REF 2021 – voluntary staff disclosure form for individual circumstances

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) Guidance on Submissions sets out the measures that HEIs are required to put in place to support staff with individual circumstances, recognising that circumstances can have an impact on productivity. This includes creating safe and supportive structures for enabling staff to declare voluntarily any relevant circumstances, putting in place processes to adjust expectations of an individual’s contribution to the unit’s output pool (where the individual is entitled to a reduction), and ensuring staff are treated fairly. BU’s REF Code of Practice (CoP) contains established procedures to ensure that individuals are able to voluntarily disclose their individual circumstances so that we can take account in preparing our submission. As a consequence we are contacting every REF eligible member of staff to give them a further opportunity to make a voluntary disclosure – given that this is the second window of opportunity, it is primarily aimed at capturing any disclosures from staff appointed between November 2019 and 31 July 2020, and for staff whose circumstances have changed.

The Staff Disclosure Form for Individual Circumstances may be downloaded here. We wish to encourage colleagues to submit a form if they believe individual circumstances have affected their ability to undertake research effectively during the period. Please note that an additional provision to incorporate circumstances related to Covid-19 in the reduction process for removing the minimum of one output requirement has been added and included within the updated Staff Disclosure Form for Individual Circumstances.

Completion and return of the form is voluntary; individuals will not be required to do so if they do not wish to. This form is the only means by which we will be gathering this information; we will not be consulting any hardcopy or electronic records held by Human Resources, contract start dates, etc. You should therefore complete and return the form if any of the circumstances apply and you are willing to provide the associated information.

The form provides guidance on the purpose for collecting the information, applicable individual circumstances, the steps we will take to ensure confidentiality and how to submit the form.

If you have submitted a form following the closure of the first window of submission in January 2020, you do not need to submit a further form. You will be contacted via email within one week to confirm receipt.

If you have any questions regarding individual circumstances you can email

Forms should be submitted to the REF circumstances mailbox at no later than midnight Friday 16 October 2020. Alternatively the form may be posted, marked confidential and for the attention of Sally Driver, Human Resources, Melbury House, 1-3 Oxford Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8ES.

If you wish to receive the form in an alternative format please email or phone 01202 961133.

You can access information about BU’s REF preparation via the Research Blog and if you have any general enquiries regarding the REF you can email For more information about the REF 2021 nationally please visit