Achievement, Contribution and Excellence (ACE) Scheme

 Announcement As per the Vice Chancellor's recent announcement, the ACE scheme is currently on hold to support the sustainability and success of Brookes in the longer term. We understand that this decision may cause disappointment amongst colleagues, and appreciate the support you are providing, as well as your commitment to making Brookes a great place to both work and study.

The Achievement, Contribution and Excellence Awards (ACE) are now closed.

Applications will now be reviewed by the ACE panels and we will communicate outcomes to applicants no later than 30 May. 

If you have any queries, please refer to our FAQs or contact Jess McGinn, Reward and Progression Partner, via

What is the ACE scheme?

Each grade at Brookes consists of both progression and ACE points.

Staff progress through the progression points, moving up to the next increment on an annual basis. The ACE points are provided on top of the progression points to acknowledge exceptional staff performance and can therefore only be applied for via the ACE scheme.

The ACE scheme aims to celebrate and thank colleagues who have demonstrated the following:

  • Outstanding performance
  • Significant achievement beyond normal expectations
  • A consistently exceptional contribution.

Staff should also be performing well in all key activities and achieving PDR objectives.

If you feel that you can demonstrate these qualities, please let us know by completing an application form.

Please note - the scheme is currently closed. We will advise when ACE reopens via the staff update. 

If you feel that a member of your team is performing at an outstanding level, and should be recognised, please nominate them or encourage them to apply.

ACE awards are determined based on the evidence provided within the application form. The panel will rely on this information only, and strive to provide fair and robust outcomes.

Factors such as length of service, seniority, the number of hours worked or your current grade/role are not considered. 

The types of ACE awards

There are two types of award that may be provided under the ACE scheme. 

A permanent increment

Staff may receive an additional progression point or ACE point, depending on the spinal point currently applied. This award is a permanent addition to salary and recognises sustained, outstanding performance. 

A non-recurring award 

Staff receive a one-off or non-recurring payment that is equivalent to an additional increment. This award recognises outstanding contributions to a specific time-limited project or activity. 

If staff can demonstrate that this award affects other entitlements such as statutory benefits, payment may be applied over a time period of 12 months.  


All staff up to Director level are eligible to apply for an ACE award.

To ensure that we are fairly acknowledging achievement, we are unable to progress applications for either permanent or non-recurring awards from staff who are:

  • In their probationary period, or have less than one year’s service
  • Receiving salary protection 
  • Are subject to formal HR processes 
  • Are paid at a single fixed point.

Staff at the top of the ACE points can only apply for a non-recurrent award.

Staff should ensure that they meet these criteria before submitting an application.

The application process

To ensure that we are able to recognise your contribution, we need to understand how you have gone above and beyond to deliver, and the impact of your exceptional performance.  Evidence-based responses are key, as this will enable the panel to fully understand your contribution. This means providing examples of what you have done and the impact it has had.

Please refer to our step-by-step guide which details how to apply for an ACE award. 

Line managers may also wish to apply for an award on behalf of a team member. 

We appreciate that not all staff feel confident in promoting their achievements and explaining where they have made an outstanding contribution.  Completing your application with your line manager and seeking feedback from colleagues prior to submission can help you to identify where you have excelled. 

To apply for an award, please complete an application form, ensuring that you provide specific examples and evidence of the impact of your actions. 

Staff should only provide responses for three of the following criteria:

  • Delivering an excellent student experience
  • Collaboration and motivation
  • Customer or stakeholder-centred service provision
  • Acting as a role model by demonstrating the Brookes Guiding Principles
  • Personal or professional development
  • Leadership and coaching.

Please read the ACE Criteria prior to completing an application and ensure that you acknowledge the definitions provided in your responses.

Supplementary evidence is not required and please provide no more than 500 words per criterion.

Please ensure that you provide adequate time for your line manager and PVC/Director to complete sections 3 and 4 of this document. 

Once complete, please submit applications to by 2 May.

Assessing applications and outcomes

  • Applications from academics are considered by a panel of senior academic staff from across the University.
  • Applications from professional services staff are considered by a panel of senior managers. 
  • Applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their applications. 
  • Awards to successful applicants will take effect from 1 April.

The ACE panel makes decisions based on the evidence provided within the ACE application form. Therefore, it is important that applicants provide evidence and specific examples to demonstrate their contribution.

Outcomes will be provided to applicants no later than 30 May.  

If your application is unsuccessful, feedback will be provided to support future submissions. Please note that past ACE outcomes do not inform panel decision making.

Other recognition schemes

A recognition award can also be utilised by managers to recognise short-term contributions. This can be awarded at any time in response to one-off contributions to both an individual or team. The value of this award is £200. For further information, please visit the recognition webpages.

Changes to role responsibility

If there have been permanent changes made to duties and responsibilities, the impact of this on grading should be explored via our job evaluation processes. For further information, please visit the job evaluation webpages.