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University of Portsmouth - Universities HR Strategic Enhancement Programme

The context for the programme

At the start of the programme career progression and recognising and rewarding performance were especially high on the agenda at the University of Portsmouth. They were starting to put systems in place to better articulate progression routes and provide our staff with opportunities to enhance their professional practice and maintain their good standing. Taking part in this programme enabled them to work in collaboration with the HEA and colleagues in the sector to help us consolidate activities to date and move towards the strategic alignment of our professional development opportunities and career enhancement processes. They also embarked on a major project to modernise pay and reward with the emphasis on recognising and rewarding performance.

Those engaged in teaching represented the largest staff group and so one of the challenges faced was appropriately identifying performance from poor to excellent and aligning the performance measures of all staff groups in order to ensure equity of treatment. It is our intention to produce a suite of performance measurement frameworks and use the established format to produce a suite of career development frameworks. The University is accredited by the HEA to award colleagues with recognition from Descriptor 1-3 of the UKPSF. We also support colleagues working towards Descriptor 4.

The University is currently investigating ways in which we can bring together our work on modernising pay and enhancing practice through a redesigned Performance and Development Review process (PDR) and the development of a performance management framework. Participating in this programme will help us implement systems which are robust aligned with developments in the sector and informed by changes at national level. Our major Modernising Pay and Reward Project has started and a number of work streams which impact on the HEA Staff Transitions and Career Progression project have been set up. To follow up on our initial statement we have established work streams which are investigating:

  • the creation and development of performance assessment/management frameworks for University staff;
  • the creation of career development pathways to allow all staff to understand how their roles can develop and to support them with appropriate learning and development;
  • the review and redesign of the University's Performance and Development Review process ensuring that it is fit for purpose for the different categories of roles and that it incorporates the outputs from the first two workstreams;
  • the review and redesign of line management structures in academic departments in line with the workstream on career development pathways.

Each workstream is coordinated by a working group and at present reviews of current practice are taking place alongside reviews of best or good practice elsewhere either within HE or in other knowledge worker sectors.

The areas intended for development

Clarity of development needs and associated career paths and promotional opportunities for teaching staff were considered critical for the University to be able to retain and promote excellent staff. The University also felt it needed the capability to recognise and reward teaching excellence at all levels.

As part of the re-configuration of the PDR process the institution sought to embed opportunities for enhancing professional practice and better articulation of routes for academic and other staff supporting the learning process throughout their careers. Redesigning the process also focused staff effort on the delivery of the University Strategy which had recently been updated.

With clearer career paths being developed the University of Portsmouth intended to review academic department and school internal structure to provide clear defined management roles to support department heads and to provide management internal structures with appropriate spans of influence and control.