students relaxing in prince's gardens

Developing and implementing a new operating model for the provision of academic and support services at Imperial.

Programme Overview

The College strategy requires us to provide professional support, consistent processes and appropriate technology for all of our staff and students, reducing the amount of time that academic staff are required to spend on administrative activities and ensuring our support teams are valued by all who use their services.

The Professional Services Transformation Programme (PST) is developing a new operating model for the provision of support services. PST is tasked with developing, presenting and then delivering plans that will enable the College to provide better services to staff and students and deliver efficiencies.  

To lead this work, Richard Martin has been seconded from his post as the Faculty Operating Officer for the Faculty of Engineering into the role of Director of Transformation.

The PST Programme is engaging with staff across the College, beginning with Deans, Heads of Departments and Support Services and Department Operations Managers. The team are taking careful account of the learnings from recent change programmes at the College and from other universities who are engaged in similar activity.

Why are we reviewing our operating model?

Our current Professional Services are not as effective as they could be - not as a result of the effort and commitment from hardworking staff - but because our processes are not always as integrated as they need to be to ensure seamless delivery. Feedback from our service users has highlighted that the College's structures and systems can often be hard to navigate. The review of the College's operating model for Professional Services has the primary objective of improving the staff and student experience whilst enabling a reduction in overall support staff costs.

Issues to address:

  • The often-unclear roles and responsibilities that lead to: duplication of effort; chasing and checking; lack of ownership and accountability; and variation in job level for equivalent work.
  • Inconsistent processes that: create “hand-offs” and other inefficiencies; make it difficult to deliver new IT solutions; and lead to variable quality.
  • The need to take cost out of our operations.

Objectives for the new operating model:

  • Use standardised processes and reduce the need for customisation
  • Consolidate certain activities to provide critical mass and integrated leadership
  • Reduce duplication of effort and streamline layers of decision making
  • Have consistent roles, with common job descriptions and job levels
  • Ensure changes to processes are developed in line with best practice and the needs of staff and students
  • Reduce the cost of our operations (staff and space)

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What do we mean by "Professional Services"?

Professional Services covers a broad range of services that enable our core research and education activities and are also dependent upon and provide utility to each other. Professional Services are both suppliers and customers of services, spaces across the College, and creators and custodians of data, information and knowledge. It covers services delivered by staff both centrally and locally.

operating model

What is an operating model?

An operating model is a description of how an organisation is designed to deliver its strategy and service proposition. It is formed of several elements: processes and workflows; technology and systems; work locations; governance; service delivery; skills; and work culture. All of these elements enable the effective and efficient delivery of support services to staff and students.