This 18-point 'umbrella' agreement covers the whole range of issues raised in the course of the dispute with the UCU last year, from very simple proposals (such as increasing the number of elected members of Senate) to the new policy on organisational change itself.
The vast majority of these have been implemented; all remaining issues are under detailed discussion and close to final agreement. Claims that the University has 'failed to honour' the agreement are little more than empty rhetoric.
Following agreement reached to end the UCU dispute last year, Council and Senate have variously agreed changes in governance relating to collegiality, staff meetings, the code of practice on corporate governance, elected members of Senate and terms of office of heads of school (see the University Secretary's blog on Managerialism, collegiality (and revitalising school meetings)).
Another UCU demand is 'agreement on fixed term staff'. Following discussions over five months, new procedures for managing fixed term and project-dependent posts were discussed by the Employment Security Review Group (ESRG) on 16 February and will now go to the Joint Committee of the University and the UCU for further discussion.
The University and unions are equally committed to staff engagement and revitalising school collegiality. Formal discussions about school constitutions began at the end of October (not July, as the UCU claims). Both sides hoped to reach agreement more quickly; diary pressures (on both sides) have held things up; allegations of a conspiracy behind the scenes are fanciful. The ad-hoc governance group will meet on 3 March to discuss the proposed model for school constitutions.
The UCU claims that the University has failed to implement school constitutions in a timely manner. This is disappointing, given the efforts to resolve this issue as described above.
More information on school constitutions can be found in University Secretary Roger Gair's blog.
Reviews are part of the ordinary business of the University. They are set up to ensure that schools and services are academically and financially sustainable, with appropriate resources and a strategy.
The agreement of March 2010 noted that seven reviews had been instigated by the planning round in 2009. It was noted that proposals to reconfirm the need for these reviews would be brought under the new procedure to Senate. The agreement did not say that this was an exhaustive list and that other reviews would not be initiated as and when Senate agreed they were required.
Since March 2010, another nine schools and service units have gone into
review and three have come out; the total number now in review is
The UCU has demanded a halt to five of the 16 reviews
currently in progress. Not only has Senate agreed to these reviews, but in each
case the majority of staff concerned have agreed that a review is necessary. The
processes governing reviews afford the best possible protection to staff and
their jobs; halting the review process is not in the interests of the staff
concerned; this is a demand therefore the University cannot accept or accede
to. We have, however, undertaken to formulate proposals about ways in which the ESRG's attention might be prioritised.
For more information, see the Reviews section