The onward march – for now – of the ’employment control framework’
In Ireland the Higher Education Authority has now formally published the new version of the ’employment control framework’ on its website, and has also issued a set of explanations and statements which produce a very benign interpretation of the terms of the ECF. For example, the statement suggests that promotions are not prohibited by the ECF provided the distribution of junior and senior posts does not change from a December 2010 baseline. The latter statement is welcome, though it would have to be said that it directly contradicts a clear statement in the ECF itself – that there can be no promotions. The reference to the distribution of grades in the ECF applies not to promotions but to the filling of vacancies (see pages 6-7 of the ECF).
The HEA also says in the statement that authorisation will not be required for any appointments; again this is clearly contradicted in the ECF itself (see e.g. first paragraph of section 8 of the ECF).
It is no doubt welcome that the HEA (which cannot in any case be blamed for the ECF) is proposing to apply a reasonable interpretation of the framework. But in the end that will be subject to government instructions and pressures. It seems to me that the position has not changed: the ECF must be revoked.