We're listening

Your feedback helps us enhance the student and staff experience.

We want to make sure that our staff and students have a great experience at the University of Edinburgh.

Through our  'Have Your Say' suggestion box, you can tell us how we can make staff or student experience better: what’s working well and how could we improve? All of your suggestions will be taken into consideration with responses and improvements being posted periodically on our Have Your Say webpage:

Have Your Say

We're listening archived responses

Topic You said... We did... More information
Pay and reward Why are annual leave entitlements and probation periods different for grades UE01-05 and UE06-10? The reward packages, overtime and leave allowances and probation periods are designed to reflect the different accountabilities and expectations within the roles at grades UE01-05 and UE06-UE10.  Details of the reward packages available to staff can be found at: Read the University's full response
Environment and sustainability Vegware biodegradable cups or equivalent should be used throughout University cafes and catering locations.

Under our present contractor, all organic waste is sent to anaerobic digestion (a natural, clean, environmentally friendly process generating electricity from food waste and food processing residues).

Rather than being removed at the front end of the anaerobic digestion process (food waste by its very nature cannot be sorted at the front end by hand), Vegware (and other compostable packaging) goes through the process with the rest of the food waste. It may be broken down to a very small degree but the majority will be sieved out at the end of the process with other non-digestible items. This waste is then either sent to landfill or used a fuel (refused derived fuel).

Vegware needs to be sent to an in-vessel composter but this is not an option under our current contract, or for the quantities of organic waste we are producing.

Waste and recycling at the University
Promoting good news Make students' stories a priority and start a poster/billboard campaign with pictures of inspiring students and their stories.

Over the past two years, we've been working with our Schools Communications Network to showcase a wide range of award winning students across the University and publicising opportunities that are available to our students. Examples can be found at

We're now working on how best to communicate improvements to the student and staff experience, and will continue to promote good news as part of these ongoing campaigns. As well as students hearing news directly through their School channels, we promote student stories and news across our Student News channels on Twitter and Facebook

Read the University's full response
Working culture High staff workload impacts on student experience. The ability for staff to balance their work and personal and family life is important to the University and we have a number of policies to support improving this balance.  Your role and your objectives should have been developed to ensure it is achievable within your working hours. However there will be periods when staff workload can increase and this should be addressed with your line manager in the first instance. If your line manager does not provide you with the support you require, you should contact their line manager to discuss further. If you do not receive the support you need, you can contact your local HR advisory team.  
Staff survey When can I expect to hear more about the staff survey next steps?

The staff survey results have been made available to all staff and students with the intention that responses and actions are led throughout the department.  All departments will need time to review both the results and the comments from staff and identify appropriate actions.

If you do not feel that there is enough action or discussion happening in your department, you should raise it with your line manager and colleagues and ask for it to be discussed at the earliest opportunity.
Staff Survey results
Leaders’ Forum It would be a good idea to include leaders of various stakeholder communities in the Leaders' Forum.

The leaders’ forum was established to create a network for senior leaders across the university, bringing together senior leaders from both academic and professional services roles.  It was developed to improve communication and encourage collaboration on strategic matters affecting the University - it does not form part of the university governance.

There is an expectation that attendees of the forum will cascade information and communicate the outcomes, however if you would like further information, feel free to speak to your colleagues who do attend. 

Leader's Forum
Wellbeing and health There should be more pastoral support for students at Pollock Halls

The support network within accommodation and across the wider University is extensive but does rely upon students making themselves known and then working actively with the support teams to try and reduce, alleviate or resolve situations.

The success rate for students with known issues is high although some cases can be very demanding and can take time. Where there are incidents of students disturbing others, if these are reported then they are acted upon. If problems persist then action is escalated until such time as a solution has been arrived at.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to affected parents or students directly where they feel they may not have been fully supported.

PhD support I'm a member of staff studying part time for a PhD. I'd like to know how the University supports staff who study and what support I should expect from my line manager.

As a learning institution, the University is highly supportive of staff seeking to gain further qualifications, from skills-based qualifications through to Doctorates.  

Working whilst studying does significantly compound the pressure staff will be under, and your manager is your first point of contact to discuss this further.
Read the University’s full response
Have Your Say suggestion box Can you make the suggestion box and responses easier to find?

The Have Your Survey suggestion box is not housed EdWeb or on a University web platform which means it is not currently indexed by our website search engine. 

