Latest updates from across the Facilities Directorate

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – February 2024

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Thursday 29 February.

The busy start to the year continues! 

People & Culture Strategy 

I’m delighted to share that the FD’s People & Culture group have released their strategy for the Directorate. You can read the FD’s Our People, Our Culture strategy.

A focus on supporting colleagues to learn and progress is Aim One of the FD’s business plan and I’m pleased to see how much progress is being made. Along with the Staff Voice group, there are lots of ways to get involved in this work, and I’d urge you to do so and have your say.  

For an insight into Staff Voice, I really enjoyed reading this interview with Matthew Whiteley from Residences. Look out for more of these spotlights over the coming weeks. It’s wonderful to see this group flourishing!  

New University intranet

I hope you’ve seen posters about the new University intranet, and the emails from our communications team and the Vice-Chancellor. The intranet is an online network that only staff can access, and we are developing our own FD hub page which will only be visible to us in the FD. This is where we will share FD-specific information and news, and celebrate our achievements.  

We know that many of our colleagues can’t easily get online and to address this will we are trialling intranet display screens in Cleaning Services with the potential to roll this out more widely across the FD. 

There will also be workshops run by the central comms team and further training around digital accessibility run by Organisational Development & Professional Learning (OD&PL) following the huge success of Learning to Log On 

You can find out more at the FD Staff Social on Thursday 14 March in the Refectory – 8am to 10am.  

On the topic of training, it’s so important that we all keep our skills updated and grasp opportunities to learn new ones. I was grateful to OD&PL for the computers donated to Cleaning Services from the Logik Centre to help colleagues develop digital accessibility, and I’m pleased they will be working with other FD teams.   

Celebrating success 

We all know what a wonderful job our Grounds & Gardens team do and now you can see them in action in a new photography exhibition by Rosa Quintana from Cleaning Services called ‘Behind the Greens.’ It opens on Monday 4 March next to the Refectory, running until Thursday 14 March. 

A team from Estates managed by Alicia Graham has created a new research and study space for postgraduate students above the Refectory.

Our interior design team have done a wonderful job and it looks very smart. Thanks to all concerned.  

I‘m pleased that the University is now part of the Leeds City Bikes Scheme, with electric bikes arriving on campus this month. You can read more about that in this story. This is supported by the Sustainable Travel Principle element of the University’s Climate Plan.

The Planon project continues to make progress as the team work towards a go-live date.   


A reminder that a new health, wellbeing and learning centre is opening on campus next month, with the relaunch of LOGIK. I also want to draw your attention to the new University partnership with the charity Money Buddies, which offers advice around finance. You can read more about it on the For Staff website.

Each year Sport and Physical Activity (SPA) conduct a survey to learn more about the activity and wellbeing levels of staff and students at the University.

SPA would be grateful if you could take part: the results help to inform SPA’s strategy and planning to help the University become an increasingly active campus. Take part in the Balancing Life Survey 2024. 

Finally, I want to mention International Women’s Day (IWD) on the Friday 8 March. I am very proud of all the work that we are doing towards inclusivity within the Directorate. IWD is something that  I have always celebrated, and I want to extend a big thank you to every woman in the Directorate and hope that you can take a few minutes on the day to reflect on everything you achieve.  

Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – January 2024

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Wednesday 31 January.

The new term began with some clear steers from our Vice-Chancellor, Hai-Sui. In the Vice-Chancellor’s Welcome to 2024 blog, he emphasised the need to support our colleagues to provide the best possible support for our students. I’m grateful to him for this reminder.

Here in the FD, many of you work directly with students – through Residences, Sport and Catering, for example – and all of us should be working together to support those colleagues to deliver the best service.  

He has also prioritised improving staff engagement this term, as highlighted in the Vice-Chancellor’s staff blog, and the University has published the actions it is taking in response to the Employee Engagement Survey results. One of these is around the visibility of the senior team and a series of staff forums have been set up to help with this. Please do look out for your invitation.  

