University of Leeds security team walking through campus

Reopening campus and creating future opportunities

Estates and Facilities played a critical role not only in the reopening of the University, but also in providing reassurance to staff and students during their return to life on campus.

Throughout, the team ensured staff and students were confident that they were returning to a safe, healthy, hygienic and well managed environment.

To achieve this, a programme of measures was created which instilled confidence in all staff and reassured them that their health and wellbeing was at the forefront during the pandemic period, with many efforts made to continually invest in the teams.

The measures put in place across the Service included:

Increased training in the Cleaning Service, conflict resolution training for the Security Service and online mental health awareness training took place. Continued training to ensure everyone works to the best of their ability was delivered through running more sessions with fewer numbers, video training and a socially distanced away day in the Security and Facilities team before the start of term.

Cleaning staff received new uniforms to present a more professional image and improve staff moral. New cleaning materials were extensively trialled with the team, ensuring they were safe, sustainable and easy to use. Streamlined colour coding of cleaning equipment took place which made it easier to use and had better laundering qualities. Additionally, new equipment and clear and concise Standard Operating Procedures, to ensure all staff understood their role and standards were consistent, greatly assisted productivity.

Celebrating success and the commitment of staff took place through an end of year celebration with Cleaning Services. A letter of personal thanks from the University Vice-Chancellor to all staff in the Service highlighted the value of each member of staff.

In Security Services, process improvements were made, removing paper-based processes and introducing digital ways of working to reduce touch points. For example, radio and equipment sign in and out was introduced in Security Services using QR codes. A staff survey in Security Services was undertaken to ensure staff voices and opinions were being heard and for staff to feel they could suggest improvements or better ways of working.

Throughout the work of the Service, a collaborative approach was adopted with other key partners who are there to support staff, including our Trade Union colleagues.

As the country began to emerge out of lockdown the Estates and Facilities Service gave exceptional support during the re-opening of campus buildings.

During this period, all buildings were subject to strict re-entry protocols including a full building clean, provision of hand hygiene consumables such as gel dispensers, cleaning stations, improved signage, and a significantly increased service level agreement. At all times staff demonstrated their complete flexibility about where they worked alongside many staff who changed their hours or condensed their working time to not only support the task of re-entry cleaning but to contribute to us having safe numbers of people on campus at any one time. Furthermore, the commitment from the staff has been pivotal in the running of Asymptomatic Testing Centres, and the continued operation of critical study space such as libraries and IT clusters has been phenomenal.

The preparation of teaching spaces in time for September 2020, involved a large scale turnaround, over 400 rooms were surveyed by the Estates and Safety team, resulting in over 190 COVID 19 secure classrooms being prepared for face-to-face teaching. Stringent safety checks were in place to ensure seating configuration met with social distancing arrangements, access and egress was easy to follow, teaching lecterns and facilities were safe to use, cleaning stations were provided in every room for use on touchpoints. A 3D campus model showing the set-up of teaching spaces in their original format and Covid 19 secure layout, provided a view on exactly how much teaching space was required to be re-opened. It also allowed the team to zoom into individual spaces to see a 360-degree photograph of the layout and safety arrangements.

Security Services were instrumental in showing their agility and flexibility to adapt and provide some of their services in a different way. Maintaining their own safety, along with the safety of others, when called to the scene of an incident has required increased provision of Personal Protective Equipment and a regular review of operating practices. The pandemic has created a heightened sense of emotion and anxiety which can sometimes lead to conflict situations. Security Services staff were supported to effectively resolve conflict through a dedicated resolution training session which proved to be hugely beneficial and has helped the team to better understand and view how their actions are perceived by others when handling conflict. Conflict is often a difficult part of the Security Services job and can range from large student gatherings to a criminal offence being committed on campus. The training has helped our team to deliver their role with confidence, but also with an awareness of how they come across to students, staff, and customers.

The return to campus has also opened up significant opportunities to plan for continuous improvement that may have been more difficult or taken longer to achieve prior to the pandemic happening in 2020. Examples of such include:

  • Estates and Facilities working closely on the provision of Professional Services hubs to meet the requirements of a blended return to work.
  • A single network of teaching space, and the role of the Service in the University-wide Education Spaces Programme to plan for the transformation of teaching space in line with digital transformation and quality standards.
  • Further capital investment into teaching spaces, increasing the provision of collaborative lecture theatres, in addition to further investment into innovative multi-mode / hybrid teaching models.
  • The realignment of Security, Facilities and Locking on a permanent basis, ensuring customer service is efficient, seamless and flexible.
  • Ambition for the Cleaning Service to become a BICS accredited centre.
  • Securing the funding required to make the increases to Cleaning Services permanent.
  • A better focus on housekeeping and facilities services in areas and times of high occupancy.
  • Plans for “flow cleaning” methodology.
  • Increasing the scope of certification in Customer Service Excellence in other areas including the Estates Helpdesk, Office Support and Car Parking operations.

The teams within Estates and Facilities will continue to play a pivotal role, not only in the continued requirement to maintain and keep campus safe but in the provision of front-line customer service as learning, teaching and work is transformed.

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021

A mock example of a future investment teaching space

Investment in new learning environments

Throughout 2021, the Service will continue to invest in digital transformation and blended learning across teaching spaces.

The aim of this exciting initiative is to ensure the University continues to invest in and improve its teaching spaces whilst supporting the objectives of Digital Transformation and delivering a positive impact upon Student Education.

£3million capital investment will be made to three further lecture theatres in the Roger Stevens Building, and will significantly transform current traditional and didactive layout, to a blended and collaborative specification.

In 2016, Estates and Facilities Services were instrumental in leading an innovative, sector leading redesign of three lecture theatre spaces. This exciting transformation saw physical space redeveloped enabling group discussion alongside the use of installed technology to allow group work, interaction, communication, and recording.

The combination of physical space changes and innovative use of digital technology was sector leading and gave the University a distinctive edge to support recruitment and student experience.

To ensure future spaces meet both staff and students’ requirements a detailed analysis of customer-based insight on traditional teaching spaces and the collaborative spaces introduced in 2016 was undertaken with partners from the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence. The following factors arose and formed the foundations for the 2021 improvements:

  • Current tiered lecture theatres remain highly teacher-centred, and do not allow for collaboration between students, or interaction between teachers and students. Also, the lack of technological integration in lecture theatres reduces the ability to make the best practice use of digital technology to support student learning.
  • The team, during research conducted to explore the adaptation to collaborative lecture spaces across the Higher Education sector, found collaborative teaching spaces were so popular it resulted in the model introduced at Leeds being replicated by other universities, such as Imperial College London.
  • This investment will help address the gap in facilities and teaching space provision. Failure to invest may negatively affect student participation and satisfaction with their experience at Leeds.
  • Creating more innovative spaces will enable staff to change their teaching methodologies in line with the University’s ability to transform and modernise teaching and learning approaches. Teaching will be consistent with current teaching thinking; staff demand and student demand and will directly support the University’s Digital Strategy for Student Education.
  • The introduction of multi-mode technology into collaborative rooms will negate the impact of any reduction in original seating capacity, which has previously affected the ability to provide collaborative learning over didactic learning.

Looking ahead, the team identified several positive outcomes the new spaces will bring to the student and staff community at Leeds. These include:

  • User experience will be significantly improved following the redesign of furniture to allow for group work as well as traditional teaching methods, the provision of interactive touchscreen devices within each student cluster of seats, provision of power and AV inputs for students using their own devices at their seat and microphones for capture of student audio through the lecture capture system. Furthermore, multimode technology will enable student participation both remotely and in room will be introduced alongside improved room specification including lighting, seating, and ventilation.
  • The emerging University Digital Transformation Strategy and its impact upon student education, will benefit directly from this investment into teaching space facilities. A new approach to multi-mode learning and teaching is fasting becoming the norm and will give students the option to participate online or in the room.
  • The following student-focused strategic priorities will be supported by this initiative: “Actively engage and support students in their education – in delivering an outstanding research-led education that attracts, excites and retains students from diverse backgrounds, further utilising technology-based enhancements” (Student Education Strategic Delivery Plan 2018-19).

Over the coming months the Service looks forward to collaborating further with University-wide colleagues to further enhance teaching and learning experiences.

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021

A member of the cleaning team, maintaining our clean campus

Providing a safe and clean campus

Establishing an effective cleaning process to manage infection control has been a priority for Cleaning Services.

