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Operational structure changes from 1 August 2016

Operational changes 1 August 2016

From 1 August 2016, colleagues in professional functions across the University began to operate in new structures following the completion of the Professional and Administrative Services (PAS) review. 

The review has been a carefully phased two-year programme to restructure and create stronger day-to-day services for students and staff – finance, HR, marketing, teaching operations, executive support, technical services and academic & governance services.

UEB and the Leadership Group are grateful for the constructive and direct feedback from colleagues leading up to these changes– we are confident the final operating models will put the University on a firm footing for the future.

Overview of function structures

Centre for Quality Support and Development

A number of functions which support Schools in quality-related processes for programmes and modules have migrated to the Centre for Quality Support and Development (CQSD). 

CQSD will support Schools with the management of several important operational tasks, including accreditation to professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, preparations for periodic and annual School/programme review, preparation of programme specifications and maintenance of module descriptions. The team will also play an important advisory role in the approval of new programmes and amendments to existing programmes.   

Keith Swanson is the lead for CQSD.

Executive Support 

Administrative support to Schools and Functions has been restructured into a series of Executive Support teams.  Coordination of these teams will be achieved by the newly established Community of Practice and sponsorship by a member of UEB. 

David Savage and Robert Van de Noort are the workstream leads for Executive Support.


Finance is now three teams covering Planning and Strategy, Specialist Accounting and Transactional Services. 

Planning and Strategy will deal with the forward-looking aspects of financial activity, including budgeting, forecasting, business planning, financial analysis, business cases, modelling and similar activities. Finance Business Partners will sit within the Planning and Strategy team, acting as the main point of contact between Schools and Functions and Finance. 

Specialist Accounting comprises four distinct units– Tax, Treasury, Research and Technical Accounts. Tax will deal with all aspects of compliance such as VAT returns, Corporation Tax returns and similar compliance matters. Treasury will oversee the University’s investments and cash surpluses. Research Accounts process awards and grants, ensuring spend is in line with the grant awarded and is fully compliant with any given terms & conditions. Technical Accounts will deal with all statutory reporting matters. They are responsible for the University’s financial accounting and ensuring that all records are accurate and reconciled. 

Transactional Services is responsible for the accurate and efficient processing of all financial transactions entered onto Agresso. Transactional Services also acts as the first point of query for any financial matter, either dealing with the query themselves or referring to a more specialised area. This area also includes the transactions teams in the five Schools being directly supported. 

Supporting the main financial software systems, especially Agresso, is a Financial Systems team who ensure that the systems are available to users throughout the core working hours.  

Carol Wright is the lead for Finance.

Human Resources Co-ordinators

The Human Resource Co-ordinator (HRC) team, provides a bridge between Schools and Functions and the HR Operations team to ensure the most effective flow of information necessary for the efficient operation of key HR processes.

The main area of focus for the new HRC team is the overall co-ordination of the recruitment process, to ensure that all necessary procedural and statutory obligations are met, and to provide the best possible recruitment experience for candidates and recruiting managers alike. The HRC team will also support Heads of School, Heads of Function, working alongside members of local Executive Support teams, to ensure that key processes are actioned effectively and in good time to meet published HR deadlines.

Members of the HRC team are allocated dedicated areas, both Schools and Functions, to service, and are physically housed in a number of locations across the University. Although the new service is operational from 1 August 2016 the physical moves to dedicated office space will take place on a phased basis during August and September.

John Brady and Nicola Johnson are the leads for HRC.

Marketing, Communication and Engagement 

MCE’s new structure enables it to be a fully integrated, end-to-end marketing and PR function – making the transition to the new operating model over the autumn, as follows:

Strategy & Marketing leads on marketing strategy; campaign management; marketing partnership development; School business partner team, with a central marketing/communications operational team; and market analysis and insight. It will be bringing together the current Brand & Campaigns and Business Partner teams. The team will also manage our relationship with external suppliers.

Global Recruitment integrates the current Student Recruitment & Outreach and Reading International Office – retaining specialised operations for the UK and abroad but coordinating planning, strategy and ways of working. The team will deliver STEMNET and other widening participation projects. 

Corporate Communications includes press office; social media; staff engagement/internal communications; community relations; and will lead on major reputation risk management and crisis communications. It also includes the new research communications & engagement team – leading on strategy and delivery across all five research themes and four interdisciplinary research institutes. 

Marketing Operations is the MCE ‘engineroom’, with mixed project teams commissioned to deliver creative work. Marketing Operations includes creative, design and print services (digital and non-digital); digital and non-digital content production and management; the corporate events team; videography and film/photography. The team will also include a central executive support hub for the entire function. 

Gem Walsh is the lead for MCE.

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is the hub for postgraduate research activity across the University, providing support for doctoral students and the staff who supervise and support them. From 1 August 2016, PGR administration, formerly based in individual Schools and Departments, is integrated within the Graduate School.   

A new PGR School Support Team will be based on the first floor of Old Whiteknights House. They will be working alongside staff in the Doctoral Research Office and other existing staff in the Graduate School. Under the new arrangements, each School has a named administrator providing support for their students and staff.

During the coming year, the Graduate School will be reviewing many of the key processes involved in the admission and management of PGR students, with a view to rationalising and streamlining workflows where appropriate. 

Diane Berry is the lead for the Graduate School. 

Student & Applicant Services 

Student & Applicant Services (SAS) will provide students with an engaging experience from application through to graduation. Their services will encourage students to play an active role in their personal development, using SAS tools to access a diverse network of resources.   

From 1 August 2016 activities covered by SAS are Admissions and Conversion, Student Support Services and Operations (including the new Support Centres), Careers and Employability, Student Success and Access, Student Information Systems (RISIS), Wellbeing, Student Engagement and Hall Wardens. 

SAS also includes a reporting line from the Director of Henley Business School Administration. 

Andrea Cheshire is the workstream lead for SAS.

Technical Services 

Technical Services is the team of technical staff catering for specialist School resources such as laboratories, classrooms, workshops, controlled environments (e.g. glasshouses), theatres and studios. 

Specialist technicians delivering teaching and research support are located within Schools. Schools are being managed in three clusters or related fields; Cluster 1 includes SBS, SCFP and SPCLS, Cluster 2 includes SAGES, SAPD and SPCLS and Cluster 3 includes IoE, SBE and SACD. A fourth Operations Cluster will provide a range of specialist support including service workshops (mechanical, electronic and glassblowing), technical infrastructure support (such as equipment compliance and technical advice on refurbishments and new builds) and supply of teaching and research materials.

 A small team of Health and Safety Co-ordinators also form part of Technical Services, and will provide advice and guidance on Health and Safety aspects associated with the ‘higher risk’ Schools. 

Karen Henderson is the lead for Technical Services.

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