Progress Tracker

Use this page to track the progress of workstreams in Project Enable. Where a workstream has been completed, the benefits realised will be published in working days equivalent per academic year.

Live Workstreams

Archibus

Aim

Conduct an end-user review of the Archibus software used to log issues and problems relating to the Estaste and its facilities. The scope will include assessing how the software can be better utilised by contractors.

Problem Statements

  • Access to Archibus is currently limited to certain individuals in Schools and Professional Service departments, with no communication as to who is and isn't a user.
  • Once submissionare made there are no status updates. They enter a black hole where a user is not informed whether their submission has been accepeted, and if there is a timeline to resolution.
  • Facilities staff and contractors may turn up to resolve issues without prior notice, resulting in them not always having access to the rooms and buildings where work is required.

Latest Update

The workstream is being led by a dedicated resource within Estates & Facilities Management (E&FM), with support from the Project Enable Manager, E&FM Head of Operations, and E&FM Helpdesk Administrator. Following the approval to go live at March's Enable Programme Board, the project was fully scoped in April 2023, with a process review undertaken during May and June. Recommendations are being presented to a Project Enable sub-panel in late June 2023.

Ethics Approval Process

Aim

The current ethics approval process is not sufficiently risk-based and requires significant levels of sign-offs and checks at all points. The result is a time-consuming process that can be frustrating for both users and service owners.

Future State

Our approach to ethics approvals will be risk-based and approached in a way that gives appropriate authority and accountability to staff who have sufficient knowledge to approve applications at low, medium, and high risk levels. Opportunities will be identified to reduce the number of feedback loops an application goes through. 

Benefits Realised (to date)

Ethics applications made by undergraduate and postgraduate taught project students which are classified as low risk are signed off by the supervisor without further review. Training to support the implementation of this change has also been developed, focusing on both ethical thinking and technical/system knowledge.

Monitoring Risks

Maintaining buy-in and support from key colleagues involved in the process- both centrally and in relation to Ethics Committee- remains crucial to the success of the project.

Fieldwork Risk Assessments

Aim

The University currently adopts a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to field work risk assessments, regardless of the location and nature of the work being undertaken. The submission and approval process is inefficient, with multiple black holes for users.

Future State

The creation of a new online process for fieldwork risk assessments which are proportionate to the activity taking place. Implementation of these new forms will demonstrably reduce the time taken to complete and approve fieldwork risk assessments, re-inforced by positively qualitiative feedback from all stakeholder groups.

Latest Update

Resourcing to build a Power Automate-run form has been provided through a third party company, working with colleagues in Health & Safety. This is a mitigation for capacity issues in IT Services. A working prototype is now available and stakeholder testing is underway.

Monitoring Risks

Resourcing within the IT Services and Health & Safety teams is the single biggest risk to the progression of this workstream. If sufficiently mitigated, the progress will remain on course to be completed before the start of the 2023/24 academic year.

Internal Communications and Email

Aim

Examine how the institution uses platforms (Outlook, MS Teams etc.) and identify opportunities to reduce volume and increase quality of communications.

Future State

Encourage a standardised institutional approach and culture to email and MS Teams usage, with colleagues able to access digital competency and advanced platform training, if requested. There is a demonstrable reduction in email 'noise', with positive qualitative feedback on the impact of this.

Latest Update

The success of this workstream is dependent on leaders and managers to act as role models for others in mindful inbox management and 'passive permission giving' (e.g. awareness of when emails are sent and clarity on their purpose). This aligns closely with Project Expectation's 'Leadership Development' workstream. Alongside this, steps are being taken to support with the upskilling of individuals in the use of features in Outlook and Teams. The Project has commissioned EAB to conduct a benchmarking exercise across the wider sector and beyond on how to approach this. It is anticipated that this will align closely with the existing upskilling of digital platforms led by the Enhanced Academic Practice team in Organisational Development.

Monitoring Risks

There are three actively monitored risks with this workstream:

  • Scope: Given the breadth of the topic, it can be easy to stray into out-of-scope areas
  • Buy-in: It requires an institutional appetite for change in order to succeed
  • Evolution: Technology and solutions remain fast-paced in this area (e.g. the seismici increase in MS Teams usage since the pandemic). We need to ensure our proposed solutions are as future proof as possible.

Module Update Alignment

Aim

Conduct a review of the current timetabling process, with the view to improving its efficiency for administrators and academics.

Problem Statements

  • Each previous academic year's schedule should be used as a basis to amend things, rather than starting from scratch each time
  • Currently, the system operates with an assumption that something is going to change, rather than everything is going to stay the same. As a result, colleagues are asked to provide the same information every year.

Latest Update

This workstream is being steered by a group of colleagues drawn from the Change Team and Academic Registry. The workstream has been scoped and a process review methodology approved, led by colleagues in the Change Team.

