Great hall

Facilities Directorate Staff Bulletin – July 2021

Work to realise the ambitions laid out in the University Strategy continues at pace and over the summer and into the autumn, the University will be articulating how all the strategic plans will fit together, be prioritised and financed. The FD will be heavily involved in the planning, prioritisation and delivery of some of the key enabling projects, for example, supporting our Net Zero ambitions; developing the infrastructure for digital transformation, and reshaping the campus to respond to Future Ways of Working.

With my appointment as Interim Chief Operating Officer, I am starting to look at shaping a post to assume leadership of the Facilities Directorate. This role would report directly to myself and I will of course retain a close interest in the activity happening across the FD and work very closely with the new person to ensure a smooth transition. I anticipate this may take 6-8 months, but I will update colleagues when appropriate.

I can now update on the appointment of Rob Wadsworth as Interim Commercial Director. Colleagues may remember Rob who worked for the University of Leeds previously as Head of Sport and Physical Activity, and has been working in Dubai for the last 5 years. We look forward to Rob starting in his role and I will let you know the full details of a start date in due course.

I would like to draw colleagues’ attention to the communications about managing the transition of some of our activity back to campus and the enabling of staff to move to a hybrid way of working. The Transitional Ways of Working (TWOW) group is working with executive deans, heads of schools and services to understand what types of activities need to be delivered on campus and what activity is best being delivered on campus and line managers have been tasked with developing a shared understanding of this need with their teams. This information will be used to agree the activities that can take place on campus and the space that can be provided for this activity. During this time, we are also assessing what buildings, and spaces in those buildings, can reopen. More details around the TWOW project are due out in mid-July.

I hope that you are all able to take some time to relax over the summer and would just like to thank everyone again for their commitment and hard-work during what has been a really difficult year for everyone. It is very much appreciated.

Finally, I will be asking other members of the FD Senior Management Team to take a turn at writing the foreword for future issues of FD Matters, so watch this space!

Dennis Hopper


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

Facilities Directorate Staff Bulletin – April 2021

I do hope you have all managed to take a well-earned break over the recent Easter holidays and are feeling refreshed and ready for the spring term.

A few days before the break, University Council approved the new strategies and delivery plans (Research and Innovation; Student Education; International; Digital Transformation; Enabling Strategy) that underpin and support the overarching University Strategy. Our attention is now focussed on the implementation of these plans with work underway to understand the projects and prioritisations needed, in particular with the enabling and digital transformation plans.

Following the departure of Tim Peakman at the end of March, I have been appointed as the Interim Chief Operating Officer from the 1 April 2021. I am still working through how my new appointment will impact on the FD, but I will of course announce any significant changes as and when I can.

The Government recently confirmed that the current policy for students returning to campus remains in place until at least Monday 17 May. Face-to-face teaching will continue into the summer term for those students on practical or practice-based courses, who were notified last term that they should return to study on campus, and for all other students teaching and learning will continue online until at least Monday 17 May. Running in parallel to the return to campus activity, the University has identified a requirement to make longer term changes to existing ways of working. A steering group is in place to coordinate this activity and staff will be consulted widely on this to understand people’s views.

During this period of fast-paced change, I would like to again recognise the contributions of all staff during this time, and in particular I would like to draw attention to three fantastic FD colleagues who were recipients of the University Women of Achievement Awards in March – Sue Green (Assistant Director, Residences), Jo Hynes (Deputy Director, Estates and Campus Support) and Ruth Buller (Head of HR, Professional Services). Congratulations on your very well-deserved awards!

Dennis Hopper

Read April updates from across the Facilities Directorate:

FD Bulletin, April 2021. Foreword by Dennis Hopper

Facilities Directorate Update, April 2021

Facilities Directorate Support Services Update, April 2021

Campus Support Services Update, April 2021

Estate Services Update, April 2021

Sustainability Services Update, April 2021

Residential Services Update, April 2021

Conferencing Update, April 2021

Great Food at Leeds Update, April 2021

Sport and Physical Activity Update, April 2021

daffodils blooming on campus

Facilities Directorate Staff Bulletin – February 2021

Once again, I would like to thank colleagues across the FD for the huge efforts and unwavering commitment you demonstrate to keep our services going on campus. As you know, there are a number of students who are eligible to be on campus under the national lockdown guidelines, and we know that there continues to be at least 3,000 students currently living in University accommodation. The FD have more staff than any other department on campus, supporting these students, and I am extremely proud of all of our ongoing contributions. 

I was further reminded of our fantastic work when the latest Sustainability Annual Report was presented to University Council. The report celebrates the huge impact the University is making, achieving global recognition for the work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) rankings, and receiving an international award for the collaborative approach to embedding sustainability across all aspects of the University curriculum.  

Staffing wise, there are a number of senior changes across the University to update you on.  Malcolm Dawson, Head of Security Services, will be retiring in March after 29 years of service at the University and throughout his time has been a fantastic ambassador for the University of Leeds Also, Jenny Tucker, Commercial Director is retiring in May and will leave a big hole in the FD senior team and we are currently considering the best ways to fill this gap. 

As spring approaches, it signposts a more positive future! Nationally, there is light on the horizon with the progress of the vaccine roll-out, and the new ‘Universal Values, Global Change: University of Leeds Strategy 2020-2030’ has been officially launched. This strategy sets out our ambitions to build a thriving community and a collaborative culture to make an impact locally and globally.  A major focus of this new strategy is digital transformation, in which the FD will have a significant involvement, particularly on the exciting development of a smart campus infrastructure. Additionally, a key theme in the strategy reinforces our University sustainability commitments, in particular for our attainment of a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. Virtual Town Hall meetings to launch the new strategy are available for staff to attend, and if you can’t attend live, recordings will be available on the For Staff website. 

Whilst the advice currently remains for staff to work from home wherever possible, we hope that the continued roll-out of vaccines will enable an easing of Government restrictions and at some point later this year more staff will be able to come back onto campus. Groups across the University are looking at how space is used across campus, building on the positive elements of staff having to adopt new ways of working during the pandemic. I hope to update on this further over the next few months. 

Finally, I want to reiterate again my thanks to you all for your continued response to the pandemic, and for your ongoing efforts in what remains a very challenging time. 

Dennis Hopper 

Director of Campus Developments 

Read February updates from across the Facilities Directorate:

FD Bulletin, February 2021. Foreword by Dennis Hopper

Facilities Directorate Update, February 2021

Facilities Directorate Support Services Update, February 2021

Campus Support Services Update, February 2021

Estate Services Update, February 2021

Sustainability Services Update, February 2021

Residential Services Update, February 2021

Conferencing Update, February 2021

Great Food at Leeds Update, February 2021

Sport and Physical Activity Update, February 2021

Nexus building

Facilities Directorate Staff Bulletin – December 2020

2020 has certainly been a year like no other and one we will not forget in a hurry! I would like to personally acknowledge the huge amount of work that has happened across all areas of the FD since the start of the pandemic, more recently with the build and operation of the Asymptomatic Testing Centres and of course, the many colleagues who will be working over the Christmas period. With the roll out of the vaccines now underway, we are hoping for a brighter 2021 and a return to some normality by the Spring.
Thank you again to all colleagues for your hard work, commitment, and positivity this year and I wish you all a very well-deserved and restful Christmas break.

Dennis Hopper
Director of Campus Developments, Facilities Directorate

Updates from across the FD

Estates Operations

Festive cheer arrived on campus when Christmas trees were installed earlier this month. This year the Grounds and Gardens team delivered trees to Devonshire Hall, LUU, The Refectory, Bright Beginnings, The FD and Nexus as well as installing the main external tree at Beech Grove Plaza. Whilst many students and staff are not on campus, the ever-popular trees have been enjoyed from those working/studying remotely. We shared photos and posts across our FD and University social media channels which all received fantastic engagement, in particular a post on Instagram showing the Christmas tree being installed attracted 6,100+ likes and over 150 people tagged their friends to celebrate Christmas on campus!

The team were also involved in installing equipment to the Parkinson Building to support the city-wide Light Night project. Read more about the initiative here. The Energy Team shared the annual University–wide shut down message. This is an important message for all staff who are currently on campus and can play a key role in helping to reduce electricity consumption during the shutdown period.

Estates Office Team

Over the last few months, the Car Parking team have introduced the Interim Permit for staff and have managed the parking requirements necessary for the on-campus vaccine trial and asymptomatic testing centres. The Helpdesk team have continued to support the Maintenance team with inputting and updating work orders. This has ensured we maintain a high level of service to our campus clients.
Office Support have been integral to the success of “collection visits” for large numbers of staff who needed to collect items from their onsite workspace to help them set up effectively at home. The team is also playing a large role in helping to manage the approved staff list which details staff that have the authority to come onto campus.

