The Simplifying Kent Programme was initiated in 2016 following an exercise called the Kent Service Delivery Diagnostic (KSDD) which involved a wide consultation on the organisational and process issues that workshops identified as being contributors to unnecessary administrative work. As a result, EG identified a need to look in more detail at a number of areas to improve how we deliver the administrative work of the university.
For the areas identified, specific Simplifying Kent projects have enabled the dedicated resource and time needed to engage widely with staff across the institution in order to understand the current landscape. The majority of the projects have now come to the end of that phase, have reported back on their findings and some have made recommendations for change.
In moving forward to implement any operational changes that have been recommended it has been agreed that some of the projects will go back into their respective organisational areas to progress separately in a co-ordinated way through a simplified governance framework, helping to align those activities with departmental strategies and the wider portfolio of change activity taking place across the University. These include:
SK1 (Programme Approval and Curriculum Development) – To DVC Education
SK3 (Procurement) – To Finance
SK6 (Our People – Recruitment) – To HR
SK7 (Internal Communications) –To Corporate Communications
Early indicators from the Strategy Refresh Consultation analysis show many respondents have referred to slow decision-making processes and ineffective communication channels impacting on the way we carry out University business. It referred to unnecessary bureaucracy and barriers to effective communication within current ways of working.
Simplifying Kent Phase 2 will therefore have a single focus on how we organise our activities across the University and will take into account the consultation feedback, work undertaken under the original KSDD project and initial Simplifying Kent work. It will seek to present options for our organisational structure that capitalise on the strengths and talents of our staff whilst avoiding unnecessary constraints in an increasingly challenging environment. Going forward I will continue as Sponsor for the next phase of the project, which will subsume the remaining scope of Phase 1 that relates to the way we deliver our administrative services (SK8 and SK9), the underpinning IT systems infrastructure (SK4) and the second phase of the governance structure work (SK2) all of which will need to articulate with any revised delivery structures. We need to ensure that resources are used wisely and add value to our core mission of undertaking Research of high quality and Education that meets the needs of our students.
Initial work on Phase 2 will commence over the summer to develop some outline options for further work, with refinement followed by consultation within the University next term.
For more information about all the projects in Phase 1 and the shape of Simplifying Kent Phase 2, please see the Simplifying Kent SharePoint site. There will be a new site created over the summer that will have further details as to timescales and findings as they are produced, for information next term. If you want further information or have any questions or concerns about Simplifying Kent then please contact Simplifying@kent.ac.uk.
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer