Delivering value for money activities

Every year the University has to demonstrate that it is managing and delivering value for money activities, and spending public funds in an effective, efficient and economically sound manner.

Each year, Heads of Department are asked to provide examples from the previous year of using resources innovatively and wisely, thereby demonstrating that the University is delivering value for money.

The information gathered is used to share and embed good practice across the University and an annual report is submitted to HEFCE.

Diane Aderyn, outgoing Director of Finance and Commercial Services, said: “We want to demonstrate that the University is constantly seeking Value For Money through careful investment decisions, continuous review of operational effectiveness and a focus on achieving efficiencies whilst maintaining high quality services.

“If you are aware of value for money initiatives in your area during 2016/17, we’d love to hear about them. Please pass examples to my Executive Assistant, Bridget Conneally, or discuss within your department, so they can be considered for inclusion in your department’s response."

To give you some ideas, below you will find some of the examples from across the University that were included in last year’s report.

We’ll publish some more examples later in August.

Bigger groups bring better negotiating power

  • The University continues to utilise collaborative agreements, spending a total of £17m in 2015-2016 through this method. This saved c£1.4m and represents 32.3% of the financial spend the University can influence. It means we have achieved the 30% target set within the Diamond Report (published by Universities UK) for expenditure via collaborative arrangements.
  • The Department of Estates continues to procure energy with a consortium of other universities which provides financial efficiencies of approximately £450k.
  • Being involved in the GW4 shared equipment database ensures efficient use of research equipment across the four institutions.

In-house training

  • Rather than using external consultants, the Staff Development team established an Internal Coaching Network of 16 coaches from a wide range of academic and professional services roles. The Network provides 1:1 coaching in relation to increasing performance, increasing leadership and management capability. The in-house team delivered sessions with a commercial value of over £41k, which means more people have been able to access the service than if external consultants had been used.
  • Twelve Process Improvement facilitators were trained and now work in pairs to run workshops in process improvement techniques. 227 staff have completed the training (with a market value equating to £112k).

Web applications bring boundless benefits

  • The Widening Participation Office offers Webinars for teachers and prospective students which enables a wider range of people to participate, increases the opportunities to provide bespoke information and allows busy teachers to participate in CPD activities. The approach saves time and money, and also extends the Bath offering.
  • By making use of Skype to hold recruitment interviews and other meetings, the School of Management is reducing its travel costs and the environmental impact of University activities.
  • We have a centralised rolling programme of refurbishment of our GTA and IT upgrades (spending circa £1m per year).  This has supported the adoption of Panopto which enhances the student learning experience by making videos of teaching sessions available through Moodle, our Virtual Learning Environment Common IT platforms and a coordinated approach results in better value for money in terms of central Audio-Visual/Computing Services support.
  • In 2015 the University established a Research Data Archive and 100 datasets have already been added, enabling future researchers to test past research findings, or easily access our raw data to develop new research enquiries, without incurring the time or costs of data collection, as long as they cite their source.
  • Peer-reviewed journal articles are also regularly uploaded to OPUS and made available to others via Open Access. This makes publicly funded research findings readily available to others without cost and is an efficient way to increase the visibility and accessibility of University of Bath research.

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