Pay review

I hope you all saw in this week’s eNews that more than 1300 University employees on pay grades two, three and four will be moving up at least one pay spine point from 1 February. I’m very happy to see this and I want to flag that it’s the first step in a broader review of the pay and grading structure. More on that soon.  

Business Plan updates 

Working towards a net zero campus by 2030 is central to the Our Way Ahead plan. The plan also refers to us collaborating “with research colleagues to lead the discussion on sustainability and climate.”

You may have noticed sites being set up near Henry Price halls of residence, and these are to enable the first sessions of geothermal drilling beginning next week. This is exciting and innovative work that you can read more about on the Sustainability website.

Disruption is sadly unavoidable to get this work done, and students in particular may be affected. We must work together in a timely way to keep them updated. Delivering our services while staying focused on the needs of our communities is part of aim three of Our Way Ahead. 

The Facilities Management Service Desk project is making good progress, with Carol Haley in place as project manager – welcome Carol! This new system will transform the way we keep our campus in shape – for those new to the project, you can read more about the Facilities Management Service Desk project here. User testing for the reactive maintenance model is complete with only a few issues left for the project team to iron out, and a planning exercise is underway to clear the path to go live.

With a new waste management contract now in place, I was pleased to read about progress thanks to this interview with Fariha Aasam, our new Waste Manager. Welcome Fariha!  

Celebrating our staff

I want to acknowledge the outstanding work by Dawn Abel in Cleaning Services in the ‘Learning to log in’ initiative. Setting out to improve digital skills, initial research found that 26% of colleagues on grades two to five in the FD did not have access to a University email address.

Useful for updates, an email address is also essential for accessing services like the eduroam campus wi-fi, payslips and benefits. The team designed a pilot programme that allowed colleagues to access in-person training which worked around their shift patterns. You can read about it in this news story on the For Staff website 

A big thank you to Claire Copley, Martin Hutton and Mason Lawrence for making sure that we could continue to issue permits to contractors working on campus after the old system was turned off at very short notice. It’s a legal requirement that external contractors have permits and the team identified SoterWeb as a replacement and delivered it incredibly quickly. Brilliant work! 

PA Consulting

I wanted to say a bit more about the work by PA Consulting following my email last week. They are here to help us to clearly understand and articulate the impact and value of what we do. This might sound a simple task but it requires a huge amount of data gathering and coordination.

We are doing this so we can be fully ready for the next Integrated Planning Exercise (IPE), the process through which the University allocates budget. Heads of service will be able to provide you with more detailed information.  

Staff socials

Finally, I hope you’ve got the dates in your diary for the FD Staff Socials: 14 March and 1 October. All details to follow. 


Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – November 2023

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Friday 1 December.

This will be my last bulletin of the year and I’d like to take a moment to look back at what we have achieved and forward to the year ahead. As ever, my main message is to say thank you for all that you do. Like any team, we have our share of challenges, but your hard work and expertise ensures that we keep on delivering against our business plan and making sure our students and colleagues across the University have the foundations to succeed.

Our Way Ahead

The establishment of the business plan at the start of the year gave us all a roadmap. As part of that, our review of the culture of the FD – how we live our values and help everyone to succeed and feel they belong – has got off to a flying start with the establishment of Staff Voice and the development of a People & Culture Strategy. This looks at how we can provide a positive employee experience from the moment you join the FD and throughout your career.  Sharing this with you and involving you in the plan to make it happen is a priority for next year. 

Our new management team is now in place, with Jenny Wilson and Gareth Hughes joining us this autumn to work alongside Rob Wadsworth. With teams grouped together to enable joint working and avoid silos, we’ll be better able to deliver the big projects such as the Net Zero Delivery Plan. On that topic, you can read about the plan in the Climate Hub and join myself and a panel at ahybrid event sharing the latest progress in our work towards net zero on 4 December.  

