Human Resources


Email us with any questions about the scheme.

How to apply

Your Head of Department will circulate details of your faculty/department's scheme to you.

RE Nomination Form

Recognising Excellence Scheme

1. What is the scheme?

1.1 Recognising Excellence awards are intended to recognise and reward staff in Grades 1 to 9 and from any job family who have demonstrated exceptional performance.  This exceptional performance may have been on a one-off or short-term basis, or at a consistent level throughout the scheme year (August to July). The scheme provides staff, managers and colleagues with the opportunity to nominate an individual or a team for an award. Staff may also nominate themselves for an award.

1.2 A Recognising Excellence award takes the form of a one-off, non-consolidated payment of £750 per person (pro rata for part time staff and new starters).

1.3 The University also recognises and values outstanding contribution of a sustained nature for staff at or above the non-discretionary maximum of the grade through the Outstanding Contribution Award scheme.

2. Reasons for the scheme

2.1 To provide staff with a tangible reward for an outstanding contribution.
2.2 To assist progress towards achieving the objectives of the University by motivating staff to achieve excellence.
2.3 To reinforce the values of the University by publicly acknowledging achievements which embody those values.
2.4 This scheme is not intended to replace the process of promotion (for academic, research and teaching staff) or of job evaluation and grading review (for staff in Grades 1 to 9). In considering the role and/or the contribution of a member of staff, individuals or their managers should consider promotion or role review in the light of the guidance given for those processes.

3. Principles of the scheme

3.1 The scheme is intended to reward those who can demonstrate outstanding achievement or excellence which is of such a high standard that it has made a difference to students, customers, colleagues, the department or the University as a whole.
3.2 The exceptional contribution may have been made within the normal role of the individual, but at a level demonstrably greater than would normally be expected.  It may also have been made through taking on short-term responsibilities or tasks outside the individual’s normal role. Where an individual has taken on the full duties of another member of staff at a higher grade for a period of 1 month or longer, this contribution should be recognised through an acting-up allowance.  Where the individual takes on responsibilities outside the role that are of a long-term nature then discussions should take place with their manager about whether the changed duties are sufficient to warrant submitting for promotion or role review.
3.3 The review/qualifying year or period for the purposes of this scheme is 1 August to 31 July.
3.4 Each department will administer the scheme so it can reward excellence in a tangible manner. Departments should ensure that nominations are considered on an annual basis.
3.5 Departments may choose to offer both individual and team awards.  Details should be communicated to staff so that they are aware of the skills or behaviours that are considered particularly worthy of reward.
3.6 Departments should develop local, appropriate decision-making processes to administer the scheme. All processes must demonstrate consistency, fairness and transparency in order to retain the confidence of staff.  A minimum of two people should be involved in decision-making for every case.
3.7 Document for a “model” scheme will be made available to all departments.  Once a scheme has been agreed within a department, written details should be forwarded to the Department of Human Resources for agreement.  Schemes which are significantly different from the “model” scheme will require approval by the Contribution Pay Review Group.
3.8 The scheme should operate with equality of access across job families and Grades 1 to 9, and with broad equality of outcomes as one of its aims.
3.9 Departments will be required to provide award statistics for central monitoring of the scheme to ensure that awards made reflect the workforce of the University regarding gender, ethnicity and other protected characteristics.
3.10 One-off payments are not contractual benefits, and the University reserves the right to modify or withdraw the scheme.

4. Eligibility

4.1 All staff with at least 6 months’ service in the current qualifying year are eligible to be nominated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4.2 Staff have taken part in an SDPR or SDPR+ for the previous year (August to July).
4.3 Staff are eligible to be nominated either individually or as teams.  For team nominations the group of staff must be generally recognised as such by the department, and all members of the team must have performed at an exceptional level.
4.4 An individual who is in receipt of an acting-up allowance cannot be nominated for a Recognising Excellence award for the same contribution.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4.5 Staff who are subject to any form of performance monitoring under the Capability Procedure or Sickness Absence policy, or who have received a disciplinary warning during or subsequent to the review period will not be eligible for an award.
4.6 Staff who have had a period of absence (through sickness, etc.) are eligible for the scheme as are individuals who are on pay protection arrangements.
4.7 In the case of a team award, it is possible to nominate a team member with less than 6 months’ service although supporting documentation that confirms a similar level of contribution or achievement as the other team members would need to be submitted
4.8 Where individuals have been submitted for an award on more than one occasion, and particularly where they have been successful more than once, Heads of Department may consider a nomination through the Outstanding Contribution Award scheme (subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria).

5. Nomination process

5.1 All members of staff should have an agreed, up-to-date job description that clarifies the expectations of their role. It is expected that staff will have, in addition, specific objectives agreed at Staff Development and Performance Review and/or a person specification that identifies the competencies required for their job. These documents are useful reference points for the identification of outstanding contribution and managers should ensure that these documents are updated ideally on an annual basis.
5.2 Heads of Department/Line Managers have a responsibility to monitor the contribution of all their staff and respond accordingly. As part of the monitoring process managers should identify cases where an exceptional contribution has been made. Nomination for an award may be considered appropriate at that point.
5.3 Individuals or teams may be nominated for an award by their Head of Department, line manager or a colleague or they may nominate themselves.
5.4 Nomination forms should be directed to a central point in the department to be checked to ensure all necessary information has been included.
5.5 Departments will be allocated a ring-fenced budget for this scheme which may be used only to fund Recognising Excellence awards.  Any unspent balance on this budget at the end of the financial year will not be carried forward to the following year.  Exceptionally, if a department identifies a high number of members of staff in one year who have made an excellent contribution within the terms of the scheme, the Rewarding Excellence budget may be supplemented from the departmental non-pay budget.  However, this is not expected to be a regular occurrence. Practically, departments may identify a maximum number of awards to be made within a year and prioritise applications with that limit in mind. Alternatively, they may consider each case on its merits and make awards as appropriate.

6. Monitoring process

6.1 Departments must provide an annual return in August to the Department of Human Resources of nominations and awards made over the last financial year.
6.2 The Department of Human Resources will provide the Contribution Pay Review Group with annual data on the operation of the scheme. The Review Group will look for evidence that outcomes are broadly equal over time for job families, grade levels, gender, ethnicity, disability, age and other relevant categories of staff.
6.3 Departments should retain all records associated with the scheme for a 3 year period.  The Contribution Pay Review Group or its nominee/s may wish to review records in further detail if unacceptable patterns of award become apparent.
6.4 The operation of the scheme will be reviewed every 3 years to ensure it continues to meet its stated purpose in the most appropriate way.

Human Resources
September 2016