Training Agreement ACA, ACCA & CIMA

Support for Training and Staff Development in the Finance Department
Support to attain ACA/ACCA/CIMA qualification.

Background and Principles

1.  The Finance Department publishes and revises from time to time a policy on training and staff development.  The department works in a professional environment and considers training and attainment of relevant qualifications a crucial part of maintaining a high standard of accounting service in the University.  This document sets out our intentions and your responsibilities with regard to your training for ACA, CIMA or ACCA qualification.

Your Courses of Study

2.  In committing to support your studies we will have made the estimation that you are capable of attaining the qualification.  You will already have a first degree or equivalent or be a full member of AAT.

3.  Our intention to support you is made on the basis that we expect you to be capable of attaining the final qualification in a reasonable space of time e.g. two exams per six months.  We will review our estimate of this with you at the end of each study stage.  We will normally continue support if you have succeeded in your exams; where you fail exams we will consider with you your future steps.

4.  As explained below, entitlements to study leave in work time are different for levels 2 & 3 posts and level 4 and above posts.   If you are promoted to a level 4 or above post, you will complete your current academic year’s studies under level 2 & 3 rules, and then change to level 4 and above rules for the next academic year.

5.  Use of training provider will be by discussion with the Deputy Director of Finance.  The University reserves the right to recommend a training provider so that it can ensure you are getting the best training and coaching from the tutor’s and we are getting the benefit of good feedback from the trainers, and of lower overall costs as a result of large numbers of trainees.  Preferred suppliers for ACA, ACCA and CIMA tuition are Kaplan and BPP, though all relationships are subject to review.  We will try to maintain stability of training provider once you have started study with them, but reserve the right to move if we think it is in our joint interests.

6.  If you transfer to another department within the University, the support from the Finance Department will cease, but the repayment terms of section 8 below will still apply if you leave the University’s employment within the time specified in section 8.

Financial Support

7.  Costs reimbursed will normally be:

  • Student membership/registration/exemption fees.
  • For first attempts only, course fees including revision courses where an integral part of a study course (current arrangements with Kaplan and BPP assume you will attend day or block release course plus revision courses; certain courses such as revision tests/mock exams may be at weekends – attendance is compulsory if we are paying).
  • Course manuals where charged separately and an essential part of the course for level 2 & 3 posts will be paid in full; for level 4 and above the first £50 and 50% of the balance for each stage of study will be reimbursed.
  • In all cases costs are restricted to only those costs relating to up to a maximum of four new exam stages in a 12 month period, starting 1 August 2008.

8.  Repayment of financial support for latest year of study will normally be required in the following cases:

a)  The study is abandoned part way through an academic year, without the year end exams being taken, or

b)  A poor attendance record is shown on day or block release courses, or

c)  The member of staff leaves the University within two years of taking an examination(s) supported in the manner described in this document.

In the event of b) above, further disciplinary action may be taken by the department.

The cost of training is considerable to the University, both in terms of tuition fees and time provided for study.  Both the University and the individual will benefit from successful study.  While we do not wish to dissuade staff from undertaking study for fear of building up a large liability to repay, the University will enforce its rights up to the limits shown below if you leave the University’s employment within two years of taking a supported examination.  We will recover the following amounts from you either by way of deduction from your salary or by other agreed methods of payment if you leave the employment of the University within this two year period.

a)  If you leave the University within one year of receiving the benefit of supported training: you will repay the lower of £1500 or the sum actually paid for training support towards courses taken or part-taken in the twelve months preceding you giving in your notice;

b)  If you leave the University over one year but within two years of receiving the benefit of supported training: you will repay the lower of £750 or 50% of the actual sum actually paid for training support on towards courses taken or part-taken in the period up to 24 months preceding you giving in your notice.

In each case above, the time period before you leave the University will begin from the end of the month of your last examination date.  If you leave during a period of study, the costs of the current period of study and any qualifying previous periods of study will be included in the calculation.

Time Support

9.  Time allowed away from work:

Distinctions are drawn for level 2 and 3 posts and level 4 and above posts, due largely to two factors: level 4 and above posts receive longer holiday entitlements, and are generally employed in key roles as team leaders or school accountants with prime responsibility for services to budgetary groups.

To encourage maximum success, in all cases only the preparations for first attempt at exams will be supported; study for retakes must be taken in the student’s own time (even where tuition is provided free by the training supplier as part of a “pass guarantee scheme”.)

In all cases day release is subject to the approval of the section head and the Deputy/Director of Finance, who will have regard to the service level offered by the section.  It should not be assumed that day release will be granted automatically or that it will continue through all future stages of your exams: there are many factors which we have to consider since our prime function is to provide service to our customers. 

We reserve the right at each stage of results to review performance at exams and at work before progression on to the next stage.  This will not normally be withheld if good progress is made.  Staff who fail an exam at the previous level will not be allowed to progress to the next stage of exams while retaking.  Support will effectively be suspended until any failed exam is passed.

It would not be normal for staff to be supported in formal professional training courses until they have successfully completed their probationary period in the University and had an appraisal meeting with their line manager which is supportive of the proposed training.  Where staff are already undertaking professional study and wish to continue this, we would consider a proposal for the early start to University support.

10. Day release specifics

We reserve the right to require that stage 1 of ACA/ACCA/CIMA should be taken partly or wholly outside work hours.  This will be agreed with you prior to you signing up with a training provider.

Students at all levels may choose to study by correspondence rather than day release or block release.

For level 2 and 3 posts, flexibility of working hours is agreed with line-managers within the rules operating across the Finance Department.

For level 2 and 3 posts, five days per new exam taken up to a maximum of 20 in a 12 month period (1/8/ - 31/7) day release to attend courses will be offered, through encouragement to undertake hybrid study courses (part work time/part weekend or evenings) may be given.  Study by correspondence does not qualify for time off work. Level 4 and above staff will be permitted an allowance of 15 days per annum (on the basis of attempting a full stage of exams – the amount will be lessened if only part of a stage is being attempted), to be used on all aspects of study irrespective of mode of study, any excess having to be taken as annual leave.  Both the 20 and 15 day limit each year quoted above specifically INCLUDES any time taken off for exams.

Monitoring

11.  To assist in our monitoring of training activities, staff will be asked to agree at least annually, and   always before registering, the stages and exams being taken at sittings through the year and the study method and commitments being undertaken. 

12.  As noted above, failures at one stage will automatically mean a review before progression to the next stage.  If a student fails a total of three exams the University will withdraw its support for training.



A S Grice
Deputy Director of Finance

22 May 2008