1. Policy

The purpose of the Making the Difference (MTD) Recognition Scheme is to provide staff (individuals or teams) with a tangible reward for outstanding achievement or contribution of a one-off or short-term nature. For full details read our policy.

2. Is a MTD Scheme obligatory or not?

A department does not have to introduce an MTD scheme although they are encouraged to do so since it offers a mechanism for rewarding or recognising one-off achievements. Setting up an MTD scheme is straightforward and can be introduced quickly by following a few simple guidelines described below in section 9 - How to set up an MTD Scheme.

3. Definition of 'department'

The term 'department' also covers support directorates (e.g. Directorate of Estates & Campus Services, Finance, Student and Academic Services, etc). Small or emerging departments or centres may wish to consider joining with a partner department to improve their scheme’s viability.

4. Budgeting guidelines

There is no central funding for this scheme so departments should build the cost of an MTD scheme into their departmental staffing budget.

An award can be for any amount of up to £250 per individual. The value of team awards may also be for any amount up to £250 per individual.

An estimate of the total annual amount and mix of awards you wish to make in the next financial year should be included in the policy and procedure document you need to agree and publish for your department and on the MTD Recognition Scheme Approval Request Form to be completed and sent to the Rewards Team in HR.

Where a department feels that its staff have contributed to a particularly successful year, this can be recognised by varying the budgeted amounts each year.

5. Amount of individual awards

The policy agreed as part of the overall Framework Agreement stated a maximum amount of £250 per individual award but did not specify amounts for team awards. The Rewards Team regularly reviews the contribution-related pay schemes (seeking input from departments) to ensure that the schemes are able to deliver meaningful reward and recognition as intended.

7. Eligibility for those receiving a Temporary Responsibility Allowance (TRA)

A Temporary Responsibility Allowance (TRA) recognises additional responsibilities that the department requests an individual to carry out for a specified period of time. Where an individual is in receipt of a TRA, the MTD award is not applicable for the same contribution but may be awarded for a separate and different contribution. The MTD award could, however, be considered as an alternative mechanism for recognising that additional contribution when the role holder is not in receipt of a TRA.

8. MTD team awards and staff on extended leave

Staff on extended leave (sickness, disability, maternity, etc.) are not eligible for individual MTD awards but may have an entitlement if an award is made to their team. The individual should only receive the award if present at some point during the period when the outstanding team achievement or contribution took place.

9. How to set up a scheme

The attached design template will guide you through the decisions you need to make to set up your own departmental scheme.

It is suggested that you identify someone within the department to take a lead on setting up the scheme. This person could become the Scheme Administrator (see Section 14 - Administration and monitoring of the MTD scheme).

An approach that has worked for many departments is to request volunteers from different sections of the department to help design the scheme using the template provided (see above). This team could then become the ongoing MTD panel for the department.

Typical design decisions to be made include the criteria for awarding an MTD payment and the annual budget, which will then inform the frequency and number of individual and team awards available.

10. Approval of the MTD scheme

The department head should agree and sign off the detailed scheme design and budget, the details of which should be incorporated into the department/directorate’s own Making the Difference Scheme policy - (see model policy template).

This policy document and the MTD Recognition Scheme Approval Request Form should be sent to the Rewards Team in HR ( ) who perform a quick review to ensure that the proposed scheme follows the centrally agreed policy and procedures. Approval is normally a formality so long as the guidelines have been followed.

11. Communication of the MTD scheme

Once your scheme has been approved by the Rewards Team, you should publish the scheme details and ensure that all employees within the department are aware of the scheme and know how they are able to nominate others or be nominated themselves. All relevant timescales should also be publicised. If you are a support directorate, you may wish to seek nominations from customers.

12. Communication of outcomes

The outcomes of all nominations are to be communicated, in writing, to the nominee, nominator, line manager/section head by the MTD Panel (or equivalent). It is suggested that the department consider publicly recognising successful nominations and the reason for the award.

A copy of the letter should be sent to HR Services for inclusion in the individual's personal file.

13. Payment of awards

All awards are to be paid through the University’s payroll and are subject to normal PAYE deductions. The payment instruction form [xlsx] should be used to request payments and should be sent to the HR Rewards Team ( who will approve the payment request and forward it to Payroll for payment.

14. Administration and monitoring of the MTD scheme

It is suggested that departments appoint a Scheme Administrator to coordinate and administer the scheme. The Scheme Administrator should also be able to provide a report, upon request, to the Rewards Team on the total number of nominations per year together with a breakdown of success rates. This will be used for equality monitoring.

15. Scheme documentation

  • Design Template – can be used to take you through the key design decisions needed to establish your own scheme
  • MTD Model Policy template – this document should be used to incorporate your own departmental details into the overall MTD policy and procedures
  • MTD Scheme Approval Request Form – to be completed and sent to the Rewards Team within HR for approval, together with a copy of your MTD policy document
  • Nomination Form – to be used by staff within the department for MTD nominations
  • Nomination reporting form [xls] – to be used within the department for recording and monitoring all MTD nominations (whether successful or not). This information also needs to be sent annually to the Rewards team for central monitoring of the scheme
  • Payment instruction form [xlsx] – all successful nominations will result in a payment subject to normal PAYE deductions – all payments to be made through the University’s payroll but via the Rewards team

Document control

  • Last reviewed: 31 August 2006