Exploring efficiency in higher education

Efficiency can be a challenging concept. We accept that it’s a good thing, but we struggle to define it. We may recognise it when we see it, but the factors that drive it frequently remain elusive. And just when we think we’ve finally pinned it
down, we find that it can mean different things to different people.

Which is why I’ve been delighted to work with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education to research and prepare ‘Getting to grips with efficiency’, a guide aimed at those with governance responsibilities within UK higher education institutions.

The guide covers a broad range of efficiency-related topics, from the history of efficiency in organisations to how it is approached in today’s universities, and from how governors can help to promote efficiency to what institutions are already doing to make more efficient use of the resources available to them. In short, if you want to learn about the efficiency agenda and its impact on the UK higher education sector, this is the guide for you.

The guide can be downloaded from the LFHE website. If you don’t have a MyLF account, you can set one up for free.

Understanding the costs and benefits of sharing services

Over the last few months, I’ve been working with Falmouth Exeter Plus, the shared services delivery partner of Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, on an exciting project to measure, analyse and model the costs and benefits of collaboration between UK higher education institutions. Continue reading

Designing effective performance measures

I have spent the last couple of weeks immersed in all sorts of performance measures. Some have been good, some have been less good and others have been inspired. So while the thoughts are still fresh in my mind, here are some tips on how to develop performance measures for your organisation that will really make a difference. Continue reading

Building resilient public services

At the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) last week, Amyas Morse, the head of the National Audit Office, called on the government to explain how it will respond to failing public services in the new environment of increased competition and spending restraint. Continue reading

The era of best practice is over

It’s bad news for finance directors. When it comes to improving the finance function, there is no silver bullet. There is no super new technical wizardry or consultancy sleight of hand that will transform things overnight. And there is most definitely no such thing as best practice, no one-size-fits-all approach that will make your finance troubles go away. Continue reading