In Brief
In Brief August 2018
In Brief is a monthly all-staff news
round-up, giving you concise summaries
of the essential information you need.
All articles are short and are clearly categorised as ‘for action’,
‘for information’ or simply ‘nice to know’.
Contact for more.
Childcare image

Childcare vouchers: important update for parents

The Government has confirmed that childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants from 5 October 2018. After this date, the Tax-Free Childcare scheme will be the only scheme open to new applicants.

If you’re a parent and haven’t already joined the University’s childcare voucher scheme, you must register by 1 September 2018 to ensure you receive your first childcare voucher in your September pay, before the 5 October closing date.

To see which scheme works best for you, please review the Computershare Voucher Services, Government childcare and childcare calculator websites.

Contact HR for more information.

Reading Pride image

Join us at Reading Pride, 1 September

Reading Pride Parade and Festival is a great day out for the whole family. Kicking off with a colourful parade through Reading town centre, the celebrations continue throughout the day at the Festival site at King’s Meadow, with stalls, food, music and entertainment.

For the third year running, the University, RUSU, LGBT+ staff, students and allies will take part in the parade, along with a University stall at the Festival site. This is a general invite to come and join in with the fun, but also to volunteer to be part of the rota for the University stall on 1 September from 12:00 until 18:30. Please contact Ann Morgan or Allan Laville to sign up to the stall rota.

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Apply for Stonewall LGBT Leadership programme

The University is delighted to offer up to 2 sponsored places on the Stonewall LGBT Leadership programme, a two-day residential programme running 14-16 November.

The programme is for leaders at a relatively senior level who identify as LGBT from any sector or industry. To apply, please submit a CV and a completed expression of interest form (Word, 30.5 KB) to Hannah Henretty by 31 August. Selected candidates will be supported by Simon Chandler-Wilde to refine their applications for submission to Stonewall by 1 October. Please see the Stonewall Leadership programme website for full programme details.

See the staff portal for more information.

University logo

UEB working on transition arrangements

Since the announcement by the Vice-Chancellor that he is leaving the University, the University Executive Board (UEB) has been working to prepare a transition plan.

In the autumn, Professor Robert Van de Noort will become acting Vice-Chancellor until a permanent appointment is made. Recruitment is currently underway for an interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning & Resource) to take on many of his current responsibilities. Professor Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching & Learning, will then also take on the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor for 2018/19. We will continue to share updates as the transition plan progresses.

Contact the VC’s office for more information.

Estates & Facilities image

Changes to Estates & Facilities from 1 September

From 1 September 2018, Estates & Facilities will be replaced by two separate functions – Estates and Campus Commerce.

Estates will be led by Janis Pich and will consist of services directly supporting the University's estate: Campus Services, Maintenance & Grounds (including Sustainability), Strategy & Space Management and Projects.
Campus Commerce will be led by Matthew White and will cover self-financing and income-generating commercial activities: Catering, Hotel & Conference Services, SportsPark and the Accommodation Contract Management Office.

Health & Safety will continue to be led by Jenny Mcgrother and will become part of Academic & Governance Services to ensure a closer link with Risk Management and Business Continuity.

See the staff portal for more information.

EU logo

EU programme funding guaranteed until 2020

The Treasury has recently confirmed that UK organisations (including universities) that secure funding through EU programmes, from now until the end of 2020, will be guaranteed by the UK government, even in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. In addition, funding will be guaranteed for UK organisations which successfully bid directly to the European Commission – through projects like Horizon 2020 – until the end of this EU budget period if no deal is agreed.

The guarantees mean that successful bids for EU funding until the end of 2020 will receive their full financial allocation and will continue to receive funding over a project’s lifetime.

See the website for more information.

Queen's Drive image

Queen’s Drive works enter phase 2

The maintenance work along Queen’s Drive, Whiteknights campus, has progressed into its second phase, opening up car park 6, part of car park 7 and bus access to Chancellors Way.

Phase two will run until 31 August, with key access changes including:

Car parks 1-4 are accessible from Shinfield Road, while parks 5-15 are accessible from Pepper Lane.
Claret 21 buses towards Reading town centre can access campus via Pepper Lane, and will call at the bus stop on Chancellors Way. However, the 21 service from Reading town centre will still not be able to access the campus.

See the staff portal for more information.

Access arrangements for Whiteknights House

Additional access arrangements are being introduced to the ground floor of Whiteknights House this month, following a review of the building’s security and office arrangements. The changes will affect staircase and lift access to floors 1-3 and the Finance offices on the ground floor.

