FAQs

The FAQs should be used in conjunction with the guidance on the Reward and Recognition Scheme.

Eligibility

Which grades are included in the scheme?

The following table lists all grades/groups included in the scheme and any caveats relating to eligibility:

Grade/Group  Caveat
Grades 1-10 Staff require more than 6 months service
E grades Staff are not included if they are eligible for any other type of merit award (e.g. NHS awards).

As doctors in training staff employed on E grades have a set route of salary progression. They are therefore eligible only for non-recurrent awards through the Awards for Excellence Scheme. They are eligible for Recognition Awards.
Apprentices Eligible only for non-recurrent awards through the Awards for Excellence Scheme. They are eligible for Recognition Awards.

Does the scheme include Departmental Lecturers and Research Fellows?

Yes, the scheme includes all staff on grades 1-10, including academics and researchers employed on these grades.

Can a member of staff be rewarded in successive years?

Yes, but this would be most likely for non-recurrent awards. Where a recurrent increment has been awarded the review panel will need to ensure they are not rewarding the same evidence of exceptional performance twice or that regrading would not be more appropriate i.e. for those whose role has grown such that they are required to work ‘above’ their grade.

Can a member of staff be rewarded sequentially in the following year?

Yes, but where a recurrent increment has been awarded the review panel will need to ensure they are not rewarding the same evidence of exceptional performance twice.

Can someone who was awarded through the recognition scheme also be awarded in the award for excellence scheme in the same period?

Yes, this is likely to be most relevant where a member of staff has received a recognition award as part of a team and an individual award for excellence. In all cases the review panel will need to be convinced that the same evidence of exceptional performance is not being rewarded twice.

From which point is the consideration given for the employee to have 6 months’ service?

They need to have been employed by the University since 1 July in the calendar year that is being reviewed.

How do I take account of someone who is absent several times or for a large chunk of the year through illness?  How can I be fair to them and those who are still at work?

Those who have been absent for part of the year due to sickness or for family related reasons should be included in the review, with due allowance made for the period of absence.

What happens to employees who qualify for the nominations, but will be leaving in due course or will have left already before the payment is made?

Any member of eligible staff in employment at the time of the review should be considered.

Are agency workers eligible to be considered under the Reward and Recognition Scheme?

Yes, agency workers who have been engaged for six months or longer are eligible for inclusion in the scheme. It needs to be clear that we are only conducting performance assessments for them in order to determine whether they might qualify for an additional payment under the scheme in accordance with our obligations under the Agency Workers Regulations. In terms of an award itself they are eligible for both lump sum payments (i.e. £200 or a non-recurrent payment of 3%) and also recurrent awards which would mean they would see an increase in their hourly rate.

Budget

Is 0.35% intended to cover both schemes?

Yes. 0.35% should cover Awards for Excellence for approximately 10% of staff and recognition for a small number of staff.

Is 0.35% of the total pay bill, or the pay bill for eligible staff?

0.35% of the pay bill for eligible staff.

Should on-costs be included when working out 0.35% of the pay bill?

Salary calculations should all be made on the same basis. It is advisable to include on-costs when working out 0.35% of the paybill and on-costs should therefore be included when working out the cost of awards granted.

When in the year do you count the 0.35% of the pay bill?

There isn’t a definitive answer as to how you should arrive at your annual pay bill. Try to use a date which is representative of your pay bill and which includes all increments for the calendar year under review.

Are recurrent awards in included in future 0.35% of the pay bill?

No, recurrent awards are included in the 0.35% of the pay bill for the year in which they are awarded but not in the 0.35% of subsequent years.

Are all of the awards taxable?

Yes.

Panels

Who should be on a panel?

Departments are encouraged to keep panels small to minimise complexity and bureaucracy. The panel will typically comprise three people, including the Head of Department or their nominated representative. As far as possible members of the panel should not be eligible under the scheme or directly line manage large proportions of the eligible staff.

Should the Departmental Administrator be a member of the panel?

No, Departmental Administrators should take an advisory role.

Can the panel be made up of cross-departmental members i.e. members from another department?

Yes, this may assist with objectivity. It is advisable that any member of the panel drawn from another department is familiar with the type of work that is carried out in the department for which they are a panel member.

Is it necessary to convene a panel for the £200 awards?

No, and it is recommended that departments avoid introducing unnecessary bureaucracy to what is intended to be a light-touch scheme, but departments may do so if they wish.

Applications

Should the role holder see the manager’s comments?

Yes, transparency is important.

Can an individual self nominate without line managers comments? 

