July 2019 bulletin

Examiner Appointments & Payments (EAP) System – Updates and FAQs

As noted in the May bulletin, the Examiner Appointments and Payments (EAP) system has been developed to streamline processes and improve data security.  The new EAP system relies upon accessing accurate Right To Work (RTW) information from CoreHR for examiners/assessors appointed to undergraduate exam boards.  To ensure that consistent RTW records are held for all casual appointments, the process for creating undergraduate examiner/assessor appointments has been revised from 2019/20.

Under the new process, CoreHR users will become responsible for:

  1. Creating ‘Casual Examiner’ records on CoreHR for any new undergraduate examiners/assessors (including recording RTW details).
  2. Recording RTW details for existing examiners/assessors with Casual records on CoreHR (where these are currently missing). 

The appointments module of the EAP system is now live. The new process is therefore now in effect; the majority of new appointments are expected to take place in Oct-Dec (examiners) and Mar-Apr (assessors). 

The new process requires undergraduate examiners/assessors to be recorded on CoreHR as ‘Casual Examiners’.  The new bucket post (‘CASEXM’) and Job Title (‘Casual Examiner’) are now available to use in CoreHR when creating these appointments.   The QRG  PA11 Managing Casual Worker Records and the People Profiles Matrix have been updated to include details of Casual Examiner appointments.  

Data Collection Process

Following feedback from users, the ‘Casual worker new starter data collection form’ (available from the Casual Payment Process webpage) has been updated.  The form now includes a new field to identify the type of casual appointment, as well as a field for the expected end date.  Once a nominated examiner/assessor has received the appropriate approvals, the EAP system will notify the Exam Board Administrator to complete the data collection form with the individual.  The Exam Board Administrator will then provide the completed form (including Right to Work details) to the CoreHR user for setup.

Letters of Engagement

Letters of engagement issued to examiners/assessors are being updated for the 2019/20 academic year.  The letters will be issued to all examiners/assessors who do not hold Chancellors, Masters and Scholars (CMS) contracts, for both undergraduate and postgraduate exam boards. Examiners/assessors will receive letters of engagement issued automatically by the EAP system.  Confirmation of acceptance will be handled via an online form, minimising the administrative burden for departments and examiners/assessors.

EAP Payments Module

The payments module of the EAP system will enable Exam Board Administrators to submit payments for examiner/assessors.  Following a departmental approval step, these payments will be sent via EAP to Payroll (for undergraduate exams) or Accounts Payable (for postgraduate exams).  The payments module will be in place ahead of the start of the academic year on 1 Oct 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Would I need to create a Casual Examiner appointment on CoreHR for an existing employee, such as an academic, who will undertake examining? 

You won’t need to create a Casual Examiner appointment for an existing employee, i.e. anyone who holds a Chancellors, Masters and Scholars (CMS) contract.  The existing employee record on CoreHR will be sufficient for payment and Right to Work purposes. 

  • Does the same process apply for examiners/assessors on postgraduate exam boards?

The Casual Examiners process on CoreHR applies only to individuals appointed to undergraduate exam boards (who don’t hold CMS contracts).  Individuals appointed to postgraduate exam boards (who don’t hold CMS contracts) continue to be classed as self-employed, so do not need to be setup on CoreHR (or have a Right to Work check).

  • How long are Casual Examiner appointments and can they be extended?

The standard period of appointment for Casual Examiners is 4 years.  There are certain instances where the appointment should be extended for a further period.  In these instances (which would be confirmed by an Exam Board Administrator) you should process a contract extension against the same bucket post, amending the target end date to match the new appointment end date.


Reminder: Contract templates – USS pension rates update

As noted in the June Bulletin, the Academic and Academic-related contract templates (including Marie Curie fellows) should reflect the increased contribution rates for USS pension scheme members.

The contribution rates were increased from 1 April 2019, with further increases expected in October 2019.  The updated information will form part of the annexe headed ENROLMENT INTO UNIVERSITY PENSION SCHEME.

Unfortunately, there has been a delay in updating the contract templates to reflect the new rates.  The Policy team have now made the updates to the contract templates.

  • The non-Core versions have now been updated (please press Ctrl+F5 to make sure that your web browser brings up the most recently updated version which will show ‘June 2019’ in the footer).
  • The CoreHR versions are currently being updated but, due to the V26 Upgrade, there will be a further short delay in their availability.
  • Divisional office teams have been sent revised terms for the academic contracts.

If you are in the process  of drafting contracts at present please replace the previous ‘Contributions’ paragraph with the paragraph below.


