Formal consultation starts on proposed changes to teaching, learning and student experience and postgraduate research teams
The Student Experience Programme (SEP) is a major change initiative for the University to transform and improve the student experience across all stages of the student journey, through the delivery of new or revised technologies, processes and organisational structures. Today (28 July), colleagues across teaching, learning and student experience and postgraduate research services were briefed on proposed changes to our organisational structure. Following approval from the Board of Governors on 21 July, a formal consultation with trade unions has now commenced.
The changes in the student experience focus on introducing consistent management structures and job roles across Professional Services at grades 6 and above.
The proposals for this stage of SEP identify 220.72 (FTE) posts that are in scope of the change, 27 of these posts are in scope and at risk, with an overall proposed net reduction of 12.6 (FTE) posts at grade 6 and above. The proposed new structures, roles and grades are available on Staffnet.
The following areas are in scope of the proposals:
- Teaching, Learning and Student Experience (TLSE) teams in Schools and Faculties.
- Directorate for the Student Experience (DSE) Divisions of Campus Life; Teaching, Learning and Student Development (TLSD); and Student Admissions, Administration and Business Improvement (SAABI).
- Postgraduate Research (PGR) colleagues within Schools, Faculties and the Directorate for Research and Business Engagement.
- Widening Participation (WP) colleagues within the Directorate for Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment.
- The Timetabling team within the Directorate of Estates.
Staff who are in scope of these changes have been notified of the detailed proposals and the next steps. This includes a targeted voluntary severance scheme (VS) for those colleagues in scope and at risk and a programme of support. We will make every effort to achieve the decrease in posts through voluntary severance. Regrettably, if the voluntary severance scheme is not effective in achieving the required target reduction in posts, then the University will seek approval from the Board of Governors to proceed to a compulsory scheme.
We are committed to ensuring that this process is conducted fairly and transparently in line with our policies and procedures, and we will explore opportunities for the avoidance of compulsory redundancy where possible, including redeployment and retraining.
We recognise that this is an anxious time for those colleagues affected by the proposals and plans are in place to support them through the process. We will continue to have regular conversations with colleagues who are affected by the changes.
Colleagues from across The University have been working since early 2020 with the SEP team to develop a proposed structure for these areas. Significant detailed design work has been undertaken since March, informed by the feedback that was gathered, prior to the final proposed structures being agreed.
The student experience has been the key driver in these proposals, which will enable us to fundamentally improve the way we deliver services and support. Many processes that students and researchers have had to visit campus or email staff for will, in the future, be done through new areas of My Manchester. This will increase choice, as well as convenience in how students access our on-campus services. How our teams work together in the future is as important as how the roles themselves are structured.
The proposed changes will deliver the following benefits:
- Enabling more effective partnership working across the University, as team structures will be more closely aligned through Schools, Faculties, and central Directorates. This will reduce single points of failure, facilitate communities of practice and make it easier for Professional Service and academic staff to work together with colleagues in other parts of the organisation. Increased partnership working will also make it easier for teams to plan annual leave, manage peaks in workload and cover absences.
- Consistent PS management structures and job roles will be introduced, with balanced spans of control and breadth of responsibility according to grade, and clearer pathways for PS colleagues’ career progression.
- Providing Professional Services colleagues with the opportunity to broaden their experience to support career progression and makes it easier for staff to move to different areas of the organisation in response to peaks in workload, as well providing greater flexibility to respond to future change.
- By introducing this principle of flexible resourcing, we should also reduce the need for the University to use fixed term contract roles to fill areas of shortfall across the organisation.
The SEP will continue to phase in technology, process and organisational change over the next two years. These current proposals provide the next key step towards these changes, and ensure we have a strong platform from which to manage and implement them. Proposals for supporting structures (grades 2-5), alongside further technology and process changes supporting the student journey, remain under development and will be shared in due course.
Patrick Hackett, Student Experience Programme Chair
Professor April McMahon, Student Experience Programme Executive Sponsor