Reward and Recognition Procedure

1. Introduction

1.1. This procedure describes the process for awarding contribution increments, accelerated increments, and one-off or non-consolidated payments (honoraria) to employees who have made an exceptional contribution to the work of the School.

1.2. Contribution and accelerated increments

The award of contribution and accelerated increments is used to recognise an individual’s application of accelerated knowledge, skills and/or behaviours which increase their contribution towards School and Departmental aims and core SOAS values. This should be over and above the normal expectations of the role, and for a sustained period (normally more than one year) or where the requirement is clearly on-going.

1.3. One-off non-consolidated payments

One-off non-consolidated payments should be used to recognise an individual’s contribution towards School and Departmental aims and core values, significantly over and above the normal expectation for the role, but where this is not necessarily an ongoing requirement.

1.4. Other mechanisms such as the market supplement policy and re-grading/promotion procedures are available to cover market pay issues or permanent changes to roles.

1.5. The procedure sets out the process for rewarding individual contribution while ensuring transparency, fairness and equality for all employees.

2. Eligibility

2.1 The scheme applies to all employees of the School, up to and including grade 9/Senior Lecturer/Reader.

2.2 Applicants must have 12 months’ service at SOAS by 31 July 2022.

2.3 To be eligible for the award of an accelerated scale increment, an employee must be below the normal maximum of their salary scale. An accelerated award will not exceed the top point of the grade, exclusive of contribution increments.

2.4 Contribution increments are the shaded points at the top of each grade on the salary scale. To be eligible to be considered for a contribution increment, an employee should currently be paid at the normal maximum or penultimate of their salary scale.

3. Equal opportunities

3.1 SOAS is committed to ensuring that protected characteristics are taken into consideration in the development and implementation of any policy, process or procedure, including decision making.

3.2 This policy has been developed in accordance with the terms of the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and the Equality Impact Assessment procedure. This will help ensure that the School meets its Public Sector Equality to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act (2010)
  • Advance equality of opportunity
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t

3.3 If you have any queries regarding this policy, or its application, please contact .

4. Principles

4.1 The procedure is based upon the following principles:

  • All employees should be rewarded fairly according to their sustained contribution, including the application of new skills and expertise developed over time in the job.
  • Assessment of objectives/performance standards achieved should be clearly related to departmental/School objectives, recognise achievements and reward competencies and activities likely to contribute to the future success of the School.
  • Objectives/performance standards must be applied fairly and consistently.
  • Judgements should be demonstrably based on objective evidence and, where appropriate, recognise initiative, leadership and/or contribution to teamwork.
  • Arrangements for access to contribution points should be communicated to all employees in a way that makes clear how the policy operates and the part that they and their managers play in its application.
  • Line managers are encouraged to consider all the staff under their remit and consider nominating an individual where where no application has been made, but the line manager feels that the individual has made a substantial contribution to the work of the department, for which they have not been previously rewarded under this policy.

5. Procedure

5.1. All recommendations for contribution increments, accelerated increments, or one-off non-consolidated payments will be considered by a Reward Panel.

5.2. Membership of the Reward Panel is as follows:

  • Chief Operating Officer (Chair)
  • Deputy Director and Provost
  • a Head of Professional Service
  • an Academic Head of Department
  • an Early Career Academic
  • a member of professional services staff at a middle-management grade

A senior member of the Human Resources Directorate will provide advice and guidance to the Panel.
The balance of academic and professional services panel members allows consistency in the approach to reward across the School. However, it is anticipated that academic panel members will contribute more substantially when reviewing applications from academic and related groups, and likewise professional services panel members will contribute more substantially to professional services applications.

5.3 The Reward Panel will monitor and review the operation of the Reward and Recognition procedure on an annual basis.

5.4 The Panel will consider each application for an award based on the agreed criteria. A decision will be reached on the basis of the evidence submitted.

5.5 The Panel will monitor the financial impact of the awards agreed and have any appropriate conversations about affordability with the Director of Finance where applicable

5.6 Human Resources will communicate the outcome of a reward application to each applicant and to the relevant line manager, on behalf of the Panel.

5.7 The Panel will report annually to the Executive Board, Equality and Diversity Committee, Academic Board (for Academic Staff) and a Committee of the Board (for PS Staff) for information..

