Monthly Archives: June 2020

Financial Sustainability: End of year spend

Message from Jane Higham, Director of Finance

As you will be aware from the Vice-Chancellor’s recent update, we expect a significant shortfall in our income as a result of the impact of COVID-19 which adds to our already challenging underlying financial position. If we do not take steps to mitigate this, the University will eventually run out of money and be unable to meet its commitments. As I have said before, we can all take steps to help the University through this difficult period and budget holders have a critical role to play through continuing to minimise spend.    

Most urgently, we need your support in ensuring we significantly reduce end-of-year outlay. In previous years we have seen an increase of up to £5m in spending as budget-end nears. This cannot happen this year and therefore any unspent budget for 19/20 must only be used where absolutely essential. Put simply,  as a result of the losses to our income brought about by the COVID pandemic, we cannot afford to spend as we have in the past and we need to conserve all financial resources to support our sustainability in the coming months.    

I appreciate budget holders will continue to get purchasing and expenditure requests from within their School or Department and encourage them to share this with staff as required to help respond In order to assist with our planning, it would be appreciated if budget holders could notify our Procurement team of any significant essential spend that they may be aware of that needs to be incurred between now and year-end, so that we can discuss this in good time.  Similarly, any queries relating to this can also be forwarded to the Procurement Team, who will be closely monitoring spend between now and the end of July.   

Thank you for your continued support with this.

4 different coloured dustbins

Moving out- bin amnesty information (Canterbury)

A bin amnesty will operate from Monday 15 June to Friday 10 July on these Canterbury roads to help you with moving out.

Where black bin bags would not normally be collected, they will be picked up during the amnesty period to cover students moving out of their properties. The black bin bags should be placed next to the normal bins.

The local recycling centre has also reopened and can be used by advance appointment only – please ensure you book a timeslot.

Necessary Furniture are also now open and will accept donations of unwanted items. Items can be delivered to their warehouse, or if items are bulky arrangements can be made for Necessary Furniture to collect. Although they are called Necessary Furniture they accept unwanted household items, such as crockery, kettles, bedding etc.


Apple Macbook Pro, iPad and iPhone and glasses on table

Covid-19 – support and checks while you’re working at home

As the Covid-19 lockdown eases, the University is drawing up plans for a phased staff return to campus.

At present, however, access remains limited to those doing essential work and the majority of staff will continue working from home.

If you’re working at home, don’t forget that there is plenty of support available. You can find detailed information on our coronavirus staff webpages, including:

Kent Sport’s Stay Well @ Home webpages also contain plenty of tips, including inspiring blogs and access to free online physiotherapy and exercise classes.

Insurance checks

The University’s insurance extends to home workers, but it’s important to check with your own home insurer that home working does not invalidate your own policy.

University property and equipment continues to be insured while temporarily removed from campus but reasonable precautions should be taken to prevent any loss or damage. Reports of loss or damage, or any insurance-related enquiries, should be directed to our Insurance office:

Further information is available on our coronavirus staff webpages.

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 18 June 2020

I know there has been a lot going on over the last week or so as we come to the end of exams, move into marking and then exam boards. Doing all of this remotely is not straightforward when people are working in a range of difficult circumstances. In addition, I am conscious that many colleagues are involved in work to re-open the campus and that is also challenging to ensure it is done appropriately and safely. This work does however remain on schedule.

As lockdown continues to ease, we are confident that, despite the inevitable restrictions, we will be able to offer our students a rounded, albeit different, student experience. However, we are conscious that the impact of Covid-19 has been particularly hard on our final-year students. The class of 2020 will inevitably face a very different world to the one they might have imagined entering into as a graduate at the start of the year. We have just launched a campaign highlighting the support and guidance available to all our graduates through the Careers and Employability Service, as well as highlighting a range of postgraduate opportunities. Given the pressure our students have been under, it was great to hear about our fourth-year Modern Language students conducting online tutoring sessions, engaging sixth-form students in language exercises and conversation in French, German, Italian and Spanish!