Estates Capital Development

Some of our major construction and refurbishment projects continue to make good progress on site. Construction will complete on the Sir William Henry Bragg Building in February, followed by a six-month equipment migration period. Refurbishment work at the Faculty of Biological Sciences is also due to complete in February 2021. For more updates on these projects visit: 

Project Management Office

The Team have been putting plans in place to deliver the Estates improvement and quality programme, this will be a service-wide initiative to improve all processes. The team continue to support Service teams to progress specific projects too.


Colleagues in Finance have been supporting the year end accounts process by responding to external audit queries. The team have continued to focus on making sure the FD remains agile and financial resources are available especially during this pandemic period. They have been tracking and reporting on all expenditure required to operate the campus in a Covid secure way.Currently, colleagues are involved in supporting a grant bid offered by the Office of Students. If successful, this grant will provide additional money to cover capital costs incurred by having an increased number of students on our high-cost courses such as Medicine. This is a result of the University offering more places than normal following this year’s A-level results. In January new rules associated with Brexit will come into force, the team are working closely with Procurement to look at short- and medium-term cost impacts as a result of Brexit.

Congratulations go to Robert Dewar, the Head of Finance who has been appointed on to the Board of the University of Leeds Pensions & Annuity Scheme (PAS) as a corporate trustee. The PAS scheme is one of the pension schemes run by the University.

Marketing, Sales and Communication

This year’s Christmas at Leeds programme has been finalised and the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications Team have worked closely with the International and Student Experience teams to promote it widely. Many students will be in Leeds during the University holidays and this year more than ever, it’s been a key priority to inform them about the wide range of events and activities which they can get involved during this festive period.
The team have continued to support the wider FD with communications needs, ranging from devising the key messaging for The Edge reopening, providing end of term guidance and information to students in our residences and supporting students with the travel window.

PCB update

Throughout the pandemic Print and Mailing operations have maintained a daily presence on campus. They have ensured the smooth running of Covid specific projects as well as delivering on large scale University initiatives. In response to Covid 19, the team were pivotal to the social distancing signage process required to re-open campus buildings. They were well placed to produce the numerous resources required and developed new ways of working to ensure quick turnaround of signage orders. As part of this process the team launched an online shop to enable colleagues across the University to order all signage and other materials. The online shop displayed 389 products for staff to assist them to safely re-open their buildings. In just under four months the team processed 2632 online orders and printed 89,826 items.

The team worked closely to support the University IT Team and assisted in distributing 1482 laptops and associated peripherals to staff and students’ homes. The team provided an essential digitisation service to scan various University essential/critical mail for individuals to receive digitally. As an example, approximately 500 invoices are digitised weekly, so colleagues can ensure payments are maintained to our suppliers. The team managed the role of a goods inwards service for the entire campus from end of March until the beginning of September. Over 2000 items were received, stored or delivered liaising with Purchasing so they were able to undertake goods receipting to ensure payments were maintained.

As part of the accelerated digital strategy to transform the analogue copy room to a digital data communication centre, the team have worked in partnership with the Student Education Service, Study Abroad Office, Admissions and the Programmes and Assessment (Events) Teams. With the Study Abroad Office the team combined data from two systems to produce three items of communication, one printed and two electronic in a seamless automated workflow. This enabled the delivery of over 1500 Study Abroad transcripts to 1300+ students and 350 partner institutions across the world. The Admission Team presented different challenges. Data was received from multiple admissions managers, then on an agreed schedule process a digital and printed copy of offer letters were produced. This is an automated process to ingest the data, produce a PDF copy for the admission manager and process the print run overnight without user intervention. Currently 4500 letters have been processed to contribute to achieving next year’s student intake target. This process will continue with more to follow over the coming months.

The Programmes and Assessment (Events) Team asked the team to produce 9000 graduation certificates along with personalised letters and a suitable mailing product to enable all students who graduated in the summer to receive their certificates via post. With the December graduation nearly upon us the team are working closely with both the Programmes and Assessment (Events) and Alumni and Development Teams to process 6,000 data files and over nine pieces of artwork into a single student transaction for onward mailing.

Health and Safety

Now that many of our buildings have been safely re-opened and are Covid secure, the team have been making Covid compliant visits across buildings on campus including teaching and social spaces to check all social distancing signage is still correctly in place and that Covid secure guidelines are being followed. In addition to this the team continue to provide health and safety support to the two NHS projects on campus, the vaccine centre at The Edge and the NHS testing centre at the Gryphon Sports Centre.


The Sustainability team communicated guidance to students on the rules around the travel window and new Tier restrictions following the month-long lockdown. To support students who wanted to travel during the holidays the team worked with local and national transport operators such as National Express and LNER. This work ensured safe, flexible and affordable public transport options for students and included free cancellations and date changes.

Ahead of students leaving Leeds during the holidays the Sustainability team led on a foodbank collection initiative with LUU. With help from Residential Services this allowed students to drop off their unwanted food and other essential items in their halls of residence or in LUU which was then donated to foodbanks and people in need across the city.


Great Food at Leeds have continued to provide a hot and cold food service across café outlets and several cafés have been acting as study spaces to give students that much-needed change of scenery to work and enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack. As well as this, The Refectory team ensured that nutritious food and essentials continued to be hand-delivered to students self-isolating in halls on campus.

In support of the Christmas at Leeds programme, keep your eyes peeled for the “Baking the most of Christmas” recipes from Senior Chef, Lisa Hall, who will be sharing her recipe ideas using leftovers and simple ingredients that can be found in your cupboard! Also, there will be a live festive food demonstration in partnership with LUBS to tune in to.


The University Conference team are continuing to provide support to the International Student Office when they welcome approximately 2000 international students to campus in January. The Conference Office will continue to provide a welcome helpdesk, self-isolation support and coordination of transport from Leeds Bradford and Manchester Airports for new and returning students. The conference registration platform is being used to manage the bookings of transport and self-isolation food boxes. The team are working closely with LUU and link to Leeds ambassadors to provide a warm friendly welcome. The Conference team are working closely with International Medieval Congress colleagues and other departments including the Business School Language Centre and Psychology to assist with the transition from physical to virtual events. The MeetinLeeds team are supporting the meeting room requirements for business-critical work.

Sport and Physical Activity

The Edge has been supporting the NHS Trust though the provision of the Halls 1a and 1b for a vaccine trial centre, initially for six weeks but then extended to 18 December.  The feedback from the NHS has been great, stating that the set up at the Edge has been excellent in supporting the delivery of the vaccine trials.  Our student body and our colleagues in LUU have been patient and supportive of the use of the Edge for NHS purposes and SPA staff are appreciative of their understanding.  The Gryphon has been closed since the beginning of the academic year, being a suitable location for a Testing Centre to support our wider community and it is anticipated this space will be closed for the foreseeable future. 

The Edge, whilst opening and closing during the lockdown periods has had to be incredibly reactive to change during the pandemic.  The latest use being for the Asymptomatic (lateral flow) Testing for Students to allow them to return home safety for Christmas. Despite its closure during the second national lockdown period, colleagues worked hard to provide an array of popular online fitness classes, from Les Mills workouts to Edge instructor filmed classes, for all members. The daily classes gave members engaging fitness routines which they could easily perform at home. 

The University’s capital group has confirmed its support for the continuation of the Parklife Scheme which has re-commenced with the support of our colleagues in Capital Development. 

In Autumn 2021, our sports venues have been selected to host extended training camps for both England and Canada Women’s National Rugby League Teams, ahead of their games which will take place in Leeds. Congratulations go to Head of SPA, Suzanne Glavin, who took part in the virtual Nations Tour for Rugby League World Cup 2021. 

Residential Services

It’s been a busy few week across Residential Services the whole team has been working hard to ensure that students have a good experience, whether they’re headed home or staying on in Leeds. Staff have been working closely with partners such as the International Student Office, Great Food at Leeds and Leeds University Union to ensure there’s plenty for residents to get involved with and lots of support available.

Whilst traditional activities like the annual Devonshire Hall Christmas fundraiser can’t go ahead this year, work is underway to run equivalent events virtually with more details coming out closer to the time. The Christmas tree decorating competition is still happening – so keep an eye out if you’re visiting one of the halls!

Security Services

The team are working to help departments across the University plan for upcoming events in 2021.Security Services are saying goodbye to two long-serving members of the team – Shift Manager Jon Turner recently retired after 34 years of service, and Security Officer Stuart Lawrence will be retiring on Christmas Eve. A fond farewell to both, thank you for all your hard work and dedication!

Cleaning Services

As the year end approaches Cleaning Services are ready for a well-earned rest! The team was amongst the first group of staff back on campus after lockdown and have been working under demanding conditions to support a Covid secure working environment for everyone ever since, being customer-facing in often challenging situations. It cannot be underestimated what an asset the cleaning team has been to the University during this pandemic. Team members work early mornings and late evenings, and heavily rely on public transport to commute to and from work. The dedication and commitment of the whole team is very much appreciated.
In the new year there will be some changes to the structure of the department. The Cleansing team will move to become part of the Grounds and Gardens team. Within Cleaning Services there will be a waste and environmental team who will focus on all the waste streams on campus, as well as support the department with delivery of cleaning and sanitising supplies across the University.

This year has seen the introduction of an interim Cleaning Services Service Level Agreement and enhanced cleaning frequencies, including additional daytime housekeeping sanitising teams. In 2021 the team will continue to support the University in providing a Covid secure environment. However, the aim is to look forward to the ‘new normal’ and plan the longer-term future of the department and what its roles and responsibilities need to be.

Winter Flu Vaccine

Winter flu virus season is here and we’re encouraging and supporting all colleagues to get vaccinated. If you’re not eligible for a free NHS flu jab, you can still protect yourself by booking a private flu jab and the University will reimburse you up to £14.

EU Settlement Scheme deadline

The UK is leaving the European Union on Thursday 31 December and, if you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who lives in the UK, you and your family must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, if you haven’t already done so. The scheme is part of UK law and will mean you can continue living and working in the UK, as well as accessing benefits and public services like the NHS. This applies even if you were born in the UK (but you’re not a British citizen) or you have been here for many years and/or you have a Permanent Residence document. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

One-to-one immigration solicitor appointments

International staff can book a free and confidential 30-minute appointment with an immigration specialist from Freeths Solicitors on Friday 27 November or Thursday 21 January 2021. Sessions take place on Microsoft Teams or over the phone and provide an opportunity to discuss anything relating to visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship issues. Please note appointment availability may be limited.

Explore LinkedIn Learning and look after your wellbeing

During the festive break it’s important to take time to look after your wellbeing. Access your free LinkedIn Learning account and check out a specially curated collection of wellbeing courses. Discover over 15,000 courses anytime and anywhere, log in online or download the LinkedIn Learning app from the Google Play or the Apple Store.

Multi-storey car park on a foggy day

Facilities Directorate Staff Bulletin – November 2020

Reflecting back over the summer months, teams across the FD spent a great deal of time and effort to reopen buildings on campus. It was certainly not an easy task, requiring a collective effort and high levels of coordination across the FD, in particular Estates and Health and Safety teams, together with our academic colleagues and central services. The majority of buildings are now reopened and working well in support of student learning, student experience and University research. Thank you to each and every individual across the FD who supported this reopening project, it was certainly no easy task!

As students returned and we moved into the new academic year, I have been extremely proud of our teams in Residences and Catering who have demonstrated such care and commitment to our students in Halls, supporting isolation needs and finding innovative solutions to the challenges faced. Our teams in Sport and Physical Activity have enabled students and staff to exercise and play sport safely and our cleaners and security staff who have ensured that campus remains a safe environment. Further details on this breadth of activity is included below.

In September we also welcomed our new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, who joins from Imperial College London. The recent Working Together webinars hosted by Simone were a great opportunity to hear from our new VC, and the senior leadership team at the University. They give insight into the University priorities moving forward, which include the focus on digital transformation and ensuring we build back better after Covid. I would recommend listening to them on the For Staff website if you have not already done so.

With the latest Government news this week, some elements of services have been forced to close their doors and further challenges for us likely lie ahead. However, I have no doubt that we will face this next stage with the positivity, resilience and commitment you have all demonstrated so far.  As I write, the first potential vaccine has just been announced which could help get things back to near normal by spring next year… let’s all keep our fingers crossed!  Thank you again for all your continued hard work during these difficult times.

Dennis Hopper
Director of Campus Development, Facilities Directorate


How do the latest lockdown measures affect FD Services?

Campus will remain open and will continue to operate in a Covid-secure way, with the safety of staff and students remaining our top priority.

Students are being encouraged to remain in their current accommodation until the end of term (11 December). By remaining in Leeds, students will be able to get the maximum benefit from teaching and learning activities and co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that are provided face-to-face, as well as benefit from the support and camaraderie of those in their immediate households.

Cafes on campus will remain open for takeaway services and the Refectory will continue to provide a seated service – for students in catered halls only – and a study space for all students.

All sports and physical activity facilities will close until 2 December, with the exception of those provided for elite or academic purposes.

Working arrangements

Our general principle remains that staff who can work effectively from home will continue to do so, coming onto campus only where that is necessary to deliver or support research, student education or the student experience, or because of another agreed reason to work on campus.  Previously it was communicated that this arrangement would continue until at least the Christmas break, but it is now clear it will last well into 2021.

Working from home can be challenging for some and the University are continuously reviewing the provision of wellbeing, health and support services to colleagues who continue to work from home.

If you are working on campus on an ongoing basis or a one-off visit, it is important that you follow the safety measures in place and agreed working on campus processes.

A tremendous effort to re-open campus

Over the last few months, we saw a phenomenal team effort across Services in the FD to re-open our campus buildings, which has been an integral part of the University re-entry process and above all, to ensure we continued to maintain safe environments for our staff and students.

The details below give a sense of the enormity of this project and the teamwork that has been required to ensure success:

  • Estates Maintenance ensured all building utilities such as water hygiene testing and alarm testing was all compliant and operationally safe.  The handy gang team fitted over 2000 hand sanitiser dispensers across different locations on campus.
  • Estates Capital Development drew up plans of all sizable academic buildings over the summer, indicating the approach required internally for social distancing (one way systems, access to floors, kitchens, toilets, maximum capacities of teaching spaces, offices, etc.) with signage and hygiene point locations. Members of the team were also seconded as Facility Managers, where they assisted Schools and Services in the coordination and management for the re-entry to buildings.
  • Our mechanical and electrical engineers worked with other Estates colleagues to ensure that building ventilation and electrical systems were fully serviced and operationally ready for the start of the academic year.
  • The Estates Project Management office team meticulously managed the processes and procedures involved in successfully re-opening the buildings.
  • The FD, Marketing, Sales and Communications Team communicated information on building re-opening to all students and staff by providing weekly updates on the dedicated University coronavirus website. In addition to creating communications plans for building users to follow and designing all social distancing signage.
  • Health and Safety were heavily involved in making the buildings Covid secure, through identifying all health and safety requirements, implementing social distancing signage for each building and gaining approval from the University re-entry Group to enter buildings.
  • Cleaning Services ensured all re-opened areas were thoroughly cleaned ready for occupation in a Covid secure environment, delivering an enhanced cleaning regime and keeping the sanitiser points maintained.
  • The Facilities Managers coordinated activities with the Faculties and supported the Covid re-entry response.
  • Security Services reviewed access arrangements for all buildings prior to opening to ensure any new arrangements were safe and secure.
  • The Facilities Support Team and Estates planning and information teams worked to prepare the teaching space to ensure it was Covid ready prior to opening which included the removal of furniture from over 160 rooms throughout the campus. Locking and access arrangements for all the buildings that were opened were reviewed and reconfigured.

Sustainability collaborations

It’s been a very busy few months for the Sustainability team who have been integral to setting up the University’s Coronavirus reporting system, reopening the Bike Hub and welcoming two new interns to the team.

As students returned to Leeds in September, the University needed a way to support students and staff who tested positive for Coronavirus. As the Sustainability team already run the city’s Universities and Colleges Neighbourhood Helpline, the service was perfectly placed to design and run the University’s new Coronavirus reporting system. The team is now managing this system to report on positive cases and ensure staff and students are getting any help and support they need.

Working alongside colleagues in central communications, the Sustainability team have created guidance to support students in private accommodation. This forms part of the main university Coronavirus website and includes information on how to keep yourself and others safe, understand the rules in place around social distancing and highlights the fines and sanctions students could face if they break these rules.

As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to maintaining an inclusive community, the sustainability team have led an initiative to join forces with Leeds Beckett University to help further tackle antisocial student behaviour in our wider community. The universities have funded additional Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team (LASBT) and Police patrols with the aim to reduce noise and nuisance behaviour in areas where students live.  Read the full story on the University Webpage 

At the beginning of October, the University’s new cycle to work scheme launched. After months of hard work with the Sustainability and the Staff Benefits teams working together to find the best option for our staff, the new provider, Cyclescheme, was appointed.  This is a positive enhancement to the existing University sustainable travel package and the main benefits of the new scheme include:

  • Increase in the upper funding limit from £1,000 to £3,000 to enable colleagues to source a wider range of electric and accessible/adapted bikes and safety equipment.
  • A network of over 2000 independent cycle stores nationwide for staff to select a bike and safety equipment that is right for their lifestyle.

