News stories from across the Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds.

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – January 2024

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

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

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

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

Pay review

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

Business Plan updates 

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating our staff

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

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

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

PA Consulting

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

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

Staff socials

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


Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

the 10th anniversary of Wild Work Days with Yorkshire Wildlife trust

Residential Services Annual Sustainability Report (2022-23)

Residential Services manages the residential accommodation portfolio for The University of Leeds, with circa 9,100 bedspaces in both University and private partner sites. Residential Services also operates in support of the University’s sustainability commitments, across the following four key themes:

  • Social Impact
  • Environment
  • Climate Plan and Pathway to Net Zero
  • Engagement and Behaviour Change.

Residential Services has now completed five years of its Blueprint Action Plan, which commenced in 2018/19. This annual sustainability report covers the progress made during those five years, culminating from September 2022 – August 2023. In addition, actions are also highlighted where they address the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs).


Residential Services actions that had a significant or positive effect on people and communities during 2022/23, included the following:

  • British Heart Foundation: Students and staff in University Residences donated a total of 3,961 bags of items for re-sale and re-use, diverting the equivalent of 31.7 tonnes of waste away from landfill; and generating £ 55,454 of revenue from BHF shop sales in Leeds, to fellow students and local residents.

BHF Pack for good donations graph (university residences)

The subsequent revenue supports coronary heart and circulatory disease research, some of which takes place here in Leeds. In total, the Pack for Good campaign in Leeds received 13,901 bags during 2022/23 from universities, private partner sites, and collections from student areas equivalent to 111.2 tonnes. This generated an amazing £ 194,614 towards heart disease research in the UK.

British Heart Foundation store in Merrion Centre, Leeds

  • Local Foodbanks: Surplus non-perishable food items were collected from a number of University-owned residential sites during Christmas and the summer months (June – September) and donated to the Rainbow Junktion Café in Burley. 534 kgs of food was collected from St Marks Residences alone, when students moved out in September 2022.

Donation drop off point for Rainbow Junktion food collection

  • Health and Well-Being: Residence Life Team events continued with both online and face-to-face activities as part of the social events calendar taking place in Residences. During the year, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary of Wild Work Days with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in October 2022

the 10th anniversary of Wild Work Days with Yorkshire Wildlife trust

Further events included improving wildflower meadows for insects and birds; pond habitat for dragonflies; fen land habitat which we also have in Yorkshire, plus two sessions working alongside local volunteers on the Wyke Beck Project in East Leeds, clearing rushes in Halton, plus brambles and scrub at Fearnville Fields. The University of Leeds also hosted a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Corporate Members’ Day on campus in July 2023, providing information and looking at our partnership work in academic, estates management, and student engagement aspects.

  • In addition, Residential Services collaborated with third-sector charities, Estates Services, supply chain partners, private-sector accommodation providers, and Sustainability Services.

2 Zero Hunger 3 Good health and well-being 11 Sustainable cities and communities 12 Responsible consumption and production 15 Life on Land 17 Partnership for the goals


Residential Services actions that had a significant or positive effect on the environment during 2022/23 included the following:

  • Re-use: Bishops Beds continued to replace old beds and mattresses with new ones in a planned replacement programme, changing 576 mattresses (c 13.6 tonnes) during the year. In addition, Over2hills also provided a reactive recovery service for old mattresses and furniture to offer to third sector charities for either Re-use, Restoration, or Recycling of component materials.
  • Repair: BinMasters provide an annual repair service for any damaged external waste and recycling bins used on residential sites. This work is carried out in the weeks before Intake Weekend so that facilities are ready for use once students arrive in September. The repair work extends the life cycle of the existing bins and reduces the need to purchase new bins as replacements.
  • Leasing Equipment: Forbes Professional continued to supply a number of leased washing machines at Storm Jameson Court, St Marks Residences, and Shared Housing properties. Leasing equipment maintains continuity of service, whilst repairs or replacement can be arranged more efficiently.
  • Single-Use Plastics Pledge: AMSG, Churchill, and Crystal Cleaning Services were appointed as cleaning contractors in early 2023. They have used ‘Zero Waste’ cleaning products at nine of our eleven residential sites (85% bedspaces) during 2022/23, and have replaced plastic containers with starch-wrapped pellets in compostable cardboard boxes. All service suppliers continue to provide regular sustainability reports and share information on their reduced impact on the environment.
  • Biodiversity Action Plans: Dearbhla McSherry delivered a biodiversity action plan and site map for Devonshire Hall, which can be used in the planning of future improvements for biodiversity around University-owned residential properties. We now have twelve residential sites with habitat maps and biodiversity action plans, and we are using them to record and enhance existing flora and wildlife on these sites.

