Notices

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[Note. An asterisk denotes a reference to a previously published or recurrent entry.]

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REINTRODUCTION OF THE OXFORD MOBILITY INCENTIVE SCHEME (OMIS) 2002--3

Summary

Council has agreed to make available a voluntary severance scheme for a limited period from 1 October 2002 to 31 December 2003 in order to achieve financial savings and facilitate organisational change in line with departmental and divisional strategies. The scheme provides, ex gratia, for either a cash lump sum and/or the purchase of additional years of pensionable service. In all cases the resignation of a staff member must be both voluntary and in the management interest.

Following consultation with staff representatives, representatives of the colleges, divisions, departments, and other interested bodies, Council has agreed that the terms and conditions of the scheme should be broadly the same as those which applied in the 2001 exercise, and, as before, voluntary severance will be available under OMIS or Premature Retirement Terms, except that:

—staff will be eligible for consideration for Premature Retirement Terms (PRT) at age 50 rather than 55; and —to facilitate organisational change in order to achieve departmental strategic plans, staff in posts—whether established or not—identified as outside strategic priorities may be invited to consider OMIS/PRT.

Members of university staff wishing to inquire further, without commitment, or wishing to take advantage of the schemes are invited, in the first instance, to discuss their position with the employing authority for their post (i.e. the departmental administrator or head of department/chairman of the faculty board as appropriate). Full details of the scheme can be found on the Web at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/ps/.


Overview of the scheme

1. For the period 1 October 2002 to 31 December 2003—

(a) the Oxford Mobility Incentive Scheme (OMIS) will be reintroduced; and

(b) as an alternative, eligible staff aged 50 and over on the effective date of resignation who satisfy the qualifying conditions of the OMIS scheme may apply for premature retirement under the USS Premature Retirement Terms (PRT), if they are members of that pension scheme, or under the parallel provision for non-academic staff if they are members of OSPS.

2. In all cases the resignation of the member of staff (a) must be voluntary, and (b) must be in the `management interest'. That is the voluntary resignation must result in a vacancy which leads to a net saving, or staffing changes which will result in an increase in projected income, these changes contributing to the ability of the relevant unit to keep within its budget. The OMIS Steering Committee will expect (i) that the net savings/increased income resulting from the voluntary resignation will normally finance the costs of OMIS within two years, or the costs of PRT within three years (the difference in the notional payback period for OMIS and PRT reflecting the potentially higher maximum cost of PRT in terms of multiples of annual salary); and (ii) that the total savings and/or increase in income over a number of years should normally amount to at least twice those costs.

3. Applications for OMIS/PRT benefits in the 2002--3 exercise will be considered under two main routes. (Any other requests for voluntary severance will be assessed by the OMIS Steering Committee on a case-by-case basis.)

Route 1

As in previous exercises, applications for OMIS or PRT under this route will be initiated by individual members of established [1] university staff and in the first stage of the assessment procedure the employing authority* will decide whether or not there is a sufficient management interest to support the case. (*Academic staff are invited to consult their head of division, or faculty board chairman, or head of department; and academic-related and non-academic staff are invited to consult their head of department or departmental administrator.)

Route 2

To facilitate organisational change in order to achieve departmental strategic plans, OMIS/PRT may also be offered to staff in posts which, as a result of a departmental review process, have been identified as not affordable within projected future budgets and not key to the delivery of the department's academic goals. The identification of such posts must be done through an open and transparent process involving consultation with the staff affected and their representatives to explore ways in which strategic objectives can be achieved within projected future resources. Staff in posts identified as outside strategic priorities may be invited to consider OMIS/PRT. Basic eligibility for consideration under route 2 will be the same as for route 1 except that, in addition to established staff, eligibility will extend to all staff holding contracts of employment for which the unexpired term is twice the payback period for OMIS or PRT, as appropriate (e.g. in the case of an OMIS payment of two years' salary the unexpired term of the contract should be at least four years).

4. In the course of consultation representatives of all staff groups expressed concern about the potential impact of the new route 2, as well as the impact of `normal' OMIS departures on the remaining staff in departments. Staff representatives sought assurances that staff who declined to take up the offer of OMIS/PRT under route 2 would not be put under any undue pressure in their subsequent employment. Heads of department have also been urged to ensure that all staff directly affected by the resignation of a staff member and any consequential reorganisation are properly consulted about the proposed resignation before a decision is taken to proceed with the OMIS/PRT application.

5. It is possible that more applications or enquiries about the scheme will be received than can be approved in the management interest. Departments and divisions have been asked to ensure that the reasons for accepting or rejecting an application are recorded; and that staff whose applications are rejected (whether at the initial enquiry stage or once a formal application had been made) are given reasons for the decision.


How to apply

6. Members of university staff wishing to inquire further, without commitment, or wishing to take advantage of the schemes are invited, in the first instance, to discuss their position with the employing authority for their post (i.e. academic staff are invited to consult their head of division, or faculty board chairman, or head of department; and academic-related and non-academic staff are invited to consult their head of department or departmental administrator). Where the preliminary and without prejudice assessment of the employing authority is that the interested person's resignation might be in the management interest, the person may then be referred to the University's Head of Pensions (Mr S. Ellis, telephone: (2)70152), who will arrange for a senior member of the Pensions Office to see the individual concerned and discuss the scheme benefits in relation to their own particular circumstances. It would be helpful if individual members of staff did not approach him directly in the first instance, but were referred to him by the relevant employing authority.

