CoSS Professional Services Review

College Board initiated the Professional Services Review Project in response to the Vice Chancellor’s (VC) Review of CoSS Professional Services that took place between January and June 2016.

College Board has been firm in its view that Professional Services are not broken and that there is an enormous amount of good practice evident across the College.  Rather than “fixing” anything, the review is a positive process intended to enhance the experience of all PS staff and the students and academic colleagues that they support, through building on those areas of good practice and increasing consistency in everything we do.

 The key drivers for the project are to increase consistency, clarity, flexibility and resilience to enhance the student experience and the support provided to deliver world-class research.

This page is intended to link you to all of the latest information on the three project workstreams – Structure, Culture and Process. Below you can access more detailed information relating to each work stream.

Head of College Saul Becker and Director of Operations Lorraine Gaytten explain the project

Why are we conducting a review project?

In response to the VC Review of CoSS Professional Services (June 2016), the College was required to produce an action plan that responded to the recommendations made.  College Board decided that the recommendations provided an excellent starting point for a wider review of Professional Services and formally initiated the Professional Services Review Project in November 2016. 

College Board has been firm in its view that Professional Services are not broken and that there is an enormous amount of good practice evident across the College.  Rather than “fixing” anything, the review is a positive process intended to enhance the experience of all PS staff and the students and academic colleagues that they support, through building on those areas of good practice and increasing consistency in everything we do.

The key drivers for the project are to increase consistency, clarity, flexibility and resilience to enhance the student experience and the support provided to deliver world-class research.

Project Headlines

The initial phase of the project (November 2016 to January 2017) involved six work streams, each focussed on how Professional Services could best support the delivery of a pillar of the University’s Strategic Framework.  The work streams produced a series of recommendations and upon analysis of these, it was clear that there was significant crossover.  Therefore, a decision was taken to consolidate the work streams to focus on the delivery of three core aspects - more detail is available on these below. 

Manager's Briefing Sessions

A series of briefing sessions will be taking place over the course of August and September, led by Lorraine Gaytten, for Professional Services staff with line management responsibilities. The sessions will be a useful aid in finding out what’s been happening, what’s new in CoSS and how you can play a part in taking this forward. It will also give you a chance to ask any questions you might have and clarify or provide feedback on the outcomes we hope to deliver. We encourage all managers to attend one of the sessions detailed below, to reserve a spot please email Subina Begum s.begum.8@bham.ac.uk

Date       Time                      Status
31/08     09:00 to 10:30     Fully booked
05/09     09:00 to 10:30     Space available
11/09     15:00 to 16:30     Fully booked
14/09     09:00 to 10:30     Space available

 

Structure

Aiming to identify the resources required to build resilience and flexibility, and enable more cross-College and -institution working (led by David Allsop).  This is being delivered through:

  • A refreshed senior structure 
  • A College level role - “Deputy Director of Operations (Education)” is being recruited to.
  • The role of Director of Business School Operations has been introduced, with a cross College remit for Influence related activities.
  • Cross-College thematic roles will also be a part of Operations Managers’ remits – where they will lead on a “pillar” or theme for the entire College alongside their School role.
  • Introducing standard job descriptions for new Professional Services recruits in frequently recruited posts

Download more information about these changes

What the thematic roles mean

Structure Presentation


Culture

Aiming to develop a shared culture in which expectations on staff and managers are clear and that encourages all staff to engage in professional development (led by Keith Portman). This is being delivered through:

  • Design and implementation of an expectations framework for all PS staff
  • Raising awareness of career progression and development opportunities

Download more information about these changes

Processes

Aiming to instil the principles of continuous improvement and the sharing of good practice across the College (led by Julie McLynn).  This is being delivered through:

  • Begin to embed a culture of continuous improvement across the College

Download more information about these changes (PDF,  64KB)

What’s next? – Some key dates

  • A feedback session for those who attended the focus groups during March and April will take place on 25 July.
  • The job description analysis will conclude in July, following which sessions with managers and groups of their staff will take place to ensure that they are fit for purpose. 
  • The Deputy Director of Operations (Education) is currently being advertised, with a provisional interview date scheduled for August.
  • The final draft of the Expectations Framework will be presented to College Board during August.  Once approved, further work will take place to share the final version and to ensure all staff know what this means for them.
  • Manager's Briefing Sessions

    A series of briefing sessions will be taking place over the course of August and September, led by Lorraine Gaytten, for Professional Services staff with line management responsibilities. The sessions will be a useful aid in finding out what’s been happening, what’s new in CoSS and how you can play a part in taking this forward. It will also give you a chance to ask any questions you might have and clarify or provide feedback on the outcomes we hope to deliver. We encourage all managers to attend one of the sessions detailed below, to reserve a spot please email Subina Begum s.begum.8@bham.ac.uk

    Date       Time                      Status
    31/08     09:00 to 10:30     Fully booked
    05/09     09:00 to 10:30     Space available
    11/09     15:00 to 16:30     Fully booked
    14/09     09:00 to 10:30     Space available

  • A single source for Career Development information and opportunities will be launched in October.
  • Launch events will take place in October.
  • The refreshed senior structure will be in place by November, to include the new senior roles being in place and Operations Managers having a cross College, thematic role.
  • November onwards will see us embedding the changes, agreeing priorities for cross College delivery and reviewing how each of the aspects work in practice.
  • We will keep these pages updated regularly and a weekly update message will be included in the newsletter.

Support available

Hopefully the information provided here will be helpful to your understanding of the project and will not cause you any concern.  If however you do read or hear something that worries you or you would like to know more, please speak to one of our Project Champions (a full list with contact details will be provided shortly) or our Change Manager, Angela Storer in the first instance.  

VC Review of Professional Services in CoSS - key themes

Download a full summary of the changes (PDF, 1MB)

Comments and questions

You can feed in any ideas or comments by email to Angela Storer, Change Manager at a.l.storer@bham.ac.uk or submit an anonymous message via the form below.