Working Together Task Group
Co-chairs - Ian Walmsley, Provost and Peter Openshaw, Senior Consul
- Francisco Veloso, Dean of the Business School
- Emma McCoy, Interim Vice-Provost (Education & Student Experience)
- Deborah Ashby, Director of the School of Public Health
- Peter Haynes, Head of Department of Materials
- Richard Martin, Director of Academic Services
- Harbhajan Brar, Director of Human Resources
- Tony Lawrence, Director of Finance
- Michaela Flegrova, Deputy President (Education), ICU
- Harriet Whewell, Executive Officer to the Provost (Secretary)
- Susan Littleson, Deputy Director - Organisational Development and Inclusion
- Louisa Hardman - Facilitator
Report of recommendations
In July 2021, the Working Together Task Group (WTTG) submitted its final report of recommendations to President’s and Provost’s Boards. The report was accepted fully by both boards and is available to download.
The report summarises the themes that emerged from a series of facilitated conversations with our staff and student communities held in May and June 2021. These themes will inform the actions to be implemented over the next academic year, and a full action plan is being developed for the autumn term.
More about the Task Group
The Working Together Task Group (WTTG) was established in January 2021 with a specific focus on listening to our community and delivering concrete proposals that will help set the conditions for a positive working environment and culture for our staff and students.
The Group is co-chaired by the Provost, Ian Walmsley, and Senior Consul, Peter Openshaw, and is also supported by an external independent facilitator, Louisa Hardman, who has extensive experience of supporting positive change in complex institutions including universities, charities and the NHS.
Membership of the Group is drawn from across the College. Their work is also taking into account conversations and community feedback already received through contributions to the values project, which is producing a new set of values for the College. The work and timelines of both projects is aligned to ensure they are complementary.
The Group aims to complement areas of review already underway, including the professional services transformation project, the action plans from our staff and wellbeing surveys, the Total Remuneration Package initiative, visits to departments by the President and the ongoing implementation of recommendations made following the independent investigation into some senior staff behaviours.
Information about the Working Together Working Group
Message from the Co-Chairs
Pursuing our academic mission while providing the conditions for a positive environment where everyone feels supported to thrive and give of their best is an ongoing challenge. Members of our community at Imperial undertake world-leading research, transformative education and impactful innovation. We are truly proud of this endeavour.
We are committed to working in a way that is respectful of each other, making sure workloads, work environment, work-life balance and incentives are reasonable and appropriate, and we have made significant progress on these issues over recent years. However, 2020 was a year of exceptional additional pressures that the pandemic – and the central role of our community in fighting COVID-19 – placed on an already hard-working and high-achieving community, and on each of us as individuals.
As we continue to work at pace on vital work for our communities and the wider world, we recognise there are many more challenges to come. We are also mindful of the need to pay attention to how we work together, how we communicate and how we listen and gather views, so that we can make decisions that are best for the institution. Our work demands an environment where everyone is able to contribute their best.
In addition to ongoing work on improving governance and communications, the President’s and Provost’s Boards has asked that a dedicated task group to help us understand the needs of our staff and student community and the most critical barriers to working effectively. This group will work with members of our community from across the College guided by an experienced independent facilitator to inform what operational practices and policies the College should put in place.
The recommendations of the task group will be heard and attended to at the highest levels of the College and will complement ongoing communications and the considerable work that is already in progress.
We look forward to working with the College community over the months ahead to support and enable our vital work together as a vibrant academic community.
Professor Ian Walmsley
Professor Peter Openshaw
Terms of Reference
The Working Together Task Group has a specific focus on listening to our community and delivering concrete proposals that will contribute to building a positive working environment and culture for our staff and students. Working through the spring and summer terms 2021, reporting to President’s Board and Provost’s Board, it has the following terms of reference.
To identify and propose practical measures that will be effective in building a positive, supportive environment enabling the community at Imperial to thrive and give of their best in order that the College can pursue its mission as a globally leading university.
Engage colleagues across the College community, and listen to their ideas in order to improve our ways of working and culture. This process will specifically:
Identify barriers to better ways of working and recommend ways to overcome them.
Gather and synthesise views from the Imperial community on how the College could improve on its current ways of working.
Hear from community members and stakeholders about how to support people better, recognising that collaboration and competition are integral to the College’s mission.
Propose pragmatic and practical ways to develop an environment based on mutual respect, trust and kindness across the College that will enhance our ways of working together.
Provide a report synthesising views and practical recommendations to be submitted to the President and Provost’s Boards by the beginning of the summer term that will inform action plans to effect positive change.
Support the College’s Boards and Committees in monitoring progress.
The group will use external and internal facilitators as appropriate to make sure the widest range of views can be heard.
Input from the College community is being gathered through a range of conversations developed by the WTTG and external facilitator.
Staff and students representatives with formal leadership responsibilities across all levels across the College. Invitations to these sessions will be sent shortly.
Open sessions for staff and students. Staff can sign up here. Students will be invited to sign up to a student session shortly.
Written submissions from those who can’t take part, or choose not to, can be provided here.
30 July 2021
A report and set of recommendations, reflecting the discussions of the working group and key themes raised in the facilitated conversation sessions, has been approved by President’s and Provost’s Boards and is available to download. A full action plan is being developed for the autumn term.