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Transforming Our Professional Services

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Transforming Our Professional Services (TOPS) Programme


The Transforming Our Professional Services Programme (TOPS) is working in partnership with the UCL Community to redesign and modernise our Professional Services.

TOPS’ goals are to ensure UCL’s Professional Services:

  • provide more effective services and a more satisfied UCL community
  • provide more fulfilling careers for staff 
  • invest more money in UCL’s academic mission by improving value for money and efficiency

Since 2017, we have been talking with colleagues and students across all of UCL to find out what’s working well and not so well in our professional services. We have used these comments to prioritise the areas we need to focus on, and we’ll continue to work with colleagues in Professional Services to make these changes.

There will be lots of gradual changes over the next few years; and for some teams there’ll be new ways of working in order to deliver high quality services to students and staff.

There are some professional service areas that we’re still working out the details for, and as soon as we do, we’ll publish them on these pages. In the meantime, we’re always open to feedback on any aspect of our professional services or the TOPS programme through the TOPS mailbox.


Why we need to change

Over the past decade, UCL has doubled in size and extended its range of activities through mergers and expansion.

UCL expansionToday, we’re not only a huge institute, we’re also very complex. Some of that complexity is intrinsic to what we do, but it’s also due to the many similar tasks we carry out in numerous different ways.

Professional services have grown around an out-of-date model that neither meets the needs of today’s UCL community, nor the increasing challenges of unprecedented global uncertainty: regulation, competition, Brexit and new challenges regarding fees, research income, immigration and worldwide reputation.

Our professional services staff are tremendously committed to working for UCL but more often than not, we get things done in spite of, rather than because of, the underlying processes and systems.

The TOPS programme was established because we need to streamline and modernise our processes and systems while changing our ways of working to better support students and academic staff.

Modernising our processes and systems will also:

  • change some of the ways we work
  • offer more rewarding and fulfilling careers in professional services
  • create a more rewarding experience to work for UCL
  • help staff sustain UCL as one of the world’s leading universities

To find out more about how we need to improve services for students and staff, watch this short video from Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs):

"We do a lot of similar things in numerous different ways"

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/7096