Universities Scotland: Working smarter – progress report 2013

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This report from Universities Scotland reviews progress against the action plan developed by the Universities Scotland Efficiencies Taskforce in 2012. It reflects on the success of the sector across four themes: procurement, shared services and business process improvement, estates management, and ICT.

Innovation and adaptation are at the heart of universities’ culture. Their application to how universities operate, to deliver effectiveness, efficiency and value for money, has never been more important.

The Scottish university sector is a success story in this context. Recent years have seen Scottish universities deliver significant efficiencies, outperforming the £26 million per annum efficiency savings targeted at the last spending review to deliver over £130 million of cumulative efficiencies in the three years to 2010-11.

Such savings are important, allowing for re-investment in the sector to keep Scotland’s research internationally competitive and to ensure the highest quality of student experience. However, they only tell part of the story. Our 19 diverse, autonomous institutions have formed collaborations between each other, and with key partners within the public sector, to deliver not only savings but significant strategic developments, bringing benefits to the public purse, the sector, local communities and the wider economy.

This report reflects on the success of the sector across four themes: procurement, shared services and business process improvement, estates management, and ICT. In each case the sector has delivered against targets set for 2013 and has already made substantial progress on targets laid down for 2015. This should be both celebrated and taken as a foundation for the next steps.

Looking ahead the Taskforce will support:

  • benchmarking and the collection of data on the benefits of institutions’ actions;
  • a policy environment that is supportive of simplification, streamlining and improvement of internal processes;
  • a sector-driven approach to the development of shared services; and
  • regulatory reform that reduces costs associated with compliance and facilitates increased efficiency.

Read the report: Universities Scotland: Working smarter – progress report 2013

For more information, contact: Dr Daniel Wedgwood, Senior Policy Officer, Resources and Governance, Universities Scotland

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