After the end of the financial year (31 July), after the College Dean/Head of Service has confirmed that all Performance and Development Reviews have been completed, the budget for Merit Awards will be released and the decision-making process for Merit Awards and Contribution Points can commence.

Prior to the meeting of the Award Panel, the College/Service should notify eligible employees of the arrangements and procedure which will apply together with the arrangements for submitting a written statement (of no more than 250 words, drawing attention to achievements beyond objectives agreed in their PDR) if they choose to do so. Employees should receive equal consideration for awards, whether or not they choose to submit a written statement.

The role of the Award Panel is to:

  • determine which staff have demonstrated exceptional performance beyond PDR objectives over the review period, for Merit Awards, or over a longer period for Contribution Points;
  • ensure that the reason for each decision is evidence-based and is recorded;
  • ensure that the University's standards on equal opportunities are given full consideration when decisions are made about the allocation of Merit Awards and Contribution Points. In particular, staff employed on part-time and fixed-term contracts, externally funded staff and staff on probation should be given equal consideration. Significant variations in the allocation of Merit Awards between groups of staff should be fully explained and justified.

Award details

Merit Awards should be a minimum of £500 (pro-rata for part-time staff) up to a maximum of 10% of salary. Where teams are rewarded the level of award should normally be the same for each member of the team.

Contribution Points will be effective from 1 August.  (For decisions made in the autumn term, the award will be effective from the preceding 1 August)

The College/Service will notify those employees whose contribution has been recognised. It is a condition of Merit Awards and Contribution Points that the recipients agree to publication of results, in a format to be determined by the College/Service, to enable the University to celebrate success and provide role models of exceptional performance.

It is a principle of the University’s approach towards performance management that staff should have an expectation of feedback on their performance, principally through the Performance and Development Review scheme. Employees may ask for feedback from their College Dean/Head of Service but, provided that the Review Group is satisfied that the decision-making process has been conducted fairly and in accordance with these principles, there will be no right of appeal.

Additional notes

  1. It is not possible for an employee to receive both a Merit Award and a Contribution Point in the same year. Where an employee received a Merit Award last year in recognition of their exceptional performance in that review period and has maintained the same exceptional performance over the subsequent year, this should be recognised by the award of a Contribution Point. If exceptional performance is maintained into a third year, then a Merit Award should be made, which may be followed by the award of a Contribution Point the following year – and so on until the top Contribution Point of the grade is reached. An employee who is at the top Contribution Point for their grade is only eligible for a Merit Award.

  2. The University’s financial year runs from 1 August to 31 July. References to a year in this document should be understood as the University’s financial year.

  3. Teams are eligible for Merit Awards as well as individuals within a reasonable definition of the term. Where Merit Awards are made to teams, it is expected that a reasonable definition of 'team' will apply and in most cases, this will be self-evident.