Guidance for Staff in Academic Departments on the University's Time Allocation Requirements for 2006/07
- General Principles
a) The principles underlying the University's collection of time allocation data remain unchanged. They are that:
- Methodology and Major Changes
(i) None of the data collected centrally will be used for any personnel-related activities, such as promotions, salary increases, early retirements etc.
(ii) Only anonymous data returns will be analysed (it is not anticipated that there will be any need for the centre to be furnished with individual identifications, although departments will need to hold a record of who has submitted returns for 'chasing' and verification purposes - see section 3(b) below).
a) The methodology used in 2006-07 is almost identical to that employed in the last Time Allocation Exercise (TAE) in 2003/04. The most significant change is in response to the new national rules governing the assignment of time spent supervising post graduate research (PGR), which now require us to have a separate category for PGR supervision within 'Research'. There have also been some minor changes to the descriptions of activities to be included in each of the TRAC categories, mainly in response to queries raised by internal respondents in the last TAE. For these reasons it is essential that staff do not use Time Allocation sheets or guidance notes from previous exercises.
b) During 2006-07, the University will ask ALL staff (paid wholly or partially from general funds) within academic departments to provide three retrospective analyses of how their time was spent during the year. These analyses are commonly called Time Allocation sheets. Taken together the three analyses will cover the whole year as each will cover a four-month period as follows:
Period 1: 1 August 2006 - 30 November 2006
Period 2: 1 December 2006 - 31 March 2007
Period 3: 1 April 2007 - 31 July 2007
c) The 'transparent approach to costing' (TRAC) is now the standard costing approach used by higher education institutions in the UK . Time Allocation plays a central role in TRAC. It is used in the calculation of the full economic cost (fEC) of research projects and directly affects the price the University can submit for grants funded by the Research Councils and Other Government Departments. It also informs the price set for projects funded by other research sponsors. In addition, TRAC data, including Time Allocation, is now being considered by the HEFCE to inform the funding of teaching. Therefore, it is important that the data provided by all staff is as accurate and robust as possible.
- The Responsibilities of Heads of Departments
a) Heads of Department remain responsible for determining the methodology for data collection to be employed within their department. However, the method chosen must be compatible with the guidance issued by the national Joint Costing and Pricing Steering Group and must enable the summary return issued by the Vice-Chancellor's Office to be completed accurately. It should be noted that workload models do not meet the TRAC requirements unless they are robust, comprehensive and reflect reality. Heads of Department should also note that individual members of staff should complete their own Time Allocation sheets and that Time Allocation sheets should not be completed on behalf of staff or altered by the Head of Department or the TRAC Co-ordinator without full discussion with, and the agreement of, the member of staff concerned. Thus Heads of Department will need to ensure that staff who are about to leave the Department complete their Time Allocation sheets in good time. Heads of Department are also responsible for ensuring the dissemination of guidance notes.
b) Heads of Department must ensure that departmental data used to produce the summary return is retained for verification purposes. Documents (e.g. anonymised individual Time Allocation sheets) will normally need to be retained for five years.
c) Heads of Department must verify that the summary returns made to the Vice-Chancellor's Office are accurate and complete (i.e. that all staff required to provide Time Allocation data have done so and that the responses reflect activity within the department to the best of their knowledge) by signing a hard copy of each return. The summary returns made to the Vice-Chancellor's Office are anonymous but as Heads of Department have to verify the data they submit, data collection at departmental level cannot be anonymous.
d) At the beginning of each session the Vice-Chancellor's Office will ask each Head of Department to confirm the name and contact details of the Departmental TRAC Co-ordinator that they have appointed to collect data at departmental level and to complete the summary return for the Vice-Chancellor's Office. The list of Departmental TRAC Co-ordinators is attached at Appendix A. If Heads of Department wish to change their TRAC Co-ordinator they must notify the Planning Officer, Caroline Armstrong-James by email ( C.Armstrong-James@bath.ac.uk ). If no Departmental TRAC Co-ordinator is appointed, the responsibility for data collection defaults to the Head of Department.
