TRAC sign-off and SWARM

Data from SWARM is required as a key input to the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) return to Research England/OfS. 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 academic staff are asked to review their workload in SWARM to ensure it broadly reflects how they spent their time. When this has been agreed, referred to as the TRAC sign off, the percentage data is used in the TRAC process to allocate salaries and on-costs to broad categories of activity (teaching, research, other income-generating activity, and support for these activities) which are consolidated at department level.

Last year, the TRAC sign-off process was cancelled to allow focus on other business critical activities due to the COVID-19 crisis. This year we are obliged to reinstate the sign-off in order to meet external TRAC audit regulations.

Workloads for 2020/21 should reflect any adjustments that were necessary to accommodate additional activities required to deliver Project Enhance and to signal that we are in unusual times and needed to redirect some of our effort to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The principles underpinning the approach to academic workload management in 2020/21 are available here.

TRAC sign-off for 2020/21 will open on 11 May 2021 and academics will be emailed on that date to remind them to review their workload percentages on SWARM.

TRAC audit rules require formal sign-off that the percentage data in SWARM is broadly representative of your allocated workload across the broad activity areas of teaching, research, other income-generating activity, and support for these activities. This percentage data is used to allocate your salary and on-costs to the activity categories for use in the TRAC process at department level. For more information about what this signed-off data is used for, please refer to the University Costing Insight link on the finance services pages.

You are requested to review your workload percentages in SWARM and raise any material misrepresentations in your allocated percentages with your Workload Policy & Planning Administrator.

Please ‘sign-off’ your workload percentages in SWARM from 11 May 2021.                                 

If you were employed at the University of Exeter before 1st April, 2021 you will be reminded by email of the sign-off window from 11th May 2021 to mid-day 11th June 2021. We would be grateful for your help in achieving the maximum response rate for your college so we can ensure audit compliance and statistical robustness for the TRAC process.

Information taken from SWARM for TRAC will be treated confidentially and will only be used to produce data at department, college and university levels.

Sign-off of 2020/21 data is electronic

Using a simple submission page in SWARM you will be asked to select one of two options:

  • a) Agree that your workload percentages are reasonably representative of how your time has been allocated during the 2020/21 academic year; OR
  • b) Query the percentages shown in the TRAC workload summary with your college’s Workload Planning Administrator, if you believe there to be a substantial misrepresentation in your percentage allocation which requires correction. For TRAC purposes a substantial misrepresentation means that you require a change of 5% or more to at least two workload categories, noting that the total must always sum to 100%.

Should you have any queries about the process, please contact your College Workload Policy & Planning Administrator.

Your College is continually working to ensure the soundness of the workload planning process and the integrity of data held in SWARM.  An important element of this is confirmation that your individual workload allocations are reasonably representative of how your time has been spent during the academic year.

There is an established workload allocation ‘sign off’ process for Education & Research staff that supports TRAC (Transparent Approach to Costing) requirements.  Whilst these requirements do not apply to Education & Scholarship staff, all academic staff members are requested to review their SWARM workload percentages as soon as possible to confirm that they are a reasonable representation of allocated workload across the broad activity areas of teaching, research, other income-generating activity, and support for these activities. 

Please ‘sign-off’ your workload percentages in SWARM from 11 May 2021.                                 

If you were employed at the University of Exeter before 1st April, 2021 you will be reminded by email of the sign-off window from 11th May 2021 to mid-day 11th June 2021. We would be grateful for your help in achieving the maximum response rate for your college so we can ensure statistical robustness for this process.

Information taken from SWARM will be treated confidentially and will only be used to produce aggregated data at department, college and university levels.

Sign-off of 2020/21 data is electronic

Using a simple submission page in SWARM you will be asked to select one of two options:

  • a) Agree that your workload percentages are reasonably representative of how your time has been allocated during the 2020/21 academic year; OR
  • b) Query the percentages shown in the TRAC workload summary with your college’s Workload Planning Administrator, if you believe there to be a substantial misrepresentation in your percentage allocation which requires correction.

Should you have any queries about the process, please contact your College Workload Policy & Planning Administrator

  • Click here to login to SWARM using your normal university username (abc123 format) and password; please note that using Firefox as your browser will ensure compatibility.
  • SWARM will open on your ‘Home’ page. Click on the blue box ‘Go to the TRAC submission page’ to go straight to the TRAC tab which shows your workload percentages and allows submission of your data.
  • If you wish to view your workload hours you can click on the blue box ‘View this workload in full’ from the ‘Home’ page to take you to the Workload tab.
  • Alternatively, clicking on ‘My details’ displays both the Workload tab and the TRAC tab so that you can easily move from one to the other. If you cannot see the TRAC tab, please contact your Workload Policy & Planning Administrator.
  • Once you have reviewed your data, on the TRAC tab please select Submit My Data if you agree that your workload percentages shown in the summary are reasonably representative of how your time has been apportioned during the academic year 2020/21.
  • If, however, you feel there is substantial misrepresentation in the percentages, you can select Query My Data; this will open a blank email addressed to your Workload Planning Administrator in which you can alert them to the data requiring amendment for TRAC purposes. For TRAC purposes a substantial misrepresentation means that you require a change of 5% or more to at least two workload categories, noting that the total must always sum to 100%.