Next year I am launching a strong focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in response to some of the learning from the Staff Survey results. Everyone will be invited to training around professional behaviours and we’ll share more information about this work in the new year. 

Our 2023 successes

There has been so much to celebrate this year that it would be impossible to include everything! Successes include our build of the amazing HELIX facility, hosting the BUCS Conference, the ongoing professionalisation and development of Cleaning Services (20 colleagues have recently completed a pilot course in Functional English too), progress with the Facilities Management Service Desk (previously called Planon), the opening of Cloth Hall Court and the launch of the ResLife website. Special mention too to the fantastic colleagues who helped in the Eldon Court evacuation. The approval of the net zero business case is a huge step forward, illustrating the University’s commitment to net zero ambitions.

We won a host of awards for our people, buildings and services – congratulations to everyone involved!  

Happy Holidays

With three weeks until the end of term it feels a little early to thank those working over the holiday and to wish you all a restful festive season, but I send you my warmest wishes for a peaceful and enjoyable winter break.


Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – October 2023

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Tuesday 31 October. Read more

Students pose for a photo at the Halls Awards 2023

Celebrating the Residence Life Halls Awards 2023

On 11 May, the Residence Life team hosted the Halls Awards in partnership with LUU to celebrate all the achievements of our outstanding Social Committees, Residence Life Assistants and residents of our halls! 

Residence Life Assistants (RLAs) are students that live in halls and provide support to the other students living at the residence, while Social Committees are students that volunteer and come together to form a team that organises events and activities for other residents in their hall.   

Both teams dedicate lots of time and effort throughout the year to make the halls experience at Leeds supportive and enjoyable so we were thrilled to reward their hard work. We received nearly double the nominations we have in previous years. It was fantastic to see that our students are so appreciative of what they do. 

There were winners from across our halls on the night, with the biggest success of the night being Leodis, who took home a massive 3 RLA awards! There was also a fantastic medley performance from the cast of Devonshire Hall’s production of ‘Be More Chill’, which was nominated for Event of the Year.

Attendees included shortlisted students from across our halls of residences, Residential Services and Facilities Directorate staff as well as members of University senior leadership.   

Organised by Natalie Cherry (Assistant Manager – Residence Life) and Natasha Pickles (LUU Events Coordinator for Residences) and the rest of the Residence Life team, the event was a huge success enjoyed by everyone who attended.   

“It was wonderful seeing so many students and staff come together to celebrate the Halls community and the work going into supporting students in residences. The Residence Life Social Committees and Residence Life Assistants who won awards last week were exemplary of the hard work, dedication and joy that runs through all the work that we do.

I’m particularly happy that we were able to award two students the Halls Hero award, which is an award that any resident can win simply for being a great friend or a supportive flatmate. The number of nominations we received was really exciting and it was lovely to read all the ways in which Residence Life has made an impact on the student experience. Whether it be a great event or a helpful chat with an RLA, residents are clearly grateful for their peers and the work they do.”

– Natalie Cherry, Assistant Manager – Residence Life 


Natalie Cherry accepts the award for ResLife New Professional of the Year 2023

Residence Life Assistant Manager wins prestigious industry award

In May the Residence Life Team attended the annual CUBO (College and University Business Officers) Residence Life Conference in Nottingham. The team had the chance to meet other industry professionals, get involved with workshops and come up with new ideas about how to constantly improve students’ experiences in halls.

During the conference, the CUBO Residence Life Star awards ceremony took place. These awards recognise the hard work of Residence Life professionals and students across the country. The big award of the evening, New Professional of the Year, went to our very own Assistant Manager of Residence Life at Leeds, Natalie Cherry!

Natalie was nominated by the Assistant Director of Accommodation and Residence Life, Rebecca O’Hare, and the Residence Life team for all the time and effort she dedicates to helping our students in halls.

