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What improvements were made in Summer 2022?

The following details were published in September 2022 and have been kept for information:

  • We improved the Airport Support Service for international students
  • We improved finance processes for staff and students
  • We improved the management of student mobility activities in the UK and overseas

What has changed?

  • In the new Airport Support Service, students can now provide their flight details to the International Relations team through MyManchester and amend the details if there are changes to their arrival time. This means that staff have access to more accurate information on students’ arrival at the airport, which allows them to deliver appropriate support and guidance on getting to their accommodation on campus.
  • Students can upload their sponsor document providing evidence that a third party will be paying the student’s tuition fees. This is an extension of functionality already available to applicants. As the student will now upload the document, the team will be able to process these more quickly, enabling quicker registration of students.
  • Debt query management CRM processes have been introduced which enable the collaborative student finance team (comprising of the Student Finance team in DSE and the Transactional Services team in Finance) to operate as one team. Refund management functionality is now being tested and is expected to be released in the coming weeks. Together, this functionality will help to improve the student experience by ensuring that any team member can respond to student queries more quickly and effectively.
  • We have delivered an extended and upgraded use of My Placement, a single system to manage placements and international programme activities in the UK and overseas including work placements, study abroad, field trips, group travel, summer schools and independent fieldwork. We have also standardised student placement processes to manage applications, pre-departure preparation, risk management and emergency response, and post-placement processes such as feedback and evidence submission.




Step 1: Access online resources

The first thing to do is access the online and self-service materials available to staff:

  • Online training: Staff with key roles in these areas will be asked to complete training on the new processes. It has been designed to provide you with detailed knowledge on the new systems and how they integrate with current ways of working.
  • Knowledge Hub: As you begin to follow the new processes, you may find you need to check a specific aspect along the way. Rather than directing you back through the full training, we will provide searchable guides to help you find the information you need more quickly, via a Knowledge Hub which is currently being developed.

Step 2: Speak to your local team manager

If you have not been able to resolve your query using online resources, we recommend that you contact your local manager via your usual communication methods e.g. Teams chat for specialist advice.

Step 3: Escalate your query for more support

If the issue cannot be resolved, your manager will escalate this into a process for resolution. It is unlikely that you will need to be involved in this, as they will represent you and your query. During this process, work will be prioritised based on the risk and impact – so your query may not be resolved immediately, but your local manager will keep you updated.


What systems will go down and when?

The My Placement release will lead to downtime of the system from midday Monday 15 August to midday Monday 22 August.

Work was completed on the Airport Support Service and Finance updates in July, with no downtime required.

How are colleagues being prepared and trained for the changes?

Teams will start to be involved in transition activities from May 2022 onwards. These activities include discussions in team meetings and the provision of introductory videos to explain key changes and benefits. The focus of these discussions will be to listen to any concerns, identify actions for teams relating to transition, and assess understanding of the forthcoming changes.

The project team has worked in close partnership with managers and leaders of impacted teams to plan and ensure teams will be ready. One of the criteria by which SEP will assess whether it should go-live as planned, will be whether the business leads confirm that both their local teams and stakeholders are ready.

Online training will be available for technology and process. A Knowledge Hub is under development with easily searchable how-to guides to help colleagues find reminder information quickly, once they have completed the initial training guides.

The new My Placement system will go live in August, and relevant processes will be rolled out for different activity types and academic levels at key points in the academic year, with existing users of the system (study abroad and work placements) due to go first. Training on systems and processes will begin as the new structure is implemented across these areas of activity and colleagues are confirmed into roles.

How are we reducing the risk of things going wrong?

SEP is subject to rigorous governance and regular status reporting. During the lead up to a major milestone such as the release of new functionality, this scrutiny increases to ensure that a decision to proceed with the release is based on the appropriate balance of risks. Extensive planning and monitoring of risks between IT, business and programme colleagues is a significant step in ensuring things go as smoothly as possible.

What happens if something does go wrong?

In the first few weeks the majority of the queries raised will be easily dealt with by signposting to appropriate training materials or with the assistance of your manager.  Arrangements are in hand to be able to update training materials and information quickly as necessary.

Where an issue cannot be resolved locally, there are escalation processes.  Issues will be triaged and prioritised according to the scale and impact of the problem.  Dedicated teams of business and technical colleagues will work through any issues based on prioritisations.

Local managers and leaders will have regular meetings with the programme team to assess how the change is going, and to monitor the progress to resolving issues and risks.

What if a student needs support?

For any issues with the My Placement upgrade, students should contact their School or placement administrator for support regarding study or work placements.

Students should contact the IT Service Desk for the most common support issues (such as activating their University IT account to allow them to complete transactional processes) - this team has been provided with information to give support. If a student has a query unrelated to these areas, they can contact for support or direction to the appropriate team.