We have much to be proud of across the University, but as I noted last week we have issues to address as well in relation to creating a genuinely inclusive and welcoming campus for staff and students. This week I was invited to take part in an online student forum organised by Kent Union. Entitled ‘My Campus is Racist – In Conversations’, this was an opportunity to listen to our students about the challenges they face on a daily basis. We have work to do to address the concerns and challenges they raised and my thanks to those colleagues who are already working hard on this across the institution to enable us to do better.

I send my good wishes to you, your families and friends and look forward to the time when we can be back on our campuses once more.

Yours sincerely,


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Organising for Success: Consultation timings

Update from Denise Everitt, Project Sponsor and Chief Operating Officer

As you know, we will shortly be sharing proposed team structures with affected professional services staff both centrally and in Divisions. It has been a long process to reach this point and I know how difficult this uncertainty has been for everyone. Thank you all for your patience with this – as I hope you will understand, it has been important to take this time to make sure we propose a University structure that lets us build for the future while reflecting our current financial situation.

Consultation Start Dates 

Consultation will begin for staff in affected teams in each area as follows:

  • W/C 22 June: HR: Phase 1 (Staff savings activity)
  • W/C 29 June: Engagement; International Programmes; IS (Leadership only)
  • W/C 6 July: Student Services; Outreach & Widening Participation
  • W/C 13 July: Professional services staff in Academic Divisions; Research & Innovation Services; Strategic Planning; Graduate & Researcher College; Education; Digital & Lifelong Learning
  • W/C 20 July: Finance: Phase 1

In most areas this will start with group presentations, which will booked by area shortly. Any teams in the above areas which are unaffected by the proposed changes will be also be contacted to confirm that this is the case.

Consultation in the following areas will take place when current strategic priorities are complete: Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions teams (by November 2020); HR: Phase 2 (Devolution) (by July 2021); and Finance: Phase 2 (by July 2021). Alongside this, consultation with Technical Services staff in the Divisions of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; Natural Sciences; and Arts and Humanities will take place by November 2020. Any staff in these areas that are placed at risk of redundancy as a result of O4S proposed changes will still be eligible to apply for KVSS during their own period of consultation.

Consultation Timeline 

Within 24 hours of their group presentation, affected staff will be contacted individually to confirm what the proposed structure will mean for them and their options as a result. This will be sent via email. Individual consultation will then take place for 30 days within a 60-day window before the structures are finalised.

Once all affected staff have been contacted, the proposed new structures will be shared across the University on Monday 27 July so that staff can see how wider changes will relate to their own areas.

Selection and recruitment to roles will largely take place in August and September, with new structures operational from the 1 November 2020.

Support and Advice 

This will be a very unsettling time for professional service colleagues, with some having to make difficult choices at what I know is already an especially busy and difficult time. As I’m sure everyone appreciates, we will all need to be understanding of this and recognise the additional pressure that people will be under in the coming weeks.

We will shortly share detailed information on the Organising for Success staff webpages on how consultation will work and what support will be available to staff throughout. Ahead of this, please do also make sure to discuss any concerns you have about this with your manager, HR representative or via the confidential Employee Assistance Programme at any time. You may also wish to seek advice from your elected staff or Trades Union representative.

Can I thank you all for your forbearance and continued commitment to the University over the last couple of years, and I hope that we can soon move to a new structure that will provide both professional and agile support for the University’s activities moving forward.


Denise Everitt | Chief Operating Officer

Four assorted-colour commuter bikes near a hill at daytime

Top 10 Family Activities

Spending time with your loved ones is a great way to make a lifetime of wonderful memories! Ahead of Father’s Day (Sunday 21 June), we’ve picked top 10 activities for you to do with your nearest and dearest….

1. Have a family movie night

Get the popcorn ready and settle down for a fun-filled film-fest! Decide together which movies to watch and get curled up on the sofa, it’s a great way to relax and stay connected.

