Academic Progression Procedure

1.    Introduction
Scope and eligibility
        4.1  General points
        4.2  Preparation of cases
        4.3  Recommendation by School
        4.4  Decision by Dean
        4.5  Outcomes

Appendix 1:  Overview of Procedure
Appendix 2:  Criteria for Progression

1.     Introduction

1.1   This document sets out the procedure for the consideration of eligible academic staff for progression.

1.2  The University’s academic career pathway framework (PDF, 119kB) provides academic staff with clear career pathways.  Each pathway consists of a series of levels with distinct role profiles (generic job descriptions) associated with that level, each with its unique requirements.  Progression is the procedure via which academic staff in ‘progressable roles’ move from one role profile to another at certain points within the framework (as detailed in Section 2).  

1.3  A ‘progressable role’ is one where there is a contractual expectation that the individual in that role will progress to a certain level within the academic career pathway framework, subject to them achieving the level of competence necessary to undertake that role profile.

1.4  All roles on pathway 1 and some roles on pathways 2 and 3 are deemed progressable up to profile level d1 (Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow), which has been determined as the academic career grade.  The progressability of pathway 2 and 3 roles should be decided and made clear to appointees at recruitment stage, although it is possible for a non-progressable role to become progressable, (and exceptionally vice versa) where circumstances change to warrant this.  Some roles on pathways 2 and 3 may be ‘capped’.  That is, they may be deemed progressable only up to a certain level (i.e. level c), at which point they become non-progressable.  Please refer to the guidance on determining the progressability and changing the progressability of roles on pathways 2 and 3 for further information.

1.5  Consideration of equality issues in line with the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy is critical to the effective operation of this procedure, which is designed to ensure consistency and fairness in decision-making, and as much transparency as is compatible with confidentiality.

1.6  The progression procedure normally operates on a termly basis as set out in Appendix 1.

2.     Scope and eligibility

2.1     This procedure covers the progression of staff in progressable roles from profile level b to c and from c to d1 as follows:

 Profile Level b  Profile Level c Pathway
Lecturer to Lecturer    (Pathway 1)
Senior Research Associate to Research Fellow (Pathway 2)
Lecturer to Lecturer  (Pathway 3)
 Profile Level c  Profile Level d1 Pathway
Lecturer to Senior Lecturer    (Pathway 1)
Research Fellow to Senior Research Fellow (Pathway 2)
Lecturer to Senior Lecturer (Pathway 3)

Movement from profile level a to b (Pathways 2 and 3) is covered by separate arrangements.

2.2     Staff will become eligible for progression once they have been at the eligible point on the salary scale for one year (their ‘progression due date’).  The eligible point is the fourth point on the grade (spinal point 37 on profile level b; spinal point 42 on profile level c).  Where progression is agreed, progression to the next profile will therefore take effect from the individual’s next increment date.

2.3     Given that progression is a contractual expectation, it is not possible for staff in progressable roles to opt out of the progression procedure.  However, in exceptional circumstances, a later progression due date (of not more than four years) may be agreed by the Head of School with approval of the Dean via the delaying the progression due date process.  This means that the case for progression will not be considered at all until the revised progression due date is reached. In such circumstances, the individual will continue to receive a normal salary increment until they reach the top point of the relevant grade (point 38 or 43 respectively).

2.4     The expectation is that staff will be appointed to the appropriate salary point on profile levels b or c, in line with the experience they bring to the role and it will therefore normally be appropriate for progression to take place on the individual’s progression due date.  However, in exceptional cases where an individual has demonstrated development in the role at a significantly faster rate than would normally be expected, it may be appropriate for them to apply for Accelerated Progression.  From May 2022, this will be replaced by a new process called Promotion to Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow, but until then, it is still possible in the following scenario:

2.5     Staff are only eligible to be considered for progression within their existing pathway (unless the pre-requisites for a change of pathway have been met prior to the application for progression  - see Guidance on movement between pathways).

2.6     Equal consideration will be given to all eligible academic staff whether they are employed on a full time, part time, temporary or open-ended basis.  Please refer to Guidance for Managers for specific guidance in relation to this.