6. Criteria

6.1 Examples of Relevant Criteria

6.1.1 Team and project leadership;
6.1.2 Achievement of objectives that support the delivery of Departmental and/or School strategic aims and core values;
6.1.3 People management;
6.1.4 Budget management;
6.1.5 Service delivery/customer care;
6.1.6 Continuous professional development;
6.1.7 Promoting widening participation;
6.1.8 Representation on external bodies;
6.1.9 Technical skills;
6.1.10 Educational management and administration planning;
6.1.11 Teaching and learning excellence;
6.1.12 Academic leadership;
6.1.13 Entrepreneurial and enterprise related activities;
6.1.14 Research excellence;
6.1.15 Any other relevant objectives/performance standards agreed between the post holder and relevant head of department.

6.2 The decision to grant a reward will be based on the performance of employee, and not on the requirements of the role itself. In order to assist the Reward Panel in the interpretation of the relevant criteria, the supporting statements from the line manager should reflect their own clearly identified strategic objectives, and indicate how the performance of the employee contributed to achieving these or the School’s core values

6.3 For Departmental Managers/Academic Support Managers, the Supporting Statement should be completed by their line manager as for other nominations. However, following a decision by the Executive Board, the relevant Head of Department should be asked to provide an additional supporting statement in the application form.

7. Types of Reward

7.1 Contribution Increments

7.1.1 Contribution increments are the shaded points at the top of each grade on the salary scale. These may be awarded where an employee:

  • Is consistently demonstrating exceptional performance i.e. over and above the normal expectation for someone who is fully developed in that role, but where duties have not sufficiently changed to justify a re-grading;
  • Is consistently providing sustained, outstanding services to the Department or Section, or to the School at large e.g. exceptional performance in a key area of the role.

7.1.2 To be eligible for a contribution increment, an employee’s salary point should be at the normal maximum or penultimate point of their salary scale.

7.1.3 One, two (or exceptionally, three) contribution increments may be awarded, where a case can be made for this based on the criteria agreed, and subject to the individual’s current point on the salary scale. The normal expectation is for a single increment to be awarded.

7.1.4 Contribution increments will normally be effective from 1 August each year.

7.2 Accelerated Increments

7.2.1 Accelerated increments may be awarded where an employee:

  • Is developing and progressing within their role at a faster rate than would normally have been expected and is making a greater contribution to the department or section;
  • Has taken on significant additional work on an ongoing basis, but where the level of that responsibility falls within their current grade;
  • Is demonstrating sustained behaviours/approaches, which allow their role to be achieved more effectively on an ongoing basis e.g. quality achieved, customer services provided, application of the skills gained following the achievement of a relevant qualification.

To be eligible for the award of an accelerated scale increment, an employee must be below the maximum of their salary scale. An accelerated award will not exceed the top point of the grade.

7.2.2 More than one accelerated scale increment may be awarded in exceptional cases.

7.2.3 Accelerated scale increments are normally effective from 1 August each year.

7.3 One-off non-consolidated payments

7.3.1 These may be awarded where an employee:

  • Demonstrates a particular flexible approach, or behaviour/s, that contribute directly to the achievement of departmental or section objectives;
  • Contributes ideas that lead to greater efficiency, improved quality, cost savings etc., and which contribute to the achievement of departmental or section objectives;
  • Achieves particularly challenging goals or objectives e.g. overcomes significant obstacles to ensure deadlines are met;
  • Demonstrates behaviours/approaches that allow the role to be achieved more effectively e.g. quality, customer services provided, but where these have not yet been demonstrated on an ongoing basis.

7.3.2 One-off non-consolidated payments are normally paid with the August salary at a rate agreed annually by the Panel. Awards will normally be in the range £500-£1000. Awards may be made on a pro-rata basis for part-time staff as deemed appropriate.

7.3.3 It is important that the Reward Panel can justify variations in any one-off non-consolidated payments reflecting in a transparent way the achievements of the recipient.

7.3.4 The Reward Panel will take account of all awards given to individual applicants over the preceding three years when making its decisions.