However, to improve awareness of and access to these pages, we have created new content on our Staff and Student News channels to signpost these pages more widely, and these pages will then be indexed by our search engine.
Submit a comment to Have Your Say
Facilities The unisex toilets in the Forum need to be maintained in a more consistent way as the toilets found on the ground floor. This has been passed to our Estates Development team. They are reviewing the suggestion and we will post a response as soon as it is available.  
Digital ways of working Not enough notice and options for dates were given for the HR Digital ways of working training sessions.

We understand that our first release of changes had a short timescale which coincided with local holidays. This was to ensure that the changes had the minimum impact on the monthly payroll process.

We have reviewed all feedback following these changes, including our engagement with colleagues across the University. We will ensure that colleagues are aware of future changes and that sufficient time has been given for this activity.


I think the Bulletin Magazine is an interesting and well put together publication.

It would be really great to see a column from every member of the University Executive Group where they look ahead to the upcoming 3 months and reflecting upon the previous 3 months. This would be great to read and would help staff understand who they are and what they do.

Every effort is made to ensure Bulletin magazine reflects the work of all parts of the University, and often competition to make it into the final edition is strong and works to tight deadlines.  

While it would not be possible to include the volume of articles suggested, there may be scope to do stand-alone or irregular features with groups themselves and possibly to another output that is better suited to their comments, such as emails or blog/web posts. The possibilities of expanding this idea can be discussed with the Internal Communications team in Communications and Marketing.
Bulletin Magazine
Annual Review Annual reviews should be linked to pay progression. The annual review is an opportunity for staff to have a focused discussion with their manager about their individual performance and contribution against their objectives.  The contribution of staff can be recognised financially through the Contribution Reward which allows managers to award staff, and staff to self-nominate, for consideration for incremental increases on the pay scales.
Wellbeing To improve staff wellbeing, more care should be taken to deal with work-life balance. The University's support for improving awareness of the health and wellbeing of staff is currently under review and we will be back in touch with more information within the next three months. Your suggestion regarding improving the timing of events and use of lunchtimes will be taken into consideration the review. Staff Health and Wellbeing
Working culture The University should have a whistleblowing policy. The University does have a whistleblowing policy and procedures for all staff to report suspected misconduct, malpractice or raise serious concerns about any aspect of the university's work which are in the public interest.  The policy includes examples of what may constitute malpractice and what could be considered in the public interest. However, issues arising from management or staff behaviour, including allegations of bullying or harassment is usually most appropriately addressed through the university's grievance policy. Both policies can be found under on HR’s A-Z list of policies. A to Z list of HR Policies
Brexit The University should fully reimburse staff who paid £65 fee for the pilot of the UK Settlement Scheme In line with the University’s reimbursement policy, we have to deduct tax and National Insurance contributions as the £65 payment is not a business related expense and has to be treated as earnings. Therefore it has to go through payroll. We indicated this might be the case when we announced we would help with the cost of the fees (for staff and their dependants) last October. Now that the UK Government has said it will waive the fee from 30th March onwards and directly refund those who paid during the pilot phase, we will reverse the payment in a future pay run. This will mean that if you received an additional £40 net in your January pay, we will deduct the same value from your May pay run. We have directly contacted all staff who have already claimed to confirm these details. Brexit Planning
Environment and sustainability Pollock Halls should have recycling bins in all offices, residential buildings, and conference and events venues. 

All offices have access to recycling but these are often located close to rather than within each area and staff working within those spaces are aware of those. Please let us know if there are areas that we are not aware of that do not have easy access. 

Similarly any waste remaining from conferences is expected to be recycled by the team wherever possible and they should be aware as to how to do that. Zero waste from Pollock goes to landfill.

Waste and recycling at the University
Environment and sustainability The heating and/or air conditioning in the Pollock Halls conference and events buildings is on nearly all the time, whether the building is being used or not. Our main conference spaces are linked into a building management system (BMS). Timings are set so that spaces have sufficient time to heat up or cool down before an event starts. Timings also reflect that there may be multiple uses and if turned off in between then often the temperature may not be at the required level when required. Such systems are often just 'ticking over' with minimal energy consumption at such times.  
Review of student support Please ensure that all levels of staff are consulted as part of the student support review and not just senior staff.

Our review will be looking at the whole “eco system” of student support. It will include a thorough look at the Personal Tutor system and other support structures that sit alongside this. 

The small oversight group includes senior staff (including a senior tutor and a school-based head of student services) - and very importantly we also have the student voice, represented by two Sabbatical Officers from the Students’ Association. 

