Change projects

Our work

Support for Researchers

Project Define:

Support me in identifying, winning and managing externally funded awards to delivery excellent research that will generate high-profile academic outputs as well as delivering maximum socio-economic impact

Project Sponsor:

Professor Steve Rothberg, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Process Owner:

Peter Townsend, Director of Research Office

Change Team Facilitator:

Meg Stafford

Project Status

Process Review

Following its inclusion as a project topic for Change Academy in January 2016, it was agreed that a full review of research support processes should be carried out.


Initial findings of the process review have shown that there is a significant amount of good practice at Loughborough in this area but also indicated a number of issues which can have a negative impact on our researchers, such as:

  • A lack of understanding of our processes, the support available and who to access it from, with problems occurring for researchers regardless of their career stage.
  • A ‘one size fits all’ approach to our internal financial and peer approval processes regardless of grant value and/or complexity
  • The collection of unnecessary data too early in the process
  • Hand-offs across teams which have a detrimental impact on continuity of support from a researcher’s perspective.

The project team are consulting widely with colleagues from across Schools and Professional Services and will report their full findings to Operations Committee in September.

Further information is available from: Meg Stafford and Peter Townsend

 

Admissions - Taught Students

Project Define:

Make me an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student

Project Sponsor:

Dr Jennifer Nutkins, Academic Registrar

Process Owner:

Wendy MacDonald, Postgraduate Admissions Manager

Change Team Facilitator:

Meg Stafford

Project Status

Implementation

Providing applicants with the best possible experience when they apply to study at Loughborough University feeds into one of the University's key strategic aims, to build excellence by educating for success.

The review looked at our current admissions processes and found that there was significant variation in practice across Schools and inefficiencies which were leading to long turnaround times for receiving a more decision.

The project team established a set of principles and code of practice which has enabled us to optimise our admissions processes, ensuring that we provide an excellent applicant experience by considering their applications fairly, consistently and as quickly as possible.

Wendy MacDonald, Academic Registry, is managing the implementation of this project and can be contacted for further information.

Further information is available from: Meg Stafford

Assessment of reasonable adjustments for students

Project Define:

Assess my needs then recommend and implement reasonable adjustments for my learning, assessment, study and living environment

Project Sponsor:

Dr Manuel Alonso, Director of Student Services

Process Owner:

Dan Doran, Mental Health Support Team Manager

Change Team Facilitator:

Anne Mumford

Project Status

Scale-up

The process review will focus on the provision of reasonable adjustments, so that disabled students are not disadvantaged during the course of their degree.

Student assessments are currently carried out by the Counselling and Disability Service, who make recommendations for general and high-level adjustments. There is, however, a lack of centralised information which would enable adjustments to be applied to specific scenarios, for example specific assessment methods. This results in handoffs and duplication, as adjustments must be reviewed again later in the year, usually by the School and the student.

The review will aim to provide students with an improved experience for the implementation of reasonable adjustment and remove the waste and duplication that exists in our current processes.

Further information is available from: Anne Mumford

Research Student Experience

Project Define:

Give me a world-class experience as a postgraduate research student at Loughborough University

Change Team Facilitator:

Meg Stafford

Initiation Document:

 Change Project Initiation Document - PGR

Key Observations:

 Key Observations

Principles for Clean Flow:

 Principles

Clean Flow:

 PGR Professional Development Clean Flow

Dependencies:

 Dependencies

Loughborough University has a postgraduate research student base of over 1500, with a dedicated resource available in the form of the Graduate School to support their professional and general academic development during their studies and the Research Student Office which provides core student lifecycle administration in partnership with Schools. A number of regulations and policies are in place to guide students, supervisors, PGR coordinators and other stakeholders through the PGR lifecycle with the goal of obtaining a PhD qualification, whilst mitigating any changes or problems that arise.

The PGR experience varies considerably across Schools and within Schools and PGR coordinators; Directors of Research Programmes and Associate Deans of Research have different levels of involvement with their students. The handling and storing of data is observed to be equally varied, with a number of PGR coordinators opting to manage several spreadsheets to track information on their students. Most of this was observed to be relevant data which could potentially be made available from the LUSI system, but some information was either duplication or unnecessary.

The Project Team has used Loughborough’s approach to improving services to follow and map out existing processes that underpin the academic lifecycle of a PGR student, and observations have been presented to a group of stakeholders. Strategic “principles” have been created and a hypothesised “clean flow” has been agreed by the stakeholder group, which recommended prioritising the following strands for “experiment”:

  • Academic progression, including experimenting with a “parts” programme structure.
    • A desktop experiment was undertaken in the first quarter of 2017, applying known scenarios where a straightforward progression was or is not possible and auditing the results of applying the clean flow as a hypothesised solution. The outcome of this desktop experiment is now being used to make progress to implement the parts structure and put in place progression boards.

