Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme: Extended deadline

Message from Alison Ross-Green, Director of HR and Organisational Development

As you may be aware, we recently closed the Phase 2 application window for the Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme (KVSS) which was open to specific groups of staff. Our hope has always been that the enhanced scheme would enable the University to meet is target savings of £5.3m for 19/20. While we have had a good response to the scheme so far, further voluntary applications are needed to ensure that we meet (and ideally exceed) this year’s target. Having reviewed funding arrangements, we have decided to keep the scheme open until 22 July 2020 both to maximise savings and reduce the pressure for compulsory redundancies in future years.

The terms of the scheme, aside from the revised timescales appended to it, are unchanged. To help give everyone as much clarity as possible on our financial situation, we have also prepared a short presentation bringing together key information shared on this in recent months. This will also be on the Financial Sustainability staff webpages shortly.

While there will still be individual application windows for staff put at risk of redundancy due to Organising for Success, this extension to 22 July 2020 marks the absolute end of our ability to flex the scheme for other eligible staff and no further extensions will be possible. Where any eligible member of staff feels able to consider KVSS and wishes to benefit from its terms, thus assisting the University to overcome its current financial challenges, then they must apply to the scheme through this last round as no further opportunities will be given.

Lastly, we are aware that some staff are understandably making fine judgements about their financial position if they were to seek voluntary severance and that some reliance may be being placed on enhanced terms (albeit not as generous as KVSS) being available in the future. While the University would always wish to offer some form of enhanced financial terms for those who volunteer for redundancy, we also need to be aware of our worsening financial position as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and that this may not be possible going forward. We will review the position in September, when our recruitment performance is clearer. If we do decide that we need to make changes at that time, the JSNCC will be consulted and Council approval sought.

As before, all staff interested in applying for KVSS are encouraged to discuss with either HR or their line manager for further details about how the scheme works. If you would like to discuss this confidentially or would like impartial advice, please remember that the Employee Assistance Programme is available 24/7, with more information on the Occupational Heath staff webpages.