The oversight group will be ensuring that the project team consults as widely as possible with students and staff at all levels, academic and professional services, about the challenges with current arrangements and the best way to enhance support in the future.
Read the University’s full response
HR forms Can you make it so that documents in the new HR SharePoint can be dragged and dropped into emails? Also the naming convention of documents is very time consuming.

Unfortunately documents in SharePoint cannot be dragged and dropped into emails. We appreciate this is not ideal and will work to continuously improve the process within the limitations of the system.

A naming app is currently being developed as part of the File Digitisation project to make the naming of documents quicker, easier and more accurate. This will be available soon and further information on this will be sent to system users.
Read the University’s full response
Wellbeing Workload allocations in Moray House need to be reviewed. Staff wellbeing is compromised by large workloads and often by an inability to take breaks.

Moray House has undergone three consultations with staff on workload models. Moray House also embarked on a third staff consultation at the end of 2018. The outcome of the survey has been shared with staff within the school. We hope the discussions will allow us to come to a finalised workload model that meets the needs of Moray House as well as gives due diligence to the College tariffs. 

The health and wellbeing of staff is a priority for the School. Where staff feel work load is impacting on their health and wellbeing they should discuss this with their line manager to allow action to be taken following consideration of all contributing factors.
Read the University’s full response
Parking Part time staff should be able to pay pro-rata for an annual parking permit.

Rather than pro-rata permits, the B pay-as-you-go type permit is our available option to ensure that part-time staff are able to only pay for parking on the days/half-days they are use the facilities. This, we felt, would ensure fairness to all. We do however, recognise that this type of permit doesn’t work for all staff.

We are happy to offer to provide full day scratch card permits at the cost of a half-day permits for those users working slightly over the cut-off times, so that they would not be penalised and have to pay the full day rate for KB parking, when working only slightly more than an half day. If you would like to apply for this, please contact and provide us with further details of your issue, including your core/contracted hours.
Read the University’s full response
Pay The University should invest in giving staff higher inflation-based pay increases Pay rates are negotiated nationally by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). Through this we ensure we have parity and consistency but the University also has provisions in place in the form of the Market Supplements Policy to address situations in which the usual pay scale for a role is insufficient to attract applicants or retain existing employees. Pay scales
Wellbeing You wanted bullying and harassment to be further addressed by line managers and HR

In January, we launched the ‘Don’t Cross the Line’ campaign. The campaign aims to provide staff and students with the appropriate level of knowledge to:

  • Understand the expectations placed on them, in relation to dignity and respect, as a member of the University;
  • Understand the University’s zero tolerance stance on any forms of bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation;
  • Be aware of the processes and support for raising and addressing such concerns
International staff As a member of staff subject to the UK Visas and Immigration system, I want the University to provide financial support for international staff's ILR fees as is being done for EU staff

We understand and are very conscious of the views of our non-EEA staff and others across the University.

As Brexit is creating a significant and immediate change for EEA staff and their dependants, our focus was necessarily on them at this time. We are equally mindful of the need to retain international staff and are committed to reviewing our current package of support measures.

However, the wider shape of future immigration policy is not yet clear and we hope it will become so following the conclusion of the Brexit discussion. We therefore hope we will be in a position to review the full package of support measures soon. 
Service Excellence Programme Could information be published on how much money the Service Excellence Programme has saved us and how the projects have benefited staff and students?

Communication around Service Excellence is a top priority and is something we’re working hard to improve. Currently, the main channel for sharing information is SEP’s website where there’s also a link to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

We are also working to develop a SharePoint site where all relevant SEP information, news and updates will be are stored. We hope to have this in place by mid-May.

Shelley Maxwell, Change Communications Manager, manages SEP’s Communications and is always happy to share or discuss our forthcoming plans and communication improvement ideas and activity.

Read the University’s full response

SEP Website

Staff benefits We want better parental leave options As part of the Service Excellence Programme (SEP), we are currently reviewing all of the University’s employment policies to ensure they are fair, consistent and fit for purpose when considered against the rest of the university sector. HR Transformation Programme
Environment and sustainability The University should ensure that lights and computer monitors are turned off at the end of the day

We have over 150 ‘Energy Coordinators’ acting as local champions to promote appropriate energy efficiency actions within buildings. Further suggestions can be submitted via:

Read the University’s full response
Facilities Working styles should be reviewed - remote, flexible, hot desking, open plan vs pods etc - to inform future estate development and management styles 

The Estates team are continuously reviewing the working environments and as each building undergoes refurbishment, and opportunities for better working conditions such as those mention are considered. 

