Performance Improvement

How do you know that your HEI’s professional services are operating as they need to – and operating well?

Have you looked at how your professional services perform compared to those in other institutions?

Is your operating model ‘future fit’?

Among the many challenges facing HE in the post-Covid period and as a result of the changing regulatory environment, not least the response to the Augar review, we can expect a renewed focus on efficiency and effectiveness in professional services.

For clients approaching AUA Consulting for support in performance improvement, we offer a flexible range of options, drawing on a depth of expertise in professional services leadership and management among our consultant team. Our consultants are practitioners in HE management meaning our services are practical and credible – focused on achieving solutions and improvements for clients. Outcomes for institutions might include:

  • Expert consulting review in key functional areas, drawing on practical tools to assess efficiency, costs modelling, business process review and assessment of IT capability and optimisation. Presenting options for process improvement and increased efficiency.
  • Reviewing compliance obligations, options, opportunities – delivering a decision-making framework to guide leadership and operational teams. Addressing issues like cost reduction/resource investment with regulatory risk management in mind.
  • Developing service standards in professional services, offering practical models to support service improvement, drawing on best practice in monitoring and evaluation. Delivering a quality management ‘dashboard’ designed for use by executive and/or operational teams.
  • Supporting ‘future-fit’ professional services – reviewing your human ‘operating model’ and organisational culture. Using a development framework with your teams to build resilience and adaptability.

The breadth of experience in our consulting team is complemented by expertise in professional services CPD and Coaching. Consulting clients benefit from an integrated approach covering  a full spectrum of HE governance, management and administration.

Find out how we have supported HEIs to improve professional services practice and performance – explore our consulting case studies:

University of Gloucestershire

Review of arrangements supporting academic quality and enhancements

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We worked with the University of Gloucestershire to review the impact and effectiveness of changes made to its academic governance, structures and quality-related processes arising from an institutional change project: Rethinking Enhancement

Key features included:

  • Working closely with the University on a robust review design.
  • Extensive stakeholder consultation, including individual and group meetings on campus.
  • Practical recommendations for improvement.
    A comprehensive written report suited to the University’s executive/committee structure.

Meetings with the consultant were very professional, open and well-structured.

A really great report. Exactly what we needed.

Post ’92 University

Costs and compliance review of student-related services

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We worked with a post ’92 university to consider options for reducing student-related costs and services without jeopardising compliance with the HE regulatory framework

Key features included:

  • Undertaking to keep the nature of the project confidential to a small number of senior managers.
  • Mapping service levels required for regulatory compliance, including aspects like OfS conditions of registration, Competition and Markets Authority, UKVI, Equality Act 2010, Education Act 1994, Safeguarding, Prevent, GDPR.
  • Commentary on services in scope, exploration of efficiencies and improved cost-effectiveness, including benchmarking service models.  Recommendations for compliant cost reduction.

Thank you for your very thorough report.  You provided really helpful insight and the work was professional and competent.  It will provide a really strong basis for our future planning.

Middlesex University

Introducing streamlining and workflow into course approval procedures

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We worked with Middlesex University to develop a workflow solution for its course/programme approval and closure processes, incorporating streamlining and process enhancement, aligned to the University’s revised governance approval mechanisms.

Key features included:

  • A client-centred approach including close liaison with the University throughout, and direct consultant input on campus.
  • A flexible project timeline to suit the University’s requirements within the pattern of the academic cycle.
    An interim options report to support institutional decision-making. 

Thank you again for all your work on this project – the forms and process look in good shape.  It’s been a pleasure to work with you – we could never have carved out the time to produce what you have

Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of South Wales

Partnership project to support student mental health

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We worked with Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales to advise on the scope of a partnership project – with the local NHS – to improve student mental health provision in South East Wales.

Key features included:

  • Extensive stakeholder consultation across the project partnership, including individual and group meetings on campus.
  • Expert consulting input, including project-specific benchmarking.
  • Practical recommendations to support the partners in project initiation.
    A comprehensive written report designed for the partnership steering group.

The consultant’s sector knowledge and analysis was invaluable – enabling us to move a partnership involving three HE providers and the NHS into a new phase. Following a focussed initial piece of  work we were pleased to be able to continue working with AUA Consulting taking our project forward.

Read reflections from our consultants:

Explore how AHEP Consulting can help your team: