The University has engaged PwC Consultants to undertake a review of our key administrative processes and to recommend how these might be improved to better support our students and staff. The review will also look at the implications for how we use our administrative resources to best support those processes.
This review is being undertaken against a challenging environment for the University, with expected cuts in funding and no increase in the £9k Home/EU undergraduate tuition fee since it was announced. In addition, there are large increases in our cost base occurring during 2015/16 and 2016/17, arising from the recent review of the University’s pension schemes and the Government’s removal of the contracting out national insurance rebate. These two latter costs will add about 4% (£5.1m) to our pay bill, before any cost of living and incremental increases to salaries are applied. As it has done successfully in the past, this university aims to respond by trying to increase income rather than focus on cost reductions in order to meet the shortfall between income and costs. Fortunately, we remain in a strong financial position and do not need to take drastic action in the near term, while we try and increase student numbers and research income. So far, applications for next year look robust and schools and professional support departments are working hard to increase home and overseas student numbers. A month ago, the University’s Governing Body, Council, agreed a budget that included additional investment in new academic buildings and a provision for strategic investment in new academic activity. This reflects a desire to continue to build upon our substantial progress over recent years and to reflect the confident ambition that is now becoming a feature of Kent, still based upon its collegial approach.
But while we focus on raising income to meet the forecast disparity between income and expenditure over the next few years, we cannot continue to raise our costs in line with the growth in income or the benefit of that income to our bottom line will be lost. As a result, we will increasingly have to focus on using our existing resources more efficiently as we grow and not waste money and time on processes that do not add value to our objectives and, in some cases, may prevent a timely and user focused delivery of administrative tasks.
PwC will be engaging with many members of staff during the course of their review and will be supported in the gathering of information by university employees. It is hoped that all those approached will enter into the spirit of identifying ways in which we can improve our services and administrative activities so that we can ensure that we have the flexibility to deal with additional external requirements and, more importantly, focus our endeavours on successfully delivering the new institutional plan, due in final form in October.
A short note describing in more detail the nature of the review is available here: http://www.kent.ac.uk/pdf/admin-processes-review-2015.pdf
A sharepoint site will be developed over coming weeks where further information and details of progress on the project can be obtained.