Wednesday 22 July 2020

All staff email

Update - Voluntary Options Programme

Dear colleagues,

The end of next week sees the close of some schemes on our Voluntary Options Programme (VOP).

We'd like to thank everyone who has expressed an interest so far, as well as those who have already made applications for these options.

Which schemes are closing?

The Voluntary Severance (VS) and Voluntary Severance with Retirement (VSER) close at midnight on Friday 31 July.

Due to the volume of applications that USS are dealing with at this time, we cannot guarantee staff will receive their pension information before 31 July. We will therefore consider applications for VSER after 31 July providing you requested your pension information on or before 10 July and we receive your application within seven days of you receiving your USS pension information. Thank you for your patience as we provide these pension figures for your consideration.

We are keeping the other options open until further notice, so there is still time to consider any next steps with these in mind. You can find out more about the options on our HR website, including reduction in working hours, flexible retirement, parental leave and career breaks.

We also appreciate staff who have mirrored our Executive Board in volunteering for temporary reduction in salary. This option is also remaining open and will be reviewed in September, along with the options that remain open.

If I have applied, when will I hear?

We want to agree to as many applications as we can, as quickly as we can, but the variety and interdependence of applications means this isn't straightforward in all cases.

For VS/VSER applications

Decisions will be shared as soon as possible, once all applications have been received and considered by the panels, which are meeting in August and early September.

We anticipate we will be able to offer more clarity on specific timescales for individuals' applications in mid-August, and that all applicants will have been advised of the outcome of their application by the third week of September.

We have contacted all VS/VSER applicants this morning to update them on these timescales. If you haven't received an email update, or have any questions, please get in touch with us at

For other voluntary options

We are processing all other applications as soon as approvals are received and all necessary arrangements can be put in place. We will be emailing all applicants this week to advise them on the progress of their application.

Our context

As a reminder of the context of this Programme, we shared some of the steps the University is taking to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in May, where Charlie explained the financial background.

It is hoped that, through this Programme, we can collectively make significant savings to our employment costs. We want to protect jobs wherever possible and do all that we can to minimise the need for more difficult measures later in the year.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact or +44 (0)1904 324835.

Best wishes,


Dr Joss Ivory
HR Director