AUA Consulting – reflections on success

Dr Andrew West

Lead Consultant, AUA Consulting

Dr Andrew West is the inaugural Managing Consultant for AUA Consulting, a role he is shortly to hand over to Steve Smith. In this blog Andrew looks back on the successful development of AUA Consulting as a new element in AUA’s support for the sector, and he looks forward to AUA Consulting’s ongoing success into the future.

In my work as a consultant over the past five years, building on a career in higher education stretching over three decades, I’ve had the privilege of working with more than 30 HE institutions and sector bodies, bringing additional capacity, an external perspective and expertise based on long experience in HE professional services. More recently I’ve been delighted to support AUA Consulting in its launch and in the development of a distinctive consultancy offer ‘of the sector, for the sector’. We’ve been fortunate enough to build a strong team of consultants making a positive impact in a wide range of projects across the breadth of HE and covering a span of professional services functions from governance to student employability; admissions to UKVI processes; as well as projects focussed on professional services operating models and efficiency. As I prepare to step back from the role of Managing Consultant with AUA Consulting and to hand over to Steve Smith, what are the benefits to highlight – for consulting clients and the broader HE sector; and for AUA and our membership – as AUA Consulting moves into a new phase of development with Steve’s coordination and leadership?

  • Looking back at our consulting activity to date, we can point to numerous tangible improvements for clients in improved practice and operations; reviewed/renewed roles; and more effective organisation.  While end-of-project evaluation is typically very positive, it is even more satisfying in my view to learn of longer-term sustained impacts when we return to catch up with clients following a period of months – a standard element in our consulting ‘after care’.

We’ve been fortunate enough to build a strong team of consultants making a positive impact in a wide range of projects across the breadth of HE and covering a span of professional services functions.

  • It’s also true that we’ve been able to raise the profile of AUA among senior sector stakeholders – going well beyond the boundaries of AUA membership – and our experience of repeat client business speaks strongly of the reputation AUA Consulting is building – not to mention the additional income stream being generated for the broader benefit of AUA’s charitable purpose and our support for members.

So what of the future? Changes in and around higher education, not least the effects of the pandemic and continued regulatory evolution, present ongoing challenges for the UK sector. In this context I’m sure the benefits of consulting input – that fresh thinking coupled with a depth of experience – will resonate still further with HE leadership and professional services teams. Moving into the Managing Consultant position with AUA Consulting, Steve Smith brings a great mix of expertise and experience. As I step back from the role and retain my involvement in the AUA consultant team, I’m looking forward to playing a part in the ongoing success of AUA Consulting – viewed from a slightly different perspective – as the service continues to develop into the future.

AUA Consulting is a consulting practice ‘of the sector for the sector’.  AUA Consultants are practitioners in higher education governance and management, with a depth of experience and professional expertise.   AUA Consulting also offers a team of qualified coaches with expertise in personal, professional and career development.   To find out how AUA Consulting can help you and your team, email Read more at AUA Consulting.