Natalie has done incredible work this year. She completely overhauled the Social Committee programme for Residence Life. This is a voluntary role that helps students to develop new skills and organise their own events in halls. Her efforts led to impressive results regarding student involvement with the Social Committees. This included a 38% increase in students volunteering and a 47% decrease in students withdrawing from the programme.

She is also responsible for organising the Halls Awards every year. This is an incredible event where we celebrate the achievements of our Residence Life Assistants (RLAs) and Residence Life Social Committee (RLSC) members. We also reward students that have made other people’s time in halls extra special. This year we received double the number of nominations we did last year, and the event was an overwhelming success.

“I was truly shocked and so happy to win the Residence Life New Professional award. I work with such a fantastic team, and to have them nominate and support me was a really lovely experience. I was happy to be shortlisted in the first instance, so when they announced my name at the awards, I could not believe it!

Thank you so much to my colleagues Sarah, Rebecca, Rita, Dom, Lucy, Josh and Tasha, and also to CUBO for considering me for this prize. I’m really excited to go to America for the ACUHO-I Conference 2023! I think it will be an eye-opening experience and I hope I’ll learn a lot about how Residence Life operates overseas. I’ll be sure to bring back everything I learn to Leeds so that we can continue to improve our service here.”

– Natalie Cherry, Assistant Manager – Residence Life


Facility of Biological sciences

Estate Services Update, July 2021

Capital Developments Update

Sir William Henry Bragg Building

There are just a few months to go now before doors open into the Sir William Henry Bragg Building. To keep everyone informed of progress, regular videos will be produced showing fit out work taking place. You can watch the latest video here.

Facility boost for Faculty of Biological Sciences

Estates have worked in partnership with the Faculty of Biological Sciences to refurbish facilities one Levels 4 & 9 of the Garstang Building. This project is now complete, and staff are expected to move in the new facilities in the summer. View the photos and read more about the project here.

Campus developments newsletter

To receive regular updates on capital projects, sign up to the bi-monthly campus developments newsletter here!

Grounds and Gardens Team Update

Annual planting schemes

The grounds & gardens team have just completed the annual summer bedding displays around campus. This involves planting over 6000 plants locally sourced from Leeds City Councils facility at the Arium.

Zero emission equipment

As the grounds and gardens team continue to transition towards zero emission equipment we have purchased the University’s first pedestrian electric lawn mower and new street barrow with battery powered vacuum.

Handling all external work

Following a successful transition of the external cleaning team into the Grounds and Gardens team we now provide a one stop shop for all external matters.

Annual pitch renovation

The grounds team based at Sports Park Weetwood have commenced the annual pitch renovation programme which will involve the application of over 600T sand and 1000kg UK grown grass seed. A full replacement of lighting on the hockey 1 pitch at Weetwood will be delivered over the coming weeks providing a fully compliant FIH surface and a 50% energy reduction due to the new LED lighting.

Reopening off-campus buildings

Steve Molloy continues to provide support and preparation for reopening of external campus buildings such as Cloth Hall Court and Selside. A significant amount of work goes on in the background ensuring compliance activity is met at all times as well as managing unforeseeable events such as roof leaks the night before a large booking.

5000 trees planted with Sustainability Service and the Environment Agency

The Grounds and Gardens team and the Sustainability Service, in partnership with the Environment Agency have planted more than 5000 trees at the University’s Brownlee Triathlon Centre to reduce flood risk to the Leeds area downstream.

Tree planting at Bodington Playing Fields, where the Brownlee Triathlon Centre is located, took place between February and March, and is part of a wider programme of natural flood management techniques being introduced into the Leeds catchment as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme’s flagship Natural Flood Management Project. The project is a great example of the University’s partnership approach to addressing the climate crisis through collaborative research and innovation.

The scheme is also part of the University of Leeds Living Lab programme, with the site to be used for live research projects to test sustainable solutions; be an integral part of University teaching, and be a location for local schools and communities to visit.

Read more about this innovative partnership here.

