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Organisation Effectiveness Review update and report

When the Organisation Effectiveness (Student Support) Review, led by Professor Sarah Sharples, was published in March this year, the Vice-Chancellor explained that we would implement the proposed solutions in a collaborative way across the University. A number of working groups were established, overseen by an implementation group (chaired by the Registrar).

These groups have been working across Student Services and the academic community to review and develop administrative practice. This in itself has supported closer relationships between departments and improved, shared understanding of the ways in which we support students together.

Of the 40 solutions identified by the review, 22 were prioritised for implementation in time for the start of session 2018/19. There has been practical progress in relation to all of these and the large majority will be in place to support students when the new academic year starts. The few that are outstanding relate to the implementation of Campus Solutions or will be supported by the Digital Futures programme over the coming months.

The implementation group reported to UEB in July 2018 on progress against the review findings and the work that had been completed to that point. This report is on the OESS workspace, along with the initial report on the review’s findings and recommendations, and the University’s response and executive summary. Progress has been made in the following specific areas:

  • The advice and support available for students electronically has been updated and streamlined including first points of contact; FAQs and general information. Contact details for Students Services have been made widely available for staff.
  • The use of generic email addresses will be minimised and these are now being managed more personally. Students will know who is dealing with their query by having a named person respond even if it is from a generic address.
  • Guidance has been developed to clarify for students which Student Service Centre is best placed to resolve any specialised queries relating to their course with links to people available within the school to support being clarified.
  • The support available for students with additional needs is being developed, including the introduction of a fast pass system which will enable them to be seen quicker. Staff training on supporting all students has also been reviewed.
  • Managers in Students Services & Schools are working more closely together in the recruitment and induction of staff working in School based Students Services Teams and in managing the day to day work of supporting students. Further development of this over the academic year is also planned.
  • Work is underway to capture in a constructive & accessible way, who is responsible for different elements of key processes within schools, faculties and Student services.
  • Fixed term contracts for Student Services staff have been reviewed in line with the Review’s recommendations and there is already evidence that this has reduced turnover in key roles.

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One Comment

August 8th, 2018 at 4:29 pm

A colleague

Given that the 2-year fixed-term contract implementation is trumpeted as such a positive to production and morale, could someone clarify the following terms laid out in the update review:
‘Additional budget pressures across Professional Services may impact on what has been achieved here.’

Should we imply that this is/was just a quick fix? Are further staff reductions a consequence of these pressures, or are we only able to consolidate the current position rather than improve on it?

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