Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge
pp. 149–153

In this section


Flexible Working Policy

(Covering flexible working arrangements for periods of more than three months)


1. This policy on flexible working arrangements for University staff has been developed bearing in mind the University's commitment to equality of opportunity (in particular that of appointment on the basis of merit) and with the intention of helping members of staff to balance their commitments and interests outside work with their contractual duties and responsibilities. It is recognized that being able to offer flexibility in working arrangements may assist members of staff to return to work after a period of absence or to continue in work or to adjust to retirement.

2. This policy complies with national legislation, including the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, and the Flexible Working Regulations 2002. Staff working flexibly will be valued and respected in the same way as full-time staff. In addition, their contractual benefits will be the same, on a pro-rata basis if working less than full-time, as full-time staff engaged on the same type of contract and performing the same or similar work, unless objectively justifiable.

3. Flexible arrangements offered to members of staff under this policy cover a wide range of different arrangements including part-time or term-time working, job share, compressed or annual hours, staggered hours or flexitime. At all times, the arrangements that are agreed will attempt to balance the needs of the member of staff with the work to be carried out and should be in the interests of the institution10 concerned. Some of these arrangements will be of a permanent nature and, where appropriate, will fulfil the University's obligations under the Flexible Working Regulations. Others will be of a temporary nature, to accommodate a member of staff's need for an adjustment of their working arrangements to balance commitments outside work. However, flexible working arrangements will not be agreed where a member of staff wishes to ‘try out’ employment offers outside the University. In addition, applications to work flexibly will not normally be considered where the member of staff would be undertaking other remunerative employment outside the University.

4. This policy also applies to staff wishing to apply to work flexibly for a limited period in certain circumstances such as:

– career break (for officers and comparable appointments) and family leave (for assistant staff);

– graduated return from maternity or sick leave.

(Study and research leave are covered by separate arrangements outside the scope of this policy.)

5. Details of these schemes are given in the Staff Guide for Academic and Academic-Related Staff and the Assistant Staff Handbook, which can be found, together with more detailed procedural information on these schemes, on the Human Resources Division website ( In all cases, the temporary arrangements must be to the institution's as well as the individual's benefit and the timescales must be clearly defined.

6. Statutory rights to temporary leave, such as maternity, parental, emergency, paternity, and adoption are covered by separate arrangements outside the scope of this policy. Details of relevant policies, notes of guidance, and forms are available on the Human Resources Division website (

7. In addition to giving serious consideration to any request to work flexibly, Heads of institutions11 and all those responsible for appointing staff are encouraged to consider routinely how certain duties in their department could be covered on a part-time basis, or divided up in different ways when reviewing a job vacancy or assessing the workload of the department or of an individual job.


1. This policy applies to all staff, regardless of length of service, who request flexibility in their working arrangements for a period of time of longer than three months.

2. Requests to work flexibly for periods of less than three months, for example for compassionate reasons or as a graduated return from sick leave, should be reviewed with the member of staff and agreed locally by the Head of institution or comparable authority, in accordance with guidance given by the Human Resources Division.

Notices by the Council and the General Board

University flexible working policy

In the light of the new right from 6 April 2007 under the Work and Families Act 2006 for adult carers to make requests to work flexibly under the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2006, the Council and the General Board give notice of the existing, more favourable University flexible working policy applicable to all employees (

Further details on other family-related leave provisions, including paternity, adoption, parental, and emergency leave, are available on the University’s website (

Staff Review and Development Scheme: arrangements for appraisal

The Council and the General Board have approved the framework Staff Review and Development Scheme covering all staff which is set out below. Guidance on aspects of the Scheme is issued by the Human Resources Division, who will periodically review the effectiveness of these arrangements, in consultation with the Heads of institutions.

1. The purpose of the Scheme shall be to enhance work effectiveness and facilitate career development. The framework gives institutions the flexibility to adapt their own local schemes.

2. The underlying objectives of the process shall be as set out below. The Scheme involves discussing ways in which the member of staff's work can be developed and ways in which any difficulties or obstacles to progress can be removed. It will ensure that staff are clear about their responsibilities and have a formal regular opportunity (at least every two years) to discuss any help they may need in meeting them.

3. Institutions shall specify in their schemes the preparatory documentation to be supplied by a member of staff being reviewed, how both parties should prepare for the meeting, and how the action plan is recorded afterwards. Their scheme should cover the key stages in the Staff Review and Development process of planning, discussion, and recording, as set out below, and be submitted through the Human Resources Division for approval on behalf of the competent authority.

4. Accountability and responsibility for the operation of the Scheme will rest with each institution. The Head of each institution shall be responsible for co-ordinating the procedure before and after each cycle of reviews.

5. The competent authority shall make such changes in the procedure as they consider necessary in the interest of efficient operation.

Purposes of Staff Review and Development (SRD)

The University SRD Scheme is designed to incorporate and extend the objectives set out in the CVCP/AUT agreement of 1987 and the subsequent agreements between the CVCP and MSF and Unison. It is intended to:

• provide an opportunity for reviewing in a positive and constructive way the work of an individual member of staff and how this has been carried out;

• ensure that the individual's contribution to the institution is recognized and to agree specific objectives for the forthcoming review period;

• provide a means of balancing the ambitions and personal needs of the individual with the overall objectives of the institution and university as a whole;

• provide opportunities for the discussion of training needs for the current role and any development for future career opportunities;

• allow for the identification and discussion of difficulties or obstacles which hamper effectiveness.

At the University of Cambridge we aim through the process to:

• provide an opportunity for positive and constructive two-way review of work progress;

• allow agreement of an action plan;

• provide for discussion of training needs for the member of staff's current role and career development;

• allow for identification and discussion of difficulties or obstacles to effectiveness;

• provide a way of balancing personal needs and ambitions with the University's overall objectives.

Stages in the Staff Review and Development process




Stage one: Preparation

(a) Planning

Preparing for the discussion


A confidential review of the previous period and planning for the next period of review.


The member of staff concerned completes a preparatory review of progress.

 The reviewer plans for the discussion by completing a similar review of the member of staff's progress. Also, the reviewer specifies what documents the member of staff needs to bring to the review meeting and gathers together information on the University's and institution's objectives.

(b) Agenda

Setting the agenda for the meeting

Both the reviewer and member of staff list what they would like to discuss at the meeting.

The member of staff identifies issues that he or she would like to discuss with the reviewer and lists them. This list may be passed to the reviewer to add additional items that he/she would like to raise, photocopy, and return it to the member of staff.

Stage two: Discussion

A review meeting takes place

Reviewer and member of staff discuss the member of staff's progress over the review period, training and development needs, and agree on action plan for the future.

(1)The formal framework for the meeting is in accordance with the institution's scheme.

(2)A constructive, two-way open discussion takes place.

(3)Actions resulting from the review are agreed, to be recorded after the meeting.

Stage three: Recording

(a) Outcomes

Recording the decisions and outcomes from the meeting

The discussion and/or the decisions are recorded, including action plans and training needs. These remain confidential to the member of staff concerned and reviewer (and the Head of institution if specified in the institution's scheme).

(1)The documents may be completed by either party so long as they are seen and signed by both. They may be signed by the Head of institution (or his/her nominated representative if the Head is not the reviewer) if this is specified in the institution's scheme.

(2)Both the member of staff and the reviewer are given copies of the completed documents.

(3)Staff Development Unit may be given a copy of the individual statement of agreed training and development outcomes, if this has been agreed with the member of staff.

There are additional processes which may take place at institutional level:

(b) Summary

Listing and analysing the overall institutional needs

Reviewers draw together the issues identified in individual reviews.

Each reviewer produces a summary of the generic issues identified in the review he or she has completed, and passes them to the Head of institution or his/her nominated representative, with suggestions for overcoming them. (This summary must be anonymous and must not refer explicitly or implicitly to any members of staff.)

(c) Institutional response

Producing an institutional summary

The Head of institution confirms that the process is completed and identifies any training needs requiring central action.

Head or designated person co-ordinates all reviewer summaries to produce an overall institutional summary. This may be discussed at a meeting of all reviewers and fed back to staff generally to let them know in summary what issues have emerged and what steps are being taken to address them.

 Staff Development Unit may be informed of some generic training needs so that it can assist in meeting them and also so that the Unit can plan future University training activity appropriately.

