Frequently Asked Questions
What is the University doing in relation to ‘casual’ staff?
A Casual Working Group, chaired by Antony Long, has been reviewing the flexible workforce across the University, a process which began in early Summer 2019. We fully appreciate the valuable work that our flexible workforce undertakes but we are aware that in some instances, the use of casual (rather than substantive) staff may not be the most appropriate engagement. We are mindful of ensuring fair terms and conditions for our casual staff and need to create a more consistent approach across the University.
We must maintain our focus on delivering education and a student experience which is aligned to our strategic objectives; including the correct people delivering and supporting engagements within the University. In some instances we recognise that there is a mutual benefit for both staff and the University in engagements which incorporate flexibility. Durham SU are part of the Group and we are in ongoing dialogue with the UCU.
The aims of the group include ensuring that:
- There are fair, clear and consistent processes and working practices across the University applicable to flexible staff.
- Managers must be clear as to when they could engage flexible staff and the most appropriate type of role to fill.
- The flexible workforce are engaged on appropriate terms and conditions for the role, including consistent pay, which is benchmarked against comparator institutions.
- There is equality and fairness across the flexible workforce regardless of any protected characteristics.
- Flexible workers should be engaged to a role which has been clearly articulated to them.
- The University, where possible, reduces the number of flexible workers and considers alternative resourcing models/opportunities.
- Poor practices, such as inconsistent pay rates for the same roles, are eradicated.
- Any recommendations from the Group must not hamper the opportunity for students to engage in work for development purposes.
As part of this work, the Group will make a number of recommendations to UEC. An interim paper was received by UEC in early December and it is anticipated that final recommendations will go to UEC in March.