Vice Chancellor's Office

VC's open staff forum: 21 October 2019

Event recording


Presentation slides

VC Open Staff Forum presentation 21 October 2019 [PDF 686.58KB]


Presentation video


Unanswered questions from the event 

Are there any plans for a University wide HR system for Annual Leave etc. to replace the process of manual calculations and pieces of card? And why don’t Leave calculations sit with HR and not individual teams?

All staff and managers can access the electronic annual leave calculator for the new academic year. 

Teams don’t have to be reliant on paper based systems and it is possible to set up electronic leave entitlement documents by using Box.

A digitised HR service is also part of the HR function’s continuous improvement programme and it is anticipated that any digitised service would also include a leave function.

Could the Vice-Chancellor confirm the annual budget for the University Leadership Team (ULT) and University Executive Group (UEG) awaydays/residentials etc.?

Costs are very much front of mind and that we leverage our good relationships with partners to budget for the least expensive options.

In the last budget round we bid for (and received) budget sums as follows:

1. UEG Residential costs £1,980

2. ULT Residential costs £12,000

3. ULT transport to residential £400

What support is being provided to Lucy Hughes for her fish waste bioplastic invention - and students like her who design innovative new products?

When Lucy won her prestigious award, our Sussex Innovation Centre student enterprise colleagues made contact and gave Lucy lots of useful pointers in terms of developing her business proposition, setting up a limited company and suggesting possible next steps in terms of business contacts and sources of financial and support and advice.

Since then, our new in-house Innovation & Business Partnerships team has followed up with Lucy to discuss how best they can help her with more detailed support to help her understand and protect her invention (her ‘intellectual property’) and to understand her market and her potential competition.

The circular economy is taking off and even award-winning prize winners need all the help they can get to turn a great idea into a market leader in a highly competitive environment. We wish Lucy all the very best of luck in her venture.

At the start of term buses are always packed, but this year it seems particularly bad. Usually the 28 and 29 can be relied upon if the 23, 25 or 25x are full. However all have been full. The extra buses probably help some of the people from The Level – Lewes Road Garage get on, however, by the time it gets to Moulscoomb way and Coldean Lane all buses are unable to take more passengers.

Wednesday for example I arrive at 8.00 am to Moulscoomb bus stop knowing it is going to be busy, so arriving earlier than usual. In the past 8.00 am has always been ok. I didn’t manage to get on the bus until 9.05 am. There was a mother and toddler also waiting for the bus, unable to get on, the child getting increasingly bored and acting out and the poor mother trying her best to keep the toddler happy whilst being frustrated herself.

School children, students and staff from both universities and other members of the public use this transport during the peak commute times to get to where they need to be (all before 9.00 am usually). Extra buses have helped to a certain extent but please consider at the next meeting with the bus company to pose the suggestion that some buses starting from Lewes Road Garage to service the later bus stops during the peak period at the start of term will greatly help. It need only be two or three additional buses – 8.20 am, 8.40 am for example. Just to help pick up the growing number of people waiting at the later stops. If the University is planning on growing we need to first fix the current issues with capacity in all areas first.

Every year we work with Brighton & Hove Buses to assess and improve bus services and timetabling, ensuring that sufficient bus transport to Falmer campus is available especially during term time rush hours.

We have raised this with B&H Buses, who are currently looking into the availability of additional relief buses during morning weekday services, e.g. at 8:20 am and 8:40 am as suggested.

However, this year’s timetable has already included an additional two buses in service per hour each morning, including an additional service that starts at The Level, to support University students and staff with getting to campus. There are currently 28 buses coming onto campus per hour during peak time.

From 4 - 6 November, Brighton & Hove Buses are undertaking a special survey of the Moulsecoomb Way and Coldean Lane bus stops, with the intent to assess their use and the demand for increased services.

How can staff contribute to the University strategy and the student experience going forward?

There are a number of ways people can contribute towards the University strategy and student experience.

Our Phase One webpages have information about what the latest developments are on Sussex 2025 and staff are encouraged to email with any feedback.

Staff and students are being engaged in the Combined Schools Proposal and given plenty of opportunity to ask questions and help shape the proposal.

We have ongoing workshops and engagement sessions on key University initiatives, such as the IT and Estates roadmap events.

In addition all divisional directors are seeking feedback as they develop their strategies from teams during away days and divisional meetings.

Can you explain why administrative support has been taken away from Investigating Officers dealing with student discipline matter? I've been an IO for three years and have dealt with many cases, but don't feel I can continue to be so without support.

The discipline regulation has undergone some limited changes that were recently approved by Senate.

This will see a wider pool of Investigating Officers recruited which should see a reduction in the volume of cases that are investigated by the current group.

The support, guidance and coordination from the Office of Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulations (OSCAR) team is still in place and they are currently working through a guidance document that will further support Investigating Officers and students through the process.

As part of the forthcoming changes a request has been made for embedded Conduct Officers - individuals who would work directly with colleagues in schools around the administration and processes involved with investigating cases.