Bristol UCU Newsflash, 18th May 2022

1) Changes to Academic Progression Procedure, May 2022

Pathways 1, 2 and 3 colleagues (some of whom were on fixed-term contracts ending this academic year) may have received a letter or email entitled ‘Changes to the Academic Progression Procedure’. 

We are keen to hear from any academic colleagues on these changes. Please email with your comments. 

The review of academic progression and promotion, part of the University’s Academic Career Development Programme, has been a multi-year project, dating back to the 2017 review of progression and promotion, and has seen the Academic Promotion Framework (APF) for Promotion to Professor and Associate Professor introduced in November 2020, and now the APF for Promotion to Lecturer (level c/Grade K) and Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow (level d1/Grade L) introduced this month. 

Along with School and Faculty management and academic reps, UCU reps have been involved throughout the APF process. 

The key headline changes are the name change – progression is now promotion – and colleagues moving from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer will now be promoted when they are ready at regular October and April promotion rounds. Progression/promotion is now possible before you hit the top of your academic grade. Accelerated progression has been removed.  

It is still a contractual expectation that academic colleagues in progressable roles will be progressed/promoted. This has not changed from the previous progression procedure, although academic colleagues now have an extra two years at the top of grade before any formal performance management would start. 

Bristol UCU will continue to push for a light-touch approach to promotion. We have consistently called for the promotion paperwork to be the submission of a simple CV, rather than the current CV plus case-form promotion application, for example. 

Bristol UCU, its reps and members, will also continue, as was the case with the previous progression procedure, to ensure that promotion is a matter not of an ‘exceptional’ case being made to move up a grade, as hawkish interpretations would have it, but of readiness. The burden of proof is to suggest why someone should not be promoted. Colleagues also, as is made clear, do not have to meet all the relevant APF criteria and examples provided: ‘these are indicative and not exhaustive’. 

Bristol UCU also welcomes the improvements made to the new and improved Leadership & Citizenship section of the APF. 

2) Pay Rates for Hourly-Paid Research Staff

Bristol UCU reps have highlighted what we consider a disparity between the pay rates for hourly-paid, postgraduate-recruited research staff and hourly-paid teaching staff. Primarily employed through the Temporary Staff Service, hourly-paid research staff are being paid at rates of between £9. 50 and £13.28 an hour for non-clerical research work.  

The starting rate of a Teaching Support Role is £13.28 [link]

Although these research roles are often short-term, lasting weeks or a few months, there should be an equivalent fair pay rate for these staff, who are asked to conduct independent research activities as hourly-paid teaching staff are expected to conduct independent teaching activities. 

3) Date for Diary: Bristol UCU Annual General Meeting, Wednesday, 8th June, 1pm-2pm

Our Bristol UCU 2022 AGM will be on Wednesday, 8th June at 1pm via Microsoft Teams. Joining details and link to follow. 

On the current agenda: the election of Branch Officers and Executive Committee Members, branch accounts and next steps in our twin disputes.  

Today is the last day for BO and Exec nominations. If you would like to nominate yourself for a role, or would like further information, please email the Branch Secretary Paul Ayres (