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 Manager

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.

Non-student hourly paid workers (through HR)

These are people who generally do not have a studying affiliation to the University, but would like to work on a flexible 'as and when basis', should suitable work be available. These hourly paid workers are engaged through the HR Administrator (Operations) in the Department of Human Resources.

Student hourly paid workers (through Joblink)

All student hourly paid workers paid on the hourly paid worker payscale are engaged through Joblink, which is a service provided for our student based in the Students Union.

Joblink is a service provided by the Students Union that enables students to gain work experience, whilst earning money to further support them during their studies.

Further information on hourly paid workers (Student-Joblink) is available from the Joblink website.

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

If an individual’s status has been classified under the tax / HMRC rules as that of a non-employee, the individual can be contracted through a Contract for Services, which is produced by Purchasing Services.

The University is required to ‘test’ employment status by applying set questions to the circumstances of the engagement. While no single test exists, there are a number of tried and tested indicators derived from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regulations and guidance and from employment case law.

Changes to HMRC assessment

HMRC have recently changed their advice from 6 April 2017 in terms of the assessment process and introduced a new tax status checking service. The University is reviewing its practice in the light of these changes. This is likely to involve moving away from the NESA form below, making changes to the NESA Web App and moving to using the HMRC checking service.

These employment tests have been incorporated into the NESA Form.


While the changes are reviewed, Departments may continue to complete NESA Form and submit it to Human Resources (HR) for secondary assessment and authorisation. Once authorised HR will forward the NESA Form to Purchasing Services, who, where appropriate, produce a contract for services and set up the individual as a supplier in the Agresso finance system.

All contracts for services 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 WebApp 

The University has been developing a WebApp to replace the NESA Form. 

The departments within the Faculty of Engineering & Design are continuing to pilot the Web App.

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.