Recruitment freeze and Redeployment Protocol

29 May 2020 UPDATE - New guidance and updated Protocol Forms are now available to download from the right hand side of this page with effect from 1 June 2020. Further updates have been made to relevant sections of the content below.

Queries should be directed to recruitment.protocol@admin.ox.ac.uk.

 

21 April 2020 - A recruitment freeze and redeployment protocol comes into effect immediately. These measures apply to all internally-funded posts, with different procedures applying to different staff groups.

These measures mean that:

  • All recruitment exercises that are currently underway must be paused immediately (if an offer has not already been made) and the posts assessed against the new criteria for approval. Vacancies not meeting the new criteria may need to be withdrawn.
  • Where posts are approved to continue to advertisement, departments must ensure that new requirements on redeploying internal candidates are met.

Detailed guidance on implementing these new procedures is given below.

Introduction

  1. The Recruitment freeze and Redeployment Protocol is a means to manage University-funded staff numbers and salary costs in the current uncertain financial environment, and to ensure that where recruitment takes place existing staff coming to the end of a fixed-term contract or whose post is at risk of redundancy are given first priority.
  2. The Protocol applies to all posts which are internally-funded, including apprenticeships, apart from casual appointments and posts recruited to via TSS which will be strictly subject to a 12-week time-limit (there is a 12-month time limit for casual teaching staff). It does not apply to posts where 80% of more of the costs are covered from external sources although some divisions may set a higher threshold for academic posts (Associate Professorships and Statutory Professorships). Departments are asked to apply extra scrutiny to the costing and operation of grants to ensure that they are not adding additional costs to the departmental budget. Departments are also asked to move posts which are currently funded internally on to external funding wherever possible.
  3. The Protocol applies to recruitment across the University, including
  • all departments other than OUP
  • all administrative and service sections including UAS and GLAM
  • all subsidiary companies of the University.

It does not apply to colleges or to Permanent Private Halls. 

  1. The Protocol was introduced on Tuesday 21 April 2020 for an initial period of 12 months and will be kept under review. A set of process maps and revised guidance documentation are available from the right hand side of this page.
  2. From that date, all recruitment to internally-funded posts which has not progressed to the point of an offer to a candidate will be suspended unless the specific criteria for the type of post are met (see below, sections 10, 15 and 19). Central approval (see below, sections 13, 18 and 19) is required for the creation of new posts and the extension of fixed-term contracts for professional, administrative and support staff, and for the external advertisement of any post.
  3. In cases where an offer has been made, recruitment may continue without the need for further approvals. In cases where a recruitment exercise has started but an offer has not been made, the department should consider whether the specific criteria for the type of post are met. If they are, recruitment should be paused until the relevant approvals have been obtained (from the division or equivalent for internal recruitment to existing posts, and from the relevant recruitment panel for the creation of new posts, the extension of fixed-term contracts and external advertisement). If the criteria are not met recruitment must be halted and any applicants informed that the vacancy has been withdrawn. Template emails are available for download at the right hand side of this page.
  4. Full guidance on the details of the process for raising staff requests in CoreHR will follow shortly. In the meantime for posts which have been approved for recruitment under Chair's action, departments should now raise the staff request and indicate on it that they have approval under Chair's action. The approval email should be attached to the request. All new requests should now be managed via the Registrar's and PVC's Recruitment Panels process. Protocol Process Guidance is available to download from the right hand side of this page.
  1. All internal recruitment to refill existing professional, administrative and support posts (unless 80% or more of the funding comes from external sources) including apprenticeships requires approval as follows
  • Posts in academic divisions: from the Head of Division or Divisional Registrar
  • Posts in Continuing Education: from the Continuing Education Board
  • Posts in UAS: from the Registrar
  • Posts in GLAM:  from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (GLAM) for posts in GLAM

Divisions are asked to put in place appropriate procedures to ensure that approval is obtained before a vacancy is opened for redeployment/internal advertisement.

  1. Divisions may only approve the replacement of leavers if there is a strong case that the work in question cannot be halted, delayed or absorbed within the existing staff complement across the division.
  2. Divisions may only ask the central panel to approve the creation and filling of any new posts or the extension of fixed-term contracts where there is a strong case that:
    1) the work in question cannot be absorbed within the existing staff complement across the division; AND

2) one or more of the following conditions is met:

(i) there are overwhelming operational imperatives to fill the post; or

(ii) there are safety risks to the University if the post is not filled; or

(iii) there are legal requirements to fill the post; or

(iv) there is evidence that the post will be fully externally-funded; or

(v) there is evidence that not to recruit will result in demonstrable overall financial loss to the University: or

(vi) the proposed new post forms part of a restructuring proposal which has demonstrated that its filling is necessary to produce overall savings or to significantly increase income.

  1. If the conditions above are met, the Protocol Form (Professional) must be completed and signed by the relevant divisional authority before recruitment starts to replace a leaver, or before the form is sent to the Registrar’s Recruitment Panel to seek approval for all other cases.
  2. 12.1  In all cases departments should first of all consider whether there are any staff coming to the end of a fixed-term contract or otherwise at risk of redundancy within the department who meet the essential criteria for the post or who could do so with reasonable retraining or a short period of on-the-job experience, in accordance with the University’s established policy on priority candidates (in the current circumstances the opportunities for retraining may be limited, and departments should take that into account when assessing priority candidates). Any such candidates should be interviewed and offered the role (or the most suitable if there is more than one priority candidate) before the post is advertised.

