Author Archives: Tim Davies


Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme: Application deadline

Following the extension to the scheme due to the disruption caused by Covid-19, the current window for KVSS applications will close on 24 May.

This additional window of the scheme was introduced in light of the University’s financial situation and the need to make significant savings in staffing costs this year. It is open to specific groups of staff, including those in areas where we know that savings will need to be made. Full details, including information on how to apply, are available on the HR staff webpages.

There will be a final window of KVSS only for those staff who are formally put at risk of redundancy as a result of changes under Organising for Success. Unless you are formally put at risk of redundancy under Organising for Success then the 24 May deadline will be the final opportunity to apply. If we are in a position where we need to make further staff savings next year, we will unfortunately not be able to provide terms as generous as KVSS.

All staff interested in applying 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 Health staff webpages.

Find out more about the Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme

Financial Sustainability and Improvement: Procurement update

As part of the wider programme of work across the University to ensure our future financial sustainability, a task force reporting to the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee has been looking into ways to reduce the cost of our day-to-day activities. The group is led by our Procurement Team, with members from JSNCC and both central and Divisional finance staffwith their work key to identifying non-pay savings required this year.  

number of changes to how the University procures its goods and services have already been put in place as a result of this, helping ensure that expenditure is limited to essential activity onlyWith immediate effect: 

External Providers can now only be used when there is no viable internal alternativemeaning that (for example) all refreshments must be ordered through Kent Hospitality and all printing requirements through the Design and Print Centre. If cheaper alternatives are found externally, this should be shared with the relevant internal department in case they can review and improve their offering.  

Purchasing Cards will now have a transaction limit of £500, with Procurement working to reduce the total number currently in use across the University. 

Travel should currently only be booked if it directly relates to the successful recruitment of students and meets wider government Covid-19 restrictions. Travel budgets will also be reduced as a result of latest government advice, with restrictions lifted when appropriate. 

Unneeded suppliers whose services are no longer required as a result of Covid-19 restrictions have been written to by Procurement to suspend their services for the duration of major changes such as the closure of campus. If any supplier insists on being paid while not providing services, refer all correspondence to the Procurement Team. 

More widely, the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee is working closely with budget holders to ensure that all departments contribute to University-wide efforts to identify savings. This includes limiting any end-of-year spend to essential activity only, ensuring as much resource as possible can be put towards core University work.  

Read more on the recent changes to procuring goods and services at Kent 

Find out more about the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee. 

Organising for Success: Project update

Organising for Success brings together work that will ensure we are equipped to deliver our Kent 2025 strategyincluding launching new academic divisions and ensuring our professional services are shaped around the needs of our students

Our six new Academic Divisions will be ‘live’ from 1 August 2020, with senior leadership teams appointed and budgets confirmed. New teams will then mainly be in place by September and will be fully operational by the start of November at the latest. 

Academic Divisions 

We will shortly begin recruiting to the core academic leadership roles within each Division, which were recently discussed at Senate. These key roles will be part of each Division’s Senior Management team, helping develop strategy in areas such as education, research and postgraduate study. 

Alongside this, work is ongoing to confirm framework agreements between Divisions and central professional services, with divisional Directors of Operations and Heads of Profession working closely to agree where resource and responsibility will best sit in the new structure. 

Central professional services 

Recruitment is ongoing to outstanding senior leadership positions in central professional services, with appointments regularly updated on the organisation chart on the HR website.

We are also currently working with Learning & Organisational Development on a second series of engagement events for managers following the ‘Town Halls’ earlier in the year, with invites to follow in the coming weeks. These will again be focussed on making sure managers have the information they need to support their teams in the coming months, including project updates and HR information. 

Transition planning 

A dedicated project team is now working to bring together the different aspects of transition activity already underway as we move to the new divisional structures, including plans for key areas such as appealssystems and support for students at the start of next year. More information on this will follow shortly, including a detailed timeline showing how this will be managed in the interim period before Divisions are fully operational. 

For latest updates, see the Organising for Success staff webpages 

Financial Sustainability and Improvement: Update

The Vice-Chancellor’s February blog outlining the work required to get the University back on a financially sustainable footing, helping ensure we continue to be a great place to work, teach, research and study.  

Since then, the Financial Sustainability and Improvement programme has been approved by Council, with a focus on carefully reducing costs, specifically targeting increase in income in areas that make sense and making the right strategic decisions.  

This work is being coordinated by our Financial Improvement Director Peter Pentecost, who has been employed by the University specifically to develop this and to support its implementation. Peter reports to the Vice-Chancellor, supporting colleagues across the organisation to make sure the plans in the programme are delivered on time and that project milestones are achieved. 