It is hoped that this change will enable more people to give cycling a go. Find out more about the scheme on the HR Staff Benefits Webpage.  

The University Bike Hub has reopened after working closely with colleagues in Estates and Health & Safety. Staff and students can once again hire bikes or get help with bike maintenance through a new appointment system to ensure social distancing rules can be followed for everyone’s safety.  For more details visit the Bike Hub webpage.

In October, the team welcomed Zoe Gilbank and Phoebe Jarvis who will be working with the team for the next year under an internship as Sustainability Projects Assistants. They will be involved in a mix of projects from Blueprint to community engagement and the team is excited to have them with us and see what fresh perspectives they can bring.

Conferencing supporting students and external partners

Since late August, the Conference Office has worked closely with the International Student Office to provide a welcome and self-isolation support service to students from outside the UK. The two departments have collaborated to support all enquiries prior to and after arrival. They set up and managed a registration system for all international students to confirm their arrival date, transport requirements, self-isolation food box, kitchen and bedding pack needs. They provided a welcome and transport service from both Leeds Bradford and Manchester Airports and during the “normal” meet and greet period additional staff provided a welcome in Leeds Train Station.

To date, the team have registered over 1800 students from over 80 countries. Helped 1166 students with self-isolation food boxes, helped 1039 students with transport from airports and provided 60 bed and kitchen packs.

The team have continued to support the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust with their International doctors and nurses recruitment by providing accommodation across the University’s residential portfolio. Cloth Hall Court also continues to support the Nightingale Court, as well as welcome meetings for up to 30 people in a socially distant capacity.

As a result of the pandemic all events for the charity Communication Matters, a Positive Impact Partner, were cancelled, so, in partnership with MEETinLEEDS the team set up some virtual events, using Aventri, to help raise awareness and vital funds for the charity. The twilight sessions had both academic and social elements and were held every Thursday afternoon in October.  Activities involved a virtual balloon race, a virtual disco, a performance from the amazing ‘Sing Out Loud’ alongside keynote speakers and presentations.

Estates – Capital Development Team

Over the year, many of the larger building projects continued on site and Capital Development project managers and clerk of works managed the projects in terms of quality, programme, cost and risk, but with the added complexity of ensuring that contractors had policies and procedures in place to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices. This led to the University enhancing the contractors’ welfare facilities with more toilets, offices and break time accommodation. With lengthened timescales of work activities, the team reorganised the site programme due to fewer operatives allowed on site because of social distancing and assessed the impact on vertical supply chain risks as many suppliers had furloughed their staff.

After the Grenfell disaster, organisations were requested by the government to ensure that their buildings were safe in case of fire risk. To meet this requirement the Capital Development team have undertaken a complete fire risk survey of all our residential accommodation and academic buildings, with rectification works undertaken where any weaknesses were encountered.

FD Finance

In July, the FD Finance team were busy completing the financial year-end. The FD is a large, complex organisation comprising of multiple different business models, and the accuracy of the forecasts and quality of the results is a true testament to the team’s work. The first updated forecast of the year has also just been completed, this allows us to track our financial position and the good news is that we remain on track to deliver cost savings and reductions that we identified and communicated to the University back in May/June.

The team continue to work on a variety of projects across the FD; they are currently reviewing all spending requests up to £5,000. This helps ensure we manage the way we spend our money in the FD. They continue to provide support on the large construction projects including the Generating Station Complex and Spen Farm, for which they have developed a new charging model to help recover money from research projects and make the Farm financially secure.

The team is currently recruiting to fill the vacancy previously held by Shelley Fox, with an ambition to bring in a slightly more senior post holder who can develop commercial strategies, work on day-to-day finances of the commercial aspects of the FD and provide deputy cover for the Head of Finance. In the meantime, Louise Larkins is looking after SPA, with support from Robert Dewar. Ryan McDermott is looking after Catering, PCB, Mailroom with Kev Stephenson’s support, also Campus Support with Dionne Walker’s support. The team are managing well but during peak periods may be somewhat delayed in responses.

Sport and Physical Activity keeping the University community active

Prior to the recent national lockdown, Sport and Physical Activity services worked hard to put in place Covid-secure measures to reopen facilities and this enabled nearly 11,000 unique visits to the pool, gym and exercise classes, and nearly 4,000 unique visits to our outdoor sport campus. The team received positive feedback from students and customers alike. Thanks go to Cleaning Services, Estates Services, Health and Safety Services and Leeds University Union (LUU), who have supported this excellent collaboration and hard work.

Most of the outdoor and indoor student Gryphon Sport Clubs returned to training at The Edge, Cromer Terrace and the outdoor sport campus as well as various facilities across the City.

Whilst the new national lockdown means that facilities must once again close (with the exception of those provided for elite or academic purposes), growing numbers have been signing up to take part in keeping active virtually. The staff virtual run relays, organised by the Get Out, Get Active team had 90+ staff members signed up for the Halloween run in October. Read more about the events here and why not sign up to one of the next events?

Cleaning Services keeping us safe

Cleaning Services have reviewed how they operate in the short term to support the start of the academic year and reviews will continue as the situation and demands change. Currently, there is a dedicated day time housekeeping team who regularly sanitise main touch points in all open areas, mid-day teaching space check and sanitise, check clean and sanitise washroom areas. In addition, there are battery operated sanitiser sprays for large area sanitising such as stair handrails and lecture theatres, a specialised sanitiser coating product is used in these areas periodically as well as ongoing touchpoint sanitising.

There are dedicated team members working around the campus checking and filling all the hand sanitiser units every day, so if you come across one that is empty don’t worry it will be filled soon and there will be another one close by for you to use in the meantime!

Thanks go to the team for always promoting the upmost professionalism whilst carrying out their work. They have had to adapt to very different way of working and are front facing in controlling the risk of infection through the cleaning methods and products being used.

As we all continue to work together to reduce the risk of the virus please remember that the most important control of infection for individuals is washing hands regularly and thoroughly, if no hand wash facilities are available please use hand sanitiser, wear face coverings and observe social distancing.

If you have a cleaning or sanitising related queries please email the Estates Helpdesk


The Refectory team have been working around the clock to ensure that home-style cooked food and essentials are being hand-delivered to students self-isolating in halls on campus. The operation, run from the Refectory kitchen, involves chefs preparing fresh meals each day for any catered students who are self-isolating.  The team recognise the importance of eating well for physical and mental wellbeing and have made it a priority to support students’ eating habits during isolation.  All planning and preparation has centred on the individual needs of the student and ensuring that the food delivered is healthy, nutritious and enjoyable.

Despite challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) team have continued to work towards the end of 2020 target to remove single-use plastic from their operations. As part of this work, GFAL are once again accepting reusable cups for hot drinks after developing a new procedure to ensure the safety of their use for both staff and customers, reducing the number of single-use cups being used across campus. Working alongside Sustainability, the GFAL team also introduced on campus disposable cup recycling bins which have separate sections for lids, cups and waste liquid to make it as easy as possible for customers to recycle any disposable cups still being used. The new coffee-cup shaped recycling bins can be found in the Refectory, The Edit Room, Café Maia at Ziff, Loma and Café 7, read the full story on the Sustainability website.

The Refectory team are also celebrating as they recently retained the Gold award status for sustainable business operations, with an increase in score from last year.  The Refectory received high marks for initiatives around reducing single-use plastic, tackling food waste and sustainable fish swaps.  Read the full story on the GFaL website.

Security Services

Security staff continue to work with the highest commitment and dedication in supporting staff, students and visitors during this unprecedented period.  Lately, the team have been involved in several initiatives aimed at student safety since the start of term; these include Operation Walksafe and the Student Ambassador Programme.

Operation Walksafe takes place every year where the team ensure the safety of staff and particularly students during Fresher’s week. This year has inevitably been very different from previous years, but the team continued to offer the service which has been extended to the end of term.

Security Operations Manager, Steve Sloan, was seconded to coordinate the Student Ambassador Programme which commenced in early September. This is a programme to assist and orientate new students to campus, assisting them with wayfinding and helping to answer any questions they may have especially on Covid 19 guidelines.

The team wished a fond farewell to Jon Turner, long-standing Shift Manager, who retired after 34 years, service. Jon was thanked for his dedication and commitment throughout his career at the University.  In August they welcomed two new recruits and saw PC Charlotte Maude commence a six-month role as the Police Higher Education Liaison Officer and congratulations go to Malcolm Dawson, Head of Security who has been appointed the Security Institute Representative on the Advisory Board of ProtectED.