For some roles, flexible start and finish hours are not suitable - particularly in roles which are student or customer facing. However, managers are always encouraged to consider any staff requests to adapt their working patterns and the University continues to support many forms of flexible working.
Flexible working policy
Career progression We want professional staff to be offered the same career development opportunities as academic staff. The career paths for Academics and Professional Services staff are different, reflecting the different requirements and context of each. Addressing career development opportunities for Professional Services staff is important, to enable people in these roles to feel fulfilled in their career and be satisfied with their reward for the job they do. We will continue to monitor the re-grading process, which is open to all staff. Read the University’s full response
Career progression There should be a wider range of criteria for promotion that recognises teaching excellence, as well as publishing in core journals.

The University has clear, balanced Grade Profiles for academic staff that match individuals’ activities and achievements to grades UE06 - UE10, with respect to teaching, research and leadership/management.

Read the University’s full response
Timetabling Timetabling should aim to ensure that pre-Honours classes start no earlier than 10am to support differing circadian rhythm of teenage students. The University’s official teaching day (as determined by the relevant policy) is 9am-6pm. Constraints on the teaching estate means the 9am slot does need to be used to ensure a full room allocation but, with the exception of very large lecture classes, Schools still largely determine the days and times for course teaching, so are able to prioritise scheduling accordingly.

Read the University’s full response

Reward Alternative methods of rewarding staff quickly would be useful in addition to quick rewards Showing appreciation, simply saying thank you and taking the time to speak to colleagues about their contribution makes a huge difference to working relationships and to our enjoyment at work. Whilst there is not currently a university-wide place to formally recognise colleagues, other than through the Voucher Reward Scheme, we will continue to review recognition opportunities across the University. Voucher Reward Scheme
Transport Can we work with Lothian Buses and create a University of Edinburgh Student Bus Pass that provides free travel on all of their services during teaching times during the semesters? The topic of student transport to and between our University campuses is currently the subject of a study and report by an external consultant following their successful work in a similar area with the University of Glasgow. The report will look at existing arrangements, Edinburgh specific situations, comparisons with other UK cities and institutions and present options for consideration for University senior management in the first half of 2019.  
Finance It’s difficult to know who to contact or where to go for support with Finance queries as there are many different routes and points of contact. We have a new Finance Helpline with a dedicated team of experts providing a one-stop-shop service to help with any finance questions. Finance Helpline
Pay and reward University pay scales are not competitive and need to be reviewed. Pay rates are negotiated nationally by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). Through this, we ensure we have parity and consistency. The University also has provisions in place in the form of the Market Supplements Policy to address situations in which the usual pay scale for a role is insufficient to attract applicants or retain existing employees. Read the University’s full response
Pay and reward Ensure all areas of the University have promotion and re-grading procedures for all staff.

We are committed to ensuring opportunities for both academic and professional services through promotion and career progression. If you feel that this is not the case in your working area, please discuss this with your line manager/ management team in the first instance.

If you do not feel you are getting any progress with your line manager or management team, you can contact your HR team.

Contacting your HR team
Support for Childcare University nursery costs are too high and the offering is inflexible. Under Athena Swan there is a commitment to conduct a strategic review of childcare provision - including affordability - by the end of Academic Year 2019/2020. The Business plan for optimising childcare provision (nursery provision and after school clubs) is due to be presented to University Court AY 2020/2021. This will be completed in partnership with the Corporate Services Group. The University of Edinburgh Childcare benefits
Equality and diversity The staff survey communication did not provide detail on equality and diversity The pack, published on 22 January 2019, contains analysis of the demographic data from the survey. Staff can also access an analysis tool which allows them to interrogate the data with their own questions. UoE Staff Engagement Survey 2018 results
Facilities Sports pitches and courts should be available at each campus for staff to use, socialise and interact

We offer a range of sporting facilities across the University which you can find more information about via our Sport & Exercise pages. Increasing staff use of these is however constrained by demand and availability, for which we have made improvements and additions to our portfolio over the past few years.

We understand the importance of providing accessible sporting facilities and are already in the process of looking into making more improvements across many areas.

Read the University’s full response

Sport & Exercise website

All archived responses or further details for specific suggestions are available to download below.

Have Your Say detailed responses