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University puts in place new financial measures

Although the University is currently in a sound financial position, the institution has set out a series of new financial measures to ensure its long-term sustainability during this challenging period.  

Over the past few months, the University Executive Group, Heads of School, Professional Services Divisional Directors and other colleagues have conducted a comprehensive review of the University’s finances, to identify ways to make major savings. 

This work was undertaken because it became clear that, without big changes, the University could not deliver on the much-needed investment in the student experience and in research infrastructure. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the timescales for the University to seek savings and the implementation of a suite of new and immediate measures on expenditure.  

The guidelines ask our senior budget holders to hold on recruiting new staff until further notice as well as a reduction on non-essential expenditure, such as non-essential conferences and subscriptions. The University is also asking budget holders to review all temporary agency staff arrangements, if they are not business-critical roles.   

It is important to be clear that for staff on fixed-term contracts, payments will be honoured till the end of the existing employment contract and then reviewed before the end of the term, which may or may not result in a new contract being offered. In many cases, these contracts are for medium- to long-term periods of time, so a review will not be taking place immediately. If these roles are considered critical to the running of the organisation, subject to funding, the agreement will be renewed. Those contracted research staff that are externally funded will continue to run as normal. 

In addition, a comprehensive review of planned capital and IT spend is taking place to ensure that only the most critical spend is committed pending more certainty over the future. 

In an email to all budget holders this week, Adam Tickell, the Vice-Chancellor, said: “The effects of Covid-19 are having a far greater impact than we originally anticipated. We are simultaneously managing the immediate challenges of the health emergency and looking at our finances. We are certain that there will be major pressures on finances in both the immediate and the medium term. I know that we are no different to many other universities and indeed the thousands of businesses, big and small, throughout the UK.”  

The University recognises that these are really difficult decisions but that it is necessary to make these changes now in order to protect the long-term future of the institution. 

More information and guidance will be provided to budget holders over the coming days.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Thursday, 26 March 2020

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