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University of Bath

Understand the approval stages for authorising a vacancy

Guidance outlining vacancy authorisation at the University and the approval stages.

Vacancy authorisation

The procedure for seeking approval for new positions, the filling of vacancies and the extension of fixed term contracts.

With effect from 7th April 2020 the process on our Vacancy Management system ("Stonefish") has been revised to follow the streamlined authorisation to recruit process. Finance and Senior Management Review decisions are now made on an ongoing basis (rather than once per week as previously) and will be confirmed via email.

Procedure for filling vacancies

All positions must be submitted online using the Staff Request Form. We have produced a guide on how to complete this form online.

Human Resources will not take action to advertise, or appoint to, any positions until the appropriate approvals have been obtained.

Vacancy approval stages

When you submit a request via the Staff Request Form, it will be subject to the following stages of review (depending on the type of request submitted).

1) Department review

2) Finance Review

3) Senior Management Review

4) RIS Review (for externally funded research roles only)

5) HR Review

Department review

The Department Reviewer must be the head (or their designate) of the organisational level above that of the post proposer.

Academic and Teaching Fellow posts must be reviewed at this stage by the Dean of Faculty/School.

In the case of externally funded research positions, the Department Reviewer must be the Head of Department.

The Department Reviewer needs to assess whether the request is appropriate within the context of the department’s objectives and available resources:

  • post and structure: does the proposed role and structure best deliver the department’s (and faculty’s / School’s) objectives within existing resources?

  • financial: are sufficient funds available within an agreed budget? (for externally funded research roles see RIS review below)

  • working space: is there sufficient space to accommodate the proposed appointment e.g. desk, storage, laboratory?

  • equipment: is there sufficient available equipment for the proposed appointment to be able to deliver the objectives for their role?

  • specialist equipment/resources: Does the individual require access to specialist equipment/resources that are managed outside of the immediate department e.g. High Performance Computing, Mass Spectrometer?

Department Reviewer approval denotes that the reviewer has considered all of the above and is supportive of the request. If additional resources are required, that there is sufficient information for subsequent reviewers to be able to make an informed decision.

Finance Review

At the Finance Review stage, the appropriate finance manager will assess the business case and ensure that the vacancy is in line with financial planning and does not create unfunded costs.

Senior Management Review

Senior Management Review will assess whether the request is appropriate within the context of the University’s objectives and available resources by:

  • seeking confirmation that all options for covering posts through internal restructuring or resource sharing have been considered;
  • seeking confirmation that the funding for any post under consideration has been explicitly addressed within the planning process for the relevant department or alternative sources of funding have been identified;
  • ensuring that the University's contribution to research bids in relation to staff appointments has prior approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and the Director of Finance and Commercial Services.

Senior Management approval denotes that the reviewer has considered all of the above and is supportive of the request. If additional resources are required that there is sufficient information for subsequent reviewers to be able to make an informed decision.

RIS Review (for externally funded research roles only)

RIS are responsible for ensuring that the request complies with the requirements of the funding body i.e:

  • financial: are sufficient funds available within an agreed budget?
  • timing of appointment falls within start and end of project (if dates are fixed)?
  • length of employment contract does not exceed duration of project?
  • compliance: does the request meet the compliance requirements of the funding body?

RIS reviewer approval denotes that the request is appropriate within the context of the agreement with the funding body.

HR Review

Dependent on the vacancy type, the Recruitment Coordinator or Operations Coordinator need to assess whether the request is appropriate within the context of the University’s Human Resources policies and procedures for ensuring equity across the University.

  • Job Description: does the job description contain sufficient information for the role to be graded, shortlisted and for subsequent performance management.

HR Confirmation denotes that the reviewer has considered all of the above and is supportive of the request and it will be actioned accordingly.