Support Services Update

Planon Desk booking system

The team has been successful in the testing and delivery of a new automated desk booking system, which will be accessed via Planon, and is currently live and in operation in the FD Building. Staff have worked tirelessly to test the system and create the best customer experience for the users. They assessed desks across the FD and Ziff Buildings to ensure that the correct data was set up, enabling staff to know which desks are available for booking. This has been a major achievement and the team have done a fabulous job getting this ready for use now and in the future.

Planon – maintenance requests

Members of the team are heavily involved in creating the new workflow for using Planon to support Maintenance requests and are looking forward to testing the system once configuration is complete.

Car Parking

Car parking have been updating and purging the permits that are held with the NHS Trust, the Edge and the Deanery. They have also managed the re-start of the Interim Permits whilst working on a strategy for the future in cooperation with the Sustainability Service.

Supporting campus re-entry

The team continue to support the campus re-entry programme through logging of maintenance requests and ensuring urgent issues are dealt with swiftly, organising one-off visits for staff to come onto campus for a specific purpose, arranging desk availability for those requiring space on campus and dealing with customer queries relating to car parking across the University.

Thank you

After another challenging year, the team have done a tremendous job to ensure all activities remain up to date whilst taking on additional tasks such as staff collection visits, approved staff list management and desk booking to support the wider University; all whilst successfully adapting to a hybrid way of working. Well done team!

Read July updates from across the Facilities Directorate:

FD Bulletin, July 2021. Foreword by Dennis Hopper

Facilities Directorate Update, July 2021

Facilities Directorate Support Services Update, July 2021

Campus Support Services Update, July 2021

Estate Services Update, July 2021

Sustainability Services Update, July 2021

Residential Services Update, July 2021

Conferencing Update, July 2021

Great Food at Leeds Update, July 2021

Sport and Physical Activity Update, July 2021

Parkinson building

Conferencing Update, July 2021

The Conferencing team continue to work hard to support the asymptomatic test centre on campus as well as international student arrival. They also have exciting virtual conferences coming up over the summer and have been shortlisted for awards recognition.

Virtual conference activity continues

The Conferencing team are continuing to work really hard to deliver great virtual events for their clients. Coming up this summer there is:

International Medieval Congress

International Medieval Congress (IMC) 2021 is taking place online from 5-9 July. Despite the pandemic, the popularity of the congress continues and the team has welcomed 2,000 attendees. The academic programme stretches over 5 days with over 500 sessions scheduled in 26 parallel strands. Once again, the congress is also hosting a vibrant ‘fringe event programme’ offering a further 43 events including discussion groups, networking events, book launches, publisher Q&A sessions, workshops, virtual excursions and the ever popular IMC Disco!

The long-standing publishers bookfair is featuring as a virtual exhibition hall with over 30 international publishing houses taking part alongside a market where delegates can find craft and second-hand and antiquarian book sellers.

The IMC team has been working hard to translate the IMC experience to a virtual format and ensure delegates get the best possible value from their attendance. All sessions will be recorded and available to delegates on the platform until the end of August, as will a range of tools to help delegates to network and exchange ideas.

European Association of Financial Management

This event will be held online using the Pathable Virtual Conferencing platform. Along with hosting the conference sessions, Pathable also allows attendees to make use of a customisable agenda, browse speaker profiles, engage with other delegates and catch up on missed sessions “on-demand”. EFMA has attracted over 300 international delegates to discuss a variety of financial management topics. The conference team are working with the Leeds University Business School on delivering this virtual activity.

Association for Radiation Research Conference

This Association for Radiation Research Conference is planned to take place as a hybrid event subject to Government and University restrictions. The meeting will include sessions covering the whole spectrum of radiation research from basic physics and chemistry through to clinical studies. Registration is now open for the three day event. The conference team are working with Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre on delivering this event.