2. Go on nature walks

What better way to get back to nature then with an idyllic walk with loved ones? Explore a nearby nature track and discover the wonderful wildlife as well as the surrounding scenery…

3. Get Baking

Baking or cooking is a great way to be creative together. If you’re with children, they love to squish dough with their fingers so anything from pizzas to biscuits are a perfect choice.

4. Grow a herb garden

All you need is a pot, some herbs (you can get from a supermarket) and soil and you’re on your way. Kids will love to get involved, and of course these can be added to your cooking!

5. Go for a bike ride

Getting on your bikes and going for a ride to wherever takes your fancy, is a fun way to stay active with the ones you love.

6. Make a family scrapbook

From photos to memorabilia, creating a scrapbook is a wonderful activity, that will be treasured by your loved ones for generations…

7. Have a BBQ

With the sun shining and summer in the air, now is the perfect time to stoke up the barbecue and relish in a gourmet of grilled delights.

8. Play games

Get out your old board games and enjoy a good old-fashioned games night with the family. You can’t beat a round of charades or two…

9. Indoor/outdoor picnic

Indoor or outdoor – let’s face it picnics are fun either way! Roll out your mat and dish out whatever delights are hiding in the basket…

10. Go camping – even if it’s in your own garden!

Pitch up a couple of tents and have an adventure with your kids, you’ll love sleeping under the stars.

Send in your Top 10 ideas to

Kent logo

Covid-19 update – 17 June

The University’s Covid-19 Programme Board is responsible for co-ordinating the phased return to campus for staff and students.

The Board has adopted a ‘people first’ approach, and the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is at the forefront of all the decisions we make to support a phased return to campus. We continue to work with the trade unions and staff representatives and the risk assessments for the opening of the labs have been approved by the JSNCC. The risk assessment for the wider university was considered at the 17 June meeting and includes a section on mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on BAME staff. We will also develop a ‘Covid-19 Code of Conduct for Staff and Students’ to help keep everyone in our community safe on our ‘socially-distanced’ campus.

Colleagues in Estates continue to work on re-opening the buildings on both the Canterbury and Medway campuses. This extensive programme of work remains on schedule and includes preparations to enable social distancing.  At Medway, where there are shared facilities, we are working closely with Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church Universities

We are also planning a series of video ‘walk-throughs’ of building changes to introduce staff, and returning and new students, to changes to building pathways and social distancing controls.

HR are working closely with senior managers to identify those who need to be back on campus and who are currently working from home. In deciding who really does need to come on to campus, managers are being asked to take into consideration a range of factors including the personal circumstances of individual members of staff.

Please do not come back to campus to work unless you are told to do so by your manager. We are continuing to follow Government guidelines which state that, where possible, staff should work from home.

Whether you are working on campus or from home, meetings should continue to be held via Microsoft Teams.

The move to online exams and assessment went well and the Exam Boards are now in progress. The initial framework for learning and teaching over the next academic year has been broadly supported by Senate and which is now being progressed. This framework underpins our commitment to welcome all students on to campus this autumn.

We will continue to update you over the coming months as we gradually re-open the campus. We know many of you will have questions about this process and we will be holding a series of ‘Ask the Covid-19 Programme Board’ open information sessions to enable staff to raise questions and queries across a range of areas. Further details will be available soon.

Professor Christina Hughes | Chair of the Covid-19 Programme Board

Staff Connect – new development and qualifications section

A new Staff Connect self-service module, Personal Development & Qualifications, has been launched this week.

Colleagues can now record any personal development/training or qualifications they have undertaken during, or prior to, their employment at the University. This can be used as a learning plan to record future needs for development identified and agreed with their manager, for example as part of the RPD process.

How does it work?

Within Staff Connect, you’ll find a new tab in the menu on the left of the screen – “My Development/Qualifications”. You can access the module via this tab and record any personal development activity, training and qualifications.

On entry of a new record, a notification will be sent to your line manager with a request for authorisation. Prior to authorising the request, managers are asked, where possible, to verify that the details submitted are correct; for example, by having an informal conversation with their staff member. Where a qualification is added to the system, managers will need to see proof that the qualification has been attained (eg certificate, diploma) and that evidence of the qualification has been uploaded under “My development/Qual documentation”.