- The responsibilities of Departmental TRAC Co-ordinators
a) The Departmental TRAC Co-ordinator is responsible for 'chasing' missing individual Time Allocation sheets and ensuring that a 'complete' departmental return is made to the Vice-Chancellor's Office. If departments opt to collect 'hourly' data, the Departmental TRAC Co-ordinator must ensure that this data is converted to proportional data for the summary return.
- The summary returns made to the Vice-Chancellor's Office
a) The Departmental TRAC Co-ordinator must complete the summary returns using the spreadsheets provided by the Vice-Chancellor's Office. The summary Time Allocation spreadsheets are updated and re-issued each year and TRAC Co-ordinators must not use old versions of the forms or old guidance notes.
b) The returns must include all staff (i.e. administrative, clerical, manual and technical staff as well as academic staff) paid from general funds (i.e. excluding grant/project-funded posts).c) To preserve anonymity, the summary return uses staff categories rather than individuals' names or job titles. The staff categories used in previous Time Allocation exercises were linked to specific pay scales. These will become redundant as a result of Pay Modernisation but it is expected that they will remain in usage for the duration of 2006-7. At the end of each Time Allocation period, TRAC Co-ordinators will receive a report indicating in which staff category each member of staff in the department should be returned.
d) It is expected that the staff categories will be as follows:
AA-Academic: Reader/Senior Lecturer
AC- Clinical Academic
AF-Teaching Fellow *
AR-Research Officer (general funds only)
AO-Other Related: Academic*
AO-Other Related: Support
AS-Academic Related: Academic*
AS-Academic Related: Support
TE-Experimental Officer (general funds only)
TT Technician (general funds only)
* Some departments have Teaching Fellows on the old Academic Related and Other Related grades.
NB - Graduate Teaching Assistants, Demonstrators and other hourly paid or casual staff are not required to complete a Time Allocation sheet.
- Time Allocation: basic rules
a) Staff should provide proportional allocations of their 'total effort' rather than of their 'notional paid hours' under the eighteen TRAC categories listed below at 6c. (It is recognised that many staff carry out research, teaching-related activities and administration in 'their own time' and that this unpaid effort subsidises research, teaching and other activities across the University.) Members of staff should ensure that their time allocations for each return sum to 100% of their FTE.
b) An appropriate FTE value should be calculated and used in the summary return for any member of staff:
i) with a part time contract
ii) who is appointed or retires during the period covered by the return
iii) who has a period of absence due to sickness for longer than 6 weeks
iv) who is absent on Sabbatical or Maternity leave
NB - No reduction in FTE needs to be made for 'normal' holiday periods (annual leave and bank holidays) and 'normal' periods of sickness (up to 6 weeks).
Replacements to cover long term sickness or maternity leave should complete time allocation sheets.
c) The eighteen TRAC categories are:
1. Publicly-funded Teaching
2. Non-publicly-funded Teaching
Publicly Funded Research - broken down by sponsor type/activity into:
3. Institution/own-funded research
4 Research Councils
5. UK Government departments
6. European Union
7. PGR Supervision
Non-publicly-funded Research - broken down by sponsor type into:
8. UK-based Charities
9. UK Industry, Commerce & Public Corporations
10. EU Individual Country Governments
11. Other Overseas Sources
Other Activities - broken down into:
12. Clinical Services
13. Consultancy & Other Services
14. Support for Teaching
15. Support for Research
16. Support for Other
17. Professional Development & Scholarship
18. Management & Administration
Details of the specific activities that are included in each of the eighteen categories can be found in Appendix B.
Methods of collecting time allocation data within a Department
a) It is up to Heads of Department to decide how individual Time Allocation data is collected in their department (paragraph 3(a) above). However, many Departmental TRAC Co-ordinators choose to copy the summary spreadsheet circulated by the Vice-Chancellor's Office, highlight the relevant staff category and distribute a form to each member of staff. This method has the advantage of ensuring that time is allocated over the same categories as are required for the summary return. Staff may choose to use the diary circulated by the Vice-Chancellor's Office or their own diaries in order to keep a continuous track of their Time Allocation.
- Further Information and Guidance
a) All queries (e.g. The classification of types of activity, the methodology for retrospective Time Allocation or the completion of the summary spreadsheets) should be directed to Caroline Armstrong-James in the Vice-Chancellor's Office (extension: 3567, e-mail: C.Armstrong-James@bath.ac.uk ). Please note that Caroline works from Monday - Wednesday.
(a) The timetable for Period 1 (I August 2006 - 30 November 2006) is as follows:
Beginning of August 2006:
(i) Guidance Notes sent to Heads of Departments
(ii) Guidance Notes and optional diaries sent to Departmental TRAC Co-ordinators
Mid November 2006:
Time Allocation summary spreadsheet sent to Departmental TRAC Co-ordinators (this spreadsheet can be copied so that individual members of staff can use it to record their retrospective Time Allocation for Period 1)
Early in December 2006:
Report showing the expected FTE in each staff category sent to Departmental TRAC Co-ordinators to help them check that the right number of staff in each staff category have completed Period 1 Time Allocation.
Friday 5 th January 2007:
Deadline for Departmental summary returns for Period 1 to be sent electronically to Caroline Armstrong-James in the Vice-Chancellor's Office. A hard copy of the return, which has been signed by the Head of Department to confirm its accuracy and completeness, must also be returned to Caroline Armstrong-James.
(b) The timetables for Period 2 (1 December 2006 - 31 March 2007) and Period 3 (1 April 2007 - 31 July 2007) will follow a similar pattern. Details, including deadlines, will be circulated shortly before the start of each period.
Appendix A. TRAC CO-ORDINATORS
Biology & Biochemistry
Social & Policy Sciences
European Studies & Modern Languages
Economics & International Development
Architecture & Civil Engineering
Electronic & Electrical Engineering
Hannah Dennis & Marie-Helene Milner
School for Health
Humanities Faculty Office
Science Faculty Office
Engineering Faculty Office
Appendix B: Description of Activities
Part I: General principles
Teaching: It is unusual but not impossible for non-academic staff's time to be allocated to 'Teaching' rather than 'Support for Teaching'. Generally speaking, teaching-related activities carried out by non-academic staff under the direction of academic staff should be categorised as 'Support for Teaching'. However, an individual's job description is the most reliable indicator of whether an activity should be considered as 'Teaching' or 'Support for Teaching'. If in doubt, contact Caroline Armstrong-James (extension: 3567; e-mail: C.Armstrong-James@bath.ac.uk ).
Research: again, it is unusual but not impossible for non-academic staff time to be allocated to 'Research' rather than 'Support for Research'. All activities categorised as 'Research' must meet the Frascati definition of research set out below. Again, an individual's job description is the most reliable indicator but if doubts remain contact Caroline Armstrong-James.
All teaching should be returned as publicly-funded with the exception of full cost short courses, non-credit bearing courses, courses held overseas and other commercial teaching. (All award-bearing programmes are publicly funded; all non award-bearing programmes are non-publicly funded).
Activities returned as 'Research' should be consistent with the definition given in the 1994 Frascati Manual as follows:
"Research and Experimental Development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge of man, culture and society and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. R&D is a term covering three activities: basic research, applied research and experimental development."
Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
Applied research is also original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective.
Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and/or practical experience that is directed to producing new materials, products or devices, to installing new processes, systems and services, or to improving substantially those already produced or installed'.
Research can be a specific project, or blue skies/speculative in nature. It may or may not have a defined sponsor.
Routine testing (such as the routine testing and analysis of materials, components, products processes etc.; feasibility studies, routine software development, general purpose data collection) is excluded from R&D and should be reported as' Other' activities.
Time spent on Research should be attributed to the appropriate research sponsor. Research that has no specific external sponsor should be assigned to institution-own-funded research. However, where a research project is only partially funded by a sponsor (and the balance is met out of internal funds) then all of the time should be attributed to the research sponsor type represented by the external sponsor. The time should not be split between the institution-own funded and external sponsor categories. Work should only be attributed to institution-own-funded if there is no external sponsor of that project.Other
In TRAC, 'Other' has a specific meaning relating to consultancy work and other services rendered. It should not be used for reporting general administration.
The range of activities falling into the 'Other' category makes it harder the separate out academic from non-academic roles. Again, if you are in doubt, contact Caroline Armstrong-James.
Part II: The Categorisation of Specific Activities
TRAC Categories Staff Group Activities Teaching Publically Funded Teaching
All teaching activities associated with UK award/credit bearing courses at all levels - sub-degree, degree, postgraduate taught (but NOT postgraduate research), including teacher training, ESF, Erasmus, Tempus
Academic Staff • Holding lectures, seminars, tutorials
• Project, workshop and laboratory supervision
• Preparing materials for lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes
• Preparing materials for an agreed new course
• Editing and updating course materials
• Organising placements and visiting placement students
• Preparing for, and leading, fieldwork
• Supervision and contact time relating to projects and dissertations and their assessment
• Other student contact time relating to educational matters including remedial classes
• Assessment, marking and examining (including external examining at own or other institutions, preparing examination papers, re-sits, orals, invigilation)
• Mentee/personal tutee meetings
• Academic counselling Outreach where teaching is the underlying activity (such as Masterclasses)
Non-academic staff Please see the note on Non-academic staff in Part I: General Principles. Otherwise activities as above under Publicly Funded Teaching - Academic staff
Non-publicly Funded TeachingAll teaching activities associated with non-award or non-credit-bearing courses such as short courses. community courses, courses run overseas or funded directly by business, industry etc.
Academic Staff Activities as above under Publicly Funded Teaching - Academic staff Non-academic staff Please see the note on Non-academic staff in Part I: General Principles. Otherwise activities as above under Publicly-funded Teaching - Academic staff Research
Publicly Funded Research
Institution /own funded (i.e. HEFCE QR funded or where the research is not directed by an external sponsor, includes speculative research)
Research Councils (EPSRC, BBSRC, ESRC, NERC etc.)
Other UK government Departments ( UK central government bodies/local authorities, health and hospital authorities)
European Union (the Commission) and the European Social Fund
PGR supervision : all activities relating to the training, supervision and management (e.g. admissions) of Postgraduate research students
Academic staff • Fieldwork, laboratory, studio, desk/library work
• Management of projects, informal discussions, progress reports etc.
• Recruitment and supervision of research staff
• Attendance at conferences, seminars and society meetings that are directly connected with specific research projects
• Production of research reports (required under the terms of specific research grants), papers, books
• Training and supervision of PGR students including training in research methodology, review of drafts and preparation of thesis, and external examining
• Speculative research undertaken to investigate the potential of ideas before preparing grant or contract bids or for publication
Non-academic staff Please see the note on Non-academic Staff in Part I: General Principles. Otherwise, activities as above under Publicly Funded Research - Academic staff above
Non-publicly Funded Research
UK industry, commerce and public corporations
EU Other (individual country governments)
Academic staff Activities as above under Publicly Funded Research - Academic staff Non-academic staff Please see the note on Non-academic Staff in Part 1: General Principles. Otherwise, activities as above under Publicly funded Research - Academic staff. TRAC Category Staff Group Activities
Academic & non-academic staff
(please see the note on 'Other' in Part 1: General Principles)
- Consultancy (excluding private work) i.e. that is contracted to the institution and carried out in institutional time; including advisory work, journal editing, feasibility studies
- Other services rendered (OSR) including routine testing and non-research clinical trials (i.e. activities not covered under the Frascati Definition of research)
- Work carried out through trading units/subsidiary commercial companies that is not 'Teaching' or 'Research'
- Technology transfer work if remunerated through the University (e.g. directorships of start-up companies and/or consultancy contracts for the companies) - if it is not remunerated then it should be categorised as 'Support for Other'
Note: private consultancy should not be included here (or anywhere )
TRAC Category Staff Group Activities Support for Teaching Academic staff
• Admissions work, UCAS days, open days , preparing prospectuses, interviewing, induction
• Schools liaison
• Degree ceremonies
• Examination Boards, SSLC, Boards of Study, Course Committees
• Personal tutoring (pastoral support not academic counselling or timetabled tutorials)
• Initial course development (where the future of the course is uncertain - preparing for an agreed new course is 'Teaching')
• Programme development/review. Unit development/review (but subsequent updating is 'Teaching')
• Advancement of knowledge and skills relating to teaching (ILT membership and teaching-related staff development)
• Writing books and other publications for teaching purposes
• Secondment or academic exchanges for teaching
• Publicity for teaching facilities and opportunities
• Support for the activities listed above under Teaching - Academic staff and Support for Teaching - Academic staff
• Project, workshop and laboratory supervision of students and the preparation of materials for lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes, under the direction of academic staff
• Activities such as fieldwork, organising placements, laboratory and studio work related to teaching, under the direction of academic staff
Note: It is likely that non-academic staff time would be assigned to 'Support for Teaching' rather than 'Teaching' - see Part 1: General Principles
TRAC Category Staff Group Activities Support for Research Academic staff • Drafting and redrafting proposals for new work and supporting bids to external bodies (note: where bids involve a significant amount of speculative research, that element can be attributed to Research)
• Quality assurance e.g. documentation for the RAE.
