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You are asked to complete a series of Time Allocation Schedules (TAS) using percentage of your total time on University business. The schedule is a web-based form.
The TAS schedules have eleven headings to analyse time to.
- The first 7 headings are for time spent directly on the 3 principal activities: Teaching, Research, and Other. They require a split based on the source of the funding. These are detailed under “Definitions of headings”, and also appear on the form.
- The last 4 headings are for time spent in support of the principal activities. The tables, “Allocation of activities,” are particularly useful for distinguishing between the activity itself and support for the activity eg Teaching and Support for Teaching.
Note that allocating your time requires you to consider whether your time is Direct or Support on the one hand, and which activity/ funder it is on the other.
What time goes on the TAS form
The form records percentage of time spent on University business (not hours). This should include time outside of “normal” hours. It is accepted that this may have the effect of “diluting” time spent on certain activities. To ensure that you get the proportions right, it is recommended that you use the Aide Memoire (available in the resources section).
Holidays and normal levels of sickness are excluded completely. Time spent working away from the University whilst on the payroll should be included on your TAS form.
Splitting up your time
The data are intended to capture the staff costs (expressed as percentage of time) relating to particular income streams. The two main income-generating activities of the University are Teaching and Research, but it also receives money for other activities such as consultancy. The first 7 columns of the TAS form collect the direct costs of carrying out these activities.
The remaining 4 columns capture the time spent in supporting these activities. This is time that does not directly relate to a teaching course or research project or a consultancy. The final column, Central University Management, is for support to the University as a whole, where the school is not the primary beneficiary of the time.
Time spent on administrative functions can be difficult to allocate. However, it does NOT automatically go into Other or Support for Other: Other is not a miscellaneous category. Pure administrative time that is not categorised in the relevant “Allocation of activities” table should be split as meaningfully as possible over the Support categories. None of this time should be allocated to Central University Management (CUM) as this is already defined quite tightly. Very little time should be allocated to Support for Other as the generation of Other income is a tiny cost in most schools.
Entering your data
You can access your own TAS form by logging in via the secure login page. You should use the same username and password as you use to log into the University’s network.
You will go straight to the form, which will show personal details such as your name and department. Each line has a Help button to explain the activity. You can tab through the fields or use the mouse to navigate. The form keeps a running tally of your percentages, which must add to 100 in order to be submitted [Finish].
Once submitted, you will get an on-screen acknowledgement message. You will be able to see and change your data once it has been submitted for a limited period (about 4 weeks from the end of the period). After this, you will have to contact either your school TAS administrator or the TAS Accounting team.
If you try to submit (“finish”) percentages totalling greater or lower than 100%, you will be prevented and get a warning message. If you start completing the form and want to finish it off later, you can click the Save box if it does not sum to 100, or click Finish if it does sum to 100. Then you can return to submit it properly later.
When to enter your data
The TAS period dates are shown on the main fEC TAS web-page. You will receive an email at the end of the period advising you that you may enter your data. You will not be able to access your form before this. If you do not submit your form within a week of the end of the period, you will receive an email reminder.
Periods of time to be analysed
As in previous surveys, there are three periods, each one requiring a separate schedule. The periods have been aligned on the academic year, to cover a term and a vacation.
How the data will be used
The first round of calculations uses percentages in two ways: to produce FTEs and to produce costs. Ultimately, the data are combined in different ways to generate 3 different sets of numbers annually which are reported to HEFCE.
- TAS data grouped by subject - TRAC T – Cost of teaching a student per year by subject
- TAS data grouped by school type: Desk, Laboratory or Mixed - Research fEC Rates for costing project applications.
- TAS data summed across the University - Annual TRAC Return. This analyses all of the University’s costs into 5 categories based on the TAS form headings.
The data are not used for any purpose other than for the TRAC calculations.
The use of your username and password prevents unauthorised people seeing your data. All data are aggregated to a minimum of subject, for the purposes of calculation and publication. Only the following people are authorised to see TAS data: For all schools, the TRAC Accounting team; For their own school, Head of School, School Manager, School TAS administrator. These staff are able to review for non-responders; complete forms on behalf of others eg if person left University during TAS period; edit submitted data if there are obvious mistakes. Such edits are recorded to enable an audit.