End of Term Newsletter

Dear colleague

Once again we have reached the summer after a very long year. The staff in the regional office are all hoping that you are going to have a proper break at some point and get some rest. As usual the staff in the office will also be taking leave so please be kind if you are referring anything through to us and have a bit of patience if it takes a while to respond.

Over the summer you might find it helpful to copy in the regional office team if you are seeking help on the usual address of eastern@ucu.org.uk We will be providing handovers for cover when we are away but if things could be kept until your link officer returns then we would be very grateful.

Please can you also let the regional office know who will be covering your branch over the summer so that we know who to contact if necessary.


The regional office makes it a priority to provide training support local branches where there are perceived gaps in the national training programme. We respond the branch and regional committee requests when devising our training programme and have been willing to run training with less than 10 participants if we believe it will benefit the branches in the region.

However we have recently run a number of training events where branch activists have signed up but have then cancelled or not turned up to the training. This puts our training programme at risk and means colleagues who do turn up are not getting the full experience they deserve.
Branches are therefore asked to ensure that when members sign up to training events they are fully committed to attending.

We understand emergencies do occur but unless colleagues are willing to commit to the training we will need to reconsider how we provide these resources to branches in the region.

We will be running the Caseworkers courses this autumn as follows:
Caseworkers 1 – introduction to casework 11 September
Caseworkers 2 – advanced casework 23 October

We will also be running some targeted Bargaining Training in branches as well as a possible rerun of the supporting members with hidden disabilities course.

We will also be writing to branches to ask what we could be doing differently to make it possible for reps to develop more skills, so if you receive an email from us then do please reply with as much detail as possible so that we can ensure that our training meets your needs.

Senior Reps briefing 19 September

Please put this date in your diary now. We would like a maximum of two reps per branch. It looks as though next term is going to be a busy one with USS, pay in both FE and HE sectors to contend with as well as the outcome of TEF and plans for REF and the fallout from College mergers post Area Reviews. Plus we want to talk about the role of Union Learning Reps and how they can support the industrial work of the branch. We really need to update you before everything gets hectic so please make sure that you prioritise this.

National Recruitment Weeks – 6 November and 14 May – Do One Thing

These weeks are your platform to get people to join UCU. More and more branches are running recruitment events during National Recruitment Weeks – and let’s face it, there’s no better time to be in UCU. For the week of 6 Nov, we will be encouraging every branch in the region to Do One Thing to recruit new members.

This could include:

• Holding an open recruitment meeting on a local theme with a national speaker *
• Targeting a specific group of the workforce – colleagues on precarious contracts or addressing the gender pay gap in your institution
• Running a lunchtime stall and catching passers-by
• Running a reps’ door knocking session and approach non-members throughout the workplace
• Organising open surgeries to provide initial advice on problems at work

*Running an open meeting is good for building UCU’s profile. If you would like a national speaker for your branch, please get in touch by Friday 15th September.

There are a huge number of possibilities, you are bound to have good ideas about what works locally. Doing just one thing on recruitment will make a difference in your branch.

The regional office can provide local materials, planning and hands on support for your recruitment activity and guidance on what works. Get in touch with us early (via your link official or eastern@ucu.org.uk) and get your plans to Do One Thing in place after the summer break. We will be working with the national office to offer mailshots to non-members and to get general recruitment materials into your branch as you need them.

Regional Social Media

Chris Aitken has been working extremely hard to build up our profile on social media as well as on our blog site. You can find our blog at http://ehc.web.ucu.org.uk/ and there you will also find a reps only section that contains all of the caseworkers briefings and other materials that we consider sensitive and not for the general public. That section is password protected. Please contact the office if you need the password. We also have a Twitter account where we post updates on the work of the region and anything else we think might be of interest. You can find that at https://twitter.com/UCUEHCRegion Please follow us!

That is it for now. Once dates have been set by the national union for any other special days of interest or action then we will let you have those as quickly as possible so that you can plan your activities.

In the meantime, I hope that you all have a lovely summer and as ever huge thanks from the regional office for all of the hard work that you have done this year. It really is much appreciated.

Best wishes

Lydia Richards

Casework 1 & Casework 2 Regional Training Carlow Street

Casework Training 1 & 2: 11 September & 23 October
The Regional Office is rolling out some more dates for reps undertaking or interested in undertaking casework. Casework 1 is a basic introduction to casework looking at the role of the caseworker, different types of cases that branches deal with and how to interview members.
Casework 2 is a more advanced day looking at the law in detail and providing specific advice for representing at formal meetings under procedure.
Experienced reps who have already undertaken our introduction to casework course can simply attend the second day, scheduled for 23 October
If you’d like any more information or you would like to register for either or both days please e mail caitken@ucu.org.uk. If there is someone else in your branch who you think would be interested in this training please feel free to circulate.