Residential Services supporting students

The Residential Services team has had an extremely busy few months since the start of the new academic year. A new contactless and staggered arrivals process had to be created to enable students to move in safely via booked time slots, which ran very smoothly. Once students arrived the Residence Life team ran a series of virtual welcome events to help new students settle in and meet new people in a safe and enjoyable way, and these were attended by over 700 students across all the events. As well as this, the Residence Life Wardens held virtual welcome talks to help students to settle into their halls.

A key part of the Residence Life team’s role this term has involved supporting students who have been self-isolating inside residences. This has involved offering them pastoral support, as well as advice and guidance on how they can get food delivery or do their laundry during this time. The new self-isolation webpage has given students lots of useful information, and the team have been running regular Zoom calls with students to help them through self-isolation.

Managing discipline and the new social distancing rules inside of residences has also been an important challenge. As part of the arrivals process, the team worked with the FD Marketing & Communications team to create a guide and a video for students explaining how social distancing would work in accommodation. Enhanced disciplinary regulations and accommodation contracts were created to include the new social distancing rules, helping to ensure the comfort and safety of all staff and students in residences.

In collaboration with the FD Marketing & Communications team, Residence Life also created the No Tricks, Just Treats Halloween box for students. This was a box of Halloween-themed goodies including sweets, recipes and ‘Stick the Fangs on the Vampire’ game given to every household in residences and proved a huge hit.

Marketing, Sales and Communications

Over the last few months, the team have collaborated with the Student Communications team to find innovative ways to engage students, supporting a range of University-wide projects. These included ensuring a successful student ‘welcome to campus’, promotion of the additional campus study spaces, filming and creating the important reassurance ‘safety for students’ video and continuing to engage students with campus activities that enhance the student experience.

Digital channels have become ever more important and the team have been working hard to ensure that all FD websites are compliant with the accessibility legislation. This work is now almost complete and with IT for final checks. This includes the development of the new Sustainability website which launched recently.

As the construction of the Sir William Henry Bragg building draws closer to completion a series of workshops with stakeholders have been undertaken by GFAL to determine a name for the new café in the building.  The chosen name for the new café brand is ‘1915’, named after the year in which the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays. The name will now go through all the necessary legal checks and brand registrations.

The team are saying farewell to two colleagues, Vickie Hesketh (Digital Marketing and Communications) who has a new role at the NHS and Mike Walker (Marketing, Sales and Communications for SPA) who has a new role with ODPL. The team welcomed two new student interns to the team: Abbie McGurk working on digital communications; and Howe-Yee Law working on graphic design projects.

Leeds Carers appointments

Carers Leeds offer free confidential telephone appointments to University of Leeds staff who care for a family member or a friend with an illness, disability or addiction. The aim of these, 40-minute appointments is to provide a wide range of practical advice, support and information to working carers.

Upcoming appointments are available on 11 November 2020, the first appointment starts 9.10am and the last appointment starts at 1.30pm.

To book a telephone appointment, please contact the EPU on More details about support for staff with caring responsibilities can be found on our webpage.




Read July 2020 FD Bulletin. A photograph of the Parkinson Building

Facilities Directorate Staff Bulletin – July 2020

I am writing to you all with a further update on news from across the FD over the last few weeks.

You will have seen that the University has now defined what the academic year will look like for students.  From September undergraduate students can expect to receive a hybrid mix of teaching, both online and face-to-face. For many postgraduates it is expected that they will wish to defer their start dates until January. The implications of this are complex and many questions are still being worked through, including how we control large numbers of students on campus, what extra-curricular activity can students expect and how we manage residential accommodation.

The research community at Leeds are keen to start using their labs and a priority list of buildings is currently being worked through to enable activity to start as soon as all of the necessary building checks and health and safety measures are put into place.

You will have seen the recent updates on health and safety messages sent to all staff from Roger Gair (University Secretary), in which he provided further information on some of the additional measures being undertaken to provide a safe environment for staff and students who are returning to campus. You can view this update and more at

Colleagues across all service areas in the FD are working incredibly hard to support the re-opening of campus and more details of the huge amount of work that each service area is involved in can be viewed below in this bulletin. Once again, in this ever-changing environment, I’d like to thank you all for your ongoing commitment and flexibility to support the varying demands and work across the Facilities Directorate.

Dennis Hopper
Director of Campus Development, Facilities Directorate

Maintaining a safe campus environment 

Cleaning Services are delivering their comprehensive Cleaning Plan as part of buildings reopening. The team are carrying out a thorough clean of campus facilities in line with the senior management plan of building opening schedules. Cleaning methods, equipment, cleaning and sanitising products are being investigated and reviewed where necessary to facilitate any changes required for the future, Public Health England guidelines and industry best practice are all being taken into consideration in decision making.

The focus for Cleaning Services will be on using methods and best practice to assist in the control of infection. However, to reduce cross-contamination for everyone – effective hand washing remains one of the simplest and important factors to control the risk of infection.

Cleaning Services continue to provide essential services to the Dental Hospital and to key areas of research across campus. In addition, the team is also helping with waste management and pest control across campus, as well as assisting Estates in their work. These activities being undertaken by Cleaning Services are crucial to maintaining a safe environment on campus.

Within Estate Services, the Operations team have over 65 staff who are regularly attending University sites at various times to support both planned and reactive maintenance activities and for the monitoring of development activity. This includes over 15 different tasks, with many people redeployed to support compliance activities such as water hygiene works. They are also keeping the buildings safe and secure for people to attend when carrying out essential activity, with water systems, fire alarms, emergency lighting and lifts being just a few of the assets being maintained and inspected. Over the course of the next few weeks there are three major projects still on site and the Engineering team are maintaining a quality and technical requirement monitoring programme to ensure the finished product delivers the very highest standards. A team of project managers from the Design Team are supporting the re-opening of buildings, from re-designing the internal layout to meet social distancing guidelines, to supporting Schools and Faculties in correctly interpreting the health and safety guidance when re-opening the buildings.

Alongside a small team of volunteers including colleagues from Sustainability, the Energy team have been carrying out a campus audit; carefully switching off lights and any non-essential equipment that was left operating due to the speed of shutdown across the University. This has proved valuable not just from a physical isolation perspective but also to understand some of the behavioural activity, such as using localised heating appliances.

The remainder of the Operations team continues to work from home, supporting compliance activity, reactive maintenance provision and planning for the works that will be required to bring the campus back to use.

Whilst a high percentage of campus development projects remain on hold for the indefinite future, the team have been trying to mobilise projects based on contracts and urgency of completion.  This includes the Clothworkers refurbishment and plans to progress the completion of Levels 4 and 9 of the Faculty of Biological Sciences refurbishment. Several asbestos works to buildings across campus have also been taking place.

All staff and contractors are strictly adhering to Public Health England/Government guidelines on Covid 19.

The Planon project team are moving into Phase 2 of the project. Many colleagues will be involved in the work to configure the system to help deliver an improved service to our customers.  Next steps involve the project team working on the building blocks for Phase 2, specifically the Helpdesk, Reactive Maintenance and the customer journey. Each area needs to be broken down and understood so that the processes can be mapped into Planon, ensuring essential steps are included but also taking the opportunity to eliminate tasks that are no longer required or can be done more effectively.

 Sustainable Travel and Webinars

The Sustainability Service are leading the travel to campus planning activity, working closely with the Car Parking team to devise short-term support for parking and also working in collaboration with Leeds City Council to provide safe, sustainable travel options for when staff and students return to campus. This work includes some exciting plans for temporary cycle routes across the city to encourage more people to commute actively, and supporting others walking or running to campus.

For all information about travelling to campus take a look at the commuting to campus webpage.

Over the past month the Sustainability team has embraced our new ways of working to continue hosting their sustainability community events as webinars. These events take place each month and are based around different topics for staff across the University who are working on, or interested in, sustainability activities at Leeds. The most recent topics have included single-use plastic and campus biodiversity. Both webinars have been hugely popular and gained fantastic feedback from staff.  The upcoming webinars include travel, a sustainable curriculum, social sustainability and climate.

During July the annual Sustainability Awards took place digitally. The awards celebrated the sustainable achievements of students and staff at the university and the full list of winners and highly commended can be seen on the Sustainability Awards webpage. Congratulations to Great Food at Leeds, Cleaning Services and Purchasing colleagues who were all highly commended in a number of categories for the fantastic work they do.

Project Management Office 

The Project Management Office team are working on several long-term improvement projects with teams throughout the FD including the Parking Team, the Print Copy Bureau, Development and the Security Team.  The team have also been supporting the work to reopen the University through coordinating activities and working with teams to develop robust processes.  Following on from the significant changes that have taken place over the last few months, the team will be supporting new improvements that will help the FD to adapt.