Bee orchid at Charles Morris Hall

  • Hedgehog Friendly Campus: Student Ambassadors on the Urban Biodiversity Monitoring Programme received a Gold Award for the Hedgehog-Friendly Campus initiative in February 2023. This work also included monitoring and recording hedgehog activity around residential sites in both the Headingley and Woodhouse areas of North West Leeds.

Hedgehog friendly campus Gold Award 2022/23

  • North Hill Well Wood Project: Activities continued at the Well Wood Project at the rear of North Hill Court, which saw student and staff volunteers working with staff from Groundwork Yorkshire. Activities included the installation of new wooden gates for both entrances to the site, and setting up an interpretation board to provide visitors with an idea of the history of the site and its contribution to improving biodiversity in the area. The work also included the clearance of paths and steps which were overgrown after the summer, and the planting of hornbeam, wayfaring trees and hawthorn hedging to supplement existing cover on site. The site is now maintained by a series of student and staff work days with improvements being made as both finance and time allow. Pupils from the local Shire Oak CE School visit the site for ‘Forest School’ activities and conduct tree and bug habitat surveys. The woodland area is now re-establishing itself with bird species using the nest boxes, pollinators enjoying the nectar from various plants, and a number of fungi emerging from the wood piles and leaf litter that cover the ground.

Scarlet Elf Cup fungi @ North Hill Well Wood 

  • Yorkshire in Bloom: The combined impact of the work from Estates Services, Residential Services, Sustainability Services, and all of our students and external partners resulted in the University of Leeds being awarded a Gold Award at the Yorkshire in Bloom Awards in 2022, and Category Winner for HE and FE institutions.


Yorkshire in bloom is proud to present University of Leeds the 2022 Yorkshire Rose Universities, colleges and further education establishments award of gold and catergory winner

12 Responsible consumption and production 14 Life below water 15 Life on Land


Residential Services actions that had a significant or positive effect on the University’s Climate/Net Zero Carbon Plan during 2022/23, included the following:

  • Carbon Management Plan: 7,386 new LED lights were installed across the residential portfolio to replace older, less energy-efficient lighting under the Net Zero Carbon Plan. This initial phase will be supplemented by the second phase of circa 1500 LEDs during 2023/24. The following graph indicates a reduction in carbon emissions by 65% since 2005/06.

Bar chart on carbon emissions from University residences showing a gradual fall over recent years

  • Clean Air Pledge: Residential Services purchased two new electric vehicles during the year, making four electric vehicles out of a total of six. Mileage is monitored on a monthly basis, which indicates an increase in the use of electric vehicles from 53% to 69% over the last five years.

Electric vehicles @ Henry Price Residences 

  • Circular Economy and Waste Management: The University commenced a tender process for reducing waste and moving towards a circular economy approach in 2022. WSP were appointed to act as our sustainable waste management consultant to identify best practices and create a roadmap of initiatives for consideration; which provides advice on the tender specification and assists in the evaluation of various submissions for appointment. The outcome of this process was that Mitie Waste and Environmental Services Ltd was awarded the contract in July 2023 as a waste management broker with services provided by their supply chain partners. The contract covers all University residences located on campus, Central Village, and Shared Housing, along with the recovery of electrical goods (WEEE), used lamps, and food waste from Devonshire Hall.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy 13 Climate Action


  • Blueprint: Since being awarded a Blueprint Visionary Award in 2022, Residential Services has continued to deliver its Blueprint and Blueprint Plus actions.
  • Student Sustainability Architects: Residential Services appointed two Student Sustainability Architects during 2022/23:
  • Dearbhla McSherry completed a survey of the grounds at Devonshire Hall, which resulted in a new biodiversity action plan and habitat map for the site. Both Dearbhla and Elizabeth Sprason attended the Sustainability and Community Fair in February, to tell students about their work as Student Sustainability Architects.
  • Elizabeth Sprason worked with local Residence Life Social Committees to plan and hold clothes swap shops at Central Village and Devonshire Hall. In addition, Elizabeth wrote two blogs about how donations can be given to the British Heart Foundation, and how those donations can help to finance vital medical research into various aspects of coronary heart disease here at the University of Leeds.
  • Communications with students: The Residences Life Team continued to send out communications to student residents in University and private partner accommodation throughout the year via e-mail and social media. This included hosting both online events and others that took place around the residential sites.
  • The Sustainable Living Guide: The Sustainable Living Guide was updated for 2022/23 and outlined how students could get involved with their local community through volunteering and supporting local independent businesses, events, and elections. It also encouraged staff to become a Positive Impact Partner, by getting involved with local charities and other volunteer activities in their area (SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities).
  • Green Tourism: Membership was renewed in 2022/23 for the eight conference-facing residential sites accredited under the hospitality industry’s Green Tourism accreditation scheme for sustainability. In addition, Central Village was subject to an audit during the year and achieved a Gold Award for how it manages sustainability on site. Read our green story here.
  • CUBO (College and University Business Officers) Awards Finalist: Residential Services was shortlisted as a Finalist at the CUBO Awards 2023 for its work on Innovation in Student Experience. We continue to collaborate with all of our student ambassadors, student sustainability architects, student volunteers, University colleagues, and external partners in providing opportunities to apply their learning for biodiversity action planning, circular resource use, hedgehog monitoring, and single-use plastics.