In March 2020, the majority of the campus and associated buildings were closed because of the country’s first national lockdown. Whilst the campus was still and quiet, the Cleaning Service team, behind the scenes, were busy as bees using Microsoft Teams as a virtual hive.

The whole team came together to understand Covid 19 19 Public Health guidance, infection control industry best practice, risk management and to develop a cleaning plan to support the safe re-opening of campus. Throughout, the team were committed to ensuring all customers were confident with the processes in place and felt reassured that a high standard and consistent approach to cleaning and hygiene was being delivered.

The starting point was to attend an infection control training session delivered by the British Institute of Cleaning Services. The session gave valuable insight into understanding the nature of how viruses and bacteria can spread, the methodologies, equipment and materials to tackle them, and understanding the safe methods of work and personal protective equipment that would be integral to maintaining staff safety and confidence.

One of the key drivers in the re-entry cleaning process was to ensure a consistent standard was adopted campus-wide to encourage a culture of “everyone taking personal responsibility”. This applied to cleaning specification and service level agreements in addition to the provision of hand hygiene products and cleaning materials. Successful implementation was achieved through detailed risk assessment and seeking endorsement of approach by the University’s Campus Re-entry Executive Group.

To support the delivery of a new and enhanced cleaning service level agreement all staff were retrained in cleaning practice designed to reduce the risk of transmission. This involved regular cleaning and sanitising of touch points and shared areas such as offices, teaching spaces and welfare facilities.

Without doubt, Cleaning Services have demonstrated exceptional commitment and flexibility through the pandemic period. The team have kept pace with an ever-changing re-opening plan, buildings that house critical research or operations needed to be serviced throughout and adapted to varying demands due to external and internal factors during the re-opening process.

An important goal for the Head of Service was to ensure that all Cleaning Services staff were confident to return to work and to reduce their concerns while ensuring that they felt fully supported. The positive attitude and behaviours staff demonstrated were overwhelming, with so many colleagues prepared to work longer hours or cover duties, not only to deliver what the University required, but to also support fellow colleagues who may have had to self-isolate, recover or shield. The team handled local complexities such as cleaning while maintaining a social distance and received some wonderful feedback to endorse the quality of the service they provided.

“The support offered by the cleaning team throughout the pandemic has been exemplary. Once initial lockdown restrictions ended and the programme of research re-entry began and cleaning services were instrumental in the ability of Faculties to commence critical research, teaching and onsite operations. The cleaning teams that support Geography, Food Science, SEE and Transport Studies all did an excellent job with the re-entry cleaning and continue to provide excellent critical support in keeping our occupied spaces open. The distribution team were flexible and quick to respond to provide initial supplies of products into schools at the drop of a hat and all of this has been expertly managed by Jill under what continues to be extreme circumstances.”

Robert Finch

Earth and Environment

“I cannot praise the team enough for all the hard work they have done over the last 12 months, from initially making sure all the closed buildings had food and rubbish removed and keeping on top of the cleaning to getting the open buildings Covid 19 safe. The students had appreciated being able to use the open buildings and feel part of the home Faculty.”

Tamsin Barrow

Leeds University Business School

“Cleaning Services have been such an important and critical support service during the Covid 19 pandemic. Their willingness and commitment to be agile and responsive to any issue has played a huge part in the success of the University’s approach to the risks of Covid 19. This has involved sourcing and installing hand sanitiser points, adding extra cleaning materials in all areas of the campus as well as enhanced cleaning, increased frequencies all while the cleaning staff have had to deal and manage with the pandemic personally.
The efforts of all our cleaning staff in managing the fast-changing processes while still maintaining the positive approach to their work has been a real asset to the University during a difficult time. Their hard work and commitment is a fundamental part of the Universities approach to keeping staff and students safe.”

Paul Veevers
Director of Health and Safety

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021

The SPA staff attending a team building day

Celebrating the achievements of staff within the Sport & Physical Activity Service

In 2020, the Sport & Physical Activity Service (SPA) celebrated the hard work of all team members at its very first stand-alone staff away day. The day highlighted the significant impact and contribution made by SPA staff towards the service’s success.

