At the General Members meeting on 12 may 2021 BUCU agreed to adopt the following wording in relation to the new Birmingham Academic Career Framework (BACF):
“This branch agrees to accept the revised version of the BACF scheme shared with all members on 07.05.2021, which has been arrived at following sustained campaigning and negotiations by BUCU”
This was in relation to the following BUCU update in relation to the proposed changes. We also noted at the above members meeting that the changes were agreed on the basis that an open dialogue would be maintained with BUCU, particularly in relation to casualisation and equalities issues:
Birmingham Academic Career Framework (BACF) member’s update:
You will recall that we raised some substantial objections to the proposed Birmingham Academic Career Framework (BACF).
As a result of sustained BUCU campaigning and negotiations with the University management, we have now agreed an alternative proposal which is considerably improved upon the earlier version, and this was approved by BUCU members at our members’ meeting last week. The original proposal was fundamentally amended as a result of BUCU pressure, with our agreement to the scheme as a condition of it being adopted, and shows the impact we can make through our collective efforts.
For information, the main improvements are:
– The removal of the 1-year stage of the probation system.
– An automatic extension of the 5-year stage of the probation system, by one year, during which staff will have an additional year to make the case for their promotion to Associate Professor. This should substantially reduce the risk of being fired for those staff not deemed to have met the conditions for promotion after 5 years.
– A reduction in the total number of points required for promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor (from 19 points to 18 points).
– The agreement that any staff on leave (e.g. maternity leave, prolonged sick leave) will be provided with an additional length of time to achieve promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, by an amount of 150% of the time during which the leave occurred (e.g. a woman who took maternity leave for 1 year would have 1.5 years longer (6.5 years) to reach the Associate Professor grade.
– A commitment to review the scheme after it has been established, and as part of that review to share data with BUCU on promotion/progression rates (especially for staff with protected characteristics), and to include BUCU fully in the review process, all with the intention of ensuring that the stated goal of improving progression/promotion rates (especially for staff with protected characteristics) are achieved.
– A (verbal) reassurance that the vast majority of staff (in the region of 99%) will make the promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, meaning that the risk of dismissal after 5 years is minimal.