Research Posts in the Faculty of Law: Faculty and PI/Supervisor responsibilities

(a) Recruitment, induction and training – the supervisor will be involved in recruitment, and will ensure that appropriate induction and training arrangements are put in place for new staff.  This will include holding an initial discussion with a new member of staff to discuss expectations and requirements of the role and the wider project; and holding interim and final probationary review meetings (prompted by the Personnel Officer (or centre administrator, if applicable), using standard template letters.  (A list of prompts to ensure productive discussions is available).  Additional support can be provided for these meetings on request, and the PI/Supervisor should liaise with the Faculty Personnel Officer about record keeping, written reports, and the researcher’s personnel file.

The Faculty now holds faculty-wide induction events, training workshops and networking events for research staff.   Criminology also organises fieldwork training.

Research staff should also be allocated a mentor on appointment.  The role of the Mentor is described elsewhere on our website.

(b) 1:1 meetings – 30 minutes to an hour, every couple of weeks or so.  The ‘agenda’ for the meetings will be determined by the current and forthcoming activities of the staff involved, but meetings should cover work objectives and progress. 

(c) Personal Development Review (‘PDR’) – a meeting to be held annually after the end of the probationary period.  A 6-monthly interim meeting should also be held to assess performance against objectives – these should be conducted in accordance with the University PDR scheme.

This scheme has been adapted for use in the Law Faculty and the notes and forms are available from the Head of Administration and Finance.  Either the Personnel Officer or the Centre Administrator (if applicable) will support the timetable and issuing of forms at the relevant time.  The PDR report includes a section for objectives and a timetable for meeting them, and it is very useful to take stock of these mid-way through the year.

(d) Career Development – supervisors should encourage research staff to undertake any activity that will advance their career development, provided it will not interfere with their obligations to an external funder (if applicable).  It is important that the researcher understands that they should take the lead on this, not the PI.  Supervisors are asked to facilitate supplementary activity such as teaching, internal and external grant applications, etc., wherever possible.  Please see Guiding Principle 4 of the Code of Practice for further information, and the 'reflective questions' on the University's page of guidance for Principal Investigators.

(e) Annual review for Reward and Recognition – involves reviewing the performance of all staff in your team, and writing recommendations for the Law Faculty Reward and Recognition Panel if applicable.  2014 was the first year of this version of the scheme, which is usually run in early Hilary Term each year.  Information and templates for the Reward and Recognition are available on the Personnel website.  However, the scheme has been adapted for use in the Law Faculty and the notes and forms are available from the Head of Administration and Finance.  Either the Personnel Officer or the Centre Administrator will support the timetable and issuing of forms at the relevant time.

(f) Attendance and performance - the supervisor will agree regular working hours and any flexible working arrangements requested by the researcher.  The Personnel Officer or Centre Administrator if applicable will support the supervisor in monitoring sick leave and other absences, approving requests for annual leave; and arranging cover if necessary.  The supervisor will monitor the performance of their staff and address complaints and minor disciplinary issues in consultation with the Head of Administration and Finance. 

The supervisor may also be called upon to make decisions or recommendations about acting up allowances, and will be expected to keep the job description and grade of the post under review and up to date.  This work will either arise from the annual PDR, or in consultation with the Personnel Officer or Centre Administrator if applicable. 

(g) Contract and appointment – the supervisor will support the redeployment (if eligible) of fixed-term workers (normally consisting of an interview towards the end of the contract); to write references; and to ensure that the employee’s personnel file is kept up to date and held securely (again, via the Personnel Officer or Centre Administrator).  The Personnel Officer and CSLS Centre Administrator are trained on the procedures to manage the end of fixed-term contracts and redeployment, so will provide all of the administrative assistance for these processes. 

(h) Reporting – the Head of Administration and Finance will monitor compliance with the Code of Practice, and is available to meet with the supervisor to discuss progress, issues, etc.

(i) Team meetings – where applicable, frequency at the discretion of the supervisor, for the discussion of current issues, planning, dissemination of information, promoting good practice, etc.

The University now also provides useful Guidance for Principal Investigators managing research staff.