The VC's recent email and the University Finance webinar explained the need for the University to take action in response to challenging economic circumstances including the rapid rise of inflation. Targeted Voluntary Severance was one of several measures announced.

Having completed the analysis of our PS workforce in the context of savings, we are able to limit the Voluntary Severance (VS) and Voluntary Severance with Early Retirement (VSER) schemes to a very small cohort of colleagues within central professional services staff, whose substantive role is grade 8 and above.

The rationale for this is that the central PS budget has the greatest savings to deliver (due in part to the estates and energy cost pressures); and analysis of our workforce data has shown that grade 8 and above is the area where we have seen more growth in recent years.

Colleagues eligible to apply will have received an email with a link to a VS/VSER Google site with dedicated information. More information and a link to the webinar recording can be found on the taking action: cost savings measure web page.

More on why PS colleagues G8 and above:

The following information adds further detail behind the identified cohort of colleagues eligible for the VS/VSER packages

We've avoided compulsory redundancy programs, instead using targeted voluntary severance and only when and where we need to:

We have been able to limit the Voluntary Severance (VS) and Voluntary Severance with Early Retirement (VSER) schemes to a very small cohort of colleagues. This will help us manage and minimise the impact of any reduction in posts.

VS is only open to senior colleagues / future planning:

Having completed the analysis of our professional support (PS) workforce in the context of making these savings, we have seen more growth in recent years of Grade 8 and above, which has added the capacity we have needed to lead the planning and implementation of our key University initiatives and ambitions. Looking ahead, we recognise we need to look at the size and shape of central PS to retain sufficient skills, experience and delivery capacity across PS teams, to support ongoing priorities. We have identified that we are able to achieve some savings through VS to reduce our leadership capacity closer to previous levels, whilst protecting our 'delivery capacity' at Grades 7 and below. This is why the VS scheme is targeted just at this level. We absolutely value the contribution of every single member of this leadership group over recent years - it is just that planning ahead, we believe that we can reduce capacity at this level over the coming period as part of our programme of savings.

Full evaluation of impact:

We know there are concerns over the impact of losing colleagues through vacancy management or voluntary severance packages. For each VS application, there will be a full evaluation of any potential impact on the wellbeing and workload of remaining colleagues, and the ability of the service to support the critical activities of the University. Heads of PS are actively engaged in service prioritisation discussions with key stakeholders to ensure that the impact of working with a reduced budget envelope are fully understood and planned for.

Will the scheme expand to other grades?:

There is no plan at the moment to expand the scheme beyond the current cohort, as we estimate we will be able to make the necessary VS savings through this group alone. However, we cannot rule out that there may be future VS/VSER opportunities for other cohorts of colleagues should we find ourselves in a position where we need to make further savings.