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GRADING PROCEDURES

University staff in grades 1 to 10 are employed on incremental pay scales. New staff are usually appointed to the bottom of the grade for their role, and progress through the grade by annual increments. Roles that have been graded 1 to 5 are often referred to as support staff roles, while those graded at 6 and above are generally referred to as academic-related posts. Different terms and conditions apply to these two staff groups (see staff handbooks).

The appropriate grade for a post must be determined before the post is advertised. When you set up a post in the HR system, it will be automatically submitted for grading approval. Full information about the recruitment process is available, or you may wish to read about the grading procedure.

The University also provides information on grade and category descriptions, as well as some generic job descriptions

REGRADING PROCEDURES

The regrading procedure applies to staff occupying an existing post. The request to regrade a post may arise either from the department or from an individual where they feel that changes in the role are sufficient to justify a review of the grade. 

Key points: 

  • Regrading applications can be submitted at any time in the year
  • You need to submit
  1. an up-to-date job description for the role
  2. an organisational chart for the department
  3. a completed regrading form, which includes sections providing departmental comments and key reasons for the requested regrading

Applications are normally completed within ten working days unless additional information is required. Personnel Services provides information on regrading procedures for staff in post as well as information on restructuring a team: in a restructure, it may be more appropriate for a regrading to be treated as an internal move to a new post rather than a typical regrade.

For advice on regrading, contact reward@admin.ox.ac.uk.

For advice on regrading staff members as part of a restructure, contact Sarah Kilgour, Reward Manager – though please discuss the principles underpinning the restructure with the division before contacting Sarah.

INDUCTION AND PROBATION

You are expected to oversee and ensure the training and induction of new starters, although in practice it may be another member of the departmental team who does this. The University’s Learning Institute has some useful guidance and resources to help you manage induction.

The purpose of the probationary period is to ensure that a new employee is able to gain a full understanding of the requirements of the post and achieve a satisfactory level of performance, within a reasonable period of time. It is also intended to help identify any training and support that is needed for the employee.

Probationary periods are specified in contracts when an employee begins work in that role and should be incorporated into the overall ongoing personal development review process. In order to ensure good record keeping and maintain accuracy of employees’ records, it is advisable to record key details, including a written record of any discussions and reviews that take place. Further guidance on managing probation is available on the Personnel Services website.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (pdr)

The University runs a Personal Development Review (PDR) scheme for all support and academic-related staff. (‘Academic-related’ covers all staff in Grades 6-10, including Researchers and Departmental Lecturers.) Guidance notes and a handbook for reviewers are available; it is expected that review meetings will take place annually, and, although we recognise that many departments have not fully implemented this scheme for Researchers and Departmental Lecturers, we would fully encourage you to extend the process to them.

We are currently piloting a Career Development Review (CDR) template for use across the division with support and academic-related staff; for more information, please contact the Planning & Projects Team.

REWARD AND RECOGNITION SCHEME

Staff in Grades 1-10 and with more than six months’ service can be considered for formal recognition of exceptional contributions during the past year. This includes all academic and research staff appointed on academic-related contracts (usually Departmental Lecturers, Postdoctoral Researchers, and similar posts). The scheme has two elements:

  • Awards for Excellence: an annual gathered field review at departmental level, which awards incremental payments within a simplified framework. This exercise should be run in Hilary term
  • Recognition Scheme: this enables smaller, more timely awards (£200 before tax in all cases) to be made at any time of the year at departmental level to recognise one-off, outstanding contributions.

 All departments are expected to run the scheme. Full information, template forms and guidance are available.

MANAGING AND ENDING FIXED-TERM CONTRACTS

All departments, and particularly those with significant externally-funded research portfolios, will have a number of staff on fixed-term contracts. This can include administrative staff, but will primarily be research staff and in some cases academic staff (Departmental Lecturers) who cover teaching for a member of permanent academic staff whose time is being dedicated for a period to externally-funded research activity.

Responsibility for managing the employee lifecycle for fixed-term contract research and academic staff falls wholly to the department (notwithstanding that, for departments in financial deficit or which are considered to be financially 'at risk', the same recruitment protocol procedures must be followed as for professional and support staff, as detailed above). 

The University has established clear guidance on the use of fixed-term contracts, which must be followed. If you would like further advice or to discuss a particular case in more detail, please contact the HR Business Partner Team - see key contacts.

The University has also developed a Code of Practice for the Employment and Development of Research Staff, which includes guidance on recruitment and selection; induction and career development support; pay; and conditions of service.

The division is in the process of developing guidance on the annual review of those on fixed-term contracts and the use of career reviews (for example, when a contract extension is requested). For more information, please contact the Planning & Projects Team.