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ITF Fund Outcomes

These are the first ITF projects funded by the Innovation and Transformation Fund (ITF) 2012 For more information about each project, please contact the project lead.

  1. Building Human Resource Capacity and Collaboration in UK Students’ Unions
  2. Delivering efficiency through effective benchmarking 
  3. The Innovation and Efficiency Hub (‘the Hub’)
  4. Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning (OCTEL)
  5. Outsourcing as a route to efficiency and effectiveness in the higher education sector in the UK
  6. The Procurement Academy
  7. Procurement Maturity Assessments (PMA) for all English HEIs
  8. Student Advisory Model (SAM)
  9. A Transferrable Model for Academic Workload Management and TRAC Reporting

1. Project title: Building Human Resource Capacity and Collaboration in UK Students’ Unions

Project lead: NUS Students’ Union Charitable Services

Contact: Ben Ward, Head of NUS Charitable Services

Email: ben.ward@nus.org.uk

The mission of the NUS is to develop and champion strong students’ unions, organisations which are key to creating a vibrant student experience at higher education institutions. There are currently over 3000 career staff working in UK students’ unions. With this in mind the project aims to unlock the potential of students’ unions by helping them adopt a strategic approach to HR management. This will create significant efficiencies through greater collaboration and partnership working, and also provide innovative people development so that students’ unions can be increasingly focused on delivering transformational services. It will contribute significantly to enhancing the student experience through re-focusing resources on core areas of activity such as representative and participatory services.


2. Project title: Delivering efficiency through effective benchmarking

Project lead: Universities UK

Contact: Chris Hale, Deputy Director of Policy

Email: chris.hale@UniversitiesUK.ac.uk

This project will establish a robust, effective and accessible tool to provide all universities with the facility to evaluate their operational costs in selected areas, either through facilitating internal (departmental, school, or faculty) comparisons, year–on-year improvements, or with other relevant organisations. As noted in the Universities UK report Efficiency and effectiveness in higher education (the Diamond report), there is a strong appetite for institutions to benchmark their operational costs as an aid to better understanding efficiency and performance and as a basis for developing and evaluating new initiatives and approaches. Ultimately, this will enable them to invest more funding in frontline support for students and research.


3. Project title: The Innovation and Efficiency Hub (‘the Hub’)

Project lead: Universities UK

Contact: Chris Hale, Deputy Director of Policy

Email: chris.hale@UniversitiesUK.ac.uk

This project will lead to the creation of the Hub. Higher education professionals will use the Hub to access innovative modes of support, advice and guidance that will drive innovation, deliver efficiency, and simulate transformation in the sector.

The coordination and signposting of existing resources will be an important aspect of the service provided by the Hub. However, this represents only a small part of what will be offered. The Hub will act as a space through which new inter-professional communities of practice can be created. It will allow institutional leaders, academic staff and professionals from across different operational areas to draw on each others’ knowledge and experience to explore new ways of leading transformation. Ultimately, the Hub will act as a resource for stimulating efficiency and effectiveness across the whole of an institution – including teaching, learning and research, and the underpinning administrative processes. This will help to enhance both staff and student experiences.


4. Project title: Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning (OCTEL)

Project lead: Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

Contact: Dr Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive

Email: maren.deepwell@alt.ac.uk

This project will produce an Open Online Course of 50 learning hours, on how to make effective and efficient use of technology in teaching. It will be specifically designed for UK higher education although it will have input from other sectors and overseas.

The main audience will be academic staff relatively new to the area with secondary audiences of management, administration and support services. The online course will cover how to go about using technology, what are the key issues (such as openness), where support and help can be obtained, and how to network effectively in the field.

It will be delivered online by ALT but its assets will also be suitable to be used as part of routine development programmes in institutions and will be customisable under an open license.


5. Project title: Outsourcing as a route to efficiency and effectiveness in the higher education sector in the UK

Project lead: University of the West of England, Bristol

Contact: Dr Wendy Phillips, Associate Professor in Strategy and Operations Management

Email: wendy.phillips@uwe.ac.uk

This project will focus on outsourcing of HEI activities as a means of securing greater efficiency and effectiveness at the level of individual institutions and across the sector as a whole. It aims to generate a comprehensive evidence base, create a framework of tools, set out the range of options and demonstrate the potential benefits from outsourcing, in order to inform the future development of outsourcing across the sector.


6. Project title: The Procurement Academy

Project lead: British Universities Finance Directors Group (Bufdg),

Contact: Karel Thomas, Executive Director, Bufdg

Email: k.thomas@bufdg.ac.uk

The core element of The Higher Education Procurement Academy will be a competency framework for professionals in procurement. This will be benchmarked, to ensure transferability and coherent links to professional qualifications Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ), and cross referenced to standard job roles. The academy will build an online portal which will then provide access to training and development opportunities – pre-qualification, post-qualification, personal and leadership. This will be supplemented by an information database and ideas.


7. Project title: Procurement Maturity Assessments (PMA) for all English HEIs

Project lead: Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC)

Contact: Susan Wright, Head of SUPC

Email: s.wright@reading.ac.uk

The PMA is an independent detailed assessment of an institution’s procurement that provides a bespoke action plan for improvement, a baseline to measure improvements as well as a benchmark with similar institutions. The PMA covers nine procurement attributes: governance, reporting and KPIs, organisation, resource and skills, corporate and social responsibility, collaboration, information systems/purchase to pay (P2P), supplier strategy and policy and category management. The PMA recognises and encourages greater procurement leadership within institutions.


8. Project title: Student Advisory Model (SAM)

Project lead: Keele University

Contact: Dr Simone Clarke, Director of Planning and Academic Administration

Email: s.clarke@keele.ac.uk

By developing state-of-the-art technology and intellectual property owned by Keele University, this project will deliver a fully virtual one-stop-shop for students (SAM) that will transform how universities conceptualise and deliver student-facing services. This single-access student interface will provide a virtual 'human face' in the form of an avatar, offering students a sophisticated range of support and information services, which will ensure an intuitive and effective response to questions or issues raised.

This project will develop a version of the Student Advisory Model (SAM) that will be freely accessible to all higher education students studying at a UK University and all UCAS applicants, to support their transition into higher education.


9. Project title: A Transferrable Model for Academic Workload Management and TRAC Reporting

Project lead: University of the West of England, Bristol

Contact: Professor Martin Boddy, Pro Vice-Chancellor

Email: Martin.boddy@uwe.ac.uk

Securing and demonstrating effective management of academic staff resource in higher education is crucial to the efficiency and effectiveness of individual HEIs and of the sector as a whole. This includes managing the allocation of staff resource to different activities in line with institutional objectives. It also includes understanding the cost of different activities in terms of staff resource and therefore the sustainability of different activities and resource flows associated with them. The proposed work will make available to the sector a transferrable model for the allocation and management of academic staff time across the full range of staff activities.

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