Yes. Higher Education Institutions, especially since the Diamond Review in 2011, have looked into effectiveness, efficiency and value for money. Institutions have pursued the benefits that come from operating more efficiently. Below are a small selection of case studies that highlight different ways in which Universities are finding savings.
If other universities can make these savings then we believe UEA can as well; do you have any ideas of how UEA can be more effective, efficient and provide value for money?
A Procurement project lasted 18 months and was overseen by a multi-functional team.
Project: Procure to Pay at Newcastle University
Identifying and implementing improvements in buying goods and services at Newcastle University
year one - £1.46m savings
£2.4m p.a. savings based on the university remaining at its current £100m total non-pay spend
Reduced volume of work through greater efficiency
The University of Cumbria undertook a ‘More with Less’ operational plan.
Project: Process improvement in HR
A review of internal HR processes as part of a wider commitment to institutional efficiency
56 HR processes have been reduced to 32
Introducing self service into HR procedures and records
Expected to yield annual savings of £45,000 in staff costs
The University feels it has a transposable model that it can now apply to similar initiatives in other functions.
The University has an integrated management approach across all activities.
Project: Integrated management systems and commercial approach
Ensuring that its systems reinforce efficiency and effectiveness across different service elements.
The management dashboard
This delivers real-time monitoring and is central to the University’s ability to manage assets, set targets and forecast
The ‘dashboard’ allows everyone from the vice-chancellor to a manager of an individual school to access information on cash balance and financial performance, space utilisation as well as staff and student number data
Integrated system across the university management and planning processes to ensure that there is ‘one version of the truth’
Linking benchmarking with business and industry
Directors with a commercial focus sit alongside pro-vice-chancellors with academic responsibilities
The University has integrated privately trained professionals so that activities benefit from a wide range of experience of business and industry
Benchmarking is further enhanced through this approach by testing processes against other businesses as well as other universities.
St Andrews University has implemented a ‘Lean' programme which involves many similar principles behind UEA's project. Details about the project can be found at www.st-andrews.ac.uk/lean/about/.
Below are two examples of processes that have been made more efficient after being looked at as part of the Lean programme:
Project: Biology examination setting process
Improve Junior Honours examination setting process
- Exam setting process reduced from 32 to 12 steps
- Emphasis on getting it right first time, with a significant reduction in checking of question validity, grammar, model answers, etc
- Clear instructions provided to all staff
- University deadlines met
- Time freed across School for all staff to do other value-adding work
Project: Student Status Letters
Reduce time taken to process letters confirming that students are enrolled at the University (required by e.g. banks, local Council)
- Letters produced by one staff member within two minutes of being requested, rather than being passed through several hands and ready for collection by students in seven to ten working days
- Process time reduced from thirty-one to two minutes
- Much happier students
- Saving of 0.5 fte (£13,000 per day)
Cardiff has also adopted the Lean method. Below is an example of one of their projects:
Project Title: Phantom Head Lab (PHL) Allocation Model
Issue: The project was to look at ways to accommodate the increasing student numbers within the existing laboratory facilities in the Dental School from September 2011.
The main concern was the lack of appropriate laboratory teaching space to continue providing a high class teaching environment for the increased student numbers.
The current state mapping highlighted:
- fluctuations in busy times and capacity through the year
- current facilities had sufficient capacity to accommodate projected student increases, irrespective of the time period teaching took place
- a shortage of appropriate equipment for technical teaching
By implementing the recommendations, the School has:
- Improved the utilisation of laboratory resources, accommodating a 21% increase in Dental student numbers
- Prevented staff clashes
- Highlighted options for future state improvements by upgrading technical teaching facilities and freeing up a large area of 60m2 for other purposes within the School