Supporting our people and practices 

The HR team is working remotely to provide support for staff across the FD. HR has been supporting services where staff have been identified as essential workers, ensuring the necessary “essential worker” letters are issued and that appropriate pay arrangements put in place for these staff.

For staff who are not required on campus at the moment, and cannot work from home, HR has been coordinating the Furlough Leave arrangements, including making telephone calls to each member of staff individually to explain the process. For staff at the University who are placed on furlough leave there is no reduction in pay and no change to terms and conditions, but it does allow us to claim back 80% of salary costs from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will assist with our longer-term financial position. There are now circa 550 staff on Furlough Leave, including the majority of Cleaning Services, SPA and Catering staff, as well as smaller numbers from other areas of FD. These Furloughing arrangements are being kept under review to ensure we have the right levels of staff available to us as and when needed.

HR has also been working closely with payroll colleagues to ensure staff in FD who are normally paid via timesheets, continue to be paid during the closure period by determining averaged hours payments. This process has proved more complicated than first expected and we are grateful to staff who have been patient whilst these issues are resolved.

HR continues to provide support and advice to managers and staff on a range of issues and this has included giving clear advice that we are all expected to take our normal, full annual leave entitlement during this leave year. This does mean that all staff should ensure they plan the dates they will be on leave between now and the end of September and agree this with their manager.

With support from the FD Marketing and Communications team a text messaging arrangement has been set up to keep in regular contact with staff who do not use a work email. There is a great deal of information being provided to staff electronically; and for staff that do not access email as part of their normal working arrangements it could mean they are missing out. Regular text messages go to staff to sign post them to information on our websites, including all of the University staff e-newsletter updates. We are also in the process of sending information by post to staff who have no access at all to IT.

The University cares about your health and wellbeing 

The continuation of remote working may cause anxiety and other issues for some colleagues and we will aim to continue to provide as much support as we can at this time. Please remember that colleagues in the Occupational Health and University Counselling Services are available to help you, and you do not need a formal referral to speak to them. In addition, do speak to your line manager who will also try to find ways to help you at this time.

Occupational Health and Staff Counselling services are both available to support all staff. Please make personal contact with them if you need practical help with personal issues or support at work, advice or someone to talk to. Both services are confidential – Staff Counselling  – Monday to Friday. Email: Occupational Health – Tel 0113 343369 or 0113 343 2997 Ext 32997 or email

Health and Safety Policy consultation 

Have your say about the University’s updated Health and Safety Policy and see how the responsibilities affect you. Feedback can be submitted until Monday 20 July

Connecting with our residents and community 

Approximately 23% of University owned residences are occupied and the Service continues to operate through the commitment of the team and colleagues from other parts of the FD – thank you all! Virtual activities have been developed for residents which include online puzzles, creating music playlists and even a virtual art competition. If you have any inspirational ideas of other fun virtual activities that could be run in the future, please let the team know by emailing

The Halls Awards, an annual celebration of the incredible students who have contributed to the Halls community, took place in May. The virtual event celebrated student volunteers and Subwarden teams across all residences. You can view the video of the event on the Residence Life Facebook page .

The Residences team continues to focus on cleaning vacant rooms in University owned residences. This essential service is delivered with site teams and volunteers from other departments disposing of rubbish, cleaning utensils and ensuring that when students do return, the environment is a safe and pleasant one. As part of this work over 200kg of food left in Devonshire Hall has been donated to the Horsforth Food Hub. The Hub has recently been delivering food parcels to people in the local community who are shielding or isolating.

Following updated government guidance, Residential Services began operating a pre-booked appointment only belongings collection process for residents at the start of June. Residences have been clearly marked out with social distancing signage and through the appointment booking system the numbers of residents collecting their belongings on a site at any one time has been kept to a safe and manageable level.  Most students have now collected their belongings and cleared their rooms, and the team has been following up with those who haven’t to see if any support is needed.

Site teams remain busy with compliance work – legionella water outlet flushing, weekly fire sounder tests amongst various audits. The challenge to ensure not a moment is wasted is being relished to clean, maintain and prepare vacant rooms for their next occupants. Work is also ongoing to ensure that when students arrive in September it is an environment they can find both enjoyable and safe. Extra cleaning of key areas around residences will be performed, with hand sanitiser also made widely available. A staggered and contactless arrival process is being developed, alongside new welcome and induction events, and enhanced support from the Residence Life team.

Effective communications 

The FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team have continued to support the work of all service areas across the FD. In partnership with central communications colleagues and other key services such as the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service, the team has developed guidance to support the re-opening of campus buildings, this includes new wayfinding, social distancing signage and communications to support teams to safely re-open buildings and contributing to the overall message to ensure all staff and students feel informed and safe when returning to campus.  The team are also managing the communications surrounding building reopening plans and are regularly updating the building reopening page on the University’s coronavirus website.

The team have supported the development of the University Virtual Open Day, which has been a monumental collaborative effort with colleagues from Central Marketing and Central Communications. The open day can now be viewed and has live events running from the 29th June

Work on the FD website accessibility compliance continues, together with the construction of the new Sustainability website.

Keeping campus safe and coordinating access

Since the lockdown started the Security Services have continued to provide a 24/7 presence on campus. To ensure the safety of those staff and students still working or in residences, they are deploying more high visibility patrols around University property. This has had a significant effect on crime reduction with several criminal offenders apprehended. This includes the arrest of two criminals for attempted burglary at the Garstang Building. An investigation by Security revealed they had been involved in several other crimes on campus. They have now been charged and the investigation has been handed over to the police for further enquiries.

Security have also played a vital role in coordinating access and the continued running of essential services across the University. This has included carefully managing the number of people on campus at any one time so that social distancing can be maintained whilst still allowing for contractors and Estates to access buildings for maintenance and other works.

One example of this involved Security arranging access to the cold storage facilities in the Psychology Building. This enabled an organisation working with Leeds City Council to safely store leftover food from restaurants before it was distributed to those in need across the city.

Mark Bownass, Deputy Head of Security, said, “All of the Security staff have worked incredibly hard during a challenging time to reduce crime, keep campus safe and secure and manage essential access to the University estate. Thanks to the whole team for their dedication.”

Food for thought 

The Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) team continue to work hard in providing food and drink to staff and students on  campus.

The Refectory is open 9am-2pm each day, Monday to Friday, for a takeaway service only with social distancing measures in place to ensure safety.

Work continues on the Sir William Henry Bragg building café project and the GFAL team, together with the FD Marketing and Communications team delivered a virtual interactive workshop with key stakeholders to devise a brand name for the new café.

GFAL are also looking at innovative new ways to embrace new trends and increase value for money perception for customers including increasing the style of takeaway offers at The Refectory, including chilled ‘ready meals’ to go and new improved food bundle plans.  

Active and Healthy experiences for all 

Sport and Physical Activity (SPA) continues to support the University and local community to keep active and healthy by using the popular Your Home, Your Move workout hub.

The annual Balancing Life survey took place in June, and this year focused on a snapshot of four weeks during lockdown, in order to gain valuable insight of how staff and students have been dealing with this current unique and difficult situation.  We will shortly be sharing results from the survey on our balancing life webpage.

The annual Sports Colours Awards evening was delivered in collaboration with LUU virtually via the Leeds Sport Instagram in May with over 1,000 people tuning in to celebrate student sporting achievements from across the year.

In early May, the Football Foundation confirmed the awarding of £4.2m grant to support the Parklife Project at Bodington site and have deferred the conditions of the grant for twelve months due to the pandemic. Having already received planning permission, work will focus on planning the development which includes provision of new 3G pitches and pavilion for football.

SPA has continued to deliver online teaching to students, including supporting members of the volunteering programme, LEED modules and performance athletes. To date 144 applications to the 2020/21 volunteering programme have been received and over 26 coach scholars awarded, the most the Service has ever had.

The Operations Team continue to perform regular on-site essential checks whilst working with colleagues from across campus to coordinate maintenance of the facilities.

Although several of the SPA team have been furloughed, work continues across many projects in the Service, with staff available to answer customer queries and concerns. The team are also working with Leeds City Council to bid to host pre-games training camps for counties due to participate in the Commonwealth Games 2022, due to be held in Birmingham in two years’ time.

SPA continue to work towards a reopening date of the 7th September for The Edge and will aim to provide some access to outdoor facilities at Sports Park Weetwood and Bodington for the new academic year. Some professional sports teams and athlete training has started again, Halifax Town FC and British Triathlon are now training at Bodington and YCCC cricket have also started training again at Sports Park Weetwood. 