All employees who join USS pay personal contributions to the scheme in accordance with the rules, as amended from time to time, of the pension scheme.  From 1 April 2019 your monthly contribution will be 8.8% of your pensionable pay and the University’s monthly contribution will be the equivalent of 19.5% of your pensionable pay, with further increases expected in October 2019. The current employee and employer contribution rates can be found on the USS website at https://www.uss.co.uk/members/members-home/the-uss-scheme. Your personal contributions will usually be collected by the University by way of deductions from your salary and paid over to USS, together with the University’s contribution.  You will get tax relief on your contributions.

If you have issued contracts to new staff since 1 April, please send a copy of the revised annexe Enrolment into University Pension Scheme (29kb) to any affected staff. 

CoreHR Upgrade project update

We have now come to the end of phase one of the Upgrade project, in which we successfully migrated the system to version 26 and the cloud hosted solution. We are working to ensure that our supplier, CoreHR, resolves any outstanding go-live issues. For the latest updates on this, please continue to visit the Known Issues web page.  We are also still working with CoreHR to address how best to improve system performance.

We are currently in the planning and analysing stages of the second phase of the project, which will see the move of the Recruitment and Personnel modules from the Back Office to the Portal. We look forward to sharing more information about this with you very soon.

Can you help us? Volunteers wanted!

As you will know, we have experienced some system performance issues since go-live, which we are keen to try to improve as quickly as possible. One of the challenges is that the issues have been intermittent and in some cases, ad-hoc. In order for us to report such cases to CoreHR  in the most efficient and comprehensive way, we need to work with specific, ‘real-life’ examples, and for this we need your help! We are looking for around a dozen regular CoreHR users from across the University to help us track performance over the next few months. We will aim to make this an easy task for you, so as not to add any additional strain to your already-busy schedules! To get involved, please email CoreHRupgrade@admin.ox.ac.uk with your name and department, and a member of the project team will be in touch with further details.

NB Whilst this should be a straightforward exercise, to ensure that there is no adverse impact on you or your team, we will seek your line manager’s permission before proceeding further.

Expanded Common Queries web page

We have recently reviewed and expanded the Common Queries web page to include general FAQs about the system. This web page can be used as the go-to destination for answers to questions about the system that are not covered in the QRGs or listed on the Known Issues page. It also covers some of the “quirks” of the system and provides useful information and guidance on some of the system steps. We would encourage you to use this and the Known Issues page, along with the QRGs, as your first point of reference when you need guidance on using CoreHR. The HRIS Support Centre will of course remain a point of contact to help you with any queries that can’t be resolved using the online support materials.area for accordion section 2. You can add more WYSIWYGS to this section, or another widget type.


V26 top tips

(1) Date entry in UDF screens: Please follow the format DD-MON-YYYY when keying dates within UDFs. Keying the dates may be quicker than using the calendar, which of course also remains an option.

(2) Selecting cost centre and location details in Staff Requests: please do not use the dropdown menus to select this information. Instead, type the first couple of characters of the code/details; this will significantly speed up completion of these fields.


Update on replacing the University’s HRIS reporting tool

As communicated throughout the first phase of the upgrade, our current reporting tool, Oracle BI Discoverer, is being phased out by the supplier and we must replace it. This is a big piece of work, which we have been working on since the beginning of the upgrade project. To reflect the significance of this change, and to ensure that key stakeholders are closely involved in decision-making about the new tool, it has been decided that the reporting work stream will become a project in its own right. We will update the project webpages to reflect this change shortly.

System outages last month and the upgrade to v26

We would like to reassure users that the system outages experienced on two separate occasions last month were not related to the upgrade of the system. Whilst the timing of these system outages was extremely unfortunate, it was entirely coincidental. Following investigations, we know that the outages related to a problem with the underlying Oracle infrastructure on the CoreHR hosted service, and that such incidents are very rare. This was further reaffirmed to us via a network of other universities that use CoreHR.

National Insurance numbers

When taking on a new employee you will need to know their National Insurance (NI) number. The quickest way to obtain this, if your employee does not know it, is to ask them to use the HMRC App or their personal tax account (PTA) where they can view, print proof and share an image of their NI number.

Employees can get proof of their NI number in the following ways:

Find it online on their personal tax account or on the HMRC app. Once they are in, they can immediately view, share or print a copy of their NI number confirmation letter.

If individuals are accessing their personal tax account for the first time and they do not have their NI number, they will be asked to provide their full name and postcode, which must match HMRC’s records. To confirm their identity, they may also be asked to provide information from a P60, a recent payslip or a valid passport.

