An Employee Forum launched by the University of Bolton two years ago is a “really positive experience” according to one of its representatives.

Jane Stuart-Puttnam has been on the forum since it started and says it has demonstrated that the university will listen and take on board specific issues and ideas.

The forum’s aim is to engage with all employees across the university and make them feel that they have a voice on matters relating to what is going on. It also helps employees to understand the direction of the institution through improved communication.

It has no decision-making powers, but employee representatives are encouraged to actively take part in the quarterly meetings.

Jane, who is Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer for Bolton Business Gateway, said she thought the forum had made a big difference.

She said:

“We meet about three times a year and it shows that the university aims to be open and transparent.

“One good thing is that because we are a relatively small university, when an issue or item is raised it does get acted upon and often quickly.

“People can feel like they have the chance to have their say about something.”

Membership is made up of management representatives from the Executive Board and representatives from both the Academic Schools and Professional Services. Trade Union representatives from the two recognised trade unions (Unison and UCU) are also invited to attend.

The role of an Employee Representative like Jane is to:

  • Prepare for and participate in a positive and collaborative way at meetings of the forum
  • Comment on draft policies, procedures, and initiatives submitted by the university
  • Feedback to employees in their area of responsibility on matters
  • Serve on the Forum for a period of three years in the first instance

Jane, who is based at the Institute of Management building in Newport Street, said: “Someone raised the issue of security and ensuring that everyone who worked at the university had to use their ID card to get from building to building and even though that was a cost to the university, they agreed that making people feel safe and secure was important and scanners were installed on entrances.

“That is just one example of a something raised at the forum that was acted upon.”

Negotiation on matters to do with terms and conditions of employment and related subjects are unaffected by the forum – that is still the business of the recognised trade unions and the university also continues to hold separate monthly meetings with union representatives.

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