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UCEA leads on engagement and wellbeing work for the benefit of all across the sector

25 November 2011

UCEA is pleased to confirm that it is taking forward the important role of stewardship of the work on engagement and wellbeing for the sector following the conclusion of the HEFCE LGM project Improving Performance through Wellbeing and Engagement. UCEA’s extensive membership (163 HE institutions) across a diverse sector and its provision of guidance on an extensive range of employment issues makes it is well placed to lead on sustaining and developing on this area of the work.

This new role for UCEA comes during a time of change and challenges, making employee engagement vital in retaining staff motivation and wellbeing for the benefit of all within the sector.

UCEA has already started working closely with key stakeholders to scope out future strands of work since the new arrangement began on 1 October.
Jocelyn Prudence, Chief Executive of UCEA said: “We are delighted to be progressing the good work already undertaken and to be able to develop the work on engagement in the sector.”    

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol and President of Universities UK, added: “The well being of employees is not only a moral obligation, it is also something which contributes significantly to the sustained success of organisations; and I would argue that Higher Education is no exception.  At best, universities are collegiate communities brought together by shared goals, beliefs and desires and they are diverse communities that include future, current and past staff and students, as well as close working partners.  These are organic organisations whose heart beat is its people.”


Notes to editors

UCEA’s stewardship of the sector's work on employee engagement and wellbeing followed the end of the project ‘Improving performance through wellbeing and engagement’, for more information go to

The initial wellbeing project saw individuals from 90% of HEIs subscribe to the project resources. The project was also supported by a broad range of professional associations, including Unison, Unite, Universities HR (UHR), Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA), the Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) and British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG).

UCEA was part of the steering group for the initial project, which was run out of the University of Leeds. The following resources were the products of the project 'improving performance through wellbeing and engagement':

Just a 10% reduction in average sickness absence is worth almost £27 million, per year, to the UK HE sector, and £400,000 (CIPD, 2009). Research shows that the average sickness absence reduction, as a result of a wellbeing programme, is 30-40% (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2008).

For further information:

Nicola Carter, UCEA Senior Employee Relations Adviser:

Andy Fryer, UCEA Communications Manager: or Marc Whittaker, UCEA Communications Officer:

UCEA Telephone: 020 7383 2444