Your questions answered

Throughout the pilot, the Workload Balance Project Team has been receiving questions from academic departments about the project, and about the model. You can submit a question at any time via

NB. A few of these questions have been paraphrased to extract the essential nature of the query from longer passages. Typical examples of similar questions have been chosen to avoid repetition.

Will the new model be used for planning 18/19 workloads?

Yes, the model should be used for planning next academic year’s workloads.

What should I do if I have a question about the application of the model?

Firstly, please consult the operational handbook first, the majority of questions can be answered using the handbook. In the event you cannot find the answer you need, please contact the project team at

How will the model be administered in departments?

The process for agreeing and recording academic workloads in departments shouldn’t change. Academic members of staff should agree their workloads for the following academic year with the Head of Department. Each department has an administrator who will then record the workloads in the database provided. Individual workloads reports can then be created and shared with the individual staff member. It is anticipated that small changes in year wouldn’t need to be recorded (e.g. a short illness). However, should larger changes take place then the database can be updated to reflect significant in year changes.

Does my department have to use the database the project has provided?

The project team are keen to introduce a common structure for recording of workloads across the university. The database supplied allows workloads to be recorded consistently and allows for better reporting on workloads than is currently available in most departments. The review point in November will allow us to compare datasets from each department, this will only be possible if workloads are recorded in a consistent manner. Each College has supported this approach, if your department wishes to record workloads in a different system, please consult your College Staffing Committee.

I have noticed certain activities aren’t captured in the model, what should I do to ensure they are recorded?

The model isn’t intended to capture every small activity that is undertaken. We believe that the vast majority of activities are captured, and we have given specific allowances for external engagement activity, coaching & mentoring, and citizenship. If however you feel there is a significant activity that should be captured separately please discuss this with your Head of Department, who should in turn raise it with the College Staffing Committee. A review point in November will allow us to consider any items raised by your Department and College.

I believe a particular allowance is too generous/not generous enough. What should I do to flag this?

We encourage Departments and Colleges to document these now and share them with the project team via A formal review in November will consider the feedback from Departments and Colleges. Potential changes to the model will be considered at this time.

I think there is an unanticipated problem in the model: can this be dealt with now?

Please share this with the project team via Where a problem can be identified and dealt with quickly, we will do this. Where it cannot, we will take appropriate steps to mitigate any implications during this year and escalate it to the review that will be undertaken in November 2018.

How will I access my individual workload reports?

Each department has nominated staff members responsible for the recording and inputting of workloads into the database provided. They will provide you with an individualised report detailing your workload. You should contact them to agree any changes that needed to be recorded, you should do this in agreement with your Head of Department.

Will there be transparency of workload reports in departments?

Yes, however we are not proposing full transparency in the first 2 years. We have recommended to departments that workload comparison reports should be accessible but anonymised whilst the model is embedded. Our current expectation is that we will move to full transparency in the longer term, so long as the software is able to effectively mask confidential and private arrangements such as those arising from reasonable adjustments.

I have a disability and reasonable adjustment regarding aspects of my workload that I would like to keep confidential. Will the reporting disclose my any arrangements to my colleagues in my department?

This has been discussed at length within the project, and we are sensitive to this issue. Following discussions with the Chair of the Disability Action Group, we have developed the database to create reports based on an effective FTE. So in practical terms, if you have agreed a reduced or altered workload in recognition of personal circumstances, this will not be visible in any of the reports anyone else will see.

What if I am unable to meet the career form split as proposed in the model?

The aim of workload models is to predict the activity of staff for the coming academic year so that work can be fairly balanced across the department/school. In any one year, and for a range of practical reasons, the proportion of time spent on different activities may not match the expectations of the career form.  . The intention is that staff are roughly in line with their career form over a period of 3-5 years, and that this is discussed and monitored as part of the PDD and the approach to workload balance within the department or school.

How will the model account for the majority of academics working much more than 40hrs/week?

The workload model is based on a notional working year of 1665 hours based on a 37.5 hour week after subtracting holiday and closure days.The purpose of the model is not to capture additional hours completed by academic staff in year. The purpose of the model is to provide the parameters in which planning for future academic years can be delivered, to give us a picture of workload balance and distribution within an academic community during and after an academic year, and to assist in ensuring that members of staff are able to meet the opportunities and obligations of their career form over a period of several years. The model should also be used as part of planning processes, including resource requests.

How should PGR supervision be recorded?

Different disciplines have different view as to where PGR supervision should be counted. We have agreed that Colleges can place PGR supervision under either teaching or research. How this affects overall workload balance is one of the issues that will be looked at in the November review.

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The project team can be contacted at

The project team will endeavour to respond to all queries within five working days.