  1. To use the HMRC App, individuals should sign in using the method they chose when they set up their Personal Tax Account. For future access, they can choose the option to open using a passcode or fingerprint recognition. Confirming a NI number is just one of the PTA functions available – individuals can see their current and previous tax code, view and print the pay and tax details from their employment or update their name and address. Find out more by reading GOV.UK pages.
  2. Find their NI number on previous payslips, P60s, or letters about tax, pensions and benefits.
  3. Complete a form and ask HMRC to post their NI number to their home address. Please note it can take up to 15 days for them to receive their NI number by post.
  4. Contact the National Insurance number helpline . Lines are open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on Saturday. HMRC will then post confirmation to them – please note it can take up to 15 days for them to receive their NI number by post.

Using the correct NI number is important as it helps ensure HMRC’s records are correct and prevents incorrect information being issued.


New HMRC Starter Checklist (P46) from April 2019

A new Starter Checklist was introduced for tax year 2019/20, which now includes postgraduate student loans. Please ensure that you use the latest version of the form, available from the HMRC webpage.  Some students now have to repay both Student Loan plans and this is captured only on the new form, so it is essential that you use these from now on. Please destroy or delete any old Starter Checklists/P46s to ensure these are no longer used.

Other tax tips

It is essential that departments send a tax form (either P45 or Starter checklist) to Payroll for every new starter. Please build this into your new starter procedures/checklists if it is not already there.

You must first ask every starter for a P45. When they give it to you, please send parts two and three to your Payroll Officer in the internal post, as Payroll requires the original forms.

If your employee does not have a P45 on day one (e.g. employee is new to the UK, or previous employer has not yet sent it) then they must complete a Starter Checklist, to be sent to your Payroll Officer by post or by email. If they subsequently receive their P45, this must still be sent to Payroll regardless of whether a Starter Checklist has already been provided (the preference is for Payroll to receive both forms rather than neither).

Many staff are paying too much tax because these essential forms have been overlooked. Please help your employees by ensuring that either tax form is sent to payroll as soon as they start work.

These rules also apply to re-hires, as it is not the case that their previous tax code can be carried forward.

Two helpful notes on Starter Checklist completion:

  1. Employee statements A, B and C only relate to previous employment in the UK in this tax year (April to March). Employees working abroad immediately prior to the job here should tick A.
  2. The student loan declaration is for UK Student loans only.

Clear Data Quality Validation 2018-19 reports by 31 July

Please run and clear all red error messages from the data quality reports by 31 July:

HRINFO01 Data Quality Validation 2018-19
HRINFO20 Casual Worker Data Quality Validation 2018-19 and

HRINFO21 Vacancy and applicant data quality 2018-19

Follow the steps on our website to clear the report. Note that Tab 1 should be actioned before running Tab 2 in the report.

Use all mandatory applicant status stages

Mandatory statuses are outlined in REC00 – Recruitment basics on page two. We have noticed that shortlisting is often missing. Mandatory statuses are: Applied; Shortlisted; Offer Made – Personnel; Offer Accepted – Personnel.

Contact the HRIS Support Centre if you need assistance making data changes.


REF and Athena SWAN: Ensure all Academic Titles are recorded in Core

Review all data in the Academic Title UDF records and ensure that those who hold the titles are recorded correctly:

  • Titular Professor, Titular Associate Professor, University Research Lecturer titles all contribute to the assessment of REF Eligibility (Annexe E to the Code of Practice (PDF)) and should be recorded in Core.
  • Titular Professor awarded via the Senior Appointments Panel or through Recognition of Distinction exercises have a correct Academic Title UDF set up for them. The Titular Professor title is a key marker used to map contracts to the correct Professorial grouping in the Athena SWAN dataset.

Even if the team responsible for data entry given in the matrix in the QRG: IP12 Academic Title (PDF) is not the ‘Departmental or Divisional CoreHR administrator', the department or division should instruct and follow up with the relevant team if academic title information is missing or incorrect.


How to prepare for Athena Swan

Staff Data

The ‘HRINFO02_AthenaSWAN Potential Staff Data’ readiness report is available until 31 July. The report allows departments to review their Athena Swan data and make corrections before the extract is taken for the 2018 Tableau data refresh.

  • It will be beneficial to run and clear all anomalies from your ‘HRINFO01 Data Quality Validation 2018-19’ report before reviewing the ‘HRINFO02 AthenaSWAN Potential Staff Data’ report. All errors should be resolved by 31 July.
  • Review all data in the Academic Title UDF records and ensure that those who hold the title of Titular Professor (see 'REF and Athena SWAN' section above for details)
  • Ensure that all Maternity, Paternity, and Shared Parental leave action and reason codes have been entered for all relevant employees, including recording return from such leave.
  • Request access to the Tableau staff data dashboards if you do not already have access and need it. Inform the HR Analytics team when colleagues no longer require access to the data by emailing athena.staffdata@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Recruitment Data

Thank you to departments who have cleared their HRINFO21 Vacancy and applicant data quality 2018-19’ report for the 6 July deadline. Checks indicate that some departments still have not actioned this. It is urgent and needs to be complete by 31 July so that the HR Analytics team can use the data for recruitment monitoring and provide you with it in Tableau for Athena Swan. 

