Higher education HR reforms hailed as a success by universities

The largest HR exercise in the higher education sector for several decades has been a resounding success, according to a report by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

A report into the framework agreement for the modernisation of pay structures, concluded that the agreement was providing early benefits to both staff and employers in higher education institutions.

The report found universities and colleges had simplified pay arrangements, harmonised working weeks, reduced the number of staff on fixed-term contracts, increased partnership working with unions, improved the recruitment and retention of staff, and boosted employee relations.

The framework agreement was negotiated by unions and employers in 1999 following the Bett Report, which recommended reform of pay arrangements in higher education and raised concerns that the existing structures were at risk from equal pay claims.

The deal also sought to develop better career paths for all levels of staff and tackle particular local level recruitment and retention difficulties.

UCEA chief executive Jocelyn Prudence said: “This has been a significant and challenging undertaking for all staff, HR departments, management and trade union representatives.

“It is testament to their hard work and commitment to working in partnership that implementation is yielding such positive local results and with fewer problems or delays than in similar exercises outside the higher education sector.”

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