University finances: progress made and next steps

April 15th, 2024

As we continue to navigate through the complexities of the current financial landscape, University Executive Board would like to acknowledge the efforts and dedication displayed by teams across the institution.

The commitment shown to streamlining processes and re-thinking finances has been visible and is greatly appreciated, but we have more work to do to keep ourselves financially stable into the future.

What has been done so far?

We have seen tangible results with many of the measures that have been implemented so far, including reduced travel spending, a decrease in advertised job vacancies and ongoing efforts to minimise purchasing card expenditures.

Many colleagues have taken the opportunity to join the Annual Leave Purchase Scheme, which was requested by a member of staff at our recent roadshows. Changes to certain aspects of delivered and provisioned catering have also helped reduce costs.

Locally, faculties and departments are supporting the savings initiative by placing temporary pauses on the purchase of IT equipment and certain elements of catering. The university’s executive board has endorsed an initiative to reduce spend on IT equipment for the remainder of this financial year.

In addition, temporary measures will also be introduced soon which will aim to validate purchase requests and reduce new IT equipment purchasing spend, specifically on laptops, desktops and tablets – reducing spend in this area. The revised process for ordering IT equipment will be communicated within the next few weeks.

These measures underscore our commitment to prudent financial management and align with our overarching objectives.

What do we still need to do?

Despite the good work carried out so far, unfortunately the university is not currently on track to meet the savings needed to avoid a budget deficit.

To start to address this, we are re-examining our estate and looking at savings that could be made within the strategic pipeline to help bring down expenditure.  But locally, we need teams and departments to continue to examine budgets and find savings wherever possible.

This means the measures that have been introduced to help bring down expenditure, including restrictions on travel and professional development, will need to continue into the new financial year.

Additionally, the current recruitment freeze will remain in place. We understand this may pose challenges in some areas, but the measures are essential in our collective efforts to navigate the financial terrain effectively.

We have also agreed to implement tighter financial controls, meaning that all non-research spend above a £10,000 threshold will only go ahead if a newly established Finance Control Group approves it.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support and engagement through this process and we will continue to keep you updated.

For more information including a detailed FAQ, please visit the University Finances SharePoint site.

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