Professional and Administrative Services review - an update from John Brady
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
The Vice-Chancellor's message of 20 October 2014 introduced the next phase of work on the review of our professional and administrative support services, an exercise referred to generally as PAS. As you may recall PAS forms a part of the wider Efficiency and Effectiveness programme, an important element of the University Strategy.
We said that we would provide you with regular information about the exercise and its progress, so I am writing to you now to tell you about some of the initial activity.
Our focus at the moment is on the design of the new support structures, beginning with a comprehensive process review exercise. To get this up and running we have been bringing together a number of key staff to identify all the critical processes and ensure they are thoroughly understood.
A number of working groups are underway.
My colleagues and I in Human Resources have now had four lengthy workshops identifying all the key HR processes; for ease we are referring to this as the Employee Journey as it covers all the related activities from the approval of a vacancy through to when a colleague leaves the University.
Andrea Cheshire (Director of Student and Applicant Services), Gem Walsh (Director of Marketing, Communication and Engagement) and Dale Cooper (Director of Campaigns and Supporter Engagement) have begun looking at the activities bundled under the heading Student Experience Support, covering the processes involved in attracting new students, their time with us as a student, and their relationship with the University as alumni.
Gem Walsh and colleagues from the Marketing, Communication and Engagement team are discussing the processes associated with Brand Management in its broadest sense, including all marketing, communication, engagement, outreach and pre-application student recruitment.
Carol Wright (Director of Finance and Corporate Services) and senior staff within the Finance & Corporate Services team are considering Finance Management (including Source to Pay), looking at all the financial activities across the University.
Dr Karen Henderson (Head of Technical Services, School of Biological Sciences) is acting as an adviser to the project in respect of Technical Support, and has been visiting Schools and working alongside other Technical Managers to build up a comprehensive picture of the support activities provided by technical staff across the University.
A further important group is being established to consider the range of processes and activities that fall under the heading of General Administration Support.
Each of the above working groups will also explore opportunities for efficiencies being generated through Automation and Self-Service, taking forward ideas that were generated through workshops earlier this year with support and guidance as appropriate from John Leary (Director of IT Services) and his team.
The work that is underway is only the starting point and the next step will be to work with staff in our Schools and Services, particularly those who have direct involvement in the relevant processes. I have asked Heads of School and others to nominate colleagues who would be best placed to contribute to this work (including academic colleagues who have a direct involvement in and/or a good understanding of key administrative processes). Invitations to participate in relevant workshops will be issued shortly and we will ensure that we have representation from right across the University.
In the Vice-Chancellor's note to staff he was open in stating that by the end of the PAS exercise it is certain that we will require fewer support jobs than we have currently. With this in mind he indicated that there would be early opportunities to consider voluntary severance. We will therefore be launching a general voluntary severance scheme open to all staff within the scope of the PAS exercise. I will be in contact in the first week of December with full details of the offer, timescale and the process for deciding offers.
There is a lot of work underway at the moment which may not be entirely visible to you, but is a very necessary step towards ensuring that our new arrangements for support services work.
Please feel free to contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or use the feedback facility available at: https://www.reading.ac.uk/closed/university-strategy/WhatsHappening/CurrentActivity/pas-feedback-form.aspx.
Director of Human Resources