Assistant Staff

1. In the regulations for employment by the University unless the context shall require otherwise:

  1. (a)the term competent authority shall mean
  2. (i)the General Board, for persons or classes of persons employed in institutions under the supervision of the General Board,
  3. (ii)the Council, for all other persons or classes of persons;
  4. (b)the term institution shall mean any Faculty, Department, or other institution in which the employment of persons or classes of persons to whom the following regulations apply has been authorized by the competent authority.

2. Every person employed by the University, unless he or she is a University officer or belongs to one of the classes of persons specified in the Schedule to these general regulations, shall have the status of University assistant. The Council, after consultation with the University and Assistants Joint Board, shall have power to amend the Schedule of classes of persons excluded from the status of University assistant.

3. The Council, after consultation with the University and Assistants Joint Board, shall from time to time publish Rules12 governing the terms and conditions of employment of University assistants.

4. The terms and conditions of employment of University assistants published under Regulation 3 shall be administered by the Council in consultation with the General Board. The terms and conditions of employment of a person excluded from the status of University assistant13 shall be determined by the authority under whose supervision the institution in which he or she is employed is placed.

5. The competent authority shall, after consultation with the Head of the institution concerned, prescribe for each institution in which University assistants are employed a maximum number of assistants who may be employed in each of the several categories specified in the Schedule published in accordance with Regulation 3; and they shall be empowered to specify conditions relating to the continuance, amendment, or administration of any such establishment so prescribed.

6. Any proposal relating to the appointment, within the limits of the establishment prescribed under Regulation 5, of a person as a University assistant, shall be made by the Head of the institution concerned. Every appointment, together with the terms and conditions proposed for that appointment by the Head of the institution concerned, shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Rules and Schedules published under Regulation 3 and shall require the approval of the competent authority. Every person to be appointed as a University assistant shall be informed in writing of the terms and conditions of appointment as so approved. No such appointment shall be valid until the appointment has been approved by the competent authority and until the terms and conditions of the appointment have been accepted in writing by the person to whom the appointment is offered.

7. The Council in consultation with the General Board shall have power to arrange or approve schemes or courses of training for University assistants and to determine, in consultation with Heads of institutions, conditions governing the release of assistants from duty in order to undertake training. The competent authorities shall also have power to meet, in whole or in part, expenses incurred by assistants in connection with their training.

8. If an assistant is required to occupy an official residence, his or her occupancy shall be in accordance with the provisions of the regulation for official residences and shall be subject to terms and conditions determined thereunder in consultation with the competent authority.

Schedule of Classes of Persons Excluded from the Status of University Assistant

  1. (a)University officers,
  2. (b)Departmental Demonstrators,
  3. (c)persons receiving non-pensionable payments for occasional or temporary duties in connection with teaching, demonstrating, or examinations,
  4. (d)persons engaged in a temporary pensionable or non-pensionable capacity to take part in research work upon terms and conditions not applicable to University assistants,
  5. (e)persons engaged by the Press Syndicate,
  6. (f)persons engaged in Estate Management in a non-pensionable capacity while undertaking professional training,
  7. (g)persons other than University officers, engaged in work at the University Farm, either as agricultural workers or as clerical, secretarial, or technical workers,
  8. (h)persons engaged as estate workers on the Madingley Estate,
  9. (i)persons engaged by the Local Examinations Syndicate, other than University officers,
  10. (j)the staff of the ADC Theatre,
  11. (k)the staff of the University Centre,
  12. (l)persons engaged in a temporary pensionable or non-pensionable capacity to undertake administrative or technical work upon terms and conditions not applicable to University assistants, who have been placed in this category after consultation with the Assistant Staff Committee,
  13. (m)any person engaged as Occupational Nurse to assist the Consultant Occupational Physician.


  1. 10. ‘Institution’ means all academic and academic-related departments, including administrative units, libraries, museums, and any other individual sections or units of the University.a
  2. 11. ‘Head of institution’ means the Head of a Department, Chair of a Board of a Faculty not organized into Departments, Director or the authorized deputy or designated nominee, as appropriate within that institution.a
  3. 12. Rules governing the terms and conditions of employment of University assistants published under Regulation 3 are not published in the Reporter, but the Council will publish a Notice in the Reporter on each occasion when the Rules have been substantially changed. Copies of the Rules and amendments will be distributed to all concerned by the Human Resources Division, from where additional copies may be obtained on request.a
  4. 13. See Regulation 2 and the Schedule appended to these general regulations.a