2.7     Where staff are part of a job-share arrangement, each member of staff will be treated separately for progression purposes.

3.     Criteria

3.1      Individuals may progress at their progression due date if:

  1. They are clearly meeting the existing role profile requirements as relevant to their current role
  2. Their performance in all relevant aspects of these is competent and satisfactory (see paragraph 3.3 below).
  3. They have demonstrated that they are ready to fulfil the requirements of the next profile

However, candidates for accelerated progression need to demonstrate that they are already demonstrating the competencies commensurate with the profile level to which they are seeking accelerated progression.  The 'burden of proof' is on the person seeking accelerated progression and Heads of School and Deans must be satisfied that the case for accelerated progression has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt.

3.2      Full details of the role profile requirements for progression purposes are set out in Appendix 2.  These may be supplemented by Faculty-specific criteria as appropriate.  These are not additional requirements, but rather interpretations of the role profiles to aid understanding of the requirements in the context of a particular faculty, and to highlight those elements which are deemed particularly important, or even a pre-requisite in that area.  

3.3      It is not expected that every element of a role profile will necessarily be fully satisfied, but that a judgement will be made on satisfactory performance in the context of what is relevant for that role. Some elements of a role profile may be deemed pre-requisites for progression while others may be less relevant.  Overall, a balanced view of the individual’s performance will be taken, given the expectations of that role and the opportunities available, to determine whether the relevant elements have been adequately met. The decision will be based on an overall judgement on the quality of performance in a sufficient number of areas.  Given the diverse nature of academic posts in the University, it is accepted that there will be some variance in terms of which elements are relevant in different faculty contexts.

3.4   Pathway 1 and Pathway 3 staff, without a teaching in HE qualification and seeking promotion or progression to Senior Lecturer or above should normally achieve their HEA Fellowship through the University’s CREATE scheme before applying and in time for successful promotion being active.

See the Policy for staff participation in the CREATE Scheme for further information.

4.         Procedure

4.1       General Points

4.1.1     Progression due dates can fall at any time of the year, since these occur on the anniversary of an individual’s appointment.  Cases will normally be considered at termly intervals three times a year as set out in Appendix 1.

4.1.2      Given the contractual expectation for progression, the normal expectation is that an individual will progress unless there are clear reasons why this should not be the case.  Progression decisions will be made on the basis of the CV and the senior management team’s wider professional knowledge of the individual, and therefore substantial prior paperwork will not be required for progression consideration.

4.1.3      In order to achieve a timely and smooth operation of this procedure, compliance with deadlines is essential and will be enforced at all stages.  Only in exceptional circumstances will variation be accepted.

4.1.4      Consideration of equality issues in line with the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy is critical to the effective operation of this procedure.  Please refer to Guidance for Managersfor specific guidance in relation to this.

4.1.5       All information will be treated with an appropriate level of confidentiality in accordance with the relevant data protection legislation as detailed within the staff fair processing notice.

4.2       Preparation of cases

4.2.1     The procedure is initiated by Human Resources contacting Heads of School to advise them of any staff who are due to be considered for progression within the forthcoming round as set out in Appendix 1.  Human Resources will also contact those members of staff due to be considered for progression and request that they submit an up-to-date CV to their Head of School.

Note: When preparing your case, please take a look at this  additional guidance to help you take into account the impact of Covid-19. If there is anything that you want to include, it should be submitted as an attachment to your CV outlining your circumstances and the impact on academic output.

4.2.2     CVs should be submitted to the relevant Head of School by the specified deadline.

4.2.3     Cases for accelerated progression from level b to level c (pathway 2 staff only) may be submitted at any point using the Application for Accelerated Progression form (Office document, 46kB) and attaching a CV.  Such cases will be considered under the next termly exercise.   

4.2.4     CVs should be no longer than 8 A4 sides using 12 point type.  Please refer to CV Guidance for Stafffor further information on how to set out these documents.

4.3       Recommendation by School

4.3.1     On receipt of CVs, the Head of School, together with at least one, and no more than two, other individuals from within the School[1] (normally including the individual’s line manager), will consider each case against the criteria.  Following this, the Head of School will make a recommendation to the Dean regarding whether or not the member of staff should progress.  Where a recommendation is that the individual should not progress, clear reasons will be given.

