Higher Education E Bulletin Issue 25 – Aug 07

  • Quality of Working Life in Higher Education Survey
  • Times higher article reveals that six institutions are at risk of financial failure
  • Three of Dublin ‘s colleges are facing shortfall of €16m
  • Guardian survey on university working parents deals
  • Watch Your Step in Education – HSE courses
  • Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills
  • Baroness Fritchie to Chair JNCHES HE Finance Data Review
  • Equal Rights and Health and Safety sections on
  • Education Sector Website
  • Unite Campaign – Greening the workplace in Higher Education

Quality of Working Life in Higher Education Survey

The Applied Psychology Unit (APU) of the University of Portsmouth is attempting to establish a national benchmark for Quality of Working Life (QoWL) across the higher education sector by asking staff to complete an on-line survey.

Unite Amicus Section is supporting this useful contribution to improving the quality of working life for members in the Higher Education sector.
To complete the survey online, simply click here .

Read the explanation letter from Dr Julian Edwards, Portsmouth University by clicking here. [PDF 16KB]

Times higher article reveals that six institutions are at risk of financial failure

A recent Times Higher article reports that the number of universities at fiscal risk is far smaller than suggested but that six higher education institutions are currently “at risk” of financial failure.

Historical financial monitoring records, covering 1998 to 2003, made public under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that at least 17 higher education institutions had been in the “category 1” risk band – indicating an “immediate risk” to the institutions’ future.

A series of board papers, released on the advice of the Government’s Information Commissioner, show in detail how 46 named universities and higher education colleges were deemed to have been at risk, at varying levels of severity, at one time or another in the five years.

Among 17 in the highest “category 1” risk band were the universities of Lancaster , East London , Westminster , Greenwich , Derby and South Bank. Luton University , now Bedfordshire University , was in the highest-risk category in four of the five years.

To read the article click here:
Three of Dublin ‘s colleges are facing shortfall of €16m

THE three Dublin universities – Trinity, UCD and DCU – face funding shortfalls of about €16m in the next few years, given their current spending levels.

The reduced allocation has particularly alarmed Trinity, which is considering drastic measures to make up for the shortfall.

It is looking at the possibilities of increasing the number of Irish and overseas fee-paying students, doubling the number of PhDs and trying to get more financial support from the private sector. The shortfalls follow the introduction of a new funding model for the universities.

To read the full article in the Independent click here:
Guardian survey on university working parents deals
Click on the link below to read about the family friendly policies in various universities and compare them with those in other industrial sectors.

The article compares and rates the schemes:

Watch Your Step in Education – HSE courses

55% of all accidents in education are caused by a slip or a trip. Last year, almost 2000 major injury slip and trip accidents in the education sector were reported to the Health and Safety Executive, 571 of which were to employees, a 5% rise on the previous year. 90% of major accidents resulted in a broken bone causing considerable personal distress and a significant amount of time away from work.

When taking action to prevent accidents, there is a tendency to focus on protecting and educating students, but staff and others in educational establishments are equally as important and have a major role to play in preventing slips and trips.

To bring attention to this issue, an awareness raising initiative is taking place over the next 12 months. Workshops are being held around the country, primarily intended for those responsible for health and safety in higher and further education and local authority health and safety advisors for schools. A range of materials has also been produced to enable duty holders to identify and tackle the problem and promotional aids to assist with raising awareness amongst employees.

Union representatives are welcome to attend the events and can further assist us by bringing the events and promotional material to the attention of employers and also by checking standards in their workplace. Web site

Events – several events already arranged.

To register an interest in attending fill in the ‘contact us’ page – http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/contact.htm

Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills

Upon taking office as Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the division of the Department of Education and Skills into two distinct departments. Ed Balls will now head up the new Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) and John Denham will head the new Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills.

National Officer for the Education sector Mike Robinson commented on the appointments by saying “this is a welcome change and shows the increased emphasis being put on the education sector at all levels. Unite hopes that the new ministers will continue to have a constructive relationship with all the education sector unions.”

Baroness Fritchie to Chair JNCHES HE Finance Data Review

Higher Education trade unions and UCEA are delighted to jointly announce that Baroness Rennie Fritchie will be the Independent Chair of the forthcoming Finance Data Review for the sector.

The jointly commissioned JNCHES Review, which will draw on independent data sources, was agreed as part of the 2006-09 Pay Agreement. Trade union and employer representatives will be working in partnership with Baroness Fritchie to facilitate the outcome of this Review to inform future negotiations.

Baroness Fritchie’s biography is hugely impressive and carries experience essential to this role. As one of the first full-time women’s training advisers Baroness Fritichie was involved in the training of staff in the Equal Opportunities Commission. Rennie Fritchie became a Dame in 1996 and Commissioner for Public Appointments in 1999, a position that was renewed in 2002 and extended in 2005. In 2005 she was made a life peer as Baroness Fritchie of Gloucester , and sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.

Mary Stacey, Chair of JNCHES, said: “Rennie Fritchie agreeing to Chair the Review is excellent news for employers, unions and the sector as a whole. This is an important stage of the current three year pay deal and Baroness Fritchie’s experience and dedication will prove invaluable for all sides in establishing the key factual baselines for future negotiations.”

This Review will report by autumn 2008 to inform subsequent pay negotiations for the academic year 2009-10 and later.

Equal Rights and Health and Safety sections on Education Sector Website

There are now new Equal Rights and Health and Safety sections on the education sector website where you can find sector specific document produced through JNCHES and with other partners. These are additional resources to those materials and documents on the main equality sector and health and safety website.

Click here to visit the Equal Rights site:

Click here to visit the Health and Safety site:

If you have any comments or would like to see any other documents up there specific to the sector please email: James Lazou.

Unite Campaign – Greening the workplace in Higher Education

Unite the union is calling on universities to clean up their environmental acts. A survey of higher education union representatives shows that 98% of respondents think their workplaces waste energy and resources.

Research shows that universities are 28% dirtier than other businesses. 100% of Unite higher education union representatives surveyed in the report were willing to get involved in environmental changes at work. Unfortunately vice chancellors are not making the most of it. A summary of the Unite survey is attached.

Mike Robinson, Unite national officer for higher education said: “Universities need to clean up their acts. They perform much worse than the private sector on environmental issues. Waste paper recycling is as far as some universities go in assisting an environmental agenda.

The problem is that university vice chancellors are not engaging staff and union representatives to help universities to clean up their act. Dirty environmentally unfriendly universities have to change”

Our survey shows that union representatives have many concerns but the current top down approach from vice chancellors is not working. Unite is calling for a grass roots approach that would seek to move universities into a brighter greener future. Staff should be allowed to retrain in new technologies not solely reliant on carbon based systems.

To read the Unite workplace survey click here:

To find out more about the campaign click here:

This e-bulletin has been produced by James Lazou., Research Officer for the Higher Education sector. If you have any news items or stories you would like included in the bulletin please contact James

Leave a Reply