• Refereeing papers
• Research committees - Departmental, Faculty, University
• Advancement of knowledge and skills related to research
• Unpaid work advising government departments or committees, professional bodies or agencies in relation to research matters
• Block time in other institutions or research exchange schemes
• Publicity for research facilities and opportunities
• Support for the activities listed above under Research - Academic staff and Support for Research - Academic staff
• Activities such as fieldwork, laboratory and studio work related to research, under the direction of academic staff
• Staff recruitment and supervision related to research
Note: it is likely that non-academic staff time would be assigned to 'Support for Research' rather than 'Research' - see Part 1: General Principles
TRAC Category Staff Group Activities Support for Other All staff (academic and non-academic) • Drafting and redrafting proposals for new work and supporting bids to external bodies for consultancy and other services rendered activities (note: where bids involve a significant amount of speculative research, that element can be attributed to 'Research')
• Negotiating contract terms and conditions with external bodies
• Technology transfer work that is not private, nor remunerated through the institution (e.g. supporting patent applications, licence negotiations, formation of start-up companies)
TRAC Category Staff Group Activities
(CPD) that cannot be attributed to Support for Teaching, Research or Other
Note: most scholarship and CPD can be attributed to Support for Teaching, Research or Other
All staff (academic and non-academic)
• Maintenance and advancement of own personal knowledge and skills (reading literature, attending professional conferences, maintaining professional or clinical skills, acquiring new skills. • Consultancy that is carried out in institutional normal working hours which is done in agreement with the institution but which is not contracted to the institution i.e. private consultancy in institutional time - such as the maintenance or development of professional skills
Note: private consultancy carried out in private time should not be included here (or anywhere)
TRAC Category Staff Group Activities Management & Administration All staff (academic & non-academic)
• Management and administration including membership of/participation at faculty boards, senate, institutional committees etc.
• Management duties such as staff management, appraisal
• Publicity: representative work on behalf of the institution or department, careers advice
• Information returns
• Quality assurance contributions to the Sector e.g. on (unpaid) committees or secondments to RAE panels (where the QA activity relates to Teaching or Research such as RAE Reviews, then it should be assigned to either Support for Teaching or Research)
• Secondments, exchanges, all other tasks not attributable to other TRAC categories
Note: not to be used as a dumping ground for 'administration' where this can be legitimately defined as Support for Teaching, Research or Other.
Overview of the process
The TRAC reporting year is divided into three four-month periods.
At the beginning of each TRAC period, I will send you an optional diary sheet (Appendix A). You can copy this sheet and circulate it to the staff in your department who have to complete time allocation to help them keep track of how they spend their time. However, its use is entirely optional - the University uses retrospective time allocation, so there is no obligation on staff to keep a contemporaneous record of how they spend their time.
Towards the end of each TRAC period , I will send you the TRAC Summary Time Allocation spreadsheet for the period (Appendix B). The summary spreadsheet has a row for each staff category. You will need to copy each staff category row as many times as you need to make your department's return (e.g. if there are 4 professors funded from general funds in your department, you will need to copy the AA-Academic: Professor row 4 times). There should be a row for every member of staff who has to complete time allocation (Appendix C).