Digital Conferences

MEETinLEEDS have worked in collaboration with the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies to host a virtual version of the 4th Arabic Linguistics Forum  on the new University of Leeds Event App. The virtual forum was comprised of 5 keynote lectures, 60 presentations and 10 Q&A sessions. The format is a mixture of pre-recorded videos made available on YouTube and live sessions hosted on Blackboard Collaborate. The Q&A sessions offer an opportunity for live interaction and discussion on the pre-recorded content

Bringing together medievalists from over 60 different countries ranging from Canada to Australia, this year’s virtual International Medieval Congress (IMC) took place over a digital forum and brought together an international community of scholars keen to participate in cutting-edge research in the field. The event featured over 500 speakers, and included a wide array of individual papers, roundtable discussions with medieval experts from all over the world, and even a virtual disco. Featuring two keynote speakers; one from Spain and another from Korea, as well as keynote presentations covering vital new research in medieval studies by prominent academics, the IMC covered all aspects of Medieval Studies via the new event app.

An ‘Ask the Expert’ blog series has been launched across the MEETinLEEDS channels and will provide information on how the conferencing industry is adapting to the current situation.

MEETinLEEDS exhibited at the first virtual exhibition for MEETGB.  It was a virtual showcase for organisers of international events to discover the possibilities available across the UK.  The team exhibited to North America and Europe over a two-day showcase.

Cloth Hall Court has been named as one of ten emergency venues across England to act as a ‘Nightingale Court’ to open to help the justice system cope with a backlog of cases that have built up during the lockdown. 

Developing innovative printing and ordering solutions 

PCB are managing the orders for all social distancing signage needed on campus which are being requested through the Health and Safety Managers responsible for each building reopening.  More products continue to be added to the catalogue as the social distancing measures evolve and more is learned about the needs of specific buildings.

The dedicated Student Store, has been well used during the lock down and PCB’s online help desk is also now up and running successfully supporting staff and students with their queries for the print and mail team.


The Finance team have been working with the Estates Project Management Office and HR colleagues to automate the new approval processes for all (staff and non-staff) new expenditure commitments above £5k. Thanks go to Joel Middleton and Anne-Marie Martin for their contributions and for support from Jo Sheen and Roona Ohwoisi-Swinton to help combine this into the University staffing approval processes (ATR process). This should provide a slicker, more efficient process, which will stand the FD in good stead immediately, but also if the University policy continues for any period into the future. Although it has been extensively tested there may be some teething problems. A new MS Teams site has been set up to store materials to support this process. Please let Robert Dewar or Maggie Cooper, know if you would like access to that team site.

Following on from the submission of the FD’s 5-year financial plan in late April, we have been analysing risks and mitigations arising from the COVID -19 situation. This work will continue with future iterations and will align to the work taking place regarding the campus re-entry.


Updates on the University response to Coronavirus can be found at and on the FD website news section at

Clothworkers Court at the University of Leeds

Facilities Directorate Staff Bulletin – April 2020

After significant change as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, I wanted to thank staff across the Facilities Directorate (FD) for the positive response you have all given to the unprecedented challenges we have faced. In particular, your dedication to maintaining essential operations across campus and your commitment to supporting the well-being of our students. Many of you are adapting to working from home, balancing the demands of care responsibilities, looking out for neighbours, volunteering to support the NHS and doing the right thing in line with government advice. We also have a core of essential workers who remain on campus who are enabling the University to care for the students who remain in Halls and offer support to our partners in the NHS. This commitment is greatly appreciated and further details of the work happening across the FD can be read in the sections below.

Everyone has really stepped up to the challenge and this current crisis has demonstrated the dedication and professionalism at the heart of the services that make up the Facilities Directorate. There is no doubt that further hard work lies ahead before we can return to some degree of normality, but the efforts delivered so far show that there is a great deal to be confident about around the ability to plan and implement the necessary operations to overcome these challenges.

The estate shutdown has had to be enacted with little time for planning, but because of the diverse range of specialists within the various teams, it has happened in a reassuringly orderly fashion. However, even now colleagues are engaged with planning for re-occupation of the campus and wider facilities to ensure the University can be back to full operation as soon as practicably possible as restrictions begin to be lifted.

Thank you again for your tremendous efforts and I hope you continue to remain safe and well.

Dennis Hopper
Director of Campus Development, Facilities Directorate

Shutting down the estate, maintaining essential services

The current crisis has placed huge and unusual demands upon the Estates and Facilities service in planning and safely implementing an unprecedented shutdown of University activities, the like of which has never been seen before.

Colleagues across Estates Operations have been busy, particularly with preparing for the closure of most buildings. They have been supporting services with staff who still need to access the campus, maintaining statutory compliance to protect buildings and remaining occupants, and also planning for the eventual re-opening of services, which in itself will be a huge undertaking. Grounds and Gardens and Handy gang staff have also been helping move, offload and store essential items, including hospital beds, in support of the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.

The Water Hygiene team, ably assisted by volunteers from across the Maintenance team, have been working daily throughout the estate to ensure water services remain safe and secure. Similarly, the Fire Alarm team is working in the majority of buildings to maintain life safety systems protecting them against the risk of fire whilst unoccupied. The Asbestos team and Health and Safety team have also been coming on to campus for business-critical work only.

The Generating Station Complex (GSC) remains a key service provider to the University and the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust. The present crisis means that the operation of this facility is more critical than ever. Consequently, key members of the Operations team have been tasked with focusing exclusively on planning (with the contractor Engie) the continued safe operation of all services from the GSC with an emphasis on serving the hospital as the critical partner.

The lockdown does present a unique opportunity for us to better understand how energy is used across campus. The Engineering team have been working to carry out the planned shutdown of non-essential facilities to reduce the University’s energy demand to a minimum. This will help reduce wastage and running costs and help inform any future works required to address the University’s net-zero carbon challenge.

Our campus development projects have also been placed on hold. For the immediate future, we have stopped work on most of our campus developments, refurbishment and improvement projects, except for projects where the contractor feels they can safely continue whilst closely following the Public Health England recommendations. These projects include the Sir William Henry Bragg Building and The Esther Simpson Building. The teams are currently assessing the impact of delaying projects and continuing to develop ways to be in a position to tender schemes once there is more clarity about future activity on campus.

Keeping campus safe

As one of the essential services that remain working on campus during the shutdown, the Security Services have been ensuring that campus buildings and facilities remain safe and secure. Security have stepped up high visibility patrols of campus to act as a deterrent to crime and the team are managing access to buildings across campus to ensure that they are available to essential workers.
Security have also taken steps to ensure that staff and students still on campus can access face-to-face advice and support whilst still adhering to social distancing guidelines. A new 24/7 WhatsApp video call service has been set up on 07876 866747, for anyone who needs to speak directly to a security officer. If support is needed in person then the Security Office remains open as an essential service during the shutdown.

Jo Hynes, Deputy Director of Estates & Facilities Services, said: “The Security team are truly a leading example of our values. They are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of the campus and be a first point of contact for all enquiries. They’re supporting students who are still living in residences and are managing essential contractor access. All of this whilst having to work differently themselves and maintain good practice in terms of social distancing and their own safety. Thank you to all the officers and staff!

“A special thanks as well from the whole security team to Catering Services and Bev Kenny. They have very kindly provided meals throughout this period, making the officers feel appreciated. In the current circumstances gestures like this help a lot!”

Caring for students living on campus, catering and managing deliveries

The Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) team has been working hard in providing food and drink to students in accommodation and essential workers on campus.

During the last week of term, when outlets were closed, front-line teams did a tremendous job of keeping vital operations going including providing takeaway meals to students at The Refectory. As well as this, our staff worked with LUU and the Co-op to ensure that all surplus and perishable food was donated to students and local charities across the Leeds and Bradford areas.

GFAL teams continue to work hard to support the University and the NHS, with now over 30 members assisting in other areas such as Residential Services and more taking up operational positions at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.

The coronavirus situation has presented several challenges for Residential Services. With the closure of most campus facilities and the end of in-person teaching, many students decided to head home rather than remain in their accommodation. This led to huge numbers of students contacting the Accommodation Office with questions on everything from their rent payments to key collection and what they should do with belongings left in their rooms. The Accommodation Office team have worked incredibly hard to assist students with all such enquiries and continue to do so.

Considering this extraordinary situation, the decision was taken to allow large numbers of students to withdraw from their accommodation contracts early on 27 March. Notwithstanding that, between 1,560 and 2,600 students are still living in University residences, and Residential Services staff are looking after them. Those in self-isolation, and some with disabilities, have been provided with advice and guidance for how best to look after themselves during this time, and where necessary, food and supplies have been delivered to their flats by Residential and GFAL Catering Services staff.

One consequence of so many students vacating their rooms early has been that Residential Services have been able to offer empty rooms to staff working at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust. This is a great example of the FD being able to provide resources to support our local hospital.