A working group was established to organise the away day and comprised of a mix of colleagues from various departments within SPA to ensure the activities reached out to everyone. The group gathered feedback and suggestions from colleagues, asking teammates what they would like to see as part of their away day, all of which provided valuable insight into creating an engaging itinerary for the day.

The away day comprised of three clear sections which brought all colleagues together to participate in staff recognition, discussion and team games:

  • A staff awards ceremony celebrated the work of all outstanding staff nominated and voted for by fellow colleagues within SPA. Following a robust nomination, shortlisting and voting process, the winners were announced on the away day.
  • The senior management team shared key highlights for SPA over the past 12 months followed by interactive group workshops and an inspiring talk by an external guest speaker.
  • Team games facilitated by an external company were hugely successful and ignited engagement amongst the attendees. The success of this was attributed to extensive planning and consultation that took place with colleagues that enabled everyone to contribute their ideas and take ownership of their away day.

The away day was a big accomplishment, and it was made clear by the attendance figures. More than 80 people attended, and everyone took full part in the activities feeding back that they thoroughly enjoyed the day. There were many award nominations of colleagues voting for each other and expressing kind words about their hard work and commitment to the service. The guest speaker and company running the team games also commented on how much they’d enjoyed working with SPA and how nice it was to see all co-workers having fun and working together as a team.

At Christmas, when staff were asked to share their favourite memories of working for SPA in 2020, many said the away day was one of their best moments!

Staff feedback:

“It has made me more confident in my own leadership abilities and has given me a confidence boost. It also cheered me up, I had a great day!”

“The day made me realise that when people are engaged they communicate much better and feel good. Working together to achieve is a great feeling.”

“Made me feel enthusiastic about working within SPA, I feel more part of the team and as a new member of staff feel valued for my work. I look forward to working within SPA in the future.”

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021

A computer displaying an accessible PDF created by the Facilities Directorate staff

Accessible websites and documents

One in five people in the UK have a disability (visual, hearing, motor or cognitive) that could make it difficult for them to access the online information. Additionally, more young people with registered disabilities are entering Higher Education than ever before. It is therefore crucial that University services can be used by as many customers as possible, communications are effective, and nobody is excluded from accessing important information.

The FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team, working with the Central Communications team and IT Services, set about creating a customer focused culture across all FD services to highlight the critical importance of digital communications being accessed by more people. This was implemented by making all websites and online documents accessible to as many customers as possible, ensuring they conformed to government guidance, and specifically achieving Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, level AA.

In collaboration with IT Services, the team identified the websites and services that failed the accessibility standard and implemented a three-stream approach (websites the team could move into IT’s accessible ‘Design System’ project; websites that fell outside of this system due to additional functionality requirements; and documents uploaded to websites that were not accessible) to making the improvements. As a result, significant improvements were made to the documents visible on all customer-facing websites in addition to auditing online documents and making necessary fixes to make them accessible. Once work was completed across all three project streams, the team delivered training and advice to clients.

Furthermore, the team worked hard with internal customers and stakeholders to improve the process of creating “designed documents for web” to further embed its commitment to accessible documents. For instance, the team worked with FD Health and Safety to produce an updated and fully accessible PDF document detailing University health and safety standards for contractors. A fully digital document proved useful as it could be easily updated, was more cost effective for the team, and easier to use for Contractors, who were able to navigate quickly to the relevant sections.

Significant improvements were made to the FD’s three commercial websites (catering, sport and conferencing) and the team continue to work with IT to test and measure the improvements on a regular basis.

Web accessibility will remain an ongoing priority for the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team. The team continue to work across the University with IT, Disability Services and Central Communications to continuously improve communications and ensure online services can be used by as many customers as possible.

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021

GFaL cafe staff attending to a customer

Effectively communicating safety and reassurance messages

As Government restrictions were eased after the first Covid 19-19 lockdown the University undertook the complex and multifaceted task of safely reopening the campus to welcome back its students and staff.

Ensuring everyone was aware of social distancing guidelines, fully informed and safe during their time back on campus was the key goal of the communications produced and coordinated by the FD Sales, Marketing and Communications Team.

