Administrative Review Programme

University Service Review Process

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the programme of University Service Reviews is to ensure that services reflect on the range and appropriateness of the services they deliver; continuously endeavour to improve their performance, and provide value-for-money. Services should expect to be reviewed at least every six years.

The University Service review process has the following objectives:

  • To assure the University that its support services are working effectively
  • To assist in identifying and evaluating strengths and weaknesses inthe services offered to the University community
  • To ensure that services have mechanisms to establish appropriate levels and means of delivery and to assess their own performance against them
  • To identify examples of good practice and areas for improvement. Where necessary, to recommend that services are supported through any change process.


The scope of University Services reviews covers the full range of activities and units within the University Service. At the establishment of each review, agreement will be reached on the scope of that review between the Secretary of Court/Deputy Secretary, the convener of the review panel, and the Head of the Service being reviewed; the panel secretary will also be in attendance.

Panel Membership

The review panel will normally comprise eight members:

  • Convenor (SMG member)
  • 2 external members (at least one of whom will be from a cognate area in another University)
  • 2 College representatives
  • 2 Directors of other University Services
  • Panel Secretary

In addition, panel membership for reviews of services impacting directly on students will normally include the President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).


The remit of the review is to report on the extent to which the service is meeting the strategic needs of the University. To enable the review panel to do this, the service will supply information covering the following areas:

1. What the service offers and to whom services are provided

2. Developments and initiatives to meet the University’s strategic needs

3. How the service is organised

4. How the service adapts to change and sets and agrees strategy


At least two months before the start of the review, the Director of the Service will be asked to provide an information pack containing documentation that normally already exists to cover each of the headings in the remit. This will normally include the most recent version of the service’s planning statement. In addition, services should provide a reflective self-evaluation (around four A4 pages) commenting on the service provided including perceived strengths and areas for improvement together with any results of user surveys for the three years prior to the date of the review. This pack should be made available to all service staff for information with the reflective self-evaluation being developed in consultation with staff prior to being submitted to the panel.


Following agreement of the scope of the review, the review itself will normally be held over a single working day but may extend by an extra half day for large services or where the scope of the review is particularly wide. The first part of the day will be spent in discussion with the head of the service, their senior team, and a cross section of more junior staff who will be asked how they see their role fitting into the service strategy. In addition, where possible, the panel will visit the service or otherwise familiarise itself with how the service is delivered. The panel will also ensure that it receives representative feedback from service users and stakeholders if these are different.

A draft report will be agreed by the panel and will highlight areas of good practice and thematic recommendations for action. Documentation submitted to the panel will be appended to the report. If at all possible, the convener should arrange to feed back the main messages from the review to the staff of the service. The report will be submitted to the head of the service who will be asked to check it for accuracy, and to respond with management comments and a summary of comments they have gathered from more junior staff. The report will be shared with the Secretary of Court and Deputy Secretary at all stages and the final report will be published on the University Services website, accessible to all staff internally but not to an external audience.

Follow up

Normally, a 6 monthly follow up to the review recommendations will be undertaken within University Services and, if necessary, further follow-ups will be arranged.