12.2  If it is not possible to fill the post with a priority candidate from within the department, the department should consider whether it may be possible to develop existing staff and create an internal promotion opportunity.

12.3   If it is not possible to fill the post from within the department, the post should be advertised internally within the collegiate university, via the Adverts team with a view to filling it with existing employees of the University and the colleges if at all possible. The Senior Appointments Team (SAT) in University HR will monitor vacancies advertised and will alert priority candidates to vacancies where there is a potential skills match. SAT will also alert hiring managers to any such candidates, who will apply for the role in the usual way.

12.4  Internal advertisements must be live for at least two weeks, and all applicants who meet the essential requirements or who could do so with reasonable retraining or a short period of on-the-job experience should be interviewed.

12.5  In the case of a refill, if the only suitable candidate is a college employee or TSS worker, approval must be sought from the Registrar’s Recruitment Panel to appoint them, as this would add to the overall headcount and salary budget. The Division should email the relevant Panel Secretaries with details of the post, when it was approved and the request to appoint.

12.6 If no suitable candidate can be identified by internal recruitment, approval may be sought from the Registrar’s Recruitment Panel to advertise externally. Adverts should be placed via the Adverts team in the usual way.

  1. The Registrar's Recruitment Panel will meet fortnightly. A set of process maps and revised Protocol Process Guidance on how to submit are available from the right hand side of this page.
  1. All recruitment to internally-funded research posts (unless 80% or more of the funding comes from external sources) requires the approval of the Head of Division. For Associate Professorship (AP) posts, divisional boards will consider the case for filling/refilling, including financial considerations, following consultation with colleges.
  2. Divisions may only approve recruitment to AP and internally-funded research posts  where there is a strong case supported by academic strategy that:

1) there is clear evidence of overwhelming academic imperatives to fill the post; AND

2) in the case of APNTF posts ​and research posts partially or fully funded by the University one or more of the following conditions is met:

(i) there is evidence that not to recruit will result in demonstrable overall financial loss to the University: or

(ii) the proposed new post will lead to increased income.

  1. If the conditions above are met, the Protocol Form (Academic) must be completed and signed by the relevant divisional authority before the form is sent to the PVC’s Recruitment Panel.
  2. AP and internally-funded research posts may be advertised externally without any prior internal advertisement, once approval has been obtained from the PVC’s Recruitment Panel. Adverts should be placed via the Adverts team in the usual way.
  3. The PVC's Recruitment Panel will meet fortnightly. A set of process maps  and revised Protocol Process Guidance on how to submit are available from the right hand side of this page.
  1. The guidance below is in addition to the existing SAP procedures in relation to the creation, refilling and salary setting of ALC6 and RSIV posts and salary setting for Statutory Professorships.

All cases for recruitment to internally funded ALC6, RSIV and Statutory Professor roles will be considered by the Senior Appointments Panel (SAP) before advertisement. Departments should not complete the standard protocol forms for these cases. Instead, departments should submit cases to the Divisional Office and include the information as set out below.

ALC6 posts

The case to SAP for creating or refilling an ALC6 post or extending a fixed-term contract should follow the existing guidelines for creating ALC6 posts for advertising. In addition, the case should state:

  • whether it is for a new post, a refill or the extension of a fixed-term contract;
  • why the duties cannot be carried out by an existing member of staff;
  • in the case of a refill, the salary of the individual being replaced; and
  • the business plan, which is received by the division for the approval of the Divisional Financial Controller.

Externally funded refills do not need SAP’s approval but should be reported to SAP. Departments should report the job title, duration of post and funding to the Division to pass onto the SAP.

Internally funded refills do need SAP approval before recruitment can start.

RSIV posts

The case to SAP for creating or refilling an RSIV post or extending a fixed-term contract should follow the existing guidelines for creating RSIV posts for advertising. In addition, the case should state:

  • whether it is for a new post, or a refill or the extension of a fixed-term contract;
  • why the duties cannot be carried out by an existing member of staff; and
  • in the case of a refill, the salary of the individual being replaced.

Externally funded refills do not need SAP’s approval but should be reported to SAP. Departments should report the job title, duration of post and funding to the Division to pass onto the SAP.

Internally funded refills do need SAP approval before recruitment can start.

Statutory Professorships

Externally funded Statutory Professorships (including those funded from endowments) do not need SAP’s approval but should be reported to SAP. This will be reported by the Division.

The case to SAP for the creation or refilling of an internally funded Statutory Professorship should include the following:

  • in the case of the creation of a new post, confirmation that the regulations setting up the post have been promulgated;
  • in the case of a refill, confirmation that the divisional board has approved the case for refilling the post and the salary of the individual being replaced;
  • a joint submission from the department and the division specifying why the post is critical to the department and division for the future;
  • the rationale for the post and a statement explaining why the duties cannot be covered by existing staff;
  • the proposed divisional budget and details of the funding for the post;
  • formal confirmation that the costs are fully funded, signed off by the relevant Divisional Financial Controller; and
  • a statement of the number of vacant Statutory Professorships in the department and division; and
  • the business plan, which is received by the division for the approval of the Divisional Financial Controller.