Project Sponsor:

Jennifer Nutkins, Academic Registrar

Process Owner:

Brigette Vale, Senior Assistant Registrar

Project Status:

Experiment

Initiation Document:

PGR Academic Progression CPID

Clean Flow:

PGR Academic Progression Clean Flow

  • Professional Development, including experimenting with cross-functional availability and mixed audience provision for training and development opportunities.
    • A live experiment will include a select cohort of students in a variety of schools and departments having access to a temporary “Researcher Development Portal”, where students and staff alike will be able to view development events that are relevant and available to them without having to search the various webpages and systems currently used. Students that study across schools or departments will also be able to see more locally provided seminars that they currently may not have access to.

Project Sponsor:

Jennifer Nutkins, Academic Registrar

Process Owner:

Kathryn North, Head of Researcher Development

Project Status:

Experiment

Initiation Document:

PGR Professional Development CPID

Clean Flow: 

PGR Professional Development Clean Flow

Various additional strands will come online in the coming months as progress is made, and scale-up solutions will be communicated via stakeholder meetings, PGR subcommittee and other means as appropriate.

If you wish to be involved in any of the experiments please use the contact details below. 

Further information is available from: Meg Stafford

Admissions - Research Students

Project Define:

Make me a postgraduate research student

Project Sponsor:

Dr Jennifer Nutkins, Academic Registrar

Process Owner:

Dr Brigette Vale, Senior Assistant Registrar

Change Team Facilitator:

Meg Stafford

Project Status

Stakeholder engagement

Providing applicants with the best possible experience when they apply to study at Loughborough University feeds into one of the University's key strategic aims, to build excellence by educating for success.

The review has found significant variation in practice across Schools and inefficiencies which can lead to long turnaround times for receiving a formal decision on an application and confirmation of funding where available.

The project team is shortly due to share its findings with a wider stakeholder group and will be putting forward some policy proposals to relevant committees with the aim of optimising our admissions and funding administration processes to improve applicant experience.

Further information is available from: Meg Stafford

Facilities Management

Project Define:

Maintain my Facility

Project Sponsor:

Richard Taylor, Chief Operating Officer

Process Owner:

Alan Love, Facilities Management

Change Team Facilitator:

Anne Mumford

Project Status

Scale Up

Over 20,000 jobs are actioned each year by the Maintenance Team in Facilities Management and many more undertaken by the team based in Campus Living. Some of these are planned jobs but many are reactive with some involving more than one trade to resolve.

Customers have expressed concerns that they do not know how their job is progressing. Our measures show that although there are service level agreements these are often set to one side as other priorities emerge and those jobs that require more than one trade take a particularly long time to complete. Our “follow” of the process showed that one reason for multi-trade jobs taking a long time is that effectively the jobs gets raised each time a trade is added. A delay is built in for non-priority jobs as details are printed on tickets which go to the maintenance teams once a day.

A clean flow was developed to improve the speed of assessment and the allocation of jobs to appropriate teams and to improve communications with end users to save them having to chase on progress creating failure demand.

A significant Experiment was undertaken, working initially with the Mechanical and Electrical teams at Holywell Park and West Park and the Campus Living Maintenance team. This has been extended to all trades and the whole campus. Although most jobs still arrived via emails and phonecalls to the Helpdesk, some end users did trial entering jobs themselves enabling tracking of progress. Over 20,000 jobs went through the Experiment and initial data shows significant improvements in end-to-end times particularly for multi-trade jobs. This is a result of the use of an electronic pilot system enabling jobs entered by the end user or by the Helpdesk being able to be allocated or pulled by trades staff and forwarded to colleagues in other trades or between Campus Living and FM.

The Experiment has now been scaled up using the Archibus System which is already in use for plans of buildings and space-related data within Facilities Management. This has been approved as an IT project by IT Portfolio Board. The rolled out system will enable end users to enter their requests and to track progress.

Further information is available from: Anne Mumford

Agents' Commission

Project Define:

Pay the commission my recruitment agency is owed in a timely and professional manner

Project Sponsor:

Charlie Carter, Director of the International Office

Process Owner:

Irene Duncan / Danielle Jarvis, International Office

Change Team Facilitator:

Meg Stafford

Project Status

Implementation

Commission payments are made to agents when the international students they have supported register for their course at Loughborough and are attending. 

The project team reviewed the process by which student data and payment data is collated and found that it required data to be gathered from several different University systems and reports, was a largely manual process and could take several months to complete.

The team then conducted an experiment, following the Loughborough approach to improving services, in order to test the concept that data collection and sharing could be done in a more streamlined way. This has informed enhancements to the University’s postgraduate application portal and the development of a new agents’ database which is enabling commission invoice reports to be sent to recruitment agents much earlier in the academic cycle.

Further information is available from: Meg Stafford

 

Expenses

Project Define:

Reimburse my out-of-pocket expenses

Project Sponsor:

Carol Prokopyszyn, Depuy Director of Finance

Process Owner:

Glenn Foster, Finance Shared Services Manager

Change Team Facilitator:

Sam Marshall

Project Status

Complete

Approximately 11,000 expense claims are processed at the University each year.  Claims require the completion of a paper expenses form, with receipts attached to an accompanying sheet.  The form requires the signature of the claimant, checker and Head of Department prior to submission to the Finance Office or Payroll for processing.  End to end processing times can be several weeks.

