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Further Information

The following information does not form part of your contract of employment.


Grading of posts and career progression

On appointment you will be given a job description which outlines the activities and responsibilities of your post and identifies the person or persons to whom you are immediately responsible. The job description is not exhaustive, and you may be expected to carry out other duties appropriate to the grade of your post on the request of your supervisor or Head of Institution.

If you are asked to work at a level higher than the grade of your post for a prolonged period, you may be paid an allowance to take account of the higher level of duties.

Because the needs of the University and of departments change, your job description may change to take account of differing needs for work. You will be consulted about any permanent changes in your duties. If there is substantial change in your duties, your job description may be considered for re-evaluation. The procedure is described later in this section.

All assistant staff posts except for a few temporary appointments are assigned to one of the Divisions of staff, and to a grade within the Division:

  • Clerical, Library, and Secretarial Staff (CS Division)
  • General and Ancillary Staff (M Division)
  • Technical and Related Staff (T Division)


Grading and regrading of posts

At present posts are graded by the use of job evaluation with a separate scheme for each Division. The aim of these schemes is to fix a grade for each post which reflects fairly the duties and responsibilities of the post. In due course it is hoped to introduce a common grading methodology that will apply to all posts.

The duties for a particular post are set by the Head of Institution. From time to time there will be changes in the duties of a post. If there is a need for major changes in your duties your Head of Institution will consult you about those changes; however under your contract and your job description you are expected to accept reasonable changes. If changes may affect the grade of your post your Head of Institution will ask the Human Resources Division to re-evaluate the post.

If you consider that your post is incorrectly graded because the duties have substantially changed, you should approach your Head of Institution to discuss the matter. If he or she agrees that the post should be re-evaluated s/he will approach the Human Resources Division to request a regrading.

If your Head of Institution does not agree that the post should be re-evaluated you may request regrading. This should be done by asking your Head of Institution to put your request to the Human Resources Division.

In either case you and your Institution will need to prepare a new Job Description on the official form. You will need to prepare an account of your duties; other sections of the form will be completed by the Institution. You and your Head of Institution should sign the completed documentation.

A member of the Human Resources Division will then arrange to visit the institution to collect further information and will discuss the job description with you and other members of the institution who can help in understanding the duties of the post. The job will then be evaluated in the Human Resources Division, and the Director of Human Resources will make a grading recommendation to the appropriate authority. If you have asked for your post to be re-evaluated and your request is not approved, you have the right of appeal to the Job Evaluation Review Committee, and this will be explained to you in the letter notifying you of the outcome.

Posts submitted for re-evaluation are considered once a year. Completed Job Descriptions must be sent to the Human Resources Division during December and January each year. If an upgrading is approved, it will take effect from 1 January.


Career Progression

While it is possible to achieve promotion if a post is upgraded, it is more usual to do so either by being promoted within your own institution or by transferring to another institution in the University. You may wish to consider applying for a higher-graded post, or for a post at the same grade which would give you wider experience and prepare you for promotion. Transfer from one University institution to another is considered continuous employment.

The University offers a wide range of jobs. Vacancies for assistant staff posts and many other types of post are advertised weekly and circulated to every institution on the Internal Vacancies List. Heads of Institution select their own staff, and if you are interested in any particular vacancy advertised you should apply directly to the institution concerned.

You may also ask the Human Resources Division for assistance in finding a suitable vacancy. The University provides an extensive staff development programme and you can discuss your development needs with your Departmental Training Co-ordinator. If you are invited for interview in an institution other than your own, you should inform your Head of Institution or the deputy of your interest in the post and seek permission to attend the interview.

If you hold a post supported by funds received from an outside source which is due to terminate you will be assisted in finding a suitable vacancy in the University's employment.


Trades Unions and joint consultation

Membership of trades unions

The University recognises that fully representative trades unions are helpful to good staff relations and the University welcomes membership of a trades union, but this is not required as a condition of employment.

You are invited to take part in the activities of your trades union provided that those activities are outside your working hours or if within working hours are with the consent of your Head of Institution. Such activities include seeking to become an official of the trades union and carrying out the functions of such an office if appointed or elected.

As the employer, the University recognises the rights of the following trades unions to represent their members and to negotiate on behalf of assistant staff as follows:

The Association of Cambridge University Assistants (ACUA) for:

  • Clerical, library and secretarial staff
  • General and ancillary staff
  • Technical and related staff


  • Clerical, library and secretarial staff
  • Technical and related staff


  • Clerical, library and secretarial staff
  • General and ancillary staff

As a trades union member, if you wish you may authorise the University in writing to deduct trades union subscriptions from your salary to be paid directly to the union concerned.

Joint consultation

The University and Assistants Joint Board

The University and Assistants Joint Board is a joint consultative and negotiating body on which representatives of ACUA, AMICUS and UNISON sit, together with nominees appointed by Council and the General Board, under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor. Ex officio members of the Joint Board are the Registrary, the Secretary General of the Faculties, the Treasurer and the Director of Human Resources. The Joint Board is charged with keeping under review and reporting on the terms and conditions of employment of assistant staff, including rates of pay, recruitment, training and welfare.

Assistant staff are represented on the Joint Board in three separate bargaining units. A bargaining unit is a group of employees who have interests in common for negotiations. At present the bargaining units are:

  • Clerical, Library and Secretarial Staff
  • General and Ancillary Staff
  • Technical and Related Staff

A separate Standing Joint Negotiating Committee for each bargaining unit, consisting of nominated representatives of the University and of the appropriate trades unions, deals with matters particular to each bargaining unit. Special Joint Negotiating or Consultative Committees, with representatives of the University and Trades Unions, may be set up to deal with matters concerning more than one bargaining unit. Agreements reached by the Joint Negotiating Committees are not subject to amendment by the University and Assistants Joint Board or by Council without the agreement of the Joint Negotiating Committee concerned.

Individual representation

All members of the assistant staff are entitled to be accompanied at any formal meeting with their Head of Institution relating to matters connected with their employment by another member of the Assistant Staff, or, if they are members of a recognised trades union, by an accredited official of that union.


Staff Review and Development (Appraisal)

A staff review and development scheme is in operation for staff. You will normally be invited to an interview about every two years. Your reviewer may be your immediate supervisor or another appropriate person nominated by your Head of Institution.

The purpose of the interview is to allow you and your reviewer to reflect on your job performance, your capabilities, and your future potential. The interview is designed to facilitate a constructive discussion of your achievements, difficulties and future development, to share ideas on your own work in the context of the overall work of your section, and to identify your goals and any training needs which may help you to achieve these goals. The staff review and development process in the University is not linked to pay.


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