Many TRAC Co-ordinators copy the summary sheet, highlight the appropriate staff category and give a copy to each member of staff in the department who has to complete time allocation (this is why the spreadsheet I send out only has one row per staff category - TRAC Co-ordinators preferred it that way as it made it easier to use for this purpose).
Note: Although Pay Modernisation means that the staff categories we currently use will eventually change, they will remain in use throughout 2006-7 so that Time Allocation can be completed.
At the end of each TRAC period , I will send you a Staff Report (Appendix D) that shows the FTE that I expect you to return in each staff category. This is to help you check that you have the right FTE in each staff category. The report also shows who I think should not complete time allocation (i.e. because they are not funded from general funds). I cannot send the Staff Report until the end of the period as I have to adjust the FTE for starters and leavers. However, I appreciate that many staff will want to know at the beginning of the period whether or not they must complete Time Allocation. The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below provide guidance on how to decide who is funded from general funds, but if you are in doubt, please contact me (Monday to Wednesday, email: C.Armstrong-James@bath.ac.uk ; tel. ext: 3567).
Some elements of TRAC are based on academic staff's Time Allocation which means I have to be able to separate out the academic FTE. This is difficult as two staff categories ( AO: Other Related and AS: Academic Related ) can include both academic and non-academic staff. Therefore, these two staff categories have been further sub-divided into Academic and Support for TRAC Time Allocation purposes and the Staff Report I send you will have AO and AS staff sub-divided in this way. The assignment of these staff as Academic or Support will have been done on the basis of the way they are returned in the HESA Staff Record (which, in turn, is derived from their job descriptions). Please get in touch with me immediately (contact details above) if you disagree with the assignment or with any of the other data included in the Staff Report (the Staff Report comes from Trent and occasionally data can be out-of-date).
You have just over a month after the end of each period to collect together the data needed to complete your department's Summary Time Allocation Return for the period. The version you send to me must be anonymous but you will have to keep a record so you know which row in the summary return relates to which member of staff. Your Head of Department will also need to know this when she/he checks the return for reasonableness. You send the return to me electronically but your Head of Department has to sign a hard copy of the return and send it to me (but please try and ensure that he/she does not sign and send me the copy containing people's names!)
Points to watch out for when making the Summary Time Allocation Return are:
- Please do not amend the column layout of the summary return: it gets fed into a large, university-wide database.
- Get leavers to complete their return before they go,
- Check that staff are in the right staff categories.
- Check that for each row; the percentage of time spent on each activity adds up to the total reported FTE for that row: i.e. if a part-time member of staff has an FTE of 50% then the sum of their activities should add up to 50%.
Note: Many TRAC Co-ordinators assume that the sum of activities should always add up to 100% even for part-time staff. This is understandable but the way the TRAC database is set up requires there to be a match between the FTE percentage and the total percentage for all activities. If you find it too difficult to make pro rata reductions for part-time staff, leavers and joiners, please let me know and I will make the adjustment for you on your returned Summary Time Allocation Return spreadsheet (but please do let me know, otherwise the wrong information will be entered into the TRAC database).
Who do I contact if I have a query?
You contact me: Caroline Armstrong-James, as follows:
Tel. ext. 3567
Please note that I work from Monday - Wednesday
Why do academic departments have to do time allocation?
Time Allocation is part of TRAC (the Transparent Approach to Costing). TRAC is now the standard costing approach used by the HE sector. All universities have to make annual TRAC returns and cost research projects using TRAC principles and soon TRAC will be extended to teaching. TRAC enables universities to calculate the full economic cost of their three major activities: Teaching, Research and Other (e.g. consultancy) - often abbreviated to TR&O. TRAC involves attributing the University's costs to TR&O. Some costs are easier to attribute to TR&O than others (e.g. the cost of a research project can be assigned to R). It is particularly difficult to accurately attribute academic departments' costs to TR&O as each academic department and each member of staff within an academic department (other than staff employed to work on solely on research projects) probably spends different proportions of time on TR&O - hence the need for Time Allocation.
Note: the Time Allocation spreadsheets contain another major activity category: Support. Support is redistributed to TR&O in the later stages of TRAC.
What is Time allocation used for?
Time Allocation enables the costs of academic departments to be attributed to TR&O. In addition, the percentage of time academic departments spend on TR&O is used as a cost driver to attribute some other University costs (such as some central services costs) to TR&O. Once all costs have been attributed to TR&O, they are aggregated up to University level and compared with income so that the University can see if it is making a surplus or loss on each of its three major activities. This, in turn, enables the University to price its activities more effectively so that sustainability is maintained.
Time Allocation data is also used to calculate the average academic research FTE. This is used as the denominator in the calculation of the estate and indirect cost rates that must be used on grant applications funded by the Research Councils and Other Government Departments. It also informs the rates charged to other research sponsors. Time Allocation, therefore, plays a significant role in determining academic departments' research income.
Why do returns have to be made by staff category?
The University has agreed with the trade unions that the Time Allocation returns made by academic departments will be anonymous. This means that a method has to be found of linking the anonymous departmental Time Allocation returns with the corresponding staff salary costs. Staff categories provide that link. The Time Allocation returns sent in by academic departments are summarised by Trent staff categories and an average salary for each staff category in each department is calculated using data from BEAMS, the University's salary forecasting system.
What are general funds - how can I tell who should complete time allocation?
At the end of each Time Allocation period I will send you a Staff Report showing who should and should not complete Time Allocation. However, if you need to know beforehand you should assume that for the purposes of Time Allocation the only posts to be excluded are those where:
- The salary costs are funded by a specific sponsor and can be wholly attributed to either research [R] or Other activities [O].
- TRAC stipulates that the salary costs should be attributed to TR&O by a method other than time Allocation (e.g. personal benefit funds).
As a rule of thumb this means that the only accounting units to be excluded from Time Allocation are: **R000, **A1**, **A2**, **A6**, XRPI** and XCA***. All other accounting units should be included. If you are in doubt contact me (contact details above).
Note: the definition of general funds given above only applies to the very specific purposes of Time Allocation.
What if a post is part-funded by general funds and part-funded by specific funds?
If it is possible for the member of staff to separate out the role that they perform for the 'general funds' part of their post from the role they perform for the 'specific funds' part of the post, then they should only complete time allocation for their 'general funds' role and only the 'general funds' part of their FTE should be returned.
However, in many cases this is not possible, as staff cannot separate out which of their activities are funded from which source. In these cases use the rule:
- If 50% or above of the post is funded from general funds - include
- If 49% or less of the post is funded from general funds - exclude
- So if the split is 50/50 - include)
'Included' staff's time allocation will be based on all of their activities (since they are unable to separate them out) but only the 'general funds' part of their FTE should be returned.
Again, get in touch if you have any questions - contact details above.
What if a member of staff works for more than department?
My preference is for the return to follow the line management arrangements (e.g. if a member of staff performs tasks for several departments but their line manager is in the faculty office, then they should be included in the faculty office return). However, if absolutely necessary, departments can split the FTE provided the entire FTE is covered and there is no duplication.
How should the FTE be adjusted for people who leave or join the department?
At the end of each TRAC period I will send you a Staff Report that shows the expected FTE for each member of staff. If you wish to do it yourself, I suggest counting each month as 0.25 of the period starting from 1st day of the 1 st month of the period (where a member of staff joins midway through a month: round down if they start before the 15 th and round up if they start on or after the 15 th). Thus a member of staff on a full-time contract who joins the University on 1st September will be returned as 75% FTE in Period 1 and 100% FTE in Periods 2 and 3.
Should hourly-paid staff complete time allocation?
No, hourly-paid staff should not be included because their costs are picked up separately and directly attributed. If an hourly-paid member of staff switches to a monthly-salaried post midway through the year they should be treated as a 'starter'
Should the time spent supervising a research student funded through a research studentship be attributed to PGR Supervision or the research project's sponsor?
All time spent supervising research students, whatever the circumstances, should be attributed to PGR Supervision.
What should I do if I disagree with any of the information included in the staff report?
Please contact me (Caroline Armstrong-James) immediately - contact details above.