Sussex 2025

One Professional Service (1PS)

What is One Professional Service (1PS)?

One Professional Service (1PS) is a Delivering Success project in Phase One of Sussex 2025.

Phase One of Sussex 2025 brings together activity that underpins the initial delivery of the University’s four interconnected strategies: Learn to Transform; Research with Impact; Engage for Change; and Build on Strengths.

Delivering Success is the first stage of the Build on Strengths strategy.

1PS fundamentally underpins the academic endeavours of the University (as articulated through Sussex 2025).

Its focus is to improve how we support staff and students through simpler and standardised processes, systems, governance and ways of working.

Professional Services has to be set up in the right way as it is crucial to the long-term sustainability of the University.

Why are we doing this?

We need to be delivering effective, value-for-money and integrated professional services - both in schools and divisions - working in absolute partnership with academic colleagues and students, creating an environment where staff can personally develop and fulfil their potential.

We know that we need to find cost-savings if we are to create a surplus so we can invest in our IT and Estates. You can find out more in the Understanding the University's Finances webinar.  

What we aim to achieve through the delivery of 1PS

Improved understanding: The purpose of the One Professional Service project is to ensure that people understand the economic engine of the university which is focused around students and research. Improved understanding within Professional Services (PS) and among academic colleagues of the role that PS plays and how services can be run more effectively.

Increased flexibility: We need to be flexible to respond to the changing external environment (technology, compliance, social, economic changes).

Better value: We need to deliver value and add value. We need to be efficient, effective and integrated.

More confidence and collaboration: This will give us the motivation and encouragement we need to operate as one team.

How will this help?

Improving these foundations (ways of working, processes, systems and governance) is crucial to the long-term sustainability of the University.

What has 1PS been focusing on?

Three main aims:

Aim 1: Looking across the Professional Services to ensure there is no duplication of work and that staff and are located in the right divisions and that responsibilities are clear. 

Aim 2: Identifying and improving the core processes that are currently frustrating our efforts. This is supported by the Simplification and Standardisation User Group (SSUG) which provide advice and guidance on where to focus effort.

Aim 3: Ensuring the most appropriate and value-for-money approach to enable Professional Services to provide the best service for students and staff, both in schools and divisions. This is sometimes referred to as 1PS Structures.

What have we done on Aim 1? 

A number of compliance roles have been consolidated and moved into General Counsel, Governance and Compliance (GCGC).

These include: bringing together Information, Governance, Business Continuity & Risk; the Prevent Lead and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) lead signatory moving from Planning & Performance; UK Visa & Immigration accountability moving from SRAID to GCGC; and Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)

Benefits: Consolidation of compliance-related activities fits better with General Counsel as they already provide advice on legal and regulatory requirements.

Health & Safety moved from Estates and Facilities Management into GCGC

Benefits: Ensures legal and regulatory requirements for Health and Safety are met.

Copyright Licence Agreement (CLA), Education Recording Agreement (ERA) and Motion Picture Licence Agreement (MPLA) authority moved from Performance & Planning to Libraries.

Benefits: Licences and agreements that relate to academic materials for use of students and staff held within the Library.

What have we done on Aim 2?

The Simplification and Standardisation User Group (SSUG) has been formed to identify things that hold us up and frustrate us.

They can be small things that take up a lot of time. In addition, we have also developed some Continuous Improvement User groups for HR, Finance, IT and Estates (these are all chaired by academics and with representation of academics and Professional Service staff). 

We have also introduced a staff suggestion scheme so you can contribute your own ideas to how we could do things better.

Benefits: It will enable us to do things differently, in a more efficient and straightforward way. It will also mean we are continuously looking for ways to improve what we do.

Find out more about SSUG.

What have we done on Aim 3?

Consolidated line management responsibility for Professional Services staff embedded in schools: 

We recently introduced four new Heads of Professional Service roles which will be closely aligned with schools but whose line management sits in Professional Services. 

Benefits: The advantages of making this change are that we’re working as effectively and efficiently as we can and are building a more resilient and agile range of services to support staff and students.

We’re aiming to improve our processes and provide a strong voice for schools in the planning of Professional Services strategies. We also need to create opportunities for cost-savings, particularly where there is duplication.

What's next?
  • Professional Services Directors will continue working to remove duplication and provide greater clarity on responsibilities over the next 12 months.
  • The Standardisation and Simplification User Group will review and contribute to further short and long-term improvements.
  • Suggestions submitted to assist with improving the way we do things will be reviewed and where appropriate actioned. 
  • Heads of Professional Service (covering School clusters) will continue to work with academic colleagues to inform how Professional Services should underpin and deliver those ambitions.  
  • Tim Westlake and the PS Directors are at the very early stage of considering the next phase of 1PS and what this will look like to ensure we deliver on our Strategy 2025 ambitions.
  • We will be open, transparent and provide regular updates.