No, manager’s comments must be included on a self nomination form.

Can we introduce a quality screening process for applications before they go to the panel?

Yes, it may be helpful to introduce a quality screening process in order that managers can be advised where applications fall short of requirements. The introduction of such a process should not, however, prevent managers or staff making nominations to the panel.

When would a nomination for an Award for Excellence not be appropriate?

The Awards for Excellence Scheme should not be used to reward the working of long hours. If staff are regularly required to work long hours, the size of their role should be reviewed. For those whose role has grown such that they are required to work ‘above’ their grade, a regrading application, a temporary acting up allowance or a restructuring of the role should be considered. For support staff only, overtime payments or a responsibility allowance might be appropriate. Please contact your HRBP for advice.

Could we send checklists to managers to ensure that everyone has been considered?

Yes, this seems like a sensible approach but it is not compulsory.

Can I nominate someone who I do not manage or someone from another department?

No, nominations need to be made by line managers (or self nominated). You should inform the individual’s line manager of the reasons why you think they should be nominated.

Communication

How do we manage the expectations of staff?

It’s important to be transparent in managing the expectations of staff and clearly explain the parameters of the scheme: that the scheme is intended to reward exceptional performance; and only 10% of staff will receive an award.

Do we need to discuss with each individual who hasn’t been put forward why this is the case?

No, but you will need to determine a suitable approach for your department so that staff feel recognised e.g. staff are generally thanked for their contributions. It may be necessary for line managers to have individual discussions with staff as to why they haven’t been put forward. 

Award amounts and payments

Can we vary the amount from one increment?

No, whether the award is recurrent or non-recurrent it needs to equate to one increment only (pro rated for part-time staff)

When will a non-recurrent award be pro-rated?

A payment will be paid on a pro-rata basis if the individual is, or has been part-time. If the member of staff has had a period of unpaid leave during the year, please seek advice from your HR Business Partner in Personnel Services before processing the payment.

Is it possible to award a £200 recognition payment under the Awards for Excellence Scheme?

Yes, in a change from last year’s exercise, panels now have the discretion to award a recognition payment (£200) as an alternative award  when a nomination for an Award for Excellence has been made, but a recognition payment is considered to be more appropriate. The recognition payment should not, however, be used in consolation for any other type of award.

Which payroll cut-off date should be used for entering / submitting awards to Core?

Payments should be received in April’s payroll so the April payroll cut-off date should be used. Any exceptional circumstances which may warrant later payment arrangements should be referred to the Reward Manager ahead of processing. Payments will continue to take effect from 1 April.

If awarded a recurrent increment will staff receive any backdated pay?

No, in contrast to previous schemes, staff will not receive a lump sum and incremental advancement. If the payment is processed after the April payroll the member of staff will receive back pay to April.

If the recurrent incremental award is given, is the individual still entitled for the automatic progression in August / October?

Yes, the Award for Excellence is in addition to automatic incremental progression.

Can a separate payment for retention still be made?

Yes, but departments should be mindful of the policy that not more than four increments over and above standard incremental progression should be given in any calendar year e.g. if a member of staff receives a recurrent Award for Excellence they could only receive up to three increments for retention.

Is it possible to move the timetables of the entire scheme?

No, the review should take place in Hilary Term and review performance for the previous calendar year.

What will happen if Payroll query any of the payments which have been awarded by the Review Panel?

Payroll may raise procedural questions with the Reward team before processing payments. If a payment is to be put on hold the departmental administrator will be notified by the Reward team and provided with a reason for the hold. The Reward team will make every effort to resolve queries before the payroll deadline, but where this is not possible the departmental administrator will be notified in order that they can communicate with the member of staff concerned.

If departments have reason to believe a procedural question may be raised about a payment  they are advised to seek advice from the Reward team or their HRBP before staff are notified of awards.

Recognition Scheme

Why is the £200 Recognition scheme award not pensionable?

Lump sum payments are non-pensionable. Under pension rules, in order to be pensionable, a payment needs to be on-going and expected to continue for at least three years.

Can the Head of Department delegate responsibility for reviewing the nominations for the Recognition Scheme?

Yes, to reduce any administrative burden they could delegate the reviewing of nominations to an appropriate and specified individual and be advised on whether awards should be given. The Head of Department should maintain sign off for such awards.

Can a timescale be imposed for the Recognition Scheme, so that it is not constantly ongoing through the year? e.g. nominations to be received quarterly

Yes, choose an approach which most suits your department, but bear in mind that the awards are designed to reward effort promptly, so make sure there is not too long a gap between deadlines.