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Invitation to submit codes of practice on the selection of staff for the REF

December 2011

Title:  Invitation to submit codes of practice on the selection of staff for the REF
To:  Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions 
Heads of HEFCW-funded higher education institutions
Heads of SFC-funded institutions
Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Cc:  REF institutional contacts
Of interest to those responsible for:  Research Excellence Framework; Human resources management; Equality and diversity
Publication date:  14 December 2011
Enquiries to:  Anna Dickinson
tel 0117 931 7477

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

Invitation to submit codes of practice on the selection of staff for the REF

1.   I am writing on behalf of the four UK funding bodies to invite all higher education institutions (HEIs) who intend to make a submission to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) to submit their code of practice on the fair and transparent selection of staff for submission to REF2014. The deadline for submitting the code of practice is midday on Tuesday 31 July 2012.

2.   The REF team is also offering an earlier optional deadline of midday on 27 April 2012 for those HEIs whose code of practice is ready for earlier submission and who wish to receive earlier feedback from the relevant funding body on whether their code meets the REF published requirements. However, each HEI may submit its code of practice only once (either by the April or July deadline); the earlier deadline is not an opportunity to gain feedback to inform further development of the code.

3.   As set out in the '2011-02' (REF 02.2011), each HEI making a submission to REF is required to develop, document and apply a code of practice on selecting staff to include in their REF submissions. Part 4 of REF 02.2011 sets out the requirements for these codes, and provides guidance to assist HEIs in drawing them up. Further support and guidance on developing and applying a code of practice is available on the ECU web-site. All institutions' final codes will be published with the rest of the submissions at the end of the assessment process.

4.   Our guidance on codes of practice and the process of approval are designed to help ensure that the UK funding bodies conduct the REF in accordance with their duties under the Equality Act 2010. HEIs have their own legal obligations. It is the responsibility of HEIs to ensure that their codes of practice, and the manner in which they participate in the REF, are lawful.

5.   The REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) will examine all codes of practice submitted and will advise the four UK higher education funding bodies on the adherence of the codes to the published REF requirements. The EDAP comprises experts from the higher education sector and members of REF panels. (Membership and terms of reference of the EDAP are available on the REF web-site.)

6.   After EDAP has advised the funding bodies, each funding body, rather than the REF team, will liaise with its HEIs directly: either to confirm that the code meets the requirements, or to request resubmission. The funding bodies have already informed heads of institutions of the process and timetable for this:

7.   If an institution's code of practice is not submitted to the REF team by 31 July 2012, the relevant funding body will write in August 2012 to the head of the institution to acknowledge the institution's decision not to submit a code and to confirm the institution’s ineligibility to submit to the 2014 REF.

Method of submission

8.   Each institution's code of practice must be submitted, by either of the two deadlines, in PDF format through the HEFCE extranet. The code must be accompanied by a letter, in PDF format, from the head of institution confirming that the submitted code has been developed by and will be applied by the institution.

9.   Further instructions on submitting the code of practice through the HEFCE extranet, including a password, will be sent to your institution's REF contact at the end of February 2012. Note that the same password will be needed during the course of 2012 to submit other information through the HEFCE extranet, including requests for multiple submissions.

10.   Please check that we hold the correct information for your institution's REF contact, to whom the extranet password will be sent. Our records list your contact as:

  • [contact name]

If this is incorrect, or if you would like to change the contact, please notify us of this change by e-mailing by Friday 20 January 2012.

Yours sincerely,

Graeme Rosenberg
REF manager