This new functionality is entirely optional and there is no requirement for individual members of staff to use it. Further information on how to use is available in our Staff Connect ‘How to’ guides.

What are the benefits?

This new personal development/qualification module, combined with the appraisal and training modules already available within Staff Connect, provides a more holistic view of staff learning and development. Individual staff can complete their own records and add any events, qualifications or training they have attended outside of the central training provision, which would otherwise not be captured.

This should be a useful source of information for staff for their career development by helping them link objectives and goals set in their RPD and their education, qualifications, skills and knowledge. Managers will gain more visibility and understanding of individual and team capability and development needs, which will in turn support talent management and succession planning activities.

Phase 2 enhancements already available

Launched in May 2017, Staff Connect initially included a new integrated HR and payroll system, management reports and employee self-service. In 2018-19, phase 2 of Staff Connect introduced further functionality, enabling an automated, single point of entry for many of our HR functions. The aim was to streamline HR processes and provide employees and managers with a one-stop-shop for most HR-related activity.

As part of these developments, staff and their managers can already access the following functionalities within Staff Connect.

  • Training booking & administration: This new module of Staff Connect replaced the existing UTAS system used by Learning & Organisational Development (L&OD) for training bookings, course administration and evaluation allowing Staff to self-serve and book onto courses and events as well as access their training records.
  • Appraisal Management: The appraisal functionality enabled managers to use Staff Connect to record that RPDs have taken place and to follow up on next steps such as training requirements. The system also allows for RPD documents to be uploaded onto the system for manager and staff to access as required.
  • Recruitment System: A new recruitment system replaced the staff recruitment system i-Grasp with an up to date recruitment system called Stonefish and a new recruitment website for manages to use to recruit all salaried staff at the University.
  • Absence Management: The Absence module added to Staff Connect offered two key functionalities. The first supported the management of annual leave, the other allowed managers and HR staff to record employee absence via Staff Connect.
  • Expenses: In June 2019, the Expenses module of Staff Connect became available to all professional services, academic and research staff to submit expense claims replacing the existing paper based solution.

Find out more

Further information on Staff Connect and how to use the different modules available is available on the Staff Connect user guides:

UKC newspage

Invitation to participate in research

Researchers at the University of Kent, School of Psychology, are inviting participation in the following study:

Learning from Fiction: An expert study


Professor Heather Ferguson (, Dr Lena Wimmer (, Professor Gregory Currie, Dr Stacie Friend

Aims of the Study:

The study investigates whether and to what extent different types of leisure activities affect psychological processes. Researchers have made contrary claims in this regard, however none of them is sufficiently supported by empirical evidence. Therefore, we would like to invite you to participate in our project so that we can achieve more rigorous findings on the effects of leisure activities.

Eligibility Requirements:

All individuals are eligible if they are native English speakers and if their age is between 50 and 80 years.

What you will need to do and time commitment:

You will complete an online survey consisting of several tasks and questionnaires. It is very important for you to carry out the study in your home, as you will need to access certain objects in your home. The survey works best if done on a computer or laptop. The entire study will take approximately 90 minutes. You will receive a shopping voucher worth £10.00 as a thank you for taking part.

To receive more information about the experiment and to participate, please click on the following link

Help promote our Undergraduate Virtual Open Day

We are hosting an Undergraduate Virtual Open Day on Saturday 4 July 2020 from 10.00 – 14.00.

This will be our second virtual open day event, but our first for undergraduates. Preparations for the event are underway and those who are taking part have been informed by the recruitment team.

We hosted our postgraduate virtual event last month and saw over 800+ prospective students attend on the day, with over half from overseas. We expect a much higher number for the undergraduate event in July

It would be a great help if colleagues could promote the Undergraduate Virtual Open Day across their platforms, including school websites and social channels, as well as forwarding to friends or family members who may be interested in an undergraduate course at Kent.

You can find out more about the event and register for a place on our Open Days webpages.