4 Quality education  11 Sustainable cities and communities 15 Life on Land 17 Partnership for the goals

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – November 2023

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

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

Our Way Ahead

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

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

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

Our 2023 successes

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

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

Happy Holidays

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


Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – October 2023

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

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Tuesday 3 October.

It’s the start of term and the new academic year, and it’s wonderful to see the campus buzzing with students. I know how much work goes into Welcome Week and into getting buildings and grounds ready: my thanks to everyone for their hard work.

Seeing students back on campus puts a spring in my step because they are the reason we are here. Everything we do is about making sure they have the best opportunities to learn and grow. That includes providing them with safe, clean and inspiring places to live and study in, helping them to feel safe on campus, and encouraging them to look after their health and wellbeing through the many services we provide.

Ready for 2023/24

We made great progress last year, and this year we have plenty more to do! I want to remind you that all our work is guided by our Directorate business plan, which underpins the University’s own Strategy. Every one of you has a part to play in that, including the three directors who are now in place.

As I said in my email to you all last Friday, we have clustered together teams who work closely with each other but will also need to collaborate right across the Directorate if we are to deliver what we have set out in the plan.

Facilities Management Service Desk

One of the FD’s key projects for the year ahead is the implementation of a system to streamline how we deliver a range of services in Estates & Facilities.

Those who have been in the FD a while will have heard this project referred to as ‘Planon’ as that is the name of the company that provides the software. But from now we are calling it the Facilities Management Service Desk (FMSD), which more clearly indicates what it is for.

In the business plan we have committed to ‘deliver our services staying focused on the needs of our communities and on environmental and financial sustainability,’ and the FMSD is listed there as key to delivering this aim. In brief, the new system will:

  • Improve the management and delivery of maintenance jobs
  • Replace an admin-intensive, paper-based system
  • Ensure visibility of all maintenance jobs in one place
  • Allow for a more user-friendly journey

Well-maintained facilities ensure safe working environments, use less energy and produce less waste. It’s important work and a lot of complex activity is going on behind the scenes to get it ready. I’m grateful to the team for all the work on this.

Find out more about the Facilities Management Service Desk.

Net Zero by 2030

One of the strands of the University’s Climate Plan focuses on Net Zero carbon emissions: reaching the target of achieving an overall balance between the greenhouse gas emissions we are producing and the emissions we are taking out of the atmosphere. Largely through Estates & Facilities and Sustainability, the FD has a huge role to play in this, including changing buildings from using gas as a power source to electricity.

The scale of this business-critical work is huge and we are kicking off a series of meetings with potential suppliers this week, to let them know the scope of the work and to get them excited about working with us. This is a really important moment for the FD. Good luck to David Oldroyd our Interim Deputy Director of Development and everyone involved.

Celebrating the success of Cleaning Services

Last week I attended a wonderful event to celebrate the success of Jill Roberts and her Cleaning Services team. Jill was recently given a lifetime achievement award by the British Institute of Cleaning Sciences (BICSc) for her outstanding contribution in the field of education and training.

Typically of Jill, the main focus at the event was on team leaders who have completed the BICSc Cleaning Supervisor training, and I was delighted to share certificates with those hardworking colleagues. My congratulations to all of them.

Wins across the Directorate

There’s so much success to share this month – my congratulations to everyone!

  • Yorkshire in Bloom: the University has retained the Gold award and achieved Category Winner in the Universities & Colleges of Further Education Category.
  • UK Corporate Games 2024: the Conferences & Events team have secured the UK Corporate Games, the largest multi-sport festival for businesses. Scheduled for July, the event brings participants and companies from across the UK and Europe to Leeds, using our wonderful sports facilities.
  • HELIX:  this new facility opened its doors last week, so it’s a good moment to thank the Estates team who led its creation including project manager Sarah Bacsich and interior designer Alex Lilley.
  • Asia-Pacific Student Accommodation Association (APSAA): Rebecca O’ Hare, our Assistant Director for Residence Life & Accommodation Office has won the APSAA Student Accommodation Journal Writers Award.

And finally…

Next Friday we say goodbye to Ian Robertson, Director of Residential & Catering Services. Over 20 years, Ian’s contribution to the University has been huge. He has transformed the quality of student accommodation and led his team to achieve the very highest standards of customer service.

His leadership of Catering and Conferences & Events has brought many wins too. We will all miss Ian but he goes to the University of Bradford with our thanks and very best wishes.


Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

FD Directors from left to right: Jenny Wilson, Gareth Hughes and Rob Wadsworth

New FD senior team complete for start of year

The three new directors who will lead the Facilities Directorate (FD) towards achieving the aims and ambitions of Our Way Ahead are all now in place, reporting to Ann Allen, Director of Campus innovation & Development.

Over the past few years, senior colleagues have retired or moved into other top-flight positions.

Ann has taken this opportunity to shape the service into a structure where people can more easily collaborate and learn, and will therefore be better placed to serve the needs of staff and students.

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation & Development said: 

“The FD is key to enabling the University Strategy,” she says. “We bring together services that enable students and staff to thrive and succeed.

“We’ve got some hugely important initiatives to lead and deliver over the next few years, including the Net Zero by 2030 strand of the University’s Climate Plan, the ‘Campus Reimagined’ programme and the introduction of our People & Culture programme. These are core to our business plan and to the success of the University.

“I said earlier this year that I wanted to find talented, industry-leading professionals with bags of drive and imagination, and I am absolutely delighted with the appointments we’ve made. “

“This is a time of exciting change in the FD. The business plan gives us all a strategic focus and a clear sense of what success looks like, and that includes ensuring that we offer exceptional user experience and place people at the heart of everything we do.

“I can’t wait to continue this journey with everyone in our services including these exceptional colleagues.”

Gareth Hughes

Gareth Hughes, new Interim Director of Campus Innovation: Infrastructure, Construction & Delivery will be responsible for all campus infrastructure and construction, including the refurbishment and repositioning of a significant portfolio of buildings as part of Campus Reimagined. He will also lead on Net Zero delivery, working closely with Thom Cooper in Sustainability.

With extensive experience as a Director of Estates and Facilities including at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Gareth has held pivotal roles overseeing capital projects. He was the Estates board representative for the construction and delivery of a £350M critical care hospital and project-managed the implementation of the Well-Being and Future Generation Act (Wales).

Jenny Wilson

The role of Director of Campus Innovation: Masterplanning, Asset Management & Sustainability will be fulfilled by Jenny Wilson.

Jenny was Investment Director for the investment property office at Imperial College London, responsible for the planning, development and asset management of their investment property estate. This comprises residential property, purpose-built student accommodation, and science & innovation assets in West London.  Her projects have included the rewilding of 22 acres of depleted grazing land and leading the masterplan for Imperial’s holdings at a major new development – One Portal Way.

Jenny will oversee and develop the campus masterplan, lead on all aspects of space and asset management, the University farm, and work closely with Thom Cooper on sustainability in relation to the campus and in a city-wide context.

Rob Wadsworth

Rob Wadsworth has been Interim Commercial Director and will continue to lead University-wide campus experience programmes, services and initiatives, working with faculties, Professional Services and Leeds University Union to develop strategies  for the curation of services across the campus that are delivered collaboratively.

He leads the People & Culture strand of the FD’s business plan. The ambition of this work is to develop and embed a culture that is shaped to support the FD in achieving its business plan and which responds to the Employee Engagement Survey for the FD.

With the departure of Ian Robertson on 13 October, Rob also now leads Residential Services, Catering & Hospitality, and Conferences & Events. 

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – August 2023

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

I hope that you are enjoying the summer – despite the varied weather!- and finding some time to relax. I know that August and September are two of the busiest months of the year for many of our teams including Marketing, Sales & Communications, Maintenance, and Residences as we prepare to welcome new and returning students. Thank you for all that you’re doing. 

I’ve been so inspired this month to read about the Gryphons Abroad volunteering scheme run jointly by colleagues in Sport & Physical Activity and Leeds Trinity University. Through the scheme, staff and students are helping children in South Africa to travel to school safely by creating a bike hub and teaching children to cycle in rural areas. Working collaboratively with the Bambisanani Partnership, a charity based in Menston, near Leeds, our contribution is led by Andrew Lockwood, Assistant Head of Sport. What a fantastic initiative – thank you Andrew and team. 

Cast your vote

As autumn beckons so does awards season, and I’m very pleased to share that Conferences & Events have been nominated for three awards in the Meeting Industry Association Awards. Head of Conferences & Events Sam Glenister-Batey is nominated in the miaList Individuals award, and Jacob Seddon, our Conferences and Events Assistant, in the Rising Star Award. I’m thrilled for Sam and Jacob – well done! 

The third nomination is for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Leading Positive Change and focuses on the team’s initiative to promote Communication Access training for people who have difficulties communicating. This award is decided by a public vote and you can cast yours here:

Progress on key projects

I’m pleased to report great progress with our work to create a Net Zero campus as detailed in the FD’s business plan. The business case for this is progressing through University channels and I’m confident that we can start the extensive work that includes electrification of large areas of the campus in the near future. I’m looking forward to meeting prospective suppliers in a town hall event in October. 

I’m also pleased that work is continuing on testing Planon, and more information will be shared soon about timings and training. 

Employee Engagement Survey 

By now some of you will have been told about the results of the Staff Survey for your teams and I’ve asked heads of service to consider action plans so that we can learn from the results both at a team level and a whole FD level. This isn’t just about working out how to address the less positive scores: where we score highly I’d like us to consider what we are ‘doing right’ so that we can maintain that good practice and share it. The results are a great opportunity to learn and build for the future.  

FD Staff Social 

The next FD Staff Social is on Tuesday 5 September in the Great Hall, 9-10am and I hope you all enjoy catching up with colleagues across the Directorate. Unfortunately I’m on holiday that week but my colleagues from the FD senior team will be there and are looking forward to seeing everyone. 

I hope you all saw my email last week about Gareth Hughes joining us as Interim Director of Campus Innovation: Infrastructure, Construction & Delivery. I’m really looking forward to working with Gareth and I know that you’ll make him very welcome.  

Thanks again for everything that you do. 


Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – July 2023

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

It’s been a lively month on campus with two weeks of graduations finishing on Friday and the International Medieval Congress earlier in the month. Thank you to all the many teams involved in making those so successful. 

Cloth Hall Court

Summer is a busy time with summer schools on the way – good luck to everyone making those happen. I was delighted to hear that our newest venue, Cloth Hall Court, has been busy too: between opening at the end of April and the end of this month the Conferencing team have delivered nearly double the amount of events anticipated in the planning process. Fantastic news!  

Jane Clayton has been collating reports from the Employee Engagement Survey, providing overall results for the FD and team-specific results. These have been shared with senior teams and heads of service will be cascading them to all of you in the next few weeks. As ever, our focus – aligned with the business plan – will be on making the FD a great place to work, using what you have told us to improve what we do.  

Staff Voice

I’m really pleased with the progress we’re making on the establishment of the Staff Voice group. As a reminder – and for new colleagues – this is the group of staff from across all of our services who meet regularly to discuss issues raised by their colleagues and who work alongside the senior management team (FDSMT) to shape our direction.  Following the launch event there have been discussions about ways of working with champions and ambassadors. The meetings start in earnest in September.   

Car parking

James Wright and the car parking team are increasing the number of electric car charging points, linking up to the Sustainable Travel principle in the Climate Plan.  As James comments in this news story, delivering services that focus on the needs and expectations of our communities and on environmental sustainability is key to our work and the FD’s business plan.  

Cleaning Services has become a British Institute of Cleaning Science-accredited training centre thanks to the hard work of Jill Roberts and Dawn Abel in the team. The accreditation means that the team can standardise and deliver staff training to the high level set out by BICSc which is recognised internationally and across the industry as a gold standard.  This is a real achievement and ensures the team is even better placed to support the University. My warm congratulations to Jill, Dawn and the team.  You can read more about that in this news story 

And finally…

Marketing, Sales & Comms are celebrating after winning Best Marketing Campaign at the CUBO awards this year. Tom Pickering and Emily Halsall’s work on attracting new members to The Edge has seen membership back to pre-Covid numbers.

A huge achievement – well done!

Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development

The Edge winners pose with their award.

FD Marketing, Sales & Communications team scoop top national award

An initiative to attract new members to The Edge – the University’s health club – has won Best Marketing Campaign at the 2023 CUBO Awards.

As the national body for campus and commercial services professionals in HE and FE, the CUBO awards are recognised throughout the sector. The ceremony took place at their conference at the University of Glasgow last Thursday (6 July.)

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation & Development said: 

“These are tough times for many people, including our students, and we work hard to offer great value for money in all of our commercial services, including The Edge which had a major upgrade just a few months ago.

“Working closely with students, the Sport & Physical Activity team consistently review membership packages to make sure they are meeting their needs.

“The marketing team’s imaginative and strategic approach to sales includes a full and sympathetic understanding of this external context. I send them my very warm congratulations for this well-deserved achievement.”

A new approach 

Following the pandemic, membership at The Edge severely declined and the club sought to understand more about what student members wanted.

Led by Tom Pickering, Sales and Marketing Manager, and Emily Halsall, Marketing Officer, the team undertook extensive research, creating detailed personas to understand what the diverse student membership population were looking for and their preferences for communication.

A key takeaway was that they wanted to hear more about the experiences of their peers and less from the University.

Feedback has been very positive for both the campaign and the services on offer and  almost as many people are using the Edge now as they were pre-pandemic.

To view the state-of-the-art facilities at The Edge, click here to visit the Leeds Sport website.

FD bulletin

FD Bulletin – June 2023

Email sent to all FD staff from Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, on Friday 30 June.

As we reach the end of term and another academic year, I want to start with a big thank you. It’s been a busy year with plenty of challenges as always, but I do believe that we are increasingly coming together as a single directorate. Thank you for all the work you do and thank you for how you support your colleagues across the FD.

Having your say and making a difference

Key to how we work better together is creating different ways for people to have a say. This is one of the key aims of the People & Culture strand of our business plan. At the end of last year the new FD Leadership Forum was established and I’m so delighted that this week I got the chance to meet the new Staff Voice group. Others have chosen to give voice to their views through strike action and as always I hope that both those on strike and those who have come to work feel that their decisions and choices have been respected.

The Employee Engagement Survey was a great opportunity to speak up, and 53% of you did. Thanks to everyone who helped us to get that great response rate. We have recently shared some brief headline findings from the survey, and the People and Culture working group are sifting through more data.

Further FD-specific results will be shared through the Leadership Forum and Staff Voice group so that we can discuss and understand what the data is telling us and find ways to address any issues. This is in addition to analysis of findings at a University level which will be shared through staff communications channels like eNews.

Partnership and community

As one of the largest institutions in Leeds, we are increasingly working in partnership with other key organisations locally and nationally to make Leeds a wonderful place to live and work. This includes the City Council and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust as the idea of a Leeds Innovation Arc develops.

There are some great examples of collaboration already, including Gair Wood and the FD’s recent work with the Environment Agency and others to rescue endangered crayfish. I very much enjoyed celebrating the successes of the Sustainability team at an event this week. Their work to affect our relationship with local communities is inspiring.

The future

The opening of Cloth Hall Court this year provides exciting new opportunities for the Conferencing and Catering teams. The launch event was a wonderful occasion and all the teams involved in creating this venue should feel very proud.

Next year we will be focusing on making our campus an even better place for students and staff through our ‘reimagining the campus’ work and Net Zero by 2020. A cultural highlight for me this year was “Another Brick in the Wall”, an exhibition which celebrated our architecture and the development of the campus in the 1960s (with Print & Mail producing some of the lovely prints.) I’m excited about the campus development of the future and I want it to be equally as inspiring.

Learning from the hybrid meeting rooms pilot – led by Andrea Kerridge and Jon Stothard and team – will also be really useful as we decide on how best to meet the needs of staff.

And that, of course, is why we are all here – to support the University Strategy and make this University a place where students and staff can thrive.

And finally…

On my first-ever day at Leeds, I went to see Rosa Quintana’s wonderful photographs of her colleagues during the pandemic months. Twelve months later Rosa and her colleagues are still making a difference. Rosa was named Cleaning Operative of the Year at the 2022 British Association of Cleaning Services in Higher Education Conference. Next month she returns there as their official photographer, which feels like a very positive way to end the year.

Jill Roberts, the Conferencing team and many other people across the University were involved in the success of this project, and that is when we are at our best – working together to make a difference.

I hope to see you at the next FD Staff Social in the Great Hall on Monday 31 July, 4.30-5.30pm.

Ann Allen,
Director of Campus Innovation and Development