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Meet the team

Led by Matt Atkin, planning comprises a wide spectrum of activities ranging from student number planning within individual programmes, resource planning at School and Faculty level, through to the development of the University’s long term vision and strategic plan.

Matt Atkin, Director of Planning


Matt has been at Manchester as Director of Planning since 2017, having worked in banking leadership roles for over 20 years.

He has experience in leading across sales, strategy and architecture, IT delivery, planning, major projects and multi-million pound programmes. He is an experienced commercial leader and managing director, has run a national ATM business, managed the merger of two major businesses, replaced core IT infrastructure and led multiple organisational restructures.

His most recent role prior to joining the University was with the Co-operative Bank, where he was the Head of Planning and Commercial Performance, a role in which he established a centre of excellence for integrated planning, analysis, reporting and commercial management.

Since joining Manchester, he has led the development of the University's strategic plan, built high performing teams, provided advice to SLT on a range of matters and helped to reshape Professional Services. His primary focus now is on unlocking the overarching, long-term potential of the Planning team and helping the university secure a path to long term financial sustainability.

Outside of his professional career, Matt is an FA qualified coach, and currently manages the fearless Appleton Tigers under-10’s football team. He also has a keen interest in collecting rare cycling memorabilia, and travelling in the Scottish Highlands.

Fatima Azam, Office Manager


PA to Matt Atkin, Director of Planning

Fatima first joined the University in 2009, and has significant experience working across a range of teams, from the John Ryland’s Library, to the School of Medicine, and most recently within the Directorate of Legal Affairs.

She took up her most recent position as Office Manager in 2020, and plays a pivotal role in the overall management of the Planning Office and wider Directorate. Alongside providing PA support to Matt Atkin, Fatima is responsible for matters relating to the overall management of the office, including the key administration of strategic governing committees across the Directorate.

Her role also comprises working with the Head of BI on analysis tasks, identifying additional sources of data to enhance analytics within the team.


Admin Office

Essential Documents


Beth Dodd, Director of the Transformation Programme



Beth Dodd took up the role of Director, Transformation Programme, on 1 August 2019. She leads the Strategic Change Office and has a key role in the implementation of the University's strategic plan.

Beth brings a rich variety of Higher Education, public and private sector perspectives to her role. She was previously Director of Business Change at the University of Leeds, as well as Chair of the Continuous Improvement Exchange Forum – a community group of over 20 public sector bodies sharing best practice in change and continuous improvement. 

Prior to this Beth held a variety of IT and business change roles at Yorkshire Water.

Alison Fairclough - Head of Business Intelligence


Having worked at the University of Liverpool for 15 years, Alison moved to Manchester in October 2019 as the Head of Business Intelligence. 

From a variety of roles in Liverpool she brings experience in data management, planning, research strategy and corporate governance. 

Alison now focuses on building business intelligence capability across the institution, drawing key insights from a range of data linked to the University’s strategic plan. 

Saul Quirke - Head of Statutory Student Reporting


Saul Quirke took up his post in November 2019, with almost 30 years of experience in Higher Education. He leads a team of subject matter experts to meet the external statutory reporting requirements of the University relating to student information.

Saul brings extensive experience of a wide variety of roles across Professional Services. Previously Head of Analysis and Information at the University of Salford, across the Irwell, responsible for statutory student reporting as well as internal business intelligence around student information.

Outside of professional life Saul is a school governor, rugby coach at Broughton Park, and sings whenever he gets a chance.

Roxanne Bretherton - Head of Planning and Performance Review


Roxanne joined what was then the Victoria University of Manchester in 1993 as part of the Finance Directorate and moved to the Planning Office when it was created in 1994. 

She leads the planning and performance review team and is responsible for the management, co-ordination and development of the University’s planning and accountability cycle, including co-ordinating the production of planning documentation, managing key performance indicator data at the strategic level, co-ordinating annual performance reviews and developing the Planning Conference with the Board. 

She also supports and services the University’s Planning and Resources Committee. PRC is the key central management committee and serves as the primary source of advice to the Board of Governors on matters relating to the development and allocation of the University’s resources, on strategic planning issues and operational priorities, and on the financial, educational, research and social responsibility performance of the University against agreed goals and targets.