A tough year ahead for local government finance

It’s going to be another tough year for local government finances, with virtually all local authorities planning to increase council tax, one in ten councils warning that they may not be able to meet their statutory obligations and confidence in the sustainability of local government finance remaining low. Continue reading

Don’t set goals, create habits

The new year is traditionally the time when we set goals for ourselves. Things we want to achieve. Skills we want to develop. Aspects of ourselves that we want to improve. And a couple of weeks into the new year is traditionally the time when we realise the wheels have already come off and we’re stuck with being who we are. So why not try something different? Instead of setting goals, create habits. Continue reading

Making family leave more family friendly

It’s no secret that juggling a family and a career is far from easy. But early-career academic researchers hoping to start a family have it harder than most. Fixed-term contracts, less-than-sympathetic funders and the need to stay ‘in the game’ make family leave a nervous time. But there are ways to make it work.

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The UK Research Staff Association recently undertook a survey of researchers on fixed-term contracts, to explore their experiences of taking family leave.

I then worked with the UKRSA – on a pro bono basis – to analyse the results of the survey.

This allowed us to identify how researchers can get the most from their family leave, without feeling that they’re sacrificing their career.

We were also able to determine some simple steps that employers can take to manage researchers’ family leave in a supportive way.

We’ve summarised the findings from our work in a short ‘top tips’ guide for researchers and their employers. You can download your free copy here or find the guide on the UKRSA website.

I’m always keen to use my skills to help with projects like this, which make a real difference to people in the sectors in which I work. If you have a project that you think I might be able to help with, please do feel free to drop me a line.

Understanding university finance

UUF ImageI’m delighted to announce that the British Universities Finance Directors Group’s new guide to ‘Understanding University Finance’ has just been published.

I’ve been working with colleagues at BUFDG for the last few months to prepare this guide, which is essential reading for all those who want – or need – to understand higher education finance.

You can download the guide for free on the BUFDG website. You can also read Matt Sisson’s blog post, explaining why the guide is both timely and important.

Huge thanks to all of the reviewers, who kindly gave of their time and expertise to help to make the guide better. And to BUFDG, for asking me to write it in the first place.

Managing workloads

I was delighted yesterday to have the opportunity to speak with the members of the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA) workload management interest group at their annual meeting, hosted this year by the University of Hull.

To see a copy of my presentation, click here.

HESPA Presentation Photo

I also had the chance to promote my ‘Sockmonkey Guide’ to academic workload modelling, which you can download here.

AWM Guide Image

As well as the accompanying basic MS Excel workload modelling template (which is fully customisable and issued under a Creative Commons license), which you can download here.

If you’re looking for help in developing, improving or getting more out of an academic workload model, you might be interested in my brochure, which you can download here.

WLM Brochure

Or feel free to drop me a line for an informal and no-obligation chat. I’m always keen to learn what people are up to. And I’d love to hear from you.