Approximately a third of the SOAS University of London’s headcount is made up of part-time teachers.

Part-time teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants at SOAS are on the same terms and conditions of employment as full-time staff. Teachers are SOAS are employed on a full-time equivalent contract of employment which is derived from their individual teaching activities, such as contact teaching, marking, or tutorials. This meant that manually creating and amending contracts for these staff was very complex and time consuming.


SOAS encountered several organisational challenges in managing their staff effectively:

  • Complex employment contracts

Employment contracts were generated using the central HR system and were complicated. A lack of transparency made it difficult for teachers to track down their contract within the system.

  • Incorrect employment contracts

Employment contracts were incorrect and payments to teachers were delayed causing internal disputes

  • Cumbersome HR data entry

In 2013, the employing departments began inputting data directly into the HR system. However, the data entry was complicated which resulted in HR and payroll staff having to re-enter information to generate contracts and payments.

  • Complicated pay framework

The school already had a complicated pay framework in place, which made it difficult for a teacher to calculate their payments from their contract or payslip

  • Compliance issues

Tier 4 visa compliance needs for PhD teaching students and Graduate Teaching Assistants were not effectively monitored, because there was no proactive and centralised control of their contracted hours. There were also compliance issues around holiday pay.

SOAS needed a system that could:

  • Adhere to Tier 4 visa compliance requirements
  • Ensure payment transparency
  • Accurately manage holiday pay for its employees


  • SOAS introduced VTC

VT Candidate (VTC) is used to onboard new employees, collecting their personal information and ensuring that right-to-work checks are completed. Once complete, VTC passes the relevant data to the HR system to create their HR record. Once the HR system has confirmed creation of the record, VTC removes all personal information.

  • Automated interfaces

An automated interface between VT2000 and the HR system updates employee records daily. This eliminates manual entry from the point of onboarding a new employee through to creating their records in the HR system and in VT2000.

  • Automatic contracts

Departments can book employees within VT2000, which then automatically generates their contract. VT2000 is customised to accommodate the complex needs of SOAS’ payment structure and contract details. Employee data and contract changes are exchanged between the HR system and VT2000 to ensure that the two systems are kept in-sync.

  • Compliance checks

A Tier 4 visa validation profile is applied to specific employees in VT2000 to ensure that they cannot be contracted for work that breaches their visa restrictions.


  • Elimination of double data entry and manual contracts

The school generated 750 automated contracts in 2017/18, which previously would have been created manually. They eliminated double data entry as the interfaces between VTC, VT2000 and the HR system ensures daily synchronisation of records.

  • Streamlined internal processes

Internal processes have been streamlined by having fewer stages. There is defined ownership for all stakeholders at each stage of the process. For example, a built-in contract authorisation process ensures that individuals are aware of when their authorisation is required and are reminded with an automated email.

  • Better compliance processes

UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) compliance is enforced by the process, as records are prevented from progressing from VTC into the HR system without this check being tracked. Tier 4 visa compliance checks are performed at the point of contract creation, so that employees cannot be booked for work that would breach their visa restrictions. The system has also resulted in better holiday pay compliance.

  • Better workflow across departments

The new process has given the flexibility to devolve the responsibility of contract creation into individual departments, whilst maintaining centralised control over the process itself and all compliance requirements. This resulted in a 50% reduction in queries to HR from employees!

  • Greater pay transparency

Employees are now able to download their contract electronically at any time. Budget monitoring has been improved by incorporating budget tracking into VT2000. This ensures that budgets are checked at the point of contract creation, preventing departments from over-committing.