This project put improvements in place so that claims can be processed more efficiently and paid more quickly.  Initital results showed payment times to be reduced from an average of 26 to 2.5 days.  Waste, duplication and handoffs were successfully removed from the process.

Further information is available from: Glenn Foster

Staff Recruitment

Project Define:

Recruit me as a member of staff at Loughborough University

Project Sponsor:

Anne Lamb, Deputy Director of Human Resources

Process Owner:

Danielle Evans, Senior HR Systems Officer

Change Team Facilitator:

Anne Mumford

Project Status

Complete

Loughborough University runs approximately 800 staff recruitment campaigns a year. We have a number of approval processes depending on the level of the post and the nature of the funding. Our “follow” has shown that different routes are taken for the different types of post and witnessed a number of hand-offs between recruiting managers and Human Resources. We have also seen many examples of duplication of work as people try to stick to their schedules and keep prospective employees informed.

The Change Team have proposed and agreed a set of end-user “principles” and a “clean flow” with stakeholders across campus. These proposals have passed through two phases of “experiment” and are currently being computerised in anticipation of the scale-up and rollout scheduled for August 2016.

The new process for getting financial and legal approval for recruitment campaigns was made live in March 2016, which has standardised the process, removed a number of manual interventions and will provide better management information. The primary driver for changing the approval process, however, has been to collect information once at the correct stage and reuse it throughout the core recruitment process.

There are a number of significant changes in the core recruitment process that will impact upon recruiting departments:

  • Duplicative information fields will be minimised
  • Shortlisting grids will be provided that identify key candidate information such as ‘Two Ticks” declarations and nationality
  • Selection Committee agendas will be provided from the information input by departments in the “interviews” and “resources” pages
  • Correspondence will be generated, customised and sent to candidates by departments at key communication points
  • Contracts will be available in iTrent for viewing by departments once sent by HR
  • Outlook calendars will be created up to 55 days in advance of an employment start date

Further information is available from: Anne Mumford

Travel

Project Define:

Let me book a business trip and insure me

Project Sponsor:

Tom Carslake, Operations Manager for AACME

Process Owner:

Christine Vallis & Krishna Radia, Procurement

Reuben Srinivasan & Hiten Patel, Insurance Support

Change Team Facilitator:

Meg Stafford

Project Status

Complete

The Change Team has worked with colleagues in Schools and Professional Services to map the existing processes in this area. The lack of a single defined process was resulting in a number of issues, such as:

  • The use of unapproved travel and accommodation providers potentially leaving University employees without necessary support, advice and guidance in the event of incidents and emergencies.
  • Employees travelling without the appropriate insurance.
  • The use of personal card payments and expense claims making the administration of travel finance unnecessarily burdensome.
  • Frustration with a system that was too complicated and provided a poor experience to University travellers

To address these issues, the project team has:

  • Introduced a simple online campus-wide travel authorisation form to ensure that all overseas travel is appropriately approved and insured
  • Worked closely with the University’s preferred travel agent to introduce consolidating invoicing and a new online platform making self-service booking easier than ever.
  • Improved management information reporting enabling the University to better meet its duty of care towards staff when they are away on University business.
  • Promoted a culture of trust that encourages and supports staff to book their own travel if they wish to, which has been formalised in a new travel policy.

A formal review of progress will take place in February 2017 and we welcome feedback on the new process from colleagues who travel, or support colleagues with travel, on behalf of the University. 

Further information is available from: Meg Stafford

University Teachers

Project Define:

Make me an effective University Teacher and pay me

Project Sponsor:

Rob Allan, Director of Human Resources

Process Owner:

Danielle Evans, Senior HR Systems Officer

Change Team Facilitator:

Sam Marshall & Meg Stafford

Project Status

Complete

Following discussions with Schools and Professional Services, the process by which the University employs and pays University Teachers (previously Bought-in Teachers) was identified as an activity where service improvements were required. University Teachers experienced delays, sometimes of several weeks, in contract generation and creation of IT accounts and long lead times for payment of claims.

Process review showed how manual prcesses were used throughout, with duplication, hand-offs and failure demand being commonplace.

Using the Loughborough approach to improving services, the Change Team has worked in conjunction with colleagues from Professional Services and Schools to improve the experience for University Teachers and achieve efficiency gains.

Some of the headline process improvements include:

  • 99% of University Teachers are now receiving their contract electronically within 5 days of submitting their personal details.
  • 97% of University Teachers have IT account access within 5 days of accepting their contract.  
  • University Teachers can now submit and track their claims electronically using my.HR. and the lead time for submission of claims has been reduced by one week.

The University has received the following awards in recognition of the project:

  • Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Award - Outstanding Strategic Planning Team
  • Midland HR Award - Most transformational HR/Payroll project

Further information is available from: Meg Stafford