goode

J. Nairn

David abulafia

Priyamvada Gopal

C. Nightingale

Andrew C. Aitchison

Michael J. C. Gordon

William P. Nolan

B. C. Allanach

J. P. M. Gosling

B. K. Omotani

C. Allen

R. B. Gramacy

H. Osborn

Anton Altaparmakov

D. J. Greaves

S. Page

M. Amrani

T. G. Griffin

J. Papaloizou

Ross Anderson

C. Hadley

Matthew Parkinson

Jean M. Bacon

Bart Hallmark

N. Peak

D. R. J. Bainbridge

Robert D. Harding

G. P. Pearce

Aidan Baker

Ben Harris

J. S. Peatfield

Clare Bartlet

D. J. Harrison

T. J. Pedley

Franco Basso

R. J. Harrison

Malcolm J. Perry

Peter Bayley

R. S. Haynes

Adriana Pesci

M. B. Beckles

Catherine Hills

Cameron Petrie

Duncan Bell

E. J. Hinch

Catherine Pitt

Nora Berend

Sean Holden

Jennifer L. Pollard

A. R. Beresford

N. J. Holmes

David Pratt

N. Berloff

Marian B. Holness

O. Rath Spivack

Paul Binski

Theodore Hong

Jane M. Renfrew

I. Borzym

R. R. Horgan

A. C. Rice

Edward Brambley

S. F. Howard

Martin Richards

E. J. Briscoe

A. Iserles

J. Robb

Piete Brooks

Mateja Jamnik

Peter Robinson

Clive R. Brown

L. Janik

R. Rodd

T. D. K. Brown

C. J. Jardine

Sue Rogers

Anita Bunyan

Simon Jarvis

M. Rose

Silvana Cardoso

Kate M. Jeary

John Rudge

David Carter

Brian D. Jones

M. J. Rutter

Colm-cille Caulfield

Geoffrey Kantaris

M. J. Ryan

C. R. Chalk

Adrian Kelly

T. Sadiq

Ruth Charles

Adrian Kent

Tom Sanders

M. Munawar Chaudhri

Ulrich Keyser

Jan Saxl

J. Chin

Frank H. King

Jason Scott-Warren

Chris Clark

J. King

Peter Sewell

M. R. Clark

I. B. Kingston

E. A. Silva

S. C. Clark

J. M. Klinowski

B. Simms

W. J. Clegg

M. Kuhn

David L. Smith

Ann Copestake

S. Lam

Nicholas Smith

Stephen J. Cowley

Joan Lasenby

R. J. Smith

J. Crowcroft

Imre Leader

M. L. S. Sørensen

C. Cullen

Frank Lee

Kate Spence

A. R. Cunningham

M. Leggatt

Mark Spivack

Devon Curtis

Marsha Levine

John Stewart

Stuart Dalziel

M. Levitt

R. J. Stibbs

R. W. Dance

J. Li

A. Stone

A. Davenport

P. A. Linehan

P. Sumption

Peter A. Davidson

Maria Manuel Lisboa

Richard Taplin

A. C. Davis

S. Lowe

A. G. Thomason

Philip Dawid

M. Lucas-Smith

David M. Thompson

Tom De Mulder

Raphael Lyne

Jeremy Thurlow

Elizabeth DeMarrais

N. M. Maclaren

Jillinda Tiley

J. S. Dennis

I. J. Maddison

G. Titmus

P. Donnelly

P. A. Markowich

R. P. Tombs

R. J. Dowling

Ronald L. Martin

D. Tong

Peter Duffett-Smith

Cecilia Mascolo

C. A. Tout

Stephen Eglen

H. E. Mason

David Trotter

S. K. L. Ellington

Daniel Matlin

P. Tyler

Jonathan Evans

J. S. L. McCombie

Vassilios Vassiliadis

Robin Fairbairns

Augusta McMahon

D. Vella

R. W. Farndale

Leo Mellor

Alison Vinnicombe

F. A. N. Finch

Neil Mercer

P. Wadhams

Deborah Finucane

A. C. Metaxas

J. Warbrick

M. P. Fiore

Paul Millett

F. Wardle

W. J. Fitzgerald

Preston Miracle

C. G. Warnes

Simon Flood

Kate Mitchell

Ruth Watson

Christopher Forsyth

A. Mobbs

G. Wild

Gillian M. Fraser

Geoff Moggridge

Matthew B. Wingate

Nicholas Gay

Sarah Monk

Paul Wingfield

G. W. Gibbons

Andrew Moore

G. Winiecki

Heather Glen

C. J. Moss

G. Winskel

J. L. Gluza

Subha Mukherji

M. Winterbottom

J. R. Gog

R. D. Mullins

V. R. Woodley

C. J. Gonda

A. Mycroft

Harald Wydra

Statute U Ballot – Summary Flysheet 2 short

It has been sixteen years since the University revised Statutes concerning disciplinary, dismissal, and grievance procedures for University officers, this in response to the 1988 Education Reform Act. Since then much has changed not only in terms of employment law and practice, but also in the structure and operations of the University itself. The current arrangements for officers are not of best practice, nor in the best form to provide fair, respectful, or proportionate processes for those involved. In short, changes are overdue.

The proposals mark an important step towards convergence in relation to grievance, discipline, and dismissal procedures for all categories of University staff. The major remaining differences in procedures for University officers engaged in research and teaching are to ensure that academic freedom can be safeguarded.

The changes to grievance procedures are intended to return the grievance process to its original purpose, namely that of providing an informal means of resolving work-related complaints. Over time, grievance hearings have tended to become increasingly formal, lengthy, and adversarial. An officer currently in practice has to use grievance procedures for resolving disputes rather than using, as now proposed, early mediation for rapid resolution which can avoid much of the stress that the current system causes. The proposed policies now fairly balance the needs of the employees with those of the University, giving greater rights to individual staff members than allowed for in general employment law.

The proposals address weaknesses in the current redundancy procedures; for example after the University has decided that there should be a redundancy through a ballot of the Regent House, there is currently a requirement of a second ballot whereby the names of the individual officers affected are made open to public scrutiny and discussion. We believe that this focus on the individual is inappropriate for a ballot. The Regent House would not, in future, have a role in identifying which particular individuals should be made redundant. The selection process should be conducted by the University acting in consultation with the employees affected and with their representatives.

It is also proposed that a ballot of Regent House is used only in the cases of redundancies involving staff defined as being in Schedule J (i.e. staff with duties of teaching and research, and entitled to study leave). There are two reasons for this restriction: (i) the Regent House is tasked with protecting academic freedom. It is right therefore that it should primarily consider those tasked with pursuing individual academic enquiry, and (ii) extending Regent House scrutiny to non-Schedule J officers would be difficult to justify given the similarity of their roles with the many other non-established academic related staff currently in the University.

We therefore urge you to vote placet to Graces 1 and 2.

Jennifer C. Barnes

Simon Franklin

Rachael Padman

David Baulcombe

Andrew Gamble

G. S. Payne

John Bell

C. A. Gilligan

J. Rallison

Helena M. Browne

K. Glover

George Reid

M. Burrows

J. L. Heeney

T. W. Robbins

N. Collings

Ian Leslie

Jochen Runde

A. De Meyer

D. Lowther

J. K. M. Sanders

Simon Deakin

Stuart Martin

J. G. P. Sissons

Athene Donald

D. J. Maskell

Dan Wolpert

S. Efstathiou

P. McNaughton

James Wood

P. J. Ford

A. Minson

Andrew H. Wyllie

R. J. M. Franklin

C. J. O’Kane

S. J. Young

Statute U Ballot – Flysheet

The proposed reforms to the University’s grievance, discipline, and dismissal procedures are the result of two years of careful and reasonable effort. These are balanced and appropriate measures which we support.

There is very clear evidence that current procedures for grievance and redundancy are now dysfunctional. The structure as it stands causes cases to become adversarial and protracted, not least because access to mediation is limited. The proposed reforms make reasonable steps to improve process whilst maintaining very substantial protection for the individual concerned.

These proposals must be seen in a wider context: the employment structure in this University is outdated. We have a two-class structure, in which ‘officers’ enjoy preferential treatment over the rest (assistant staff and unestablished staff). The ‘rest’ comprise about a half of the University’s staff and play parts of equal value to those of the officers. Perhaps a few decades from now we will look back at our current structure and see it as outdated and unfair as the disenfranchisement of women in this university in the early part of the 20th century. This is particularly apparent to those of us in laboratory-based disciplines, where we are all very conscious that our current success is dependent on the exceptional talent and commitment of staff across the whole spectrum. The move to a single pay structure that we made a few years ago represents an important step forward, but it necessarily throws into the limelight the arbitrary division between ‘officer’ and ‘assistant’. We must now have the ambition to provide broadly similar terms of employment for all staff and these proposals represent an essential step towards this. It remains however appropriate that there continues to be extra provisions for officers who pursue individual academic enquiry, currently those in Schedule J.

We therefore urge you to vote placet to Grace 1.

