Exams staff face deletions

August 7, 1998

STAFF struggling to correct computer blips that threatened to jeopardise A-level results have said their jobs are under threat.

Managers at the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate began a restructuring programme while introducing a new computer system, which caused delays and mistakes in getting papers out to schools.

As a result, many of the 900 academic and clerical staff have been reapplying for their jobs while trying to solve the computer problems. Two were issued with redundancy notices this week, and staff unions say they expect others to follow.

Malcolm Keight, assistant general secretary of the Association of University Teachers, said he understood that there would be more than 20 redundancies.

"There has been a restructuring, a redundancy process and the introduction of a new computer system at the same time. The centre said it is implementing contingency plans to ensure that results come out on time. We just hope the right results go to the right people."

He said the union had warned managers months ago to run the old computer system alongside the new system as a back-up.

Anne Vinden, regional official of the public services union Unison, said:

"It is incredible that staff who have been working flat out to get A-level results out on time have been issued with redundancy notices."

An exams syndicate spokesman said that restructuring had been going on for a while as a result of a merger of exam syndicates and that staff had been kept informed. He said it would have been impossible to run the old computer system alongside the new because it was beginning to show problems itself. The new system is working now.

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