If your Campus Card is already set up to access Whiteknights House, you should be able to access these areas as normal using your card. Colleagues requiring short-term access should contact the Whiteknights reception (extension 7307). Any requests for one-off access should go to Campus Cards. Visitors to the building will need to be collected from the reception.

See the staff portal for more information.

To bcc or not to bcc: when should it be a question?

When sending an email to several recipients, protection of personal or sensitive information may make ‘bcc’ more appropriate than using the ‘to’ and ‘cc’ functions.

Data protection law protects any information identifying a ‘natural person’ – in other words, any information that is clearly about a particular person. This will often cover email content and addresses where they reveal things like name, place of work or other personal or sensitive information. In 2015, an HIV clinic was fined £180,000 after sending a newsletter to 781 recipients using the ‘to’ function, revealing the email addresses of everyone on the mailing list. Over 700 of the email addresses contained the recipients’ names.

Before you press send, ask yourself, what is this email telling others? If in doubt, contact our Information Management & Policy Services (IMPS) team.

Contact IMPS for more information.

Windows 10 to become main operating system

Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 in January 2020 and will no longer provide vital security updates or patches for technical problems. As Windows 7 is still the main operating system used at the University, we need to upgrade all of our Windows 7 computers to Windows 10 before 2020. We will be doing this with a phased rollout up until that point.

Upgrades are already happening in labs, and new PCs purchased for staff are starting to come pre-installed with Windows 10. Details of the general rollout will be shared over the coming months. Further information is available on the IT Windows 10 page.

Contact IT for more information.

Microsoft Teams: a new way to collaborate

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool designed to help people work better together. It is a shared space for teams where members can post messages and share documents, enabling you to plan, track and organise projects or team work. It can become a great way of cutting down email traffic, and can even be used for online meetings with audio or video.

You can access Microsoft Teams through Office 365, using either a downloadable app or through your online browser. To create a new Team (such as for a project or within your office-based team), please use the IT Self Service Portal to set up a request.

See the staff portal for more information.

EMA programme image

Remaking Marking: EMA conference

On 4 September 2018, the Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) Programme will be hosting a one-day national conference exploring electronic management of assessment across the UK higher education sector.

The conference will be hosted in the Meadow Suite, Park House (Whiteknights), 10:30-15:45, bringing together speakers from five UK institutions to share knowledge and good practice. To book your place, please visit our Employee Self Service portal. External guests wishing to attend will need to register by emailing Full details are available on the EMA Programme site.

Contact the EMA team for more information.

Staff briefing on teaching spaces

Members of the Sub-Committee for Teaching and Learning Facilities recently held a briefing session for University staff on teaching spaces. Over 40 colleagues in academic and professional service roles attended the session, which included updates on:

CQSD support for staff, including Aligning Space and Pedagogy guide
teaching space refurbishments, including AV upgrades
a post-occupancy review of newly refurbished collaborative spaces (Edith Morley G44 and Agriculture GL22)
the draft timetable for 2018/19, including how to notify the Timetabling team of any major issues
the personal and lecture capture projects.

Presentation slides from the session are available online.

Contact Jess Johnson for more information.

Study Smart image

Study Smart returns for 2018-19 new starters

Study Smart, our online transitions course for new Part 1 undergraduates, returns this year after launching successfully for 2017-18 new starters. Email invitations will be sent to all eligible students at the end of August.

The course is designed to help ease the transition into higher education, and can be used as a helpful resource during the first year of study. Student feedback from last year highlighted the impact of staff endorsement, so we really value your promotion of the course to your new students and tutees. See the Study Smart Tutors Guide for further details.

Study Advice will demo the student view of Study Smart in a hands-on session in September – date and booking details to come via CQSD nearer the time.

Contact Study Advice for more information.

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Summer Re-use challenge

Sustainability Services will run a Summer Re-use challenge from 13-24 August following the success of their April challenge earlier this year. This summer, we have a challenging target of re-using 250kg of items in just two weeks! For context, last August we re-used 219kg over the whole month…

The challenge aims to improve re-use across the University and to encourage colleagues to use the Warp-it portal. Colleagues using the portal to claim re-usable items (such as office furniture and stationery) will receive prizes as a thank-you, plus special awards for super-users. Full details are available on the Sustainability Services website.

Contact Sustainability Services for more information.

Events highlights

Events over the coming weeks include:

17 August 2018: Clearing Open Morning (09:00-16:30, Henley Business School)
7 September 2018: Access and Participation across the student lifecycle conference (10:00-16:00, Van Emden lecture theatre, Edith Morley)

Contact Events for more information.

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