The Campus Trade Unions   (GMB, Unite, UCU and UNISON) have been briefed about the University’s financial forecasts and the University’s intention to look at finding other sources of income and to look at spending across the University – including looking at ways of reducing the professional services staffcosts-base.


You will all have seen the VC’s email of 7 July  to all staff     if not,   please go back and read the email,  taking careful note of his comments around     the “tight ship”   and   “drive to reduce costs   and the impacts of Brexit.  

Shearer West  (Deputy VC)  has advised UEB,  HoDs and Council,     of the  formation of the Strategy Delivery Group  (SDG)     consisting of the half a dozen or so key senior University staff who will be looking at  expenditure, and cost saving measures – including reducing the staff cost base,  how we work,  what we deliver, and where we focus our efforts.   They will also look at new sources of funding.

 These are some of the things Shearer said about the SDG’s remit:

 “In the short-term …   we will be working with Professional Services and Faculties to implement a range of options to reduce our staff cost base.

In the medium term we are going to take a probing look into our professional support structure both centrally and in faculties, to ensure we have an efficient, effective and nimble system to support our education, research and external engagement activities.  

Finally we will be working with the change programme around the Student Systems Project and with work undertaken by the Process Improvement Unit to ensure our major change projects positively reinforce each other.”                

UCU were incredibly supportive at the meeting, and spoke up for professional services colleagues and the vital role we play, adding their voice to that of Unite and UNISON, in solidarity.  

There are a whole range of options that can be explored for savings across the university, and particularly in relation to staff costs, so while there is no need for undue anxiety, it is important that the Campus Trade Unions are alert and ready to respond to the strategies, projects and suggestions that SDG will come up with for these current, tough circumstances that all Universities are facing.

We would strongly advise members to pay careful attention to the VC’s and UNISON branch messages in the coming months.