Information Services

Industrial Action SharePoint Site and Employee Declaration Form

In this case study, the SharePoint Solutions Service team share an insight into delivering a new SharePoint site for staff providing information and guidance on the 2021/22 industrial action, as well as incorporating an employee declaration form developed using SPFx React alongside Power Automate.

In November 2021, members of the University of Edinburgh branch of University and Colleges Union (UCU) voted in favour of strike action and action short of a strike. To inform and support staff throughout the period of industrial action, called by UCU, a new SharePoint site providing information and guidance was required. The site would host:

A view of Old College quad
  • Information in an FAQ style to answer queries staff may have, whether they were choosing to take part in the industrial action or not

  • Guidance developed to help line managers plan for and manage the impact of the industrial action called by UCU

The SharePoint Solutions Service team worked closely with our HR Partners in Employee Relations and Employment Policy to build out a secure site accessible only to staff at the University. The accordion-style collapsible sections had just been released for modern pages, which added a new ease of navigation to the detailed FAQ pages.

An employee declaration form – embedded in the site using a custom developed webpart application – to record strike action was also required. This form would be used by all staff who took part in any of the days of strike action. The information submitted would automatically populate a spreadsheet which would be  collated by HR. Responses would be encrypted and saved in our University Office 365 environment to ensure absolute security of the data.

In order to deliver this, the SharePoint Solutions Service team used SPFx React alongside Power Automate to build the solution in two parts:

  • A SPFx React webpart was used to develop the strike action employee declaration form with pre-populated employment information based on the user’s University Office 365 login and employment record:

    • An automated email receipt would be sent upon form completion featuring dates submitted and guidance for follow-up if required
    • If employees identified any outdated or incorrect employment details, they would be prompted to email the Employee Relations and Employment Policy team who would arrange for the necessary corrections to be made
  • A Power Automate solution was used to generate 270 separate spreadsheets to facilitate collation and verification of the data submitted via the employee declaration form

One of the objectives of this work was to create a reusable solution for managing industrial action. This solution was used again in February 2022 and then again in March 2022, with minimal amendments needed. Alongside modernising and future-proofing the overall process for users and admin teams, both human error and length of time to complete data processing were also reduced due to the pre-population of employment information and automation of spreadsheet generation. Positive feedback was received from staff users, including:

“I wanted to note that I thought the form and the submission process for reporting industrial action was a model of a simple to complete and simple to submit form. Very well done.”

– Staff Member, University of Edinburgh.

The Employee Relations and Employment Policy team reported that they were extremely happy with the service provided by the SharePoint Solutions Service team, highlighting the team’s understanding of the nature of HR as a big asset. The team also wished to note their thanks to the members of the SharePoint Solutions Service team for their timely delivery of solutions, sometimes needed at very short notice, as they reacted to the evolving situation, alongside the team’s overall flexibility and can-do attitude, and ease of communication.

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