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Changes to SEP technology release timeline

08 Jun 2022

The University is facing resource challenges across two of its major projects, the Student Experience Programme (SEP) and the Finance Transformation Programme (FTP).

As work on FTP has progressed, it has become clear it will require more resource to deliver in full and to the required timescales. As a result, the University has taken the difficult decision that we need to delay aspects of our Student Experience Programme technology release timeline in order to prioritise FTP.

When the programmes are assessed side by side the risk of not delivering FTP is greater. We must deliver changes on our FTP by November 2023, when our current finance system will no longer be supported by the manufacturer. A delay here could present a real risk to some of our core financial services, such as ordering goods, making payments, invoicing customers and funders or collecting cash, so this work is being prioritised for the immediate future.

One of our immediate challenges is that the FTP requires some of the same specialist staff and technical resources currently working on SEP. We have tried to find ways to resolve this issue, but due in large part to an extremely competitive job market we are unable to fully resource both programmes at this time. After exploring these and other possibilities, some of the specialist staff and resources currently working on or required for SEP have been asked to refocus on the FTP in the immediate future.

We originally planned releases of new technology and process in June and August – a significant portion of this will now be replanned for a later release date. We will look at what elements we can still deliver in the meantime (where they do not rely on the resources that are limited) and seek to mitigate the impact of any delays through alternative and innovative solutions. Some benefits will still be delivered, and a limited number of activities will progress between now and the end of the calendar year. The remaining technology and process will be subject to a full replan, which we aim to start in October.

The proposals for new structures and roles under SEP continue to progress on the original timeline, with the trade union consultation now closed. These changes in themselves will deliver benefits and give colleagues clear structures and job descriptions, better ways of working, supportive ‘communities of practice’ and consistency across teams.

We know there will be challenges for teams who are expecting new technology and processes to accompany their new roles and structures. We will work with local managers to make sure the impact is understood, and the right support and mitigations are in place so teams can continue delivering high quality services with existing systems and tools. This will include reviewing staffing levels to ensure sufficient resource is in place. Teams with existing technical solutions in place will continue to use these systems until new systems are available – for example, using Campus Solutions to support programme and student administration for course unit enrolment and examination board processes. The replan will prioritise areas where we will get maximum benefit for professional service and academic staff, and our students, such as Programme Enrolment and Activity Management Improvements.

SEP has already delivered some really positive benefits and changes – this is down to the hard work and achievements of the many colleagues who have contributed to the programme thus far. We thank them for that, and this decision does not detract from their excellent work. Colleagues have moved into new leadership and management roles, a new version of Campus Solutions has been released along with improvements to My Manchester, and we have streamlined some processes for admissions, immigration and student finance, among other positive developments.

The SEP Board is meeting frequently to monitor the impact of this decision and the mitigations being put in place. From 15 June there will be regular updates through the Student Experience Leaders’ Forum and Faculty Leadership Teams, for onward cascade.

You can find further information in our Q&A on the SEP website. If you have any concerns about your own work or wellbeing, please raise this with your line manager or People & OD partner who will be able to support you. Any remaining questions you can direct to our SEP team:

Patrick Hackett

Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer