This is one of a number of guidelines designed to support the implementation of the staff development policy

From time to time a department may decide to send staff to a specific external programme, which may or may not result in a formal qualification. No central funds are available to support such activities and where support is approved departments will be expected to provide the required resources. The following guideline has been developed to clarify the issues of support for such activities.

There are two ways in which a department may support an external development activity – money and time.

  • Money can be paid to support direct costs such as fees, travel and subsistence.
  • Time can be granted to free the member of staff from regular duties to undertake the activity.

Identifying the need

Managers are expected to discuss and agree staff development needs with each of their staff at least annually as part of the Performance Review Process, ensuring they are aligned to the required objectives of the Department and the University. There is a need to manage an individual’s expectation when discussing staff development needs, as the boundary between what is required by the department and an individual’s personal preference is not always clear, and may vary from individual to individual within the same team.

The majority of an individual’s staff development needs will be able to be supported through the University’s core training programme which is facilitated annually by the Learning and development team.

Completion of a Funding Request Form

The request form [docx] must be signed and approved by the employee’s line manager (time) and the Head of Department as budget holder (money). A copy of the form should be sent to the Director of Professional and Organisational Development which will enable Learning and development on behalf of the University to:

  • Monitor the demand for external training which would help to inform in-house provision.
  • Maintain a record of what is currently being supported.

It is the responsibility of the line manager to recommend to the budget holder the amount of contribution in money and/or time that will be provided to support any staff development activity that is being funded from the departmental budget.

In making any decision on whether to fund an individual's professional development, whether it be money or time, the Line Manager/Head of Department should consider the following points:-

  • Is the external training for which financial or non-financial support being requested required in order for the requestor to fulfil their current role?
  • Will the knowledge and skills derived from the training be of use to the Department and University?
  • What is the status of the requestor’s contract of employment. For example, if the individual is currently employed on a fixed term contract which is due to terminate in twelve months time and the programme they have asked to attend is a two year course the benefit to the University and Department will be limited.
  • Does the individual requesting the support sit on a Departmental or University succession plan? If yes, would this programme enable the requester to achieve the potential the University believes they have?
  • Does your department have the budget to fund the programme for this year and any required subsequent years?
  • The individual is of course free to use their holiday as they choose - any arrangements beyond this for time off need to be made taking into consideration how others are supported in their requests for flexible working
  • The precedent set for both the University and the Department by supporting this request

Fee repayment requirement

Where the fees for an individual’s external programme or course to be paid for by the University exceeds £750, the individual members of staff may be required to pay back a proportion of the fees if they leave the employment of the University within a specified period of completion, according to the following schedule:

Leaving UoY employment Fees Pay-Back
Before completion of qualification 100%
Within 1 year of completion 50%
Between 1 and 2 years of completion 25%
More than 2 years after completion 0%

Whilst it is unusual for staff to embark on a course and then to withdraw immediately or not to make any attempt to progress, this can happen and, depending on the situation, the University reserves the right to request staff to repay the fees already incurred. Each case will be reviewed individually.

Day release

Where a course is available in the evening, the normal expectation is that day release will not be allowed; however, day release is always at the discretion of the department. Where day release is agreed it may be without loss of pay, with loss of pay, subject to making up lost time, by using annual holiday, flexitime or a combination of all or any of these. It is normally expected that paid time off to sit exams will be granted by the department.

Study leave

Study is a matter of discussion and agreement between the individual and their manager. Staff seeking study leave should discuss their appropriate requirement with their manager prior to the start of the programme.

Staff having difficulties/re-sits

Occasionally there is a case which gives cause for concern, for example if the course is not suitable, or the individual’s work or attendance is unsatisfactory. Managers are asked to keep this under review and if necessary approach the provider to obtain a progress report. Payments incurred for any re-sits cannot be claimed for.


Feedback is required on the learning and outcome of any funded development activity including sharing learning with colleagues to get the maximum value from the activity. Staff who benefit from funding might be asked to write an evaluation of the activity itself.