Graeme Barker

Ian Leslie

R. V. Penty

A. De Meyer

D. Lowther

Daniel Ralph

Athene Donald

Neil Mathur

George Reid

Richard Friend

W. Milne

M. E. Welland

A. L. Greer

R. Padman



Statute U, while it has some virtues, is a product of its time, a period in the early 1990s when academic tenure was being cut back and employment law was only just beginning to grapple with difficult issues involving disciplinary and grievance procedures. We need a new employment statute which will reaffirm academic freedom and ensure clarity and consistency in the operation of our procedures. The proposed changes will remove opportunities for misuse of the grievance procedures which have caused widespread concern. On redundancy, no School, Faculty or Department will be able to implement a redundancy process affecting academic officers without the consent of the Regent House, as at present. Nor can a School, Faculty or Department be suppressed without such consent. The Regent House will no longer vote on the selection of particular individuals for redundancy, a change which will align our practice with the requirements of employment law and has been generally welcomed. In other cases of dismissal, the proposed text makes clear what is currently less than completely clear under Statute U, namely that dismissal may only be for good cause, objectively assessed by reference to one of a number of grounds for disciplinary action. This is a stronger standard than that provided both by general employment law and by the Zellick amendments to the ‘model statute’ which many other universities have adopted. From a legal point of view, the effect of the reforms will be to strengthen, not weaken, job protection for academic officers. They will thereby confirm the University’s commitment to freedom of inquiry, and to its tradition of democratic governance based, among other things, on freedom to speak out on matters of general concern.

We therefore urge you to vote ‘placet’ to Graces 1 and 2 or, alternatively, ‘placet’ to Grace 2.

N. Bampos

Sandra Dawson

D. Lowther

John Bell

Simon Deakin

Stuart Martin

Jennifer M. Brook

Adrian K. Dixon

George Reid

W. A. Brown

I. M. Le M. DuQuesnay

Graham Virgo

H. A. Chase

M. B. Harris

I. H. White

Andrew Cliff

David Ibbetson

Joan M. Whitehead

James Crawford

Ian Leslie



The issue of redundancy is clearly both a difficult and an emotive issue, particularly at a time when there is the threat of cuts hanging over the HE sector. In the debate about the replacement of Statute U by the procedures outlined in the Joint Report (Reporter, 17 February 2010) on which we are now being asked to vote the claim has been made that the new procedure will ‘make it easier’ for individuals to be made redundant.

We would take issue with this claim and a careful comparison of the Statute U and the new proposals shows the claim to be unfounded.

The over arching principle in both Statute U and the new proposals is that a case has to be made to the Regent House detailing why redundancies are necessary. In the case of Statute U this requirement is stated in the Statute itself. The new proposals make use of provisions under existing Statutes. Under Statute C, II, 1, C, III, 2, and C, V, 1 the General Board can recommend to the University, i.e. the Regent House, a change in the organisation and composition of Schools, Faculties or Departments including the suppression of them. Furthermore the proposed revision of Statute D – D, IA – states that ‘no holder of an office under Schedule J shall be removed from her or his office by reason of redundancy otherwise than on the authority of the University’, i.e. the Regent House. The approval of the Regent House, therefore, is needed before any redundancies can made.

If the Regent House approve the need for redundancies the procedures to be adopted are as follows. Under Statute U a Redundancy Committee is established with the brief to provide for the competent authority a selection of individuals who will be made redundant. Under the new proposals this role is given directly to the competent authority, i.e. the Council or the General Board. The requirements imposed on the competent authority are similar to, but more stringent than, those that governed the Redundancy Committee in that they are required to establish criteria for determining the selection of individuals, and must consult appropriately about these criteria, and to make the criteria known to those who may selected for redundancy. Under Statute U an individual chosen for redundancy has the right to ‘make representations’ to the competent authority; the new procedures, specifically, give the individual concerned the right of appeal.

It is at the next stage that the two procedures significantly differ. Under Statute U if the competent authority subsequently approve the selection of the Redundancy Committee then they have to prepare a Report to the Regent House, in the form of a Grace, giving the names of those individuals who have been selected for redundancy. Individuals can only be made redundant if the Grace is approved and a subsequent appeal is unsuccessful. Under the new proposals if there is no appeal or the appeal is not upheld, then the competent authority can proceed to make individuals redundant without publishing a list of names for Regent House approval.

We do not believe that the omission of this final stage makes it ‘easier’ for the University to make individuals redundant, but it will certainly, in the unlikely event of redundancies being required, makes it more humane.

We would, therefore, urge you to vote ‘placet’ to Graces 1 and 2 or, alternatively, to Grace 2.

