A word from our Interim FVP – May 2020

Hello everyone, 

I hope you and your families are keeping well and in good health as we continue to respond to Covid-19 and the many challenges it presents. 

Over the last few months, it has been very heartening to see so many of you join our Faculty Forums. We introduced the forums as a mechanism to share key messages with you, and to give you an opportunity to ask any questions that you have for me, or Faculty Directors. We will continue to hold the forums every 2-3 weeks and circulate the recording afterwards for people who haven’t been able to make it. 

Since this week’s forum, you will have received an email from Ian Wright (Interim Director of HR), outlining some changes to this year’s Reward and Recognition cycle. Ian’s email outlines decisions that we have made as a University to defer the annual promotion and pay round until the autumn of 2020, with faculty decision making panels likely to be similarly deferred to the Spring of 2021. The promotions process is very time consuming for individuals, departments and Faculties and the University Executive Board agreed that over the summer months, the immediate and pressing priority needed to be the institutional response to Covid-19. I appreciate that this delay will be disappointing if you had been developing a promotions case or were hoping for additional increments, and I would like to reassure you that the cases will be considered when the time is right to do so.

The SRDS process will continue to go ahead this summer as planned, as these conversations are crucial to reviewing the progress that has been made against objectives, and to discuss priorities and objectives for the year ahead. This will inevitably include a discussion of how Covid-19 has affected your existing plans, and how it could impact on research, teaching and other activities in the year ahead. 

The other key communications received this week have come from Jo Jones, relating to the University’s financial position. As a Faculty we have made significant efforts to reach an in-year surplus position and we are confident that we will end this financial year with a positive surplus of around £4m. This is higher than planned because our proposals to invest in strategic priorities across the faculty have had to be put on hold. To what extent these funds will be available to us going forward given the financial challenges we face clearly depends on the overall University position and the steps taken to allocate budgets for future years. 

Navigating any reduction in income will inevitably require us to think differently and to prioritise. Working alongside the Faculty Executive Board and colleagues across the University, we will seek to do this in a way that continues to deliver against our faculty priorities, whilst recognising that we will need to speed some things up (like embracing technology enhanced learning) and slow other things down (like delaying the strategic investments we had planned to make). I want to reassure you that whilst managing the financial challenges we face in the short to medium term, we will continue to keep our longer term ambitions for medicine, dentistry and health in view, informed by the needs of our local and national partners in the NHS and the whole of the health and social care system over the coming years. 

With kind regards,