Archive of Covid-19: Crisis Management Structure for UCL - June to September

To ensure that UCL can continue to function smoothly for the duration of this crisis, and can emerge from it stronger and more resilient, we implemented a different governance structure to enable informed decision-making at speed.

Please note: This is an archived webpage which reflects the crisis management structure that was in place from June to September 2020. As of October this has been replaced by our current management structure. An earlier structure was in place from March to June 2020.

New phase of the crisis structure

We are now focusing on translating our planning into practice. This requires Deans, Heads of Departments and senior Professional Services (PS) leads to focus more than ever on their specific areas of responsibility as we work through the implications of the proposed delivery model. We have moved away from the GSB structure towards a more streamlined implementation framework. 

The focus of the new structure, starting from 8 June, continues to be set by the Provost and is supported by a Crisis Leadership Team. All work managed through the structure is related directly to the current crisis and aimed toward supporting faculty leadership teams and PS leads to prepare effectively for the 2020-21 academic year. 

Decisions relating to academic provision continue to be referred to Academic Committee for approval, following consultation wherever feasible with the full university community and with members of Academic Board. Coronavirus restrictions mean that consultation must be conducted online. We have also reinstated meetings of HR Policy Committee, Estates Management Committee and the Information Services Governance Committee so that issues of business continuity in these areas can be considered outside of the crisis structure.  

The new structure is detailed below. The Crisis Leadership Team will review this position on a monthly basis and it will remain in place until:

  • UK Government restrictions are lifted and / or are limited and stable;
  • there is a low risk of a second wave and / or it is clear that we have protocols in place for managing flexibility between lockdown and return to campus;
  • all services are operating effectively and clear contingency plans are in place in case of a need to adapt to changing restrictions;
  • education delivery is stable and any residual problems from start of session have been addressed.

The outcomes of this structure will be shared with the community through a range of relevant channels. Decisions will inform updates to UCL policies and guidance that are shared through local teams (e.g. HR’s policies and guidance to support staff during coronavirus) and form the basis of the coronavirus information hub, and the keeping safe on campus website. We will continue to regularly update the community directly through our daily coronavirus emails to all staff, communications from the Provost, and operational emails to UCL leadership.

Reviewed crisis management structure details

Crisis Leadership Team

The Crisis Leadership Team (CLT) has responsibility for all high-level decisions relating to the crisis - including financial planning - and is supported by task and finish groups as necessary., including financial sustainability. A transition group are overseeing the handover from the GSB structure into this new way of working, and a small team will also be established to lead on further planning work and a 12-month plan for next year.

The CLT will communicate regularly with Faculty Teams to ensure that those responsible for leading on local implementation are aware of decisions as they are taken and are clear about how and when they will be taken forward.

Membership and terms of reference

Chair: Provost
Convenor: Provost Chief of Staff
Members: COO, all Vice-Provosts, Planning, Representative from Crisis Review and Advisory Group, CAM, Media Relations, Public Affairs, HR, Finance and Secretary to Council

Terms of reference:

  • Meets daily to maintain an overview of progress and to respond swiftly to emerging issues
  • Sets direction for all crisis-related work
  • Approves forward plan for delivery groups and reviews progress against the overarching 12-month plan
  • Commissions work from the Delivery Groups, from Planning and Finance, or from groups reporting directly into the Team as needed
  • Reviews progress against financial planns and key indicators
  • Receives weekly reports on progress, emerging issues and concerns from the Review Team

Crisis Review and Advisory Team

The Review Team ensures that Deans, as the senior leads for faculties, are actively engaged with the decisions being taken by the CLT, are able to comment, review and challenge proposals and decisions, and can shape the direction given to the Delivery Teams. The chair rotates between the VPs leading the Delivery Groups and the COO.

Membership and terms of reference

Chair: Rotating between Chairs of Delivery Groups
Convenor: Provost Chief of Staff
Members: Deans, COO, Delivery Team chairs, Provost in attendance; others by invitation

Terms of reference:

  • Meets twice weekly – Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Reviews progress against delivery in faculties and any issues emerging 
  • Receives weekly progress report from both delivery groups
  • Considers requests from CLT to Delivery Groups ahead of work starting to refine and identify key areas of focus
  • Can be invited by CLT to provide challenge to emerging proposals 

Delivery Groups

Two Delivery Groups (for Education and Operations, and Research and External Engagement) oversee the implementation of decisions taken by the CLT and are accountable to CLT for that implementation. They commission work as needed and work closely with faculties. The frequency and focus of the meetings of these groups are determined by the chairs. Although they may refer issues back to the CLT if needed, the Delivery Groups are set up to operate autonomously to enable decisions to be implemented, rather than to act as a the conduit between different parts of structure. 

Education and Operational Delivery Group

Chair: VP Education / COO
Convenor: COO, Chief of Staff

Recruitment and Admissions

  • Chair: VP Education / VP Research
  • Convenor: Chief of Staff


  • Chair: Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences
  • Convenor: Strategic Research Facilitator
Research and External Engagement Delivery Group 

Chair: Director of Planning
Convenor: Executive Director of Development

Faculty Teams

Faculty Teams are under the leadership of the Deans, who have full responsibility for ensuring that their faculty can operate effectively in the next academic year within the wider institutional framework. 

Full Crisis Management Structure membership list

The membership of the groups described above includes staff from across our academic and professional services teams and represents the diversity of our community.

Further information

If you have a question about UCL's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the crisis management structure we have adopted, please submit this through our online form (for staff and students only). 

If you have a specific question about your individual circumstances please speak to your department in the first instance.

We may not be able to respond to every question individually, but we will use your questions to update the website, so please do continue to check.