N. Bampos

I. M. Le M. DuQuesnay

Stuart Martin

Jennifer M. Brook

Moira Gardiner

Mavis McDonald

M. J. Daunton

D. P. Hearn

R. Padman

Simon Deakin

Christopher Hum

George Reid

Athene Donald

Ian Leslie

P. C. Warren

N. J. A. Downer

D. Lowther

Joan M. Whitehead

Statute U Ballot – Flysheet

The proposed reforms to the University’s grievance, discipline, and dismissal procedures are the result of long and sustained thought by colleagues who are experts in the field, and their conclusions are deserving of support.

The proposals are designed to allow timeliness of process and to prevent unnecessary delays. In the words of the legal maxim, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’: the current processes are cumbersome and time consuming, and do cause serious delays. Increased efficiency does not come at the expense of the rights of individuals. Indeed, the proposals do not threaten any loss of protection and rather permit individuals to defend their position more easily. For example, an individual who is concerned about his or her treatment is no longer obliged to raise a grievance, for there is a right to go straight to the appeal committee. Furthermore, the provision of a mediation process offers a means of dealing with academic disputes when they have become personalised and difficult to resolve. There are few changes in the disciplinary and renewal procedures.

The main purpose of the new Statute is to set out, in a modern idiom, well-designed codes of practice which are under the control of Regent House. There is no threat to academic freedom, which is firmly entrenched within the Statute, and no loss of protection.

We therefore urge you to vote placet to either Grace 1 or Grace 2.

A. J. Badger

Stuart Laing

George Reid

R. J. Bowring

R. D. Lethbridge

Sarah Squire

M. J. Daunton

D. Lowther

Jean Thomas

Andrew Gamble

Robert Mair

I. H. White

Christopher Hum

Stuart Martin


Flysheet on Graces 1 and 2 of 17 February 2010

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on disciplinary, dismissal, and grievance procedures

Supporters of the repeal of Statute U have made statements in other flysheets that do not stand up to scrutiny.

Level up rather than level down. In numerous detailed changes, the proposals level down the rights of officers; we should level up the rights of other staff instead.

Not so convergent. Other flysheets claim the reforms would “facilitate convergence”. But the proposals fall short in many ways. For example, they make it much easier to get rid of academic-related staff. For effective participatory democracy, all must feel safe to speak out; all officers need the current rule that the Regent House approve all redundancies.

Redundancy. The Statute U redundancy procedure has never been tested, so on what evidence is it claimed to be “dysfunctional”? The other flysheets are silent on the many detailed changes designed to make it easier to declare officers redundant.

Intentions. From the outset the Council stated that “other, very specific, drivers for undertaking a review of Statute U were also identified including ... the organizational need for greater flexibility, including staff restructuring”. Five years ago the expenditure from the University restructuring fund was about £0.5m; recently there has been a proposal to increase the allocation to that fund to £2.5m p.a.

A way forward. There are aspects of the proposals that we could accept as useful, if modest, improvements. A far less contentious way forward would be to submit individual Graces to reform grievance procedures, to introduce a proper appeal mechanism to the disciplinary procedures, and to ensure that the Regent House has the last word when officers are made redundant.

In the meantime we urge you to vote Non Placet to both Graces 1 and 2.

David Abulafia

Stephen J. Cowley

N. M. Maclaren

R. J. Anderson

J. Crowcroft

Andrew Moore

Richard Barnes

R. J. Dowling

S. W. Moore

A. R. Beresford

Stephen Eglen

J. Papaloizou

E. J. Briscoe

J. R. Gog

Sue Rogers

R. L. C. Charles

Raymond E. Goldstein

Mark Spivack

M. R. Clark

N. J. Holmes


Flysheet for the Ballot on the Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on Disciplinary, Dismissal, and Grievance Procedures (under article eight of the Notice by the Council on Discussions and Flysheets (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 112) – signed by ten of the required officers and other persons in statu pupillari).

We, the undersigned, are persons currently in statu pupillari at the University. We wish to advise members of the Regent House on our views on the Joint Report, as these matters are of importance to students, as well as to University officers, and will have a great effect on our education.

We recognise that there is much that is positive in the Joint Report. The introduction of mediation and the changes to grievance procedures would greatly shorten the length of time taken to deal with problems, meaning that University officers can return to teaching as soon as possible. The Working Party have also shown some willingness to take on board objections to the previous Report, including those expressed by students, during the Discussion of that Report.

However, we would like to express our disappointment that the Working Party did not feel the need to take on board the difficulties faced by many students with underperforming staff and staffing arrangements which are not responsive to their learning needs, and lament the ongoing trend, reinforced by this Joint Report, towards privileging research to the exclusion of teaching.