The team’s communications goals were threefold:

  • Ensure staff and students were updated about the buildings reopening
  • Provide comprehensive and reassuring information videos on how staff and students could use the campus safely
  • Communicate safe practice, and inform customers of the behaviours and standards required to keep everyone safe through effective signage

Throughout, the team worked together with colleagues from the University Communications Team, Student Education Services, Estates, Cleaning Services, Security Services, Campus Support, Procurement and Wellbeing, Safety and Health to deliver the communications requirements for safely re-opening campus.

To support building managers to safely reopen buildings a detailed communications plan was produced which gave guidance to all building managers on when and how to produce coordinated communications for returning staff and students. Templates for emails and notices assisted managers to save time and ensure communications were clear, consistent and effective. As buildings started to reopen, a bespoke webpage which detailed buildings and specific rooms to be re-opened along with estimated timescales was created and regularly updated.

A series of videos were produced to effectively communicate the significant work undertaken to make the campus Covid 19-secure. Working across the University, and service areas in the FD, to assess the needs of various customers, the team created four videos (one general student safety video and three customer reassurance videos for catering, sport and accommodation customers) that showed footage of cleaning and safety measures as well as new procedures.

The success of the videos became evident quite quickly as social media engagement exceeded all University benchmarks. The general video, showing COVID 19-19 safety measures on campus, had over 30k views and became the most shared content ever made on the University’s official Instagram account. The three videos for accommodation, sport and catering generated over 18k views.

In creating effective signage solutions to ensure everyone followed safe practice when back on campus a ‘simple is best’ approach to messaging, language and visual style was adopted. Early in the process, communication took place with cross-University groups (set up to deliver reopening) that a university-wide signage system would be developed in the form of an agile and flexible, user friendly ‘one-stop-shop’ signage catalogue.

In collaboration with the Procurement and Print and Copy Bureau, the system was designed to create a fit-for-purpose, online ordering system. Potential external suppliers were also identified to enable order timescales to be met. The team successfully met all deadlines, delivering the first draft concept within one week, with the full online ordering system and catalogue going live within three weeks of the project’s start. Engagement with relevant, expert professionals and key stakeholders from across the University ensured all signage on campus was clearly understood and followed by users.

This was a truly University-wide initiative undertaken from the outset, it was agreed the team would be timely, open, honest, and transparent in all communications which resulted in the successful communication to users about the safe reopening of buildings in an effective and organised manner. The team were praised further by other University-wide colleagues for producing communications plans and videos which they could use for their customers.

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021

Three students walking outside the student residence Central Village

Using digital transformation to drive the customer experience

With traditional University Open days cancelled the University quickly moved to offering online Open Days.

As campus was closed due to Covid 19 19 the University developed an alternative digital open day experience to launch at the beginning of July to support the 2021 student recruitment activity. As part of this, the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications Team provided innovative digital solutions to highlight facilities to future students.

The challenge for the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team was to adapt each service area’s needs into an innovative digital format, to deliver the best online open day experience for their prospective students. The process started with the team coordinating the information from each Service, producing a full audit, to minimise duplication across teams, of what each area would normally contribute towards an Open Day, and working with them to identify how this could best work digitally.

To simplify the experience for the prospective students, a native Open Day landing page was created, it performed as a hub of content and information about each service area such as University Residences, The Edge and cafes. The pages took influence from the main University’s open day pages in order to provide a cohesive experience for the user and provided tracked links back to the main University’s Open Day web page content. Furthermore, the team delivered and supported internal Service areas in new ways by using new digital tools to enhance the user experience.

The team collaborated with the University Marketing team, who were leading on the virtual open days, to provide images for the virtual campus tour, this ensured prospective students gained a good view of how the University residences, catering outlets, gym and sport facilities looked like both inside and out.

In supporting the Sport and Physical activity team to showcase the sports offer at the University, the team created a virtual presentation that was delivered to students and managed the live online Q&A chat session answering questions prospective students asked during the presentation.

Accommodation teams online virtual experience was enriched with accompanying blogs written by real students to replicate the work student ambassadors would have done face to face on previous open days. Also, once a long-term project to create 360 virtual tours of the halls of accommodation was completed the team created a webpage where all the videos sat together making it easier for visiting students to find what they needed.

Lastly, the team produced a suite of animated graphics for use on social media to introduce the University catering service to prospective students.

