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Details of the Voluntary Redundancy Scheme

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Mark Fellowes, Chair of the Voluntary Redundancy Group, has today written to all staff providing more details of the University's voluntary redundancy scheme. Here is the full text of his message:

Dear colleagues, 

Further to Robert Van de Noort’s message earlier this week, I am writing to share details of the University’s voluntary redundancy scheme.

As Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning and Resources, I chair the Voluntary Redundancy Group overseeing the development and implementation of the scheme. This group also includes:

  • Kate Owen, the Vice-President of Council
  • Richard Messer, Chief Strategy Officer and University Secretary

The scheme will open on Monday 14 January for five weeks, so I want you to have information before the break to allow plenty of time for consideration.

As Robert explained, the scheme is only one tool to help us manage the financial challenges we face, but it is an important one nevertheless. If Schools and Functions cannot make necessary savings through voluntary redundancies and the other measures identified in their five-year plans, then, in the absence of other solutions, compulsory redundancies will be necessary in some areas. The Group’s aim has been to develop a fair and reasonable voluntary process that will help us to avoid this wherever possible. The terms of the scheme may mean that it does not deliver all the necessary savings in this financial year, but we do not want to prioritise in-year savings if that means that the offer is not reasonable or the timeframe for delivery would compromise core activities or student experience.

You can find all the details of the scheme, including some Q&As and worked examples, on the Staff Portal (University login and password required). The terms of the scheme have been agreed by the University’s Executive Board. They have also been discussed with and informed by the University and College Union and the Staff Forum.

If voluntary redundancy is an option you wish to explore, then I encourage you to have an early informal discussion with your manager about how this might work in practice, alongside the other options Robert mentioned like phased or early retirement or reduced hours. Having this discussion, or making an application for voluntary redundancy that is not ultimately accepted, will not affect your future employment with us in any way.

I fully appreciate that any form of redundancy scheme, voluntary or otherwise, is unsettling and it is not a step that we take lightly.  As chair of the Voluntary Redundancy Group, I feel a real sense of personal responsibility to our University community to make sure the scheme is fair and transparent. However, the challenges that the higher education sector faces are real and I hope that the terms of this scheme will allow us to manage the need for cost-savings as constructively as possible.

I will continue to keep you updated in the new year as this scheme and the five-year planning process progress. If you have any questions about the detail of the scheme, you can contact your Head of School or Function or email Human Resources at VRQueries@reading.ac.uk.

Best wishes,

Mark

Mark Fellowes

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning and Resources

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