MEETinLEEDS wins award recognition

The MEETinLEEDS team have won the Culture of Collaboration Award at the Annual Sustainability Awards 2021 for their collaborative work with services and departments across the University. Over the past 12 months, MEETinLEEDS, the International Student Office, the Student Education Service and Great Food at Leeds have formed a truly collaborative partnership to support the university in meeting the needs of its international students, whilst also supporting the institution’s wider inclusivity strategy; the delivery of an intercultural student experience ensuring whole cohort integration, belonging and community-building.

The teams have had to re-evaluate their working processes and explore unknown territory, resulting in the formation of a fully collaborative, flexible approach. They were able to draw on each other’s expertise and resource and work towards a common goal, maintain clear communications, create an inclusive and diverse student community, whilst offering transparency and empathy to international students.

The team have instilled flexible approaches throughout each stage of lockdown, adapting to suit different needs of students, departments and Government restrictions; ensured services integrate with other teams, whilst gaining an understanding of other departments’ aims and processes and implemented virtual socials with Links to Leeds ambassadors to create an inclusive society and culture amongst the students.

Through this collaborative, flexible and forward-thinking approach, team members have ensured that international students are still able to experience the best of Leeds and the university within the existing restrictions.

Harriet Boatwright, Sales & Marketing Manager, MEETinLEEDS, said:

“Working in a truly collaborative way, traversing departmental and service boundaries we have ensured that the experience of our international students remains in sharp focus during some very challenging times for us all, globally. We feel privileged to have worked with our colleagues in Great Food at Leeds, the International Student Office and the Student Education Services. In supporting the community-building intention across our student body, we have built our own community with colleagues, something that we will continue well beyond the pandemic.”

Colleagues who worked on the International Arrivals Welcome team were also nominated for a Leeds Partnership Award, celebrating the exceptional work of students, postgraduate researchers, and staff at the University of Leeds.

Jenna Isherwood, Project Manager in the Global Community team said:

“Working in partnership with the International Student Office and International Office, MEETinLEEDS and Great Food at Leeds teams have played an absolutely critical role in ensuring the University warmly welcomes and supports students arriving from outside the UK in very challenging circumstances. They have organised airport pick-up and self-isolation food/essentials services continually from August 2020 including throughout the University closed periods and even Christmas Day! The services have been incredibly complex to organise but have been hugely appreciated by students.”


Read July updates from across the Facilities Directorate:

FD Bulletin, July 2021. Foreword by Dennis Hopper

Facilities Directorate Update, July 2021

Facilities Directorate Support Services Update, July 2021

Campus Support Services Update, July 2021

Estate Services Update, July 2021

Sustainability Services Update, July 2021

Residential Services Update, July 2021

Conferencing Update, July 2021

Great Food at Leeds Update, July 2021

Sport and Physical Activity Update, July 2021

Campus Support Services Update, July 2021

Cleaning Services update

Cleaning Services are currently working on a gateway review of all aspects of the service. The team’s vision is to implement changes that will improve service delivery and support the University in providing a safe, clean and hygienic environment conducive to studying and working for the new academic year.

A key part of this is reviewing the Service Level Agreement (SLA) to provide daytime housekeeping teams in high footfall areas across the University to promote a sense that cleaning is enhanced. The review has taken the service back to basics with the cleaning requirements, hours and staffing resources for every building re-examined. The changes will come in place for the new academic year.

To successfully implement these changes a new training and development programme has started including re-induction, health and safety, safe operating procedures and information on the SLA for every member of the team.

Read July updates from across the Facilities Directorate:


FD Bulletin, July 2021. Foreword by Dennis Hopper

Facilities Directorate Update, July 2021

Facilities Directorate Support Services Update, July 2021

Campus Support Services Update, July 2021

Estate Services Update, July 2021

Sustainability Services Update, July 2021

Residential Services Update, July 2021

Conferencing Update, July 2021

Great Food at Leeds Update, July 2021

Sport and Physical Activity Update, July 2021