Part-time Staff Annual Leave Allocations

Aim

Annual leave allocations for part-time staff are currently calculated in an ad-hoc manner, without clear consistency of method between Schools and Proffessional Services. This results in time wasted correcting errors and failure demand from chasing up queries.

Future State

The creation of a new tool to calculate part-time staff's annual leave allocations. Following its adoption, this tool will be positively received by managers and reduce the volume of queries received by HR relating to part-time staff annual leave calculations.

Latest Update

Having been previously paused due to capacity in Human Resources, this workstream has been brought back online, led by a HR Project Manager. This workstream is one of four within a wider project, due to finish in July 2023. The 'data collection and review' stage was concluded at the end of March.

Monitoring Risks

Other in-scope areas of the project may be prioritised above this specific workstream's remit. This will be mitigated through regular liaison between the Project Enable Manager and the HR Project Manager.

Reasonable Adjustments Process

Aim

A review of the reasonable adjustments process was conducted by the Change Team in 2018. The recommendations were accepted by the Change Portfolio Board and implemented by the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity team, part of Student Services. This workstream aims to conduct a review of the process, in light of post-pandemic learnings. It will focus on the extent to which tailored information is provided to module leaders, thereby increasing the efficiency of the process.

Problem Statements

  • Address the challenge of information accessibility
  • There needs to be more meaningful data access when updating modules. For example, informing academics of the reasonable adjustments applied to modules, not just students' details.

Latest Update

The Project Enable Manager has met with the former Head of Change Projects, who led the 2018 project, to fully scope the new workstream. Contact has been made with the Head of the Disability Office in Student Services, in preparation for a series of process follows with current academics and students.

Completed Workstreams

Apprenticeships

Aim

To reduce the administrative burden on staff and students by moving from an APA accredited apprenticeship pathway to PGCert.

Future State

Apprenticeships are resourced sustainably and proportionately from an academic and professional services perspective.

Benefits Realised

1092 days

Annual TRAC Return

Aim

To reduce the time-intensive nature of the time allocation survey for the annual TRAC return. This approach involves multiple sign-offs and input from colleagues across three Professional Service departments.

Future State

Data collection is semi-automated for the annual TRAC return, removing the need for a manual time allocation survey.

Benefits Realised

188 days

Additional benefits

  • Increased consistency and reliability of data
  • 287 staff positively affected by reduced workload
  • Improved morale in the Finance Department and amongst academic staff

Assessment and Feedback

Aim

Reduce the amount of time and burden involved for academic colleagues marking student asssessments, and providing/responding to student feedback. This workstream also aims to improve the National Student Survey (NSS) score in relation to assessment and feedback.

Future State

The burden of assessment delivery is reduced for colleagues, with a measurable decrease in the amount of time taken to provide certain types of feedback. 

Latest Update

Guidelines on assessment load are currently being reviewed by the workstream's steering and working groups, whose members include Directors of Programmes and Associate Deans (Education & Student Experience). Considerations include:

  • Number of assessments per module credit weighting
  • Notional hours students should spend on their assessment activity
  • Word counts and their equivalency

Monitoring Risks

Risks to the implementation of actions from the Assessment and Feedback report continue to exist around staff capacity to amke changes and to absorb new ways of doing things (which, although resulting in time savings eventually, will intially mean more work). Learning and teaching does continue to be a space where significant time savings for staff could be made though. An additional challenge is likely to be emerge around the timings of aligning changes through workstream with the delivery of the Education & Student Experience core plan.

Committee Papers

Aim

In line with the Council Effectiveness Review, support colleagues to write clear, focused papers, and enable the creation of concise papers.

Future State

There is a measurable decrease in the size of paper packs, the impact of which is positively felt by Chairs and Secretaries through committees' effectiveness. This feedback is collected qualitatively, alongside the positive experience of paper authors regarding the time taken to write papers.

Latest Update

A 'Ways of Working Principles' paper has been endorsed by the University Leadership Group (ULG) which will act as a foundation from which tangible benefits and deliverables are agreed. A key vehicle for this will be the upscaling of the 'Writing for Business' course led out of Organisational Development. The first institution-wide cohorts of this were completed in February 2023. A separate benchmarking activity is being undertaken to determine approaches to committee paper gateways across other Higher Educations Institutions.

Creative & Print Charging Processes

Aim

Eliminate the need for back-and-forth exchanges via email regarding charge codes for jobs where ink and paper costs are negligible.

Future State

Each area of the University will have a specified charge code for small jobs that will automatically be charged, without the person placing the order needing to provide it each time.

Latest Update

The workstream has now been fully scoped and a process review compted. Changes are already being implemented, with the following improvements introduced:

  • Mail charges have been automated
  • Student printing queues transitioned from counter to online shop
  • Month end reports are now generated automatically

Benefits Realised (to date)

72 days

Operations Committee

Aim

Critically reflect on the role and remit of Operations Committee, incuding consistecncy and transparency of decision-making and devolved autonomy.