7.3.5 The Reward Panel will consider whether one-off non-consolidated payments have previously been made to employees for the same or very similar reason in the previous two years. In these cases, an award of a contribution increment or an accelerated scale increment to reflect this trend may be more appropriate as a way of rewarding sustained excellent performance.

7.3.6 Where a contribution increment or an accelerated increment is awarded, there should be clear demonstration that the individual has increased their contribution to the department or section and to School objectives on an ongoing basis. With this in mind, it is unlikely that the Panel would consider a further accelerated scale increment or contribution increment for two years running, even if performance levels are maintained. The Panel may choose to award a non-consolidated payment in year two if the level of performance is maintained, and a further increment (accelerated scale or contribution as appropriate) might be awarded in year three, again if the level of performance is maintained.

8 Application Process

8.1 To maximise opportunity for employee recognition, there are two routes for application:

  • Self-nomination
  • Nomination by line manager

8.2 Employees and/or line managers wishing to apply/recommend the award of a contribution increment, an accelerated increment or a one-off payment should complete the application form. Completed forms should be passed to the director/head of department for approval before being submitted to Human Resources.

8.3 All applications require a statement from the head of department/line manager in order for the Reward Panel to assess the application. Heads of department/line managers must provide a statement as to whether or not they wish to support the application. In cases where the head of department/line manager does not support the application, they should include clear grounds for this within the statement. The panel may choose to accept a nomination that is not supported by the line manager.

8.4 Support and guidance is available to employees to assist them in effectively reflecting their case where they may not be confident doing so independently. Such support and guidance is not intended to identify and build a case on a staff member’s behalf. Employees can speak to their line manager or contact the HR Operation team if they feel they would benefit from this assistance.

8.5 The School Promotion Panel, (which considers promotion application from academic staff) may put forward a request(s) for the Reward Panel to consider an application from a promotion candidate where they have reviewed the application at the promotion panel and are of the view that a reward may be more appropriate than promotion.

9 Outcome

9.1 The Reward Panel will meet annually in the Summer term to consider all types of applications.

9.2 Written feedback will be given to employees where applications have not been successful, or where they have been awarded a different type of reward than that for which they applied. The feedback will indicate the reason for the Panel’s decision, referencing the relevant criteria used in its assessment.

10 Appeals

10.1 Employees have the right to appeal the decision of the Reward Panel in respect of their application under this procedure.

10.2 Written appeals, including the grounds for appeal, should be submitted to HR via the rewards inbox, within 10 working days of the date of the outcome letter. Appellants will be offered the opportunity to attend the hearing and present their case in person, should they wish.

10.3 Human Resources will write to any employee who lodges an appeal inviting them to attend and/or provide a written submission to the Reward Appeal Panel equivalent giving a minimum of 15 working days’ notice (the Appeal Panel should normally meet within 8 weeks of the notification being sent).

10.4 The employee should notify Human Resources in writing at least 5 working days before the date of the Appeal Panel meeting indicating whether they wish to attend the hearing and/or provide a written submission.

10.5 Any written submission to the Appeal Panel must be received by Human Resources at least 5 working days before the date of the Appeal Panel meeting.

10.5 Appeals may only be made on the basis of a procedural error and/ or with reference to the original material submitted and the panel’s recorded outcome.

10.6 Employees should be aware that a decision to reject an application does not mean that the Reward Panel found no merit in the case. A decision may also have reflected the consideration of recent rewards awarded to the applicant.

11 Salary Scales

11.1 Copies of the current salary scales are available via the Human Resource website.

12 Fast Track Application

12.1 In circumstances which are deemed wholly exceptional and unforeseeable by the appropriate Director/Head of Department or the Registrar, applications may be submitted to the Reward Panel outside the normal timetable. In such cases, the standard procedure will be followed if feasible. In the event that time does not permit, or circumstances dictate otherwise, an electronic consultation exercise will take place. Decisions cannot be made solely on chair’s action.

13 Confidentiality

13.1 Information relating to reward applications and appeals must be treated confidentially by those involved, and must be managed in accordance with the School’s Data Protection Policy and IT policies. Employees involved in these processes should note that applicants have the right to seek access to personal data about themselves under the Data Protection Act.

Director of Human Resources
June 2022