Monthly Archives: December 2013

Review of UCISA activity in 2013

2013 saw something of a recovery following the disruption resulting from the increase in undergraduate fees. There remain challenges with continued investment in the student experience being delivered within increasingly tight budgets. UCISA, through the work of its Executive, its Groups and the central office, has sought to address the needs of our community in these difficult times. Brief highlights of this work are given below.

It was also a year of transition for UCISA. It became clear at the AGM held in March in Liverpool, that the Association’s constitution as it stood, prevented UCISA from delivering the value added services you, our members, were seeking. The advice we were given was that a trading company would provide a suitable vehicle for such activities and would also address a number of potential risks for the Association and its Trustees. The Special General Meeting held in November unanimously approved the constitutional changes required and I am pleased to advise that a trading company has now been incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the charity. 2014 will see further changes with the Association likely to become a charitable incorporated organisation or charitable company limited by guarantee. I am confident that this will allow us to strengthen the UCISA offering and allow the Association to provide more for our members in the coming years.

In 2013 we have:

  • Run ten events on a range of topics, including the inaugural Infrastructure Group conference, plus three other multi-day conferences with exhibitions;
  • Published Strategic Challenges for IT Services, the successor to the Top Concerns survey, to promote discussion within institutions around IT service departments’ contribution;
  • Made submissions to the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with Janet, on the implications for educational institutions as web providers within the terms of the Defamation Act;
  • Represented the IT community on the UCAS Council;
  • Launched a new group to promote best practice in Project and Change Management and established communities of practice for Enterprise Architecture and Benchmarking;
  • Represent our members’ views in discussions with Jisc to inform its transition;
  • Responded to a consultation on the National Student Survey and began discussions with other sector bodies on potential changes;
  • Published case studies on the use of SharePoint;
  • Responded to consultations on network domains for Wales and the UK as a whole;
  • Established with BUFDG and UHR, our sister organisations for Finance and HR Directors, action learning sets for those at deputy director level;
  • Published a best practice guide on Delivering business benefits from IT infrastructure projects;
  • Continued to work with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education on leadership development and improving management skills;
  • Worked with Universities UK on cyber security and benchmarking initiatives;
  • Continued to foster strong relationships with suppliers to the sector, growing the corporate membership 90 in 2012 to 105 in 2013.
  • The list above highlights just some of the work that UCISA has carried out on behalf of our members. A more formal annual report will be published in the New Year and presented at the Association’s AGM at the Management Conference in Brighton on 27 March. We will seek to continue to deliver value for money for our members and already have a number of activities in train that will deliver resources in 2014.

    I should like to take this opportunity to remind you that bookings are open for the UCISA14 Conference in March and three other events taking place in January and February, and that entries are open for both the UCISA Award for Excellence and the Amber Miro Memorial Award for Innovation. Finally, thank you for your support in 2013. I wish you, on behalf of the UCISA staff, all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

    Peter Tinson

    20 December 2013