Latest update (May 2023)

A new approach to budgetary autonomy for Schools and Professional Services departments has now been in place for 4 months. In this time, 155 staffing requests were submitted via iTrent for approval via Operations Committee. Of these, 111 were devolved owing to them operating within pre-approved budgets. The remaining 44 were sent to Operations Committee. The Planning Office- lead for this project- will soon be conducting a process review with key stakeholders, with the intention of reviewing comments to make relevant amendments.

Benefits Realised

6 days

Additional benefits

  • Weekly Operations Committee meetings have been reduced from 90 minutes to half an hour.
  • Schools and Professional Services departments are empowered to make in-budget decision through a new devolved process.
  • The request submission process takes approximately half the time as a result of the new process.

PhD Admissions Process

Aim

To address the hand-offs, black spots and failure demands identified in the PhD admissions process. This review will initially be conducted in the School of Architecture, Building, and Civil Engineering (ABCE), but there is an expectation that any lessons learnt will be considered for implementation in other schools.

Future State

Both PhD candidates and admissions staff are able to clearly view the admissions pathway, with efficient correspondence between parties, and an awareness of their application 'status'.

Benefits Realised

New guidance has been created for:

  • Academic supervisors to track applicants in the process without the need for assistance from administrative staff
  • Visiting students transferring to PhDs
  • Recording absence and annual leave, to ensure applications still progress without pauses
  • A clear escalation process where applications require decision-making from senior admissions staff

Monitoring Risks

Knowledge and training within admissions teams might not be at the level needed to undertake root-and-branch change. Steps should be taken to address for this through the introduction of appropriate training, before changes to the process are introduced.

Placements

Aim

To examine the workload associated with the creating of placement reports and visits, and whether this is in the best interests of staff and students.

Future State

Staff and students will be able to conduct placement progress meetings online (up to all three recommended visits, if mutually agreed) and post-placement assessments will be delivered in a format that is mindful of the attached weighting, as well as the workload for staff and students.

Monitoring

Variability of how the changes are being introduced across Schools will be monitored by the Placements Team, alongside Associate Deans for Education & Student Experience. This will ensure that changes are well communicated and are being implemented to the benefit of staff.

Benefits Realised

667 days

Procurement

Aim

The current procurement process is elongated and not user-friendly, despite often being completed by a layperson outside of the Finance team.

Future State

A new process will create an intuitive, branched electronic form that allows users to focus on the questions/information relevant to their specific case. Time will be saved through the creation of some automated steps (e.g. approvals and signatures).

Latest Update

Finance continue to make good progress on the 'how we spend money' project. A dedicated resource within Finance, together with ad-hoc support from IT Services, has resulted in the creation of an online form and approvals process. The pilot is now going through user testing, alongside the addition of troubleshooting guidance on the relevant webpages. Necessary communication on the update, as well as training on the new process, will be launched prior to the rollout in late summer 2023.

Monitoring Risks

Adequate resourcing, both within Finance and IT Services, is an ongoing risk for this workstream. It is actively monitord by the workstream lead, with ad-hoc support from the Project Enable Board, when required.

Benefits realised (to date)

600 days

University Meetings

Aim

Reduce the amount of time colleagues spend in meetings and broaden the diversity of University-level meeting memberships to improve inclusivity and transparency.

Future State

There is a measurable reduction in the amount of time the Executive spend in meetings, correlating with an increase in the diversity of meetings' membership.

Latest Update

The Project Manager and Director of Planning met with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who is leading a separate project on the institution's governance structure. It was noted that, whilst overlap existed, they remained discriminate projects. Ownership would be split as follows:

  • Formal structures, composition, and membership of formal committees would be led by the CFO
  • Meeting culture, etiquette, and trasparency would be led by the Project Enable Manager
  • Benefits from both workstreams would feed into Project Enable

Future State

It will be important for the Project Enable Programme Board to continue to have oversight of the project led by the CFO. This will be managed and led by the Chief Operating Officer, as Project Enable's Director.

RIO Contract Approval Process

Aim

To improve the sustainability of the approach to contract approvals in the Research and Innovation Office (RIO), with the aim of reducing the number of cases requiring review and negotiation from RIO.

Future State

The RIO contract triaging and approval process is streamlined, with minimal hand-offs. A system and staffing structure are in place that are sustainable, leading to no case backlogs.

Benefits Realised

6 days

Additional benefits

  • The new process and structure has resulted in a zero case backlog
  • The percentage of cases being reviewed each month has increased by 10%
  • The average number of cases being reviewed each month has increased by 19%
  • The average processing time for each contract has decreased from 108 days (Summer 2022) to 78 days (Winter 2022).