Partnership Terms of Reference
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF PARTNERSHIP
IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK MAY 2002
This document is an agreement between University College Cork and the recognised
trade unions for the development of partnership in the university. The context of this
agreement is the commitment that the parties have entered into through Partnership 2000
and the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness for the development of partnership in the
DEFINITION OF PARTNERSHIP
Partnership has been defined in national programmes as follows:
Partnership is an active relationship based on recognition of a common interest to secure
the competitiveness, viability and prosperity of the enterprise. It involves a continuing
commitment by employees to improvements in quality and efficiency; and the acceptance
by employers of employees as stakeholders with rights and interests to be considered in
the context of major decisions affecting their employment.
Partnership involves common ownership of the resolution of challenges, involving the
direct participation of employees/representatives and an investment in their training,
development and working environment.
OBJECTIVES OF PARTNERSHIP
The objectives agreed for partnership are:
· Providing an additional and meaningful voice for staff on university matters
· Providing a means for having an input to the development of organization strategy
· Enhancing communications and participation
· Enhancing communications and participation
· Helping to improve organization performance and efficiency, delivery of services,
· the working environment, relationships with clients and students
· Providing a forum for consultation and participation on major strategic proposals
· Addressing the issue of non-monetary reward and recognition
· Achieving consensus on issues before the Partnership Steering Group
· Making partnership a reality for people in their daily work.
ISSUES COVERED BY PARTNERSHIP
By definition, the parties must agree on what issues they will discuss and deal with
through partnership and it is not intended that parties can force other parties to discuss
issues which they do not wish to address through this process. Any issue, therefore, that
the parties agree as appropriate may be dealt with through the partnership process. The
following list is indicative of the types of issues that are likely to arise and it is not
intended to be an exhaustive list:
Strategic plans and the strategic planning process
Issues agreed through national programmes or agreements that are appropriate to
the Partnership Steering Group
Improving services to internal and external customers/clients/users of services
New organization structures and changes to work organization
The management of change in the university
Safety, health and welfare issues
Training and development
Information and communications
Accommodation, equipment and facilities
Quality of working life issues including staff morale and recognition.
Issues that are being processed through the industrial relations systems may be discussed
through partnership but may not be processed at the same time through partnership.
PARTNERSHIP AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
While it is intended that partnership will help to improve the conduct of industrial
relations, it is not intended that partnership will replace the collective bargaining process.
There will continue to be a necessity for a separate process through which the
management and trade unions will negotiate and, where negotiations do not lead to
agreement, refer issues to third parties such as the Labour Relations Commission and
PARTNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT DECISION MAKING
While it is intended that partnership will help to improve the quality of decision-making,
it is not intended to inhibit day-to-day management decision-making within the
University. Where appropriate, recommendations from the Partnership Steering Group
will be transmitted to the appropriate decision making body in the University and in the
event of the recommendations not being acted on a considered response will be
communicated to the Steering Group.
Main Partnership Group
The Steering Group will have a strategic role in planning and developing partnership
rather than addressing in detail operational matters. The Steering Group has scope to
establish working groups to deal with specific issues by involving people who may be
affected by and who know about the issues concerned.
The composition of the Steering Group will be as follows:
· Eight nominees of management
· Eight nominees of the trade unions
The Steering Group will remain in existence for two years and then the parties will
appoint a new Group, which may include members of the outgoing Group.
The Steering Group will have two chairs, one nominated by the management and one by
the unions. The chairs will agree between them what the chairing arrangements for
meetings will be.
The university will provide the Steering Group with the services of a
The parties will replace any members that vacate their positions in accordance with their
Frequency of Meetings
The Steering Group will meet on a bi-monthly basis (generally at 9.30 am on the first
Wednesday of the relevant month) and special meetings will be arranged by agreement
between the parties. The two Chairs will decide the practical arrangements to be carried
out by the secretary/administrator. Members of the Steering Group are expected to attend
The parties will agree on the content and dissemination of any joint communiques
coming from the Steering Group.
The Steering Group will establish working groups or sub-groups to address particular
issues. These groups will report to the Steering Group, which will ensure that these
groups have clear terms of reference before being established. The Steering Group will
decide the composition of working groups and other practical arrangements such as
training for working group members, chairing, secretarial services, frequency of
meetings, communications, timescales for completing work etc.
Resources for Making Partnership Effective
The Steering Group anticipates that a budget to support time off and other resources will
be required and that this will be provided through the Finance Committee of the
Decisions made by the Steering Group or any working groups will be made on a
PARTNERSHIP GROUND RULES
The Steering Group will agree ground rules for the conduct of its meetings.
The Steering Group will develop a communications strategy to ensure the widest
distribution of information about partnership issues and activities.
The parties agree that in the event of difficulties arising either within the partnership
process or outside the process but in such a manner as to influence the operation of
partnership that they will in the first instance always meet to discuss such difficulties
rather than cancel meetings or refuse to attend meetings of the Steering Group.
The parties agree to review each year the operations of the Steering Group and any other
groups established by it and to distribute a summary report of its their activities.