Acting Up Policy and Procedure


1. Purpose of Policy

2. Scope

3. Criteria

4. When can Acting Up be used?

5. Payment

6. Selection Process

7. Termination

8. Absence during an acting up arrangement

9. Equality and diversity statement


1.      Purpose of Policy

1.1      SOAS is committed to creating an environment where people are proud to work and recognises that employee development is critical to this.  This policy and procedure has been developed to enable the School to support employee development through acting up opportunities while at the same time ensuring that good management practice is implemented.

1.2      An Acting Up allowance is payable when the employee takes on the full responsibilities of a post graded at a higher level. Further information on Acting Up allowances can be found on the Over-time Payments, Responsibility Allowances & Acting up Allowances Policy Statement.

2.      Scope

2.1      For the purposes of this policy and procedure SOAS employees covers all employees except casual staff and those employees on probation.

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3.      Criteria

3.1      To receive an Acting Up allowance an employee should normally:

  • Undertake the complete duties and responsibilities of a higher graded post for a continuous period of more than four weeks and no more than 6 months;
  • Fully cover the hours of the post that they are acting up into (for example if the post they are covering is 35 hours per week, they must act up for this period, unless the duties are split between two employees where the acting up hours are added together to equal 35).
4.      When can Acting Up be used?
  • Long term absence where this is over 4 weeks
  • Vacancies
  • Maternity cover
  • To cover posts during a restructure

4.2  The line manager must determine at the outset whether an Acting Up position is appropriate given the situation and possible duration of the arrangement. They will then decide whether to appoint one person to undertake the full role of the post, or whether the duties could be shared. It may be determined that one or more employees will cover some of the duties, but not the complete role. In this instance an extra responsibility allowance and not an Acting Up would be appropriate.

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5.      Payment

5.1      Payment is based on the difference between the current grade of the post-holder and the bottom of the grade which would apply to the higher level post, unless there is a salary overlap. In no circumstances can an employee acting up be appointed to a grade higher than the post that they are Acting Up into.

5.2      All payments are subject to Income Tax, National Insurance and pension deductions, where appropriate.

5.3      The higher salary will be paid from the date the additional duties commence.

5.4      In circumstances where duties are shared, then the payment will be calculated pro rata for the percentage of the time.

5.5      Where the duties carried out are not covered by a current role profile and the post is required to be filled quickly, a listing of duties should be drawn up and an assessment of this undertaken in discussion with HR to determine the appropriate level of salary to be paid until a full HERA evaluation can take place.

5.6      A Variation of Contract form should be completed by the line manager for payment of the Acting Up arrangement. In doing so they must confirm:

  • the reason for the arrangement with any supporting information.
  • identify the period of the Acting-up arrangement
  • confirm the process of recruitment to the post
  • the payment to be made, with the basis of the calculation.

Confirmation should be given that funding is available from the directorate/ team area budget.

6.        Selection process

6.1       The line manager must first consider whether there is an employee in the team who has a “deputising” role in their role profile. If so the employee(s) should be invited to act-up into the role for the agreed period.

6.2       In instances where there is not a formal deputy to act-up, the post should be advertised by internal advertisement within the team. The advert may be circulated by email.

6.3       A School application form will not be required; however applicants may be required submit an application document, for example a personal statement addressing the selection criteria.

6.4       Selection will be undertaken in line with SOAS’s normal selection process. Feedback will be provided to unsuccessful candidates. The successful candidate will not normally be required to give formal notice in accordance with their contract of employment and should be released as soon as is reasonably possible.

6.4       It is important that, during the Acting Up period, there are regular reviews, and if there are concerns about performance, that feedback is given. If performance is unsatisfactory, the arrangement may be terminated subject to notice.

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7.      Termination

7.1      An Acting Up arrangement may be terminated by one week’s notice in writing.

7.2      The person appointed to an Acting Up post should be able to return to their substantive post at the end of the arrangement on pay and conditions no less favourable than when they left.

8.      Absence during an acting up arrangement

8.1      Acting Up payments are made to employees on the basis that they are actively undertaking additional duties at a higher grade. Where an employee who is receiving an Acting Up payment is absent from duty for more than a week, the manager should review the payment. There is no justification for continuing to make a payment to an employee when they are unable to undertake the duties for which the Acting Up allowance was awarded.

9. Equality & Diversity Statement

9.1     This policy has been developed in accordance with the terms of the SOAS Equality Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and its Equality Impact Assessment procedure. This will help ensure that the School meets its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

9.2 An Equality Impact Assessment has been conducted on this policy and any identified actions have been completed.

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