Post and deliveries have kept arriving and with most areas of the University closed those items could just have piled up. Team members in the Print and Copy Bureau/Post Room have had to cope with those pressures and continue to maintain a service. They have been taking in post and larger deliveries, storing many items or issuing those that are essential. As well, they have had to open, scan and transmit urgent and important mail for remote workers e.g. for the Finance Team.

With conferencing events due to take place now being postponed or cancelled and future events looking for a supportive ear, the MEETinLEEDS team are giving reassurance to all our customers, whilst planning for what the business might need to look like in the coming months, including the launch of the new Cloth Hall Court facility.

Ian Robertson Director of Residential & Catering Services said, “Teams in the Residential, Catering Services and the Print and Copy Bureau/Post Room, have alongside their colleagues and many of our contractors, continued working to provide services that are essential to the customers we serve and they’ve done a great job.”

Managing health and safety

Colleagues from Health and Safety Services have also been supporting work across the FD from managing contractor access and induction at the beginning of the shutdown to developing and managing risk assessments for the essential activities that teams are performing. They have also developed proactive guidance on health-related issues and how best to accommodate the demands of working remotely.

Helpdesk, Office Support and Car Parking

To prepare for the relocation of FD staff from campus to working from home, the Office Support team have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to ensure that we have had sufficient IT hardware and access to software. The team are continuing to support with day-to-day activities of the FD, which includes ensuring staff are kept up to date during these fast-moving events, logging urgent work orders onto SAP and maintaining records of completion dates which are critical to ensuring that the physical infrastructure of the University is maintained during this shutdown.

To help support NHS staff working at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, the FD has offered free use of the parking facilities on campus. This will enable more NHS staff to travel to the hospital via car and avoid the risks of travelling on public transport during the current lockdown. The car parks are also now free to use for any University staff who are still coming onto campus as essential workers during the shutdown.

Keeping campus clean

Cleaning Services continue to have a cohort of staff who are providing essential support to activities that are still taking place on campus. This includes areas such as the Dental Hospital and Worsley Building, laboratories being used to support the NHS’s efforts to combat coronavirus and buildings where other essential staff are working. The team continue to manage the clinical waste process on campus, as well as ensuring external areas of campus are kept clean and tidy.

In the coming weeks, the team will be working on a plan to remobilise the campus for when the current isolation rules are lifted. These plans will include a standard deep clean to ensure that all University students and staff have the best experience when they arrive back on campus.

Impact on Central Teaching Space

The team are constantly in touch and are busy working from home. As the University determines how teaching will be delivered in the first semester of the new academic year the team will be assessing the impact on central teaching space facilities and the potential increased demand for lecture capture and live streaming facilities.

Planned refurbishments of teaching spaces have been paused and using data from the Condition Audit and from Timetabling, consideration will be given to maximise the best use of space.

Innovating communications, developing our digital channels

The FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team have continued to provide invaluable support and advice across the FD over the last few weeks. In the quickly changing environment, the team have been busy supporting all FD services and the University Central Communications team to ensure the various complex communication messages are delivered quickly and effectively to all students, staff and other stakeholders. Where needed, they have created new methods of communicating such as the new FD staff text messaging service.

Whilst continuing to support the ongoing communications needs, the team will also be focusing on essential sales and marketing project work and planning activity that can be delivered in-house to ensure the FD can maintain income generation once operations resume on campus. We will also be developing all our FD websites to ensure compliance in line with new regulations.

Your home, your move – keeping the University community active

Following a well-coordinated shutdown across all Sport & Physical Activity facilities, the team have continued to be on hand for customers by handling enquiries and questions about the closure and many colleagues continue to work from home across the service.

Essential workers are performing regular on-site checks and upkeep to ensure the swimming pool at The Edge is maintained efficiently and the wider team are working hard to help keep our community active and healthy at home, including launching a new digital workout hub, Your Home, Your Move and a virtual running club.

The service continues their teaching of LEED modules to students and coaching and performance services to athletes online, plus promoting volunteering opportunities for students during the crisis. Work on many projects continues and planning for the future is a key priority for the team along with managing key stakeholders and external funding partners effectively to maintain relationships and excellent service for customers in the future.

Supporting the University and our wider community

The Sustainability team have truly come together to support the wider University in the past few weeks, with team members stopping their usual roles to support the University’s central critical incident team and pandemic planning group. Team members have worked within Residences, calling students who are self-isolating and helping them where needed and this has required the rest of the team to be flexible in sharing workloads and priorities.

The team continues to offer support to the community through the Leeds Residences Helpline which is also now being used to allow members of the public to report if they are concerned about the wellbeing of any students still living in Leeds.

Although the Bike Hub has had to close, the team, together with Security, set up new processes to allow customers to still return their bikes or extend their hire. Alongside this, they are answering any bike maintenance queries online to continue the help service and keep people active.

Some projects and activities have been postponed but the team are finding new ways of using technology, for example, a digital celebration for the annual Sustainability Awards.

Alongside all this, the team are helping to support our communities citywide by working with partners to coordinate volunteering activities.

Director of Sustainability Louise Ellis said, “Our commitment to Sustainability as a University continues at times like these and it is more important than ever to work together to support each other and to find sustainable solutions we can put in place moving forward.”

Ensuring we can stay connected, developing new processes

The Programme Management office has been supporting all FD colleagues by providing training on how to use cloud-based systems such as TEAMS and transferring their information so they can work from home. As a result of being offsite, some teams will be unable to undertake their normal activities, and this provides a rare opportunity for people to step back and consider how their team processes work and what could be improved. The team are available to help colleagues develop improvements to their ways of working.

Managing FD finances, establishing new spending approvals processes

The FD Finance team have continued to provide financial support and advice across the FD over the last few weeks. The team have been working to achieve their scheduled deadlines which, at this time, include Month End and IPE submissions. In addition, they have been providing additional ad-hoc financial support to Heads of Service during the current unprecedented circumstances.

Whilst the team will continue to support the FD in the provision of ‘business as usual’ financial information they will also be supporting the FD management team in enforcing the new approvals processes for incurring expenditure, the provision of additional financial information to support decision making and supporting the University to ensure continued financial sustainability.

Our staff, mobilising resources

The HR team have been busy ensuring that staff salary payments are made and letters to the identified essential workers are distributed.
The HR team have also been looking at ways to mobilise resources within the FD and identify critical/key tasks across the FD, and with partner organisations, and how FD staff can help support these. More information about this will be coming out shortly.


Updates on the University response to Coronavirus can be found at and on the FD website news section at


COVID-19 – important changes to campus

After 6pm on Friday 20 March only essential services and activities will be delivered on campus (observing the principle of social distancing).

Please find below important changes to campus, including:

Office and building shutdown

After 6 pm on Friday 20 March, only essential services and activities will be delivered on campus.  

As a general rule, staff and students will not be able to access University buildings (including their own offices) after this time.

To ensure that buildings are shut down effectively you can help by:
  • Switching off lights and closing windows
  • Ensuring as much lab equipment as possible is turned off before you leave – drying cabinets, incubators etc
  • Checking IT equipment, including screens, projectors, computers, printers, photocopiers and turning these off at the mains
  • Empty fridges completely and turn off at the mains where this is possible
  • Switch off other equipment in kitchens – hot water boilers, microwaves etc
  • Take home all plants
  • Generally clean and tidy personal areas
  • We have Cleaning staff working today but it will assist the team greatly if you can take waste sacks to your nearest external bin store before you leave
  • Confidential waste should be bagged, tied up and left inside offices
  • After 6pm on Friday 20 March, access to University buildings and offices can only be arranged in exceptional circumstances (for example, if you have left something essential on campus). Please contact Security Services on 0113 343 6592 or at security website to arrange access.

Deliveries on Campus

From Monday, 23 March 2020 all parcel deliveries to any building on campus will be directed to the Mail Room located on the 5th floor of the Roger Steven’s building and sorted as usual. Please note that the Mail Room will not accept parcels that contain hazardous material or perishable items on behalf of the University of Leeds. Wherever possible please advise drivers to report to the Mail Room. All parcels will be securely stored in the Print and Copy Bureau and sorted by building and department.

Collecting deliveries from PCB:

Parcels and letters can be collected from PCB during the normal opening hours (9am to 2pm) with advance email notification to The person picking up the package(s) will need to carry their University photo ID or a photo ID and a proof of working at the University. Parcels will not be able to be picked up without this. Customers collecting packages will need to make their own arrangements for transporting the parcel, PCB will not be able to help with this.

If you are unable to collect the parcel then it will be stored at the Edge Sports Hall.


If you have any queries, please contact Estates Helpdesk

For Campus Service updates please visit