University Services – Organisational Restructuring

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    Why are we undertaking a restructuring exercise?
The University of Glasgow is a leading, research-intensive institution with a global reputation and ambitious plans for the future.  While our success will depend primarily on the excellence of our teaching and research, the professional support services have a vital role to play in ensuring the University achieves its aspirations.  To this end, we need to make sure that the University Services are optimally organised.  The high-level restructuring we are about to undertake will help us to do this.
There are three specific goals:
•    To ensure that all services are led by senior professional managers who can provide strategic direction in line with, and in support of, the University's overall strategy
•    To facilitate close articulation of central services with the support base in Colleges and Schools
•    To assist with implementation of a University-wide transformation programme, with the aim of reducing overlap and duplication, and maximising efficiency and effectiveness

The changes will ensure that all areas of professional support are represented directly on the University Services Leadership Team.
To achieve this, we propose to restructure University Services into eight directorates, covering:
i.   Student & Academic Services
ii.   Research
iii.   External Relations
iv.   Human Resources
v.    Finance
vi.   Information Services
vii.   Estates & Commercial Services
viii.   Strategy & Planning

2.    Is the restructuring primarily driven by the need to make savings?
The overriding aim is to improve the effectiveness of professional support for academic activities and to enhance the student experience. In addition, we believe the revised structure will be more efficient and expect it to yield savings over time.  The new structure will also make it easier to take forward the transformation programme which the University is committed to implementing over the next five years.

3.    Are jobs under threat?
We anticipate very few if any redundancies as a result of the initial reorganisation.  Where individual directorships decide to undertake restructuring exercises as part of the next phase, we will make every effort to implement change without compulsory redundancies.  Where members of staff are at risk of redundancy, we remain committed to redeploying them to other roles wherever possible.

4.    Will the new structure cost more than the old one?
No, we propose to make the changes within the existing budget envelope.

5.    How will the changes affect academic staff?
One of the main reasons for restructuring is to improve the quality of support for academic activities (principally teaching, research and knowledge exchange).  All the directorates will be judged on the extent to which they provide an excellent service to academic staff and students while also fulfilling regulatory and reporting requirements.  Over time, we expect to see rising levels of satisfaction with all the professional services on campus.

6.    How will the changes affect students?
Enhancing the student experience will be a central goal of all the student-facing services – we aim to achieve demonstrable improvements in student satisfaction across all aspects of campus life.

7.    Who has been or will be consulted about the proposed changes?
So far, we have consulted senior colleagues in University Services, the Senior Management Group and the campus trade unions.  Members of staff will also have an opportunity to comment on the proposals before we reach a final decision on the new structure.

8.    What are the implications for relations between University Services and the Colleges?
It is essential that the support provided at different levels throughout the University is properly joined up.  All the University services will be judged not just on the quality of the support they provide individually, but the way they work with each other and with colleagues in the Colleges.  As full members of the University Services Leadership Team, the College Heads of Professional Services will help to ensure that the needs of the Colleges and Schools are prioritised, that we avoid duplication and overlap and that systems and processes are as lean as possible.

9.    How will we measure success?
We are committed to continually assessing the quality of services and addressing gaps or instances of under-performance.  To this end, we will continue to take part in the biennial UniForum survey, which uses quantitative and qualitative data to compare service provision at Glasgow with competitor universities.  Secondly, we will participate in a more detailed qualitative survey run by Nottingham University which will tell us what our staff (chiefly academic staff) think of the services we provide.  Thirdly, we will use a range of surveys to understand the views of students and will liaise closely with the SRC as the main voice of student opinion.

10.    What is the timescale for progressing the changes?
We propose to move to the new directorate structure from 1 August 2017.  There will be further elaboration of structures within some directorates after that date.  A few Executive Directors (the heads of the eight overarching directorates) will not be in post immediately; in these instances, interim arrangements will be put in place.

11.    Are there further changes to come?
Other than the possible reorganisation within directorates, we are not anticipating any other major changes at this stage.  However, we will keep the structure under review and may make further changes in subsequent years if this proves necessary.

12.    What opportunities will there be for professional support staff to develop their careers at Glasgow?
We want to maximise the opportunities for professional support staff to enjoy fulfilling careers at Glasgow; the larger groupings of support services should help us to do this.  We will also continue to address career development through the P&DR process and by further expanding the Glasgow Professional programme.  More generally, we want to empower professional support staff at all levels to take responsibility, to take the initiative and be creative.  In discussion with staff, we will give careful thought as to how this can best be achieved.    

13.    If I want to discuss the changes, whom can I speak to?
Any member of staff or any student is welcome to speak with me or, if I am unavailable, with the Deputy Secretary, Dorothy Welch.  We can be reached at and  Specific issues relating to Human Resources may be discussed with the Head of HR (University Services), Claire Williamson (


David Duncan
Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary
15 June 2017