Individual Contribution Award FAQs

What is the purpose of the Individual Contribution Award scheme?

The Individual Contribution Award scheme allows for employees (or line managers on behalf of staff) at grades 1-9 to apply for an award to recognise their exceptional performance and contribution to the University.  The University had a similar scheme around four years ago which was paused with the agreement of our Trade Unions during SIP and then the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications can be made once per year and individuals are required to evidence their contribution against set criteria in accordance with their grade. 

Why has the scheme changed for grades 1-9?

The previous reward scheme (referred to as AICP) was part of the Framework Agreement negotiated with Trade Unions. We agreed with the Trade Unions that the scheme would be paused through the SIP process, and in recent discussions held with the Trade Unions about re-introducing a reward scheme for exceptional performance, it was agreed that it would be more equitable to treat all applicants the same and therefore rewards will be in the form of single non-pensionable bonus payments.

Why are grade 10s rewarded with progression increments rather than one-off payments?

Grade 10s receive no automatic increments – unlike those on the grades 1-9 pay scales, therefore have had no opportunities for incremental progression.  Due to this it was agreed with Trade Unions that grade 10s will continue to be awarded with increments which are referred to as ‘progression increments’.

Why are you only allowing supporting evidence to be submitted from the last two academic years?

In previous rounds of the reward scheme we would normally expect to see supporting evidence submitted from the previous 12 months. Because there has been a pause to the scheme and we are aware of colleagues’ very hard work during the pandemic, we are extending this timeframe to beyond a year to recognise this whilst still ensuring evidence remains relatively recent.

Why have the criteria changed?

Feedback obtained from the previous reward scheme through mechanisms that included the Admin Forum told us that not all staff groups felt able to demonstrate their excellence against the old criteria and hence it wasn’t felt to be inclusive or accessible to all. The University and Trade Unions have agreed that the new criteria are more inclusive and enables all colleagues to also demonstrate how they deliver against the University’s values which are important to us.

Why do grades 8 and 9 have to evidence an additional criterion in comparison to grades 1-7? And if so does that mean grades 8 and 9 have the advantage of higher scores which disadvantages those at lower grades

After reviewing the criteria it was felt that at this level, individuals ought to be able to demonstrate excellence in leadership and/or management, therefore including this as a required criterion enabled these skills to be properly reflected as being valuable to the University.


This doesn’t mean that grade 8 and 9 have an advantage – scores within all grades will be averaged to ensure that not one grade can score more highly than another.

The guidance states that the process will be competitive – is there a limit on numbers who can receive an Individual Contribution Award by grade?

No. There will be a budget envelope, but as all applicants will be considered against the same maximum possible total score, applications will be placed in a rank order depending on their score, with the highest scoring receiving an award.

What is the role of line managers and heads of department in the process?

Whilst the responsibility for applying for an ICA is primarily with the staff member, there will be some colleagues who are either unclear whether their achievements meet the criteria of the scheme or who may not feel confident enough to apply even whether they have delivered excellence.

As in any developmental situation, we expect line managers to constructively discuss these questions with their staff and where appropriate help them formulate their achievements into the application form.

In exceptional circumstances, a manager may apply on behalf of their colleagues but where this is the case it must be clear in the application form.

The role of Heads of Department is different: their role is to verify that the application and evidence is accurate. In that process they can also comment on the application itself.

Who will be on the awards panel?

The panel will be made up of Executive members that include, the Director of HR and OD – Nick Rogers, Pro Vice-Chancellor Anwen Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor Neil Glasser, Steve Thomas - Head of Communications and Public Affairs, and will be chaired by the Director of Finance and Corporate Services – Stephen Forster.  A Trade Union member will also sit on the panel in a speaking observer capacity for this year.

We heard discussion of other reward and recognition schemes – what happened to them?

We are working on an additional scheme whereby Heads of Department can make small awards during the year for excellence in customer service, other tasks which go above and beyond etc. The advantages of this scheme will be that Heads can make decisions in-year and don’t have to be approved by panels.  In addition, this scheme will also allow for team awards. Further details and criteria of this scheme will be communicated once the scheme is ready, which we hope to launch in the New Year.