Digitising these experiences enabled the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team to collect more data and effectively monitor the impact of the content that will be used to inform decision making for future open days.

The need for swift adaptation of the open day had many positive impacts on the team and for its FD Service teams. These included the digitisation process which prepared the FD Service teams for any further virtual open day experiences. The improved online assets and resources by default created a better online experience for prospective students and going forward will continue to form part of a hybrid experience to reach new markets and engage with audiences in a more meaningful way.

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021

A member of the Edge staff cleaning the gym equipment

Adapting for re-opening: creating a safe environment and building confidence

Following the first national lockdown due to Covid 19, the sport and leisure world had to change to safely re-open its doors when restrictions were lifted, following government, university and industry guidance.

Early in the process, the Sport & Physical Activity Service (SPA) team recognised the importance of not only being fully compliant and adhering to strict safety measures, but also of going above and beyond to reassure staff and customers. The team wanted to give customers the confidence to return to sport and enable them to do so in the easiest and most convenient way possible.

A small team of SPA management continued to work together full time throughout the Summer, creating a thorough re-entry plan. As part of this work, the team attended numerous webinars led by industry leaders and governing bodies and then translated the guidance into processes and new ways of working.

The changes proposed by the team were channelled through a robust approvals process. Once all the changes were approved, the challenge to re-engage staff began with the delivery of training and competency assessments on the process changes as the team prepared for re-opening.

Important communication updates on the changes were provided to customers before they were able to access facilities through various platforms including individual contact, member updates and social media. A significant change is the advance booking required for all customers to access sports facilities. To help facilitate this change, the team came up with online timetables which give customers the necessary ease and freedom to make and amend activity bookings.

Ahead of the doors re-opening, high-quality customer information videos were created to reiterate all the actions taken to ensure a COVID 19 secure environment, which involved liaising with marketing, communication, and wider university colleagues.

The hard work paid off! The SPA team succeeded in demonstrating that the necessary standards had been met and received approval from the university’s Health and Safety to re-open facilities. The assessors commented that the measures put in place by the team went above and beyond the required standards.

The success of the approach to re-engaging staff was made apparent through comments made in the online FAQ forum on completion of staff training, in which individuals thanked the team for putting them at ease about returning to work.

Shortly after re-opening, the Operations and Sales/Marketing teams worked together to deliver several online customer forums, where customers were asked for feedback about the re-entry process. These included questions relating to safety, ease of access, communication methods and quality/relevance of programmes being delivered.

Securing the support of staff has played a significant part in the successful re-opening of facilities for customers. The team were praised in the customer forums for making facilities safe and helping customers feel comfortable.

Throughout the entire process, the SPA team has been ready and willing to adapt to change whenever necessary. Whether this be due to government changes issued overnight, or changes to timings of activities following customer feedback. As a result, the team has succeeded in delivering a phased return and setting a precedent for the future.

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A photo of the Leeds University Women's Rugby team playing a game

Working in partnership to support our student sports clubs

The Sport & Physical Activity Service (SPA) has worked in partnership with Leeds University Union (LUU) to support university sports clubs in providing vital sport and physical activities throughout the covid 19 pandemic.

With the gradual easing of restrictions following the first national lockdown in 2020, one of the key challenges facing the sports industry was the pace at which different national sports governing bodies were able to interpret and communicate the ‘return to play’ government guidance.

SPA and LUU were faced with the challenge of simultaneously re-opening facilities whilst interpreting different sporting guidelines to best support the 70 different student clubs in their return to activity. An early decision was made to engage with student club committee members throughout the process to ensure transparency, clear communication and collective decision making.

Working together, colleagues from SPA and LUU established a clear set of principles to shape decision-making from the onset: safety as a priority, a strict adherence to national governing body guidelines, putting students first (over any community or commercial bookings), being inclusive, and a willingness to make difficult decisions.

Based on these principles, since September 2020 SPA and LUU have adopted several key approaches:

  • Establish clear facility programming principles, maximising access for different student groups.
  • Engage with key industry bodies, such as Sport England UK, to develop a clear understanding of the information available and build confidence in interpreting and communicating it.
  • Establish a clear understanding and process for the production and consideration of sports-specific COVID 19 risk assessments, including the introduction of a training programme for newly recruited sports club COVID 19 officers.
  • Use feedback from student groups and the information available to develop a programme of COVID 19 safe activities, enabling student clubs to provide important sport and physical activities for their members.
  • Confirm what funding is available to student clubs via the Gryphon Club Fund.
  • Work with the university senior team to provide reassurance on the COVID 19 safe approach to the return of sport and communicate any key exemptions.

