CoronavirusStaff update 15 July

Dear colleagues,

The First Minister’s confirmation that Scotland will move to COVID-19 restrictions Level 0 next Monday is welcome news for the University community this summer. The move will enable more people to meet indoors and to attend weddings and events, and it will see the re-opening of the vast majority of the economy.

While we can enjoy greater freedom in the months ahead, the reported data shows that cases of the Delta variant remain high, and some safety requirements – including the mandatory wearing of face coverings – will stay in place for some time to come. Colleagues should also be aware that several modifications have been made to Scotland’s indicative Level 0 plans, including an extension to the national working from home guidance until we move beyond Level 0

The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and their families remain at the forefront of decision-making at Strathclyde, and we will continue to keep you updated on our plans for the new Academic Year. Further to our Vice-Principal’s email update to all colleagues on Tuesday, I will be writing to our students later today to set out the Strathclyde Student Pledge – our commitment to providing a first-class learning experience for all our students in a safe and supportive environment.  Please look out for a copy in your inbox.

You can also read full details of next Monday’s move to Level 0 in the First Minister’s most recent statement to parliament online. It is hoped restrictions will move beyond Level 0 from Monday 9 August. Updated Scottish Government guidance for universities is expected as a result of these changes – we will keep the Coronavirus Information Hub up to date as the new guidance is published.

When I wrote to you last week, I indicated that I have been discussing with my Executive Team how we might realign Strathclyde’s Professional Services Directorates to build on areas of shared expertise and enable colleagues to collaborate and work ever more closely on our Vision 2025 objectives.

I am pleased to tell you that from 1 August:

  • Campus Services - incorporating Catering, Ross Priory and Strathclyde Sport – will join the office of the Chief Commercial Officer, Adrian Gillespie. This will bring further opportunities for joint working with the Marketing & Development Services, Innovation & Industry Engagementand Research & Knowledge Exchange Services Directorates.

Subject to due process, we are also planning to build on our commitment to enhancing a safe, secure and healthy environment for our University community with:

  • The creation of a new Safety and Wellbeing Directorate, reporting to the University Secretary and Compliance Officer, Dr Veena O’Halloran. Security Services and Safety, Health and Wellbeing will transfer to the new Directorate once a Director is appointed. This is an excellent opportunity to build on the partnerships that already exist between these areas and with the Student Experience Directorate. 

This week, colleagues in Grades 1-5 and relevant Trades’ staff who joined the University between 1st April 2003 and 31st December 2016 received important information about the option to join the Strathclyde Pension Fund (SPF).  During these years, colleagues in these job categories were offered access to the Universities Superannuation Scheme but were not eligible to join SPF, unlike their predecessors and those who joined the University from 2017 onwards.

As a socially progressive University, we believe it is important that colleagues working in the same positions enjoy comparable benefits regardless of when they joined the University, and I am delighted that we have now agreed to offer these colleagues the option to join SPF.

  • If this news affects you, please do consider watching one of the information sessions outlined in the letter to help you make an informed decision on your choice for the future.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022, the University will grant staff an additional day’s holiday. In line with UK Government guidance, the May Bank Holiday will be moved from Monday 30 May to Thursday 2 June.  An additional day of leave will then be given on Friday 3rd June to give colleagues a four-day weekend.  As usual, if you cannot take that day as leave because you are required to work for business reasons, please talk to your line manager to agree an alternative day.

Have a great ‘Glasgow Fair weekend’, and if you are taking annual leave this month, please have an enjoyable and restful holiday.

Best wishes,