The four main strands of activity to deliver the programme have now been established, with Executive Group leads in each area focussing on how to identify savings and income opportunities with sufficient pace without destabilising our strong teaching and research ethos. There is more information on the different areas of work on our new Financial Sustainability staff webpages, with updates to follow in the coming weeks on recent progress with non-pay savings led by the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee, and new analysis undertaken for the University on student data trends to support our Academic Sustainability and Performance activity. 

Find out more about our Financial Sustainability and Improvement work. Further information, including FAQs, will be available on these pages shortly. 

Organising for Success: Project Updates

Following Tuesday’s email on changes to Organising for Success, we are pleased to confirm all final senior leadership appointments within academic divisions. Kerry Barber will be Director of Operations for the Division of Human and Social Sciences, working with Professor David Wilkinson as Director of Division. Amanda Ollier will be Director of Operations for the updated Division of Arts and Humanities, working with Professor Shane Weller and Professor Simon Kirchin as co-Directors.

This completes all senior leadership appointments within academic divisions, with the full list of divisions and their leadership now on the Organising for Success website.

A number of other areas of the site have also been updated to cover the recent changes, including:

  • Project Timeline: With details of the next steps needed to make changes in professional service areas and launch new divisions by no later than 1 November
  • FAQs: Including more information on the impact of Covid-19, along with explanation of some of the key stages on the timeline such as the ‘staff mapping’ process

Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme – Extended Deadline

In light of the disruption caused by Covid-19 and the measures taken to control its spread, the University has agreed to extend the deadline for applications for the current window of KVSS from 22 April to 24 May. This is to ensure that everyone eligible is able to apply and that no-one misses the opportunity. All other dates for the scheme remain as previously advertised and you can find full details of the scheme here.

More widely, we are continuing to review all projects currently underway to establish what the impact of Covid-19 will be and what we may need to pause or adapt in light of our new circumstances. A full update on what this will mean for Organising for Success will follow next week.


Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme – Phase 2

In light of the University’s financial situation and the need to make significant savings in our staffing costs this yearwe will be reopening the Kent Voluntary Severance Scheme from 9 March – 24 April.  

This Phase Two of the scheme will only be open to specific groups of staff, including those in areas where we know that savings will need to be made. The full Scheme details are available on the HR website, including more detailed information and FAQs. Any staff put at risk of redundancy as a result of subsequent changes under Organising for Success in June 2020 will have a further opportunity to apply for KVSS at that stage. 

We recently held a series of briefing sessions with managers so that they can answer any questions you may have regarding the Scheme. There will also be a series of drop-in sessions for staff where you will be able to discuss this directly with an HR representative – these are divided into hourly slots, and you can just turn up to whichever one suits you: 

  • Tuesday 10 March – 14.00, 15.00, and 16.00 in Keynes Seminar Room 2
  • Thursday 12 March – 12.00, 13.00 and 14.00 in Keynes Seminar Room 1 
  • Wednesday 18 March – 14.00, 15.00 and 16.00 in Grimond Seminar Room 1
  • Friday 20 March – 10.30, 11.30 and 12.30 in Kennedy Seminar Room 9
  • Tuesday 24 March – 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30 in Darwin Seminar Room 14
  • Thursday 26 March – 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00 in Keynes Seminar Room 20
  • Wednesday 1 April – 11.00, 12.00 and 13.00, venue TBC
  • Friday 3 April – 10.00, 11.00 and 12.00, venue TBC

More details on both the scheme and support available to staff will follow in further communications ahead of the Scheme opening on Monday. 

Organising for Success – Project Update

Organising for Success brings together work that will empower staff to transform our students lives, helping us meet our Kent 2025 strategy and ensure a future we can be proud of 

As preparations to launch new divisions in September take shape, a number of key proposals will go to the 11 March meeting of Senate – these can be read via the links below, with more information to follow after the meeting itself. 

Other updates across the project: 

Strand 1- Executive Leadership 

Consultation has now finished on the new leadership structure for central professional services, with final changes shared with affected staff shortly. These will also be shared more widely later in the month ahead of the new structure coming into effect in April. 

A well-attended series of ‘Town Hall’ briefing sessions for managers led by Learning & Organisational Development took place throughout February, with personal development programmes continuing for new members of Executive Group as they take ownership of their areas.  

Strand 2 – Establishing academic divisions 

Outlines of academic leadership roles are being presented to Senate for discussion, with the outcomes then shared more broadly across divisions ahead of expressions of interest to key leadership roles.  

Work is also ongoing on division branding and preparation for launch activity ahead of September. 

Strand 3 / 4 – Divisional operations and professional services design 

Follow-up workshops are taking place between Directors of Operations and central professional service leads to support the development of proposed team structures ahead of these being shared with affected staff in June 2020. 

Workshops are also ongoing to map key processes in order to identify and manage potential risk as we transition into the new structure. In doing this, we will also look to identify any areas of improvement we could implement in the short term to help with activity over the summer such as admissions and clearing. 

Strand 5 – Standing down Faculties 

Considerable progress continues, including drafts prepared for a number of key regulations and Codes of Practice to reflect the move from faculties to divisions. These will be refined as necessary following the outcome of Senate.

Latest updates are on the Organising for Success website 

Organising for Success: Project update

Organising for Success brings together work that will empower staff to transform our students lives, helping us meet our Kent 2025 strategy and ensure a future we can be proud of.

As part of this, we are currently consulting with affected staff on a proposed new central professional services leadership structure. During the consultation period, we will both agree the final leadership structure and discuss with individual affected staff what this will mean for their roles. Teams affected at this stage have been directly contacted by their relevant Executive Group member – the proposed University-wide leadership structure is also now available for information on the HR website. The final confirmed structure will be shared once consultation is complete.

Other updates across the project:

Directors of Operations

We are delighted to announce that Amanda Ollier has been appointed as Director of Operations for the Division of Arts, Culture and Design – see the Transitional Arrangements section of the website for more information.

Strand 3 / 4 – Divisional operations and professional services design

These two areas of work have now ‘formally’ come together, to reflect the amount of overlap between them. There is more information on the Implementation section of the website. Alongside this:

– Workshops are ongoing between Directors of Operations and central professional service leads to begin establishing where accountability and resource should sit in the new structure

– Workshops will also start shortly to begin mapping processes in key areas so we can agree how they could be reflected – and simplified wherever possible – when divisions launch in September. The Project Management Office (formerly known as BIPU) will contact relevant professional service leads shortly to arrange these, and assistance with providing initial details on any existing processes in advance would be greatly appreciated

Strand 5 – Standing down Faculties

Considerable progress has also been made to transfer essential activity currently taking place within Faculties to divisions. Recent highlights include:

– Protocols agreed for managing the final faculty committees, which will take place this summer – IS are also working on ensuring key website information is retained and transferred appropriately

– A vision for Quality Assurance in the new structure has been drawn up and will go to Senate in March, ensuring we have a have common framework and a consistent approach

– A team drawn from the Faculty Support Office, QA, the Graduate School, Student Services and Kent Union are also beginning to rewrite our codes of practice and regulations, with support from an external adviser to ensure everything is aligned in our new organisational structures

For latest information on Organising for Success, see the Updates section of the website. There is also supporting information under Frequently Asked Questions

Organising for Success: Project update

Organising for Success brings together work that will empower staff to transform our students lives, helping us meet our Kent 2025 strategy and ensure a future we can be proud of.

Following changes to Executive Group and appointments to key senior roles, next week (w/c 20 January) we will begin consulting with senior leaders in central professional service directorates on a revised leadership structure to support the new divisions. We have recently updated the FAQs section of the website to cover feedback around this following our update in December.

Other activity underway across the project includes:

Professional Service / Division Workshops

We are currently organising a series of workshops with senior central professional service managers and our new Directors of Operations, which will begin the process of establishing a new operating model for divisions and professional services, along with defining the relationship between the two. These ‘kick off’ workshops will incorporate the work of Strand 3 and Strand 4 of Organising for Success, focusing on which activities and decisions fall where, along with capturing the processes we need to consider ahead of launching our new academic divisions.

Alongside this, we are currently making changes to the governance structure of the project to reflect the overlap between the two strands and recent staff changes, which will be shared more widely once they have been agreed with the Oversight Group.

Directors of Operations

The latest allocation of Directors of Operations to academic divisions is as follows:

Division of Humanities: Kerry Barber

Division of Natural Sciences: James Redmond

Kent Business School: Paul Verrion

Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences: John Crook

Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice: Rachel MacPhee

Recruitment to the remaining posts is ongoing. There is more information on the Transitional Arrangements section of the Organising for Success website.

‘Town Hall’ events for managers

We will shortly be holding a series of ‘Town Hall’ meetings for managers on the changes underway at the University through both Organising for Success and our wider financial recovery plans. These are designed to give those with significant line-management responsibilities a full understanding of the planned changes and their context, along with tips and resources to help with communicating with their teams. Learning and Organisational Development will be coordinating the sessions with support from the Organising for Success project team and will be communicating the details shortly.