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FAQs

Please see our FAQs below. As the project progresses this will be updated. If you have a question or would like to give us feedback please contact us.

When will “Working during periods of change – flexibility and adaptable thinking training” be held in 2017?

Training will commence in February 2017 and dates and venues for the staff programmes can be found via the registration page.
HoDs and Directors and Managers of Service Divisions who have not yet attended the manager programme will be advised dates and venues for 2017.

Why is HR out of scope?

While the HR Division itself is not in scope, there are HR functions in scope for the Support Services Review. They are managed staff recruitment and professional development and training for staff.

Why is Property Services out of scope?

Some functions performed by the Property Services Division are out of scope as detailed in the Project Scope document There are roles within the Property Services Division that will be in scope for the Support Services Review as they undertake finance, IT, human resources, marketing and administrative tasks as outlined in the Vice-Chancellors Update for Staff.

What support is available for staff now?

Staff can access the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) via the Human Resources website.

There are a number of courses currently offered by the Professional Development team that staff may find useful. A new programme has been developed “How are you feeling during times of change: circles of support, control, influence and concern”.

Will there be job losses at the end of the Support Services Review?

As detailed in the Vice-Chancellors Update for Staff the Steering Group will receive business cases and decisions will then be made about how best to proceed. Implementation would follow and may result in changes to one or more of policies, processes, systems and organisational structure. Only when this work is completed will we be able to be clear about how this will impact roles. It is likely that there will be a reduction in staffing however we are trying to mitigate this by using fixed-term appointments during this period.

Is Otago alone amongst Australasian universities in undertaking a major review of support services?

No. Monash, Auckland, ANU, Melbourne and LaTrobe have all gone through major exercises broadly equivalent to ours, and are now embedding the results of changes they have made. Sydney, Adelaide, the University of Western Australia, University of Queensland and Flinders are all – like Otago- in the design phase for potentially wide-ranging cross-functional changes. Universities in the US and UK have also implemented similar sorts of changes.

The Vice-Chancellor has said that that general staff are high calibre so why are you reviewing us?

The Support Services Review is not focusing on individual staff or performance. The review is considering how the University undertakes administrative and operational processes end-to-end across the organisation.

How will staff based outside Dunedin be able to engage with the project team?

The project team have arranged initial workshops for staff based in Christchurch and Wellington in consultation with the Business and Operations Managers in those locations. Further dates and topics for workshops will be communicated to staff in Christchurch and Wellington as they are arranged. The team will hold video conferences with staff in other locations as required. Staff visiting Dunedin will be given preferential placement at Dunedin workshops being held when they are in Dunedin on business.

Will staff be able to see the business cases before they are presented to the Steering Group?

Business cases will be presented to the Steering Group for review and consideration. A communication and consultation plan would then be developed taking into consideration the recommendations contained in the business cases and the impact those recommendations would have on roles within the organisation.

Who are the members of the academic and general staff advisory groups?

The membership of the academic and general staff advisory groups have been confirmed and can be viewed in the Updates section of the project website.

Can you tell us more about the people in the project team?

Brief biographies of the core project team are available in The Project Team section of the project website.

What is the purpose of the Support Services Review?

The purpose of the project is to undertake a review of administrative and operational processes that support academics in the achievement of their research and teaching goals.

What is the scope of the project?

The project will review all functions and processes undertaken by support staff in all divisions.

Why is this project being launched?

In recent months VCAG, the Vice-Chancellors Advisory Group has been considering what should happen to address our decreasing revenue, increased costs and static to reducing student numbers. In addition there is a strong desire to have available funds for strategic initiatives, including our building programme.

In recent years the University has grown significantly without an overarching plan as to how support services should be carried out. Therefore we can not be sure that we are as efficient as we can be and this project is being launched to carefully review how support services are provided.

What kinds of decisions will the Steering Group make?

There will be key points throughout the project when the Steering Group will be required to provide critical evaluation of work undertaken by the project team and provide direction for ongoing work. The steering group will make all key decisions about the delivery of services and any structural changes.

Who will lead the project?

All VCAG members form the Steering Group for this project and are responsible for governance of the project, particularly key decisions that will need to be made as the project progresses. Kevin Seales has been appointed as Executive Sponsor and will lead an operational project team who will engage directly with staff throughout the course of the project.

Who else is working on the project?

See a list of project team members. Many of you will be invited to work with the project team and engage in this review process.

What does the term Support Services mean?

Support Services is defined as all operational and administrative processes undertaken by general staff across the University.

How can staff be involved in the Support Services Review?

Staff are able to contribute their ideas, comments, make a suggestion and ask a question regarding the project using the Have your say section of the project website.  There will also be high levels of engagement and consultation with staff across the University during the research phase of the project.