Human Resources

Engaging people for work

Deciding the most appropriate means of contracting people can be complex. The following guidance sets out the different ways to engage people for working at the University.

1. Regular/Substantive contracts

Open Ended/Permanent Contract

This should be the most frequently used form of University contract. All such full-time and part-time appointments carry full employment rights with no fixed end date. University recruitment and selection procedures must be used when engaging under such a contract. The minimum duration of employment will normally be 3 months.

Fixed-Term Contract

There are occasions when employment on a fixed-term basis may be appropriate. Possible reasons for a fixed-term contract may include: Funding, Maternity Cover, Sickness Absence, Teaching buyout/Cover and Sabbaticals.

Where there is a continuing need to fill the role after the end of the fixed term contract, for instance if a substantive member of staff who is on maternity leave or long term sickness absence does not return, please consult your HR Business Partner

Please note, that if an individual is engaged on a fixed-term basis on a successive basis for 4 or more years, the position becomes Open-Ended/Permanent.

2. Variable & Part-Time working in Education & Research

Within Higher Education there are specific provisions made for individuals working in teaching or research activities as detailed below:

Part-Time & Variable Hours e.g. Teaching Fellows

These support the academic staff and contribute significantly to the teaching activities across the university by providing some of the following input:

  • Specialist professional contribution, which is not available from existing academic staff
  • Teaching cover for lecturers undertaking research
  • Teaching input where the breadth of the full academic role is not required and a permanent contract is not appropriate; e.g. summer schools
  • Temporary cover for long-term sickness, sabbaticals, etc
  • Receive a Schedule of Assignment which confirms the mutuality of obligation between the individual and the University for an agreed assignment.

Further Information on Part-Time & Variable Hour Teaching Fellows

3. Hourly paid workers

Appropriate use of hourly paid workers

It is important that individuals are only engaged on a hourly paid contract basis where it is appropriate to do so. It is the responsibility of all managers in the University to ensure that any hourly paid workers who are engaged in their areas are only done so appropriately and on an appropriate basis.

Any individual in the University wishing to engage an hourly paid worker must follow the guidance on the use of hourly paid workers.

Guidelines are available for students who are providing support on a consultancy assignment.

Further information on hourly paid workers

4. External Examiners

The University attaches great importance to peer review from External Examiners for both Taught and Research activities.

5. Contract for Services - Non-Employment Status (NESA)

You may be able to engage an individual as a contractor – subject to the status of the engagement under the tax / Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules. This actioned through a Contract for Services, which is managed through Purchasing Services.

The University is required to ‘test’ employment status by applying a number of set questions to the circumstances of the engagement before any work is undertaken.

Changes to the HMRC assessment process

HMRC introduced changes in this from 6 April 2017. The changes apply to the regulations around IR35 – which relate to making payments through intermediaries – and to HMRC’s own online employment status assessment system - the Employment Status System (ESS) Tool and how this is used.

The University has reviewed its practice in the light of these changes. As a result changes have already been made behind the scenes and from 17th April 2018 a new Non-Employment Status Assessment (NESA) process using templates and a Web Application (see below) will come into effect - replacing the NESA form - which all those engaging contractors will be required to follow.

NESA Form – up to 16th April 2018

Departments may continue to complete the NESA Form and submit it to your HR Business Partner in Human Resources (HR) for secondary assessment and authorisation up to 16th April 2018. Extra checks are being made to these forms in HR and you may be asked for further information as a result of these. Please note:

  • If authorised as non-employment, HR will forward the NESA Form to Purchasing Services, who will, where appropriate, produce a Contract for Service and set up the individual as a supplier in the Agresso finance system.
  • All Contracts for Service must be produced in advance of the work being carried out to allow Purchasing Services to set the supplier up.
  • This is in accordance with the University Purchasing Policy and if it is not followed the supplier may not carry out work for the University and therein no payments to suppliers will be made.
  • Any further engagements - beyond the original contract for services - will need to follow the same process.

NESA Templates & WebApp – from 17th April 2018

A new NESA process will come into effect which involves using a template (for common contractor roles) or the HMRC’s Employment Status System tool. The templates have been assessed by the NESA Project team (from HR & Purchasing) using the HMRC’s Employment Status System (ESS) Tool for a wide range of potential contractor roles.

You will then load the selected template and input the details of the engagement proposed for a contractor onto a specially designed NESA Web App. This will then confirm what you need to do next to set up the relevant working arrangements.

Training in using the new system will commence from 19th March 2018 and emails are sent about this. If you have not received an email about this please contact Rachel Armstrong who will be able to provide more details.

6. Agency workers

The Management Guidance on the appointment of agency workers should be read prior to any engagement of agency workers. The Management Guidance and further information on the process is available via the Purchasing Services website.