A minimum staffing level (MSL) is the level of resources for staffing purposes allocated by the Academic Planning and Resources Committee| (APRC) to each organisational unit subject to the system in the School.
Very simply, each department is given a number of MSLs to 'buy' staff. An MSL unit could be seen as a notional monetary unit. Each post has an equivalent number of MSLs e.g. a Professor is 125 MSLs, a Lecturer is 68 MSLs (no matter what scale point).
So a department given, for example, 2,000 recurrent MSLs, can use them to spend on staff however it likes, without going to Human Resources (HR) for 'permission' every time it makes an appointment (although they do check that there are enough MSLs to make an appointment). MSLs are linked to a 'price' - at present 1 MSL = £900 - but generally only spending on temporary staff is accounted in cash and then converted back to MSLs.
Departments receive details of two MSL accounts. The MSL 1 account shows the department's allocation of MSLs (projected into future sessions). There are two MSL 1 accounts in the suite of MSL forms, the current one (first worksheet) and a Pre-Framework Agreement MSL 1 account which documents all entries before 2007-08 (last worksheet with a red shaded tab). Over time MSLs for promotions, awards of resources, etc. are added to the total (see the MSL Instructions which can be accessed from the quick links section of the Planning Unit Home Page).
The MSL 2 account shows how the MSLs are spent, listing all staff in the department. This information also needs to be checked in terms of staff retirement/ replacement. The MSL2 account should not go into deficit.
MSL 1 and MSL 2 accounts have to be checked carefully, because mistakes do happen.
The Planning Unit| has now added a helpful sign off sheet to its twice yearly MSL sign-off exercise (March/April and August/September), which lists 'things you should check' on both MSL 1 and 2 accounts before signing them off as correct. Gary Barclay (ext: 7948, email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) in the Planning Unit is very helpful if you need anything explained.
Resource Allocation Model
The School operates a factor-based resource allocation model (RAM) whereby resources are centrally allocated to academic units via the Academic Planning and Resources Committee (APRC), informed by the comparison of key departmental indicators. For a full explanation of the RAM model, please consult the Planning Unit RAM webpage: