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Union respond to HFA restructuring

January 31, 2017

UCU at Ulster have expressed concern at management proposals for restructuring Heads of Faculty Administration. Below is a letter sent to management highlighting those concerns.


UCU have now had the opportunity to review material supplied for the HFA restructuring.

This is the third restructuring we have been party to (COOLT, R&I and now HFA) and to date we have still not seen any policies or protocols to underpin these activities. There seem to be inconsistencies in approach and we wonder why no matching exercise is being carried out in this case, in comparison to the other 2 areas which are currently being restructured. This seems very odd given that 2 of the Faculties in this plan remain unchanged and it would be seem very likely that current posts could be matched closely to the new proposed roles, without the need for interviews and other recruitment processes. We understand that these new positions will be advertised throughout the university and would like to have a detailed rationale for this decision. This is something we have not picked up in previous briefings. We also have no further information on what will happen to those currently in post who are not selected for the new jobs or who choose not to engage; something which we have also raised in previous communications.

As with the other restructuring exercises the material supplied is scant and limited and does not give us sufficient information to fully understand what is going on. There has been no personnel specification supplied and the job description on its own does not allow a full picture of the proposed new role. In this particular instance it would be useful to see the job description of the HFA role so we can understand what is significantly different for the new HFO posts.

Again, as with the other restructurings the proposed timescales are unrealistic and do not allow sufficient time for meaningful consultation. The time frames will not allow current HFAs to prepare themselves or their staff for these changes.

For this particular restructuring exercise UCU would therefore ask for responses to the following issues:

* Please supply a more detailed explanation as to how the new HFO role differs from the present HFA job

* Please supply a personnel specification to ensure full transparency

* What policy or procedure underpins this activity?

* Why is there no matching exercise in this instance?

* What is the rationale behind opening these posts up throughout the university?

* Why when 2 faculties remain unchanged must these 2 individuals still have to reapply for their jobs?

* What will happen to colleagues if they are not appointed to these new roles?

* What will happen to the 2 colleagues who will definitely not be appointed to these new roles?

* What mechanisms are in place for those who do not wish to apply for the new roles?

* How will the transition process be handled?

* Will there be a right of appeal if someone is not appointed?

* If the existing jobs are now redundant, what mechanisms are in place to support those who are detrimentally affected by the restructuring exercise?

As noted earlier in this communication, this is the third restructuring plan that UCU have been notified of. Our questions and concerns from the previous briefings have not been addressed and indeed, these now form a common theme running through all of the restructuring activities. We are concerned that these exercises are being rushed through without satisfactory consultation. In emails and communications with the new leadership team, we are advised that the University wishes to work constructively with the unions but evidence so far does not seem to support this. We ask therefore that these concerns are addressed, as a matter of urgency, before this restructuring exercise or any other goes ahead. It would be useful for our members if you could respond before 7th February.


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