4.3.2      The focus should be on the individual’s CV and feedback from the line manager, who should be well placed to make recommendations for progression, as this is where the detailed knowledge of the individual’s performance will lie.   

4.4       Decision by Dean

4.4.1     On receipt of recommendations from the Heads of School, the Dean, advised by the Head of HR Business Partnering, will consider all cases, and make decisions about whether staff should be allowed to progress.  In making decisions, the Dean may also wish to consult other senior staff such as the Faculty Research Director and/or Faculty Education Director.

4.4.2     Particular consideration will be given to any cases where progression is not proposed.  Where it is determined that a member of staff should not progress, the Dean will give clear reasons for this and will decide when they should next be considered for progression (their revised progression due date).  This timescale will vary from case to case, depending on how soon the member of staff is expected to progress.  The Dean will then liaise with the Head of HR Business Partnering and Head of School regarding additional follow-up action (see Section 4.5 below).

4.5       Outcomes

4.5.1     Human Resources will confirm outcomes to all staff in writing.

4.5.2     In cases where progression is agreed, this will take effect from the member of staff’s progression due date (or revised date if progression has been delayed or an earlier date agreed via accelerated progression.)  The member of staff's salary will move to the bottom increment point of the next grade from that date.

4.5.3     In cases where progression is not agreed, feedback will be provided to the member of staff by the Dean/Head of School.  This will include details of the necessary action that the member of staff needs to take and goals that must be achieved in order for progression to take place.  The member of staff will be considered for progression again on their revised progression due date.   In the meantime, they will continue to receive a normal salary increment until they reach the top point of their current grade.

4.5.4      Given that there is a contractual expectation that staff in progressable roles will achieve progression, failure to do so on the original progression due date will normally mean that performance is unsatisfactory (unless it has been exceptionally agreed that there are grounds for the progression due date to be delayed).   Cases of unsatisfactory performance will be managed under the University’s Capability (Performance) Procedure.

4.5.5      In cases where progression is not agreed, members of staff may exercise a right to appeal (See Paragraph 5).

5.         Appeals

5.1         An appeal against a decision that a member of staff should not progress will be considered by a committee comprising two Pro Vice-Chancellors.  Such an appeal may be made on the grounds that either the relevant procedure has not been followed or that, in the light of the evidence, the decision made was perverse.

5.2          Appeals should be submitted to the Chief People Officer within 20 working days of the date of the letter formally confirming the outcome and should clearly set out the grounds on which the appeal is based.

5.3         The receipt of an appeal will be notified to the individual’s Head of School and Dean and any other relevant party by a member of Human Resources, unless there is an overriding reason not to do so. The Pro Vice-Chancellors considering the appeal must consult with all relevant parties before they determine the outcome of the appeal. The outcome of an appeal will be communicated to all relevant parties and shall be final.

5.4         Where the Pro Vice-Chancellors are satisfied that the relevant procedure has not been followed, the matter will be remitted for reconsideration after the proper procedures have been observed.  Where they are satisfied that the decision was perverse, they may permit the member of staff concerned to progress.

Appendix 1:  Overview of Procedure

Progression due dates can fall at any time of the year, since these occur on the anniversary of an individual’s appointment.  Cases will normally be considered at termly intervals three times a year as set out below.


Note: The normal Summer exercise will be replaced by a new process called Promotion to Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow.  

 Staff with progression due dates falling betweenHuman Resources initiate processDeadline for submission of CV to Head of SchoolSchool makes recommendation to Dean byDean decision by
SPRING 1 April – 31 July 1 Jan 31 Jan 28 Feb 31 Mar
SUMMER 1 Aug – 30 Nov 1 May 31 May 30 June 31 July
AUTUMN 1 Dec – 31 Mar 1 Sep 30 Sep 31 Oct 30 Nov

Appendix 2: Criteria for Progression

Progression Criteria.

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[1]   This should incorporate appropriate gender representation, if necessary drawing on staff in an appropriate subject area from another school/faculty.