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Established and unestablished staff

​In certain contexts, particularly in relation to HR policy, recruitment and governance-related matters, a distinction is made between established and unestablished staff. But what does this mean?

A University office is a post in the University that is established by Statute or Ordinance. Holders of such posts are ‘University officers’ and often referred to as ‘established staff’. See in particular Statute C, Special Ordinances under Statute C and Chapter XI of Ordinances (https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/).​

Other staff in the University (whose posts are not set up as University offices) are subject to other terms and arrangements and are known as ‘unestablished staff’.

The distinction itself is only relevant in certain fairly limited contexts and, particularly with academic-related posts, is rarely determinable from a person’s designated job title. The status does not reflect the length of service of a postholder or the grading of their role.​

As the holders of University offices, established staff are:

  • subject to distinct procedures set out in the University’s Statutes and Ordinances, primarily concerning the handling of appointments, grievances, discipline and dismissal
  • usually in academic, senior administrative or ceremonial roles
  • subject to the University’s Employer Justified Retirement Age of 67 unless appointed for a period less than to the retiring age
  • supported by funding that is secure for the tenure of the person appointed
  • subject to certain conditions of service, for example, residency within 20 miles of Great St Mary’s Church (which can be waived) and the duty to examine for University Teaching Officers
  • included in the membership of the Regent House, the governing body of the University, and therefore whilst they are on the Roll they are entitled, for example, to vote in ballots of the Regent House and attend Discussions and Congregations (only certain unestablished posts have been included in the membership to date; from the promulgation of the Roll in November 2022, all employees at Grade 9 and above or equivalent will be included, whether they hold established or unestablished roles)
  • members of the Senate, through their membership of the Regent House, and therefore entitled to vote in elections of the Chancellor and the High Steward and in ballots concerning the procedure for their election
  • entitled to matriculate as a member of the University and to apply after three years’ service for a degree under Statute B II 2 (usually the M.A. Degree)
  • different from Assistant staff with ‘established status’, which is granted to Assistant staff after 12 months' continuous service (see the Assistant Staff handbook).


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