Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Exec meets the Section Heads

Meetings starting to wind down a bit as we approach the Christmas festivities, but still enough to keep me busy! Last week we had the inaugural meeting of the departmental customer service group. This is definitely not the Customer Services section of the department, but volunteers from across all areas who are coming together to look at where we can improve our customer service, how we can incentivate staff and improve morale and share best practice. Nice to see so many people at the first meeting, and I look forward to seeing it develop.

This morning we had a meeting of our Executive Team and our Section Heads. Lots to discuss, and the first item was the thorny issue of communication - what works well, what doesn't, and what can we do to improve things. Whilst a lot is working well, there are things to be improved - more meetings where the Sections Heads meet the whole of the Executive for example, rather than just their Assistant Director. We presented our two emerging strategies to the group - the Technology Strategy and the Learning and Teaching Support Strategy. A Research Strategy is under development, and all will help to guide the department to realise our vision over the next 5 years.

We discussed items we'd like to see on future meeting agendas, and the two main ones are resource allocation and escalation of issues. Resource allocation in its broadest sense - how we know what people are doing, how do we allocate resources to new projects as well as "business as usual", and what can we stop doing as we run more and more services. Escalation is deciding what decisions people can take on their own, and what needs to be referred upwards. Sometimes referral is not for a decision, but just approval, or even just to make sure people are informed. It's a difficult topic and one which I'm sure will generate a lot of discussion.

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