Academic workload modelling: Friend or foe?

One of the concerns that I hear most frequently from university senior managers is that they have no idea how members of their academic staff are spending their time. And a common complaint from academics themselves is that the ‘centre’ just doesn’t understand the huge number of different activities that they have to contend with. Workload modelling provides a way to bridge this gap. 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

On outsourcing and accountability

I drove down to South Devon last Friday evening and stayed overnight at the Paignton outpost of a well-known budget hotel chain. Arriving at around 8pm, I was pleased to find one solitary space left in the hotel car park. Sufficiently pleased, in fact, that I didn’t even bat an eyelid at the £5 overnight charge. What annoyed me, though, was that I had to scrabble around to find change for the ticket machine rather than just pay at reception. 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