Recruitment freeze and Redeployment Protocol

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

15 June 2021 UPDATE

Professional, administrative and support roles may now be advertised externally from the start of the recruitment (the protocol requirement to advertise a vacancy internally for at least two weeks before proceeding to external advert has been removed). The Protocol Form and relevant sections of the guidance have been updated to reflect this change.

17 November 2020 UPDATE

  • Responsibility for the protocol passes to divisions with immediate effect;  the PVC’s Panel and the Registrar’s Recruitment Panel will no longer operate.
  • SAP no longer needs to see any protocol requests. It will continue to receive requests for post creation and salary approval as per its standard SAP procedures and any protocol cases the divisions wish to refer to the SAP.
  • Divisions may set their own parameters for departmental decision-making, reduce the information required by the divisional panel and set word limits, as appropriate for their own context.
  • Any cases which have divisional approval and were waiting for central panel approval may now be advertised without the need for any further approvals.
  • Divisions may, if they wish, seek advice from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (People and GLAM) for academic and research posts, or from the Registrar for administrative and professional posts, or to ask them to act as arbiters.
  • Divisional Protocol Checkers and the relevant sections of the content below have been updated to reflect these changes.

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 recruitment to posts in the colleges or Permanent Private Halls. 

4.   The Protocol was introduced on Tuesday 21 April 2020 for an initial period of 12 months and will be kept under review. Guidance documentation is available from the right hand side of this page.

5.   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 9 and 13). 

6.   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. 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.

7.   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.

8.   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.

9.   Divisions may only approve the creation and filling of any new posts or the extension of fixed-term contracts for more than 4 weeks 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 not to recruit will result in demonstrable overall financial loss to the University: or

(v) 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.

10.  If the conditions above are met, the Protocol Form (Professional) must be completed and signed by the relevant divisional authority before recruitment starts.

11

11.1  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.

11.2  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.  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.) 

13.  Divisions may only approve recruitment to AP and internally-funded research posts or the extension of fixed-term contracts for more than 4 weeks 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.

14.  If the conditions above are met, the Protocol Form (Academic) must be completed and signed by the relevant divisional authority.

15.  AP and internally-funded research posts may be advertised externally without any prior internal advertisement, once approval has been obtained from the divisional panel. Adverts should be placed via the Adverts team in the usual way.

 

16.  Casual workers and TSS staff may be recruited as usual without the need to seek additional approval.

17.  Casual teaching staff may continue to be engaged for up to 12 months. In exceptional circumstances approval may be sought from the divisional panel to extend a casual teaching assignment beyond 12 months.

18.  Any contractor/temporary agency worker appointments will go through the protocol and therefore the relevant Protocol Form will need to be completed and will be considered by the divisional panel.

Expand All

The PVC (People and GLAM) and the Registrar are happy to provide advice on academic and research posts and on administrative and professional posts respectively, or to act as arbiters should that be necessary.

You need divisional approval to extend a fixed-term contract.

 

 

Yes, you will need protocol approval to recruit to such posts unless they are externally funded, even if you have made a commitment to the academic. The case to the divisional panel should include evidence about the nature of the commitment.

 

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 divisional panel to use an external agency.

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 divisional approval 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 divisional panel.

Yes, the normal regrading procedure still applies for staff in post and does not require protocol approval.

Please note the regrading procedure does not cover restructures. Restructures which involve the creation of new posts and/or regrading to a higher grade of an existing post (even if there is an existing postholder) are subject to protocol approval.  

 

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.

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.

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

Yes, before advertising, 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.