Transforming Our Professional Services


About TOPS

Our professional services have an essential role in UCL’s continued success and must be empowered and developed. 

We are an expanding and complex organisation. Over the past decade, UCL has doubled in size.

Today, 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. Currently, we often get things done through the exceptional commitment of our professional services staff who achieve results in spite of, rather than because of, the underlying processes, systems and ways of working. 

TOPS aims and vision

Our aims are to:

  • Provide more effective professional services and a more satisfied UCL community
  • Provide more fulfilling careers for professional services staff 
  • Enable greater investment in UCL’s academic mission by improving value for money and efficiency in UCL’s professional services

And our vision for professional service excellence across UCL is for effective, efficient and integrated professional services that enable us to:

  • achieve academic excellence
  • sustain our position as one of the top ten universities in the world
  • create an environment in which our staff can personally develop and fulfil their potential


Nicola Tyson-Payne – Transformation Director
Eleanor Gaskell-Taylor – Head of Continuous Improvement
Julie Bailey – Head of Change at UCL
Stuart McLellan – Head of HR

For general enquiries about any of the TOPS Programme projects please email TOPS@ucl.ac.uk


In 2015 and 2016 colleagues across UCL completