Frequently Asked Questions

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Workload models are based on a notional working year of 1650 hours for Education and Research (E&R), in line with Research Councils’ guidance (taking account of employees’ entitlement to annual leave, bank holidays and closure days). The University recognises that most academic staff do not have defined working hours and that this arrangement provides flexibility which benefits individual members of staff, students and the University as a whole. The use of the notional figure of 1650 hours is not intended to imply a contractual or defined working period: it is used solely to act as a guide in ensuring a fair allocation of work through College workload models. Academics within the Education and Scholarship job family have a 1600 hours target.

While most Colleges will base their workload model on hours, Colleges may use others systems of points or credits or percentages provided that these can easily be converted to hours to ensure transparency and understanding.

Any teaching specific queries should be addressed to your Director of Education and any other queries should be addressed to your Academic manager.

When you are asked to check your SWARM profile for the coming academic year, check that no data is missing that will change your time allocation by more than approximately 10%. Be aware of the year that the SWARM data applies to, for example, a grant may finish part way through the next academic year.

If there are significant changes required to your profile, contact your Academic manager.

SWARM is a planning tool, it does not aim to reflect your work 100%, but needs to be accurate enough to identify over allocation and under allocation of activities.

Data from SWARM is used as a key input to the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) return to HEFCE. This sets out the broad split of the University’s costs between teaching activities, research activities, and other income-generating activities. A crucial output of TRAC is the setting of cost rates for the pricing of most publicly funded research, i.e. it has a direct impact on the amount the institution is able to recover from its externally funded research output.

Each year academics (In most Colleges only E&R academics) are asked to review their workload in SWARM to ensure it broadly reflects proportionately how they spent their time. When this has been agreed, referred to as the TRAC sign off, it can be used to replace the time consuming termly Time Allocation Survey (webTAS).

Where a member of staff is concerned that the application of the workload model in their College results in an allocation of work which they perceive to be excessive or unfair, in the first instance they should discuss these concerns with the manager(s) in their College responsible for workload allocation. If, following these discussions, their concerns remain unresolved, the member of staff may raise these concerns informally with their College Dean. Exceptionally, where the concerns have not been resolved informally, the member of staff may follow the appropriate grievance procedure.

Further information

If you have any further questions please get in touch with one of the key contacts for more information.