The Practical Benefits of UniForum for Edinburgh

As a number of you are still working to complete the ‘activity coding’ exercise by 9 June, and the Service Effectiveness Survey by 12 June, I thought I’d share what I learned about the value of the data we’re collecting while at a recent Uniforum conference in London.

The day was a mixture of presentations from Cubane, the company that runs UniForum, and the Universities who are engaged with the programme; some for nearly a decade.


How your input makes things better

One of the most interesting presentations focused a number of New Zealand universities and their use of the ‘activity coding’ and effectiveness survey data.

They were able to demonstrate how that information helped them to effectively review processes and systems, and improve the allocation of staff time to support students from application to graduation.

This resulted in better management of student enquiries, enhanced information provision and the crucial development of their staff through the process.

Another presentation offered insights into the Service Effectiveness Survey and how they have been able to use this to understand the internal impact that services are having, regardless of where they are delivered or by whom.

In my opinion, these findings serve as a very positive and practical endorsement for engaging with Uniforum tools, and the improved service quality that’s achievable for our students, academics and the professional services staff that support them.


Teething issues

However, the consensus of opinion also warned that these results did not arrive without some early teething issues.

Almost all of the representatives from the 17 other Russell Group Universities using this process in the UK reported that the first year is the most difficult.

It has taken most universities a number of years for the process to work out how the data and benchmarking can best benefit their work to enhance the way they deliver services to students and academics.


Similar but not the same…

Benchmarking and understanding how different Universities use the process and data was very helpful and while not all universities are alike we do face similar challenges.

My hope is that we can use this strategic activity to help generate new insights that will help enhance our services, provide us with some benchmarking information, and contextualise feedback on service provision.

And by working together we will all get a greater sense of what Uniforum provides us with, and the value that we can attach to it to improve our University’s professional services.


Barry Neilson

Service Excellence Programme Lead

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