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Understanding the Outstanding Contribution scheme

Details the eligibility criteria, how to nominate, and the process for those managing the schemes.

Outstanding Contribution (OC) is awarded where employees are adding value through contributions and behaviours, using initiative and supporting others to improve the service delivered, over a sustained period of time.

The OC scheme offers an opportunity for those who have reached the grade maximum or who are already within exceptional contribution points to receive an additional spine point. You can nominate yourself or a colleague to be considered for an OC award, or your line manager can nominate you. If successful, your salary will increase by one spine point.


You will need to:

  • be in Grade 2 to 9, and
  • have been paid at or above the non-discretionary maximum point of the grade (excluding the top contribution point) for a minimum of six months, and
  • have appropriately engaged with development and performance processes within the department e.g. taken part in an Staff Development Performance Review (SDPR) or SDPR+, and
  • not have your salary protected under the University's pay protection arrangements, and
  • not be subject to any form of performance monitoring under the Capability Procedure or Sickness Absence policy, nor have received a disciplinary warning, and
  • must be employed as member of staff at time of payment, and
  • have not been awarded an Outstanding Contribution award in the previous year

How to make a nomination

Please complete an online nomination form for yourself, a colleague, manager, or member of staff from another department.

Refer to the timescales section to ensure nominations are submitted by the deadlines set.

Guidance Notes

  • the online form is to be used by either eligible employees nominating themselves for an OC award, or managers who wish to nominate an eligible member of their team for an award, or employees who wish to nominate a colleague for an award
  • nomination forms must be completed as per the timescales set. Please refer to the 'Timescales' section
    • please note, some Faculties and Departments may set different deadlines. Please refer to your Faculty or Department's deadlines for when they require the forms to be completed by
  • individuals may seek assistance from an appropriate colleague, union representative or manager when completing the nomination form. Where individuals are self-nominating, the contents of the nomination form must be authorised as factually correct by the Head of Department, Director of Administration or equivalent manager

What to include in the nomination

Nominations must be no more than 250 words.

For those making a nomination, and for HOD's reviewing nominations, please consider the following elements.


Explain the contribution, achievement, and behaviours being demonstrated within the 12 month scheme period only. For some grades and roles, especially those with an operational focus, a longer period can be referenced if applicable.


Detail how have you or the nominee has supported the team successfully, and clearly describe the contribution that is being made. Or explain how you or the nominee have achieved better results, and explain what the results are (in context), and how they have impacted on the team, department, or the University.

Sustained performance

OC is looking for sustained contributions or achievements. Consider if the work being delivered is due to continue (and explain why). If sustained performance cannot be evidenced, you may want to consider nominations for a Recognising Excellence award.

Process for those managing the scheme

Departments will be given a list of any employees eligible for OC. Only departments with eligible employees will have a spreadsheet for OC.

The HOD (this includes Directors of Administration or Technical Services where applicable) will notify eligible staff of the nomination process.

Only the HOD has access to the Department’s nominations list and folder on SharePoint. If the HOD instructs the reward team, they will be able to grant, read or edit access to other individuals within the department who are involved in the department’s OC process.

Guidance Notes

Supervisors and managers must confirm that the individual has appropriately engaged with development and performance processes within their department for example, Staff Development Performance Review (SDPR)

All queries should be directed to a member of the Reward Team via


Deadline Action
22 September Spreadsheets with all eligible employees in the departments to be shared with Heads of Department. HODs to communicate the scheme to all eligible staff
25 September OC awards launched
27 October OC Awards close (however, please adhere to any timings set by your department)
30 Oct to 8 November HODs to review nominations
Week commencing 13 November Contribution Pay Review Group meets to consider OC nominations
20 November Faculties/Schools/Departments notified of successful and unsuccessful cases. Unsuccessful cases may be referred back to Faculties/Schools/Departments for consideration under their local Recognising Excellence scheme
1 December HOD's to update their Recognising Excellence (RE) spreadsheet in SharePoint to reflect final recipients of RE awards, accounting for any unsuccessful OC if applicable. HOD's to send confirmation email to
From 8 December Heads of Department to notify employees of outcomes
1 January 2024 Contribution points actioned for successful nominees in January 2024 payroll, effective 1 January 2024