The case as set out above should be sent by the Division to the secretary of SAP, Sarah Kilgour. Cases will be considered at the regular monthly SAP meetings, and in line with the normal procedures urgent cases may be dealt with by correspondence.

If a case is approved by SAP,  the normal recruitment process will apply, with external advertising of the post. Adverts should be placed via the Adverts team in the usual way.

  1. Casual workers and TSS staff may be recruited as usual without the need to seek additional approval. However all new casual and TSS assignments agreed with effect from 21 April 2020 will be subject to a strict limit of 12 weeks, although in exceptional circumstances approval may be sought by submitting a completed Worker Request Form to the relevant central Recruitment Panel to extend a TSS or casual assignment.
  2. Casual teaching staff may continue to be engaged for up to 12 months. In exceptional circumstances approval may be sought by completing the relevant Protocol Form and submitting to the relevant central Recruitment Panel to extend a casual teaching assignment beyond 12 months.
  3. Any contractor appointments will go through the protocol and therefore the relevant Protocol Form will need to be completed and will be considered by the appropriate panel.

Registrar’s Recruitment Panel

Chair: Registrar

Secretary: Shaka Obhiozele

Members: a subset of six members of the Registrar’s Senior Leadership Team: two divisional registrars and four others, with three attending any one meeting, one of those three to be a divisional registrar.

Current members: 

  • Dr Robert Easton (Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Development and External Affairs))​
  • Kevin Rodd (Divisional Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, GLAM)​
  • plus one Divisional Registrar and two other (non-DR) SLT members.

PVC’s Recruitment Panel

Chair: PVC (People)

Secretary: Sue Morris

Members: one representative from each of the 4 academic divisions, one representative from Senior Tutors’ Committee

Current members:

  • Humanities: Professor Daniel Grimley (Deputy Head of Division and Associate Head (Research))
  • MPLS: Professor Matt Jarvis (Associate Head of Division (People))​
  • Medical Sciences: Professor Helen McShane (Deputy Head of Division for Translation and Personnel)
  • Social Sciences: Professor Margaret Stevens (Associate Head of Division (Personnel and Equality))
  • Senior Tutors: one member of Senior Tutors’ Committee

Expand All

No, if there is a clear connection between the external funding and the post you are recruiting to, you do not need approval under the protocol

If the posts are funded directly from the grant they count as externally-funded and are exempt from the protocol. However, if they are funded from overheads on the grant they come under the protocol and you will need to seek the relevant approval.

The PVC’s panel will consider posts with the following staff classification codes:

  • AC (Academic teaching and research) except for Statutory Professorships 
  • AR (Research Fellow)
  • AP (Research Staff)
  • AS (Research Support)
  • AT (Teaching Support), and
  • HP (Science, Engineering and Health Professionals).

The Registrar’s Recruitment Panel will consider all other posts except for those which come under the Senior Appointments Panel (RSIV, ALC6 and Statutory Professorships).

Cover for family leave is exempt from the protocol, so you can go ahead and recruit as normal.

Cover for sickness absence for 12 weeks or less is exempt from the protocol. But cover for sickness absence beyond 12 weeks does come under the protocol and will be treated as a refill i.e. requires divisional approval.

In exceptional circumstances the relevant Recruitment Panel will consider requests from divisions to extend TSS or casual workers.

If you need to fill a short-term post you should use TSS; external agencies are likely to be considerably more expensive. If TSS is unable to provide you with a suitable worker you will need to seek approval from the relevant panel to use an external agency.

No, you can go ahead and recruit the named individual.

Yes. If you want to increase their hours by 25% or less you will need approval at divisional level. If you want to increase their hours by more than 25% you will need approval from the relevant central Recruitment Panel.

If you are redeploying a member of staff from your department, you can do so without seeking  approval outside the department. However, if you want to look for someone outside your department for the secondment this counts as internal recruitment and you must have the appropriate approvals under the protocol.

If you are recruiting to a post, regrading to a higher level counts as a new post and must have the approval of the relevant Recruitment Panel.

No; you only need to go to the Panel once. If you have approval to recruit you may proceed direct to external advertisement if you have been unable to recruit internally.

Yes, before advertising  internally small departments and faculties can look for potentially suitable staff coming to the end of a fixed-term contract or at risk of redundancy across a group of departments or across the whole division (rather than just within their own department/faculty). However, this must be agreed in advance by the relevant division or group of departments, and must be applied consistently throughout the duration of the current recruitment protocol.

Yes, these sources are external and any posts funded from them are exempt from the protocol.

No. If the only reason for giving them a fixed-term contract was their visa, you don’t need approval to make them permanent once they are able to work without a visa.

 

 

No. You need approval from your division to recruit a DL internally, but you must go to the PVC’s panel if you can’t recruit internally and want to advertise externally.