7. OMIS and PRT relate only to employment with the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford, and the associated university salary. They do not apply to employment with a college. As on previous occasions, Council has agreed that termination of employment with the University under OMIS or PRT will not be agreed in the case of a holder of a joint appointment without full consultation with the relevant college. It is stressed that where an application for OMIS/PRT benefits is received from, or is being considered in respect of, the holder of a joint appointment, the head of department (or nominee) should consult the nominated representative of the college concerned at the earliest possible stage in order to seek to avoid any clash of managerial interest between the college and the University. Where a department is considering inviting a holder of a joint appointment to apply under route 2, the head of division (or nominee) will discuss the matter with the college concerned in consultation with the member of staff concerned.

8. If, following discussion with the Head of Pensions, an individual would be willing to submit a resignation under the terms of OMIS or PRT, the employing authority should obtain a copy of the OMIS/PRT application form and the benefit calculations from the Pensions Section. Completed OMIS/PRT application forms require the signature of the relevant head of division before being submitted to the OMIS Steering Committee for consideration and possible approval.

9. No binding offers of OMIS/PRT benefits may be made to any person without prior formal approval from the OMIS Steering Committee.


Further information

10. Full details of the scheme are available via the Web at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/ps/.

Footnote

[1] For the purposes of OMIS, `established staff' is to be interpreted as referring either (a) to those members of staff who, according to central records, are currently appointed to university posts in which the first letter of the post number prefix is A--F inclusive and who have occupied that post continuously since a date on or before 1 June 1 April 2002, or (b) to those members of staff who were appointed to a university post in which the first letter of the post number prefix is A--F inclusive and who hold an established letter of appointment for their category of staff and who are notionally held against that vacant established post while temporarily occupying one or more outside grant funded posts.
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CHINESE CLASSES FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY

Non-intensive Chinese classes (Mandarin) at beginner and intermediate levels for members of the University are held during full term at the following times in the Institute for Chinese Studies, Walton Street (room 206). The course books used are Practical Chinese Reader vols. I and II respectively, copies of which can be purchased from Blackwell's. Registration will take place in first week of Michaelmas Term, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Beginners' level: Monday, 5–6 p.m. Tutor: Song Yang.

Intermediate level: Wednesday, 5–6 p.m. Tutor: Fang Jing.

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WIDOWS OR WIDOWERS OF FORMER MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY'S PENSION SCHEMES

From time to time the attention of the University is drawn to individual cases of financial hardship among widows or widowers of former members of the Federated Superannuation System for Universities (FSSU) and the University of Oxford Employees Pension Scheme (EPS). Limited resources are available to alleviate proven cases of hardship and any enquiry should be addressed to the Superannuation Officer, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD. All cases are dealt with in the strictest confidence.

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CIRCULATION OF THE GAZETTE TO RETIRED SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY

It has been decided that any former member of Congregation over the age of seventy-five who is resident in Oxford may continue to receive the Gazette, if he or she so wishes, on application in writing to the Information Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD. Such applications must be renewed at the beginning of each academic year.

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MUSICAL EVENTS

Magdalen College

Organ recitals

The following recitals will be given at 5.25 p.m. on Saturdays in the chapel, Magdalen College. Admission is free.

19 Oct.: DAVID MAW, Lecturer in Music, Oriel College.

26 Oct.:KATHERINE PARDEE.

9 Nov.: DAVID WOODCOCK, Director of Music, Oakham School.

16 Nov.: JONATHAN HARDY, Organ Scholar, Magdalen College.

23 Nov.: RICHARD BARNES (with MARK HARTT-PALMER, violin).

30 Nov.: CHRISTOPHER BUCKNALL, Organ Scholar, Lincoln College.

7 Dec.: CHRISTOPH TIETZE, Organist, San Francisco Catholic Cathedral.

Choral concert

Mozart's Requiem (Solemn Requiem for All Souls) will be performed at 6 p.m. on Saturday, 2 November, in the chapel, Magdalen College.

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Queen's College

Organ recitals

The following organ recitals will be given at 1.10 p.m. on Wednesdays in the chapel, Queen's College. Admission is free, with a retiring collection.

23 Oct.: GEORGE PARSONS, Queen's College.

30 Oct.: LEWIS BRITO-BABAPULLE, St Peter's College.

6 Nov.: NICHOLAS CHALMERS, London.

13 Nov.: SIMON JOHNSON, St Albans Cathedral.

20 Nov.: STEPHEN FARR, Guildford Cathedral.

27 Nov.: TOM WILKINSON, award winner, Oundle Festival.

4 Dec.: DANIEL TURNER, Queen's College.

Choral Services

Choral Services are held as follows during full term in the chapel, Queen's College: Sunday, 6.15 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 6.30 p.m. Further details may be found on the college Web site, http://www.queens.ox.ac.uk.

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