The effective use of virtual meeting platforms to bring together large groups of students has been a key factor in enabling the safe provision of sport and physical activities. Since September 2020, eight online ‘Safe Return to Sport’ webinars have been developed and have successfully engaged over 200 student club committee members. The webinars provide clear and timely information, seek feedback through two-way conversations, and provide a safe space for clubs to ask questions. In addition, a COVID 19 Officer online training programme has been developed and delivered to over 80 students.

In line with the principle of ‘students first’, SPA and LUU demonstrate an absolute commitment to prioritising student sport over any other user group. When facilities were reopened for student club access in October 2020, any indoor space (other than that being used by the NHS) was made available to students.

As a result of listening to feedback from committee members about what other support/programmes their members would benefit from, SPA and LUU have delivered additional Mental Health in Sport Workshops and are creating a bespoke first aid training package for students.

SPA and LUU have supported the production of 40 COVID 19 risk assessments since October 2020, working with sports clubs who wish to access university facilities to ensure that each risk assessment is compliant with the respective national governing body guidance.

Together, SPA and LUU have fostered a readiness amongst the senior team to permit access for sports clubs to facility space. As national government guidance evolves, the partnership is working to modify the key approaches and continue to deliver an enriching and engaging experience for around 6500 student members of the various sports clubs.

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The University Print Unit

Implementing a new Management Information System

The University Print Unit (PCB) undertook a project to create one pricing structure for the services they provided which staff and customers could follow easily.

The programme of improvement project commenced in 2019 and one objective was to replace the two main software systems following feedback and comments received from staff. It was evident the current management information system (MIS) was misunderstood by the team as over time, the system had been modified and little documentation existed to allow them to understand current pricing structures. This resulted in the team working with a system having no processes to follow and users working differently. Which led to customers being quoted differing prices, leaving them unhappy and dissatisfied.

Improving customer satisfaction was a key goal of this project and it was decided the most effective approach was to replace the entire system. A specification was drawn together, and a decision taken to approach current hardware suppliers. The procurement process was followed at the University and a recent tender completed for new hardware gave the team more flexibility to buy additional related items within a 12-month period. The specification was submitted to the hardware supplier who proposed two new systems Market Direct Storefront (online web to print system) and PrintSmith Vision a print pricing engine and MIS system. Demonstrations of each system followed, and staff were involved in the decision-making process throughout.

Once a system had been procured a process mapping exercise was carried out with the customer-facing staff. The aim of this was to gain an understanding of how they performed their day-to-day functions, provide an opportunity for them to share any concerns and highlight any gaps in the process. This valuable information was then reviewed alongside the new MIS software to ensure both worked together. Installation began and although a major obstacle around pricing was uncovered everyone came together to resolve it and move on.

As a result of the team’s hard work and commitment, a successful exercise was completed which revealed accurate costing for the service and provided PCB with a springboard for moving forward. A new process map was devised and shared with customer facing staff alongside an agreement on new ways of working. Training materials were written and delivered as the first part of the system was made live.

Following the COVID 19-19 outbreak and subsequent campus lockdown, it became apparent that to re-open the campus, clear and relevant safety signage was required. PCB were approached to help manage the control of University-approved signage and the team felt confident that the new online ordering service would provide an excellent opportunity to highlight how capable the system was. Having translated the needs of the project stakeholders, an online store to display 389 social distancing related signage products was created on the new ordering service. The benefits of this approach included brand consistency across all signage and effective management of stock and pricing. The team worked tirelessly to adapt and develop new and existing processes to meet the customer demand.

All these changes now mean full costings for the service are available and transparent also pricing can be managed efficiently via a single system. Complete documentation and training materials exist to allow employees to provide clients with estimates through to billing. Above all, everybody is now able to follow the same process allowing anyone on the team to handle estimates or jobs the same way within the system.

Read about our customer focussed services, 2020 to 2021