UK universities have been changing the way that they deliver services to students and staff – and there is a wealth of good practice across the sector. Covid-19 will significantly impact service delivery across the HE sector. Universities will need to deliver services through multiple modes, while achieving efficiencies in the face of challenges to financial sustainability.  In our most recent SUMS Briefing Paper: the changing face of HE service delivery, SUMS Principal Consultant Claire Taylor MBE explores evolution in approach, good practice and ways of implementing sustainable change garnered through work with universities across the UK.

Universities might want to change the way that they deliver services for many reasons, ranging from effectiveness, to efficiency, and economies of scale. There are also many factors that constrain the ability to make change in this area.  We have seen several universities move towards a hub or one-stop-shop approach for student service delivery over the last decade. More recently, we have worked with institutions looking at target operating models for a range of professional and academic administration services. Covid-19 has shown us the importance of organisational resilience.

This paper brings together learnings from a range of SUMS assignments to support leaders designing service delivery models at their institutions.  As well as being a ‘how to’ guide for those embarking on change, it is also good reading for heads of service areas thinking about service improvement. We’ve included case studies and data from the SUMS’ Academic Registrars’ group to illustrate different models of engagement and delivery.  Whilst most case studies focus on the delivery of student services, the principles and good practice highlighted in this paper can be extrapolated to the delivery of professional services.

If you would like to receive a copy of this paper, which includes key success factors for implementing successful change, please contact Claire Taylor (

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