See the HR Analytics team website for detailed guidance.  Please check the Athena pages for updates on timings.

If you have any technical problems making updates to CoreHR, please contact the HRIS Support Centre.  

If you have questions about the information these reports are asking you to update, please contact the HR Analytics team.

HESA 2018-19 data verification exercise – General validation and research staff categorisations

Throughout August and September the HR Analytics team will again be sending out staffing information for verification as part of this year’s HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) staff return. If research staff are employed within your area of responsibility then you may be contacted.

The researcher-related verification exercise relates to all staff with appointments which are recorded as ‘research only’ (CoreHR Category Code = 2). It is necessary to confirm to HESA the status of every research contract: for each relevant appointment the HR Analytics team will then be asking you to confirm whether or not the member of staff is a research assistant. Using information held in CoreHR the HR Analytics team will provide a provisional coding for you, you then just need to inform the HR Analytics team of any changes. Ensuring that the ‘HRINFO01 Data Quality Validation 2018-19’ is clear for your area by 31 July will assist this process.

NHS Contract Details and Clinical Specialties - Medical Schools Council Survey and HESA

The HR Analytics team require all errors in the NHS Contract Details UDF and Clinical Specialties UDF to be cleared by 31 July. You can check your data by running the ‘HRINFO01 Data Quality Validation 2018-19’ report. The HR Analytics Team will follow up all instances of missing or incorrect data in these UDFs, so please avoid being contacted by clearing them before the deadline.

QRG updates

Significant changes have been made to the guides below, i.e. where there are new/changes to processes and procedures or to provide clarity:


Allowance Guide (PDF) The Allowance Guide has been updated to include the new clinical allowance below:
  • Local Clinical Excellence Award (interim scheme)  
Transfer and Appointment Decision Matrix (PDF)
  • Formatting and layout changes
  • Useful hyperlinks added
  • Guidance on processing Casual appointments updated 


Minor changes have been made to the guides shown below e.g. corrections:

PA2h Setting up a Non-Employee (inc Agency) (PDF) Updated guidance on which address to be entered when creating the employee record.
Casual worker new starter data collection form (DOC)

New fields added:

  • Type of casual appointment
  • Expected end date of appointment
  • Department Casual Worker has previously worked in 


HRIS Support Centre

Contact details for the team are:  hr.systems@admin.ox.ac.uk or tel: 01865 (2)87900.

Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 8.30 - 17.00 

Deadlines for Personnel users: August payroll

Please also refer to the August 2019 Payroll Cycle Diagram (PDF)


Tue 23 Jul - 5pm July supplementary payroll deadline Any changes which affect payroll but do not require payroll action/ approval, must be entered and approved within the department by this deadline in order to be included in this month's payroll run.
Wed 24 to Thu 25 Jul No user input Two clear working days are required during which users cannot enter data into the personnel module and navigation to menu options under “Core|Personnel > Maintenance” should be avoided, to enable the payroll to be run (all other modules are unaffected).
Fri 2 Aug Staff request deadline For Staff Requests which do not require grading, any requests received by this deadline will be processed by midday on Wednesday 7 August. Staff Requests received after this deadline are not guaranteed to be processed by the standard payroll deadline. The usual turnaround timings for gradings apply (ten working days).
Mon 5 Aug Casual payments deadline  Details of casual payments must be received by this deadline in order to be included in this month's payroll run.
Wed 7 Aug HRIS Data Services users only: Data Services admin deadline Data Services payroll forms should be submitted to the HRIS Data Services team by this deadline. This is to ensure sufficient time for the team to process them for the payroll deadline and resolve any queries.
Wed 7 Aug Support requests for May Requests for assistance associated with actions for this month's payroll deadline should be received by the HRIS Support Centre by this date. This is to ensure that sufficient time is available for the team to address your queries.
Fri 9 Aug - 5pm Aug payroll deadline All changes which require payroll action/approval must be entered and approved within the department by this deadline in order to be included in this month's payroll run.
Wed 21 Aug Aug supplementary payroll deadline Any changes which affect payroll, but do not require payroll action/ approval, must be entered and approved within the department by this deadline in order to be included in this month's payroll run.