Furthermore, we would like to express our disappointment that the Joint Report will make it easier for the University to make officers redundant for economic or restructuring reasons, with reduced rights of appeal. Whilst we recognised that a full vote by the Regent House on individual officers is not the best way to determine redundancies, alternatives exist which would enable the University as a whole to have a say in the deployment of resources. As we have seen in student campaigns against the cessation of teaching in the Department of Architecture, and in Portuguese in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, the central administration does not always know best where resources should be deployed, and it is lamentable that such closures will become easier in future.

Grace One has the further disadvantage of devaluing University officers not listed in Schedule J, which does not reflect the student experience of their vital and rigorous work, contributing to the learning and research of students as greatly as that of officers listed in Schedule J.

We therefore urge members of the Regent House to reject both Graces. If, however, members of the Regent House feel that the advantages of the Joint Report are such that they wish to vote in favour, we urge them to support Grace Two, to avoid devaluing officers not listed in Schedule J.

Rory Attwood

Yuddi Gershon

L. A. Montague

Victoria Beale

Simon Gibbons

Claude Muhuza

Charlotte Binstead

Anna Goulding

Edmund Mustill

Duncan Brannan

Joan Groizard-Payeras

Andrew Norman

Gaia Cantelli

Luke Hawksbee

Toby Parker-Rees

Christina Chalmers

Maria Helmling

Florence Privett

Thomas Chigbo

Katrina Hewitt

Jatinder Sahota

Will Critchlow

Sophie Hollows

Michael Smidman

Chris Crowe

Noel Light-Hilary

Beccy Talmy

Alan Cruickshank

Chris Lillycrop

Benjamin Towse

N. Donnelly

David Lowry

Bethanie Wattleworth

Alex Evans

Rebecca McAuley

Morgan Wild

Joe Farish

Andy McGowan

Jacob Wills

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on disciplinary, dismissal, and grievance procedures

Response on behalf of the Council and General Board

The proposals set out in the Joint Report are not, as suggested in another flysheet, a ‘Trojan Horse’. They are not intended to make dismissal easier, and will not have this effect.

Selection for redundancy

It has been suggested that membership of redundancy selection committees would, under the proposals, be too broadly defined. However, the only difference proposed is that membership of such committees would not in future be confined to members of the Council and General Board. There is no reason to think that this would make redundancies easier to bring about.

Redundancy procedure

It has been argued that the proposed procedure gives the competent authority the power to vary the scope and extent of any redundancy situation after the Regent House has voted to initiate a redundancy process. This is not the case. The competent authority would have no power to extend the redundancy situation to areas of the University not covered by the vote of the Regent House.

Redundancy appeals

It has been argued that the Septemviri should be retained for redundancy appeals. Under the proposals the Septemviri would be replaced, in this context, by an appeal committee consisting of three members selected from standing panels (similar to the process of selection for the University Tribunal). The role of this committee would be exactly the same as that of the Septemviri under Statute U. It would differ from the Septemviri only in terms of the size of its membership and the provision for standing panels. This change was not made with a view to weakening the appeal process and it is hard to see how it could do so.

Time limits

It has been suggested that the 28-day time limit for lodging redundancy appeals should be retained. The 10-day limit was proposed because it was thought to give sufficient time for the grounds of an appeal to be lodged, bearing in mind the prior consultation that will have occurred and also the need to avoid undue delay in the conduct of appeal hearings.

Dismissal procedures

The grounds for good cause dismissal have not been widened, as claimed. Inclusion of a reference to ‘gross misconduct’ is required by the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, as is guidance on what may constitute gross misconduct in an appropriate case. The matters listed in the draft guidance, such as unreasonable refusal to obey a reasonable instruction, could only provide grounds for dismissal if they amounted to serious misconduct in the circumstances. The phrase ‘conduct of an immoral, scandalous or disgraceful nature’ has been removed because it is unnecessarily broad (it is capable, for example, of extending to conduct occurring outside the employment context).

Discipline and dismissal of ‘underperforming’ staff

It has been suggested that the proposals do not address student concerns about underperforming staff and staffing arrangements which are not responsive to their learning needs. It is true that the proposals would not make it easier for allegedly underperforming staff to be disciplined or dismissed. That is because existing procedures are considered adequate to this task. If there were evidence of underperformance in the sense suggested, Statute U would currently provide a sufficient basis for the necessary disciplinary action to be taken. This will continue to be the case in future.

You are urged to vote ‘placet’ to Graces 1 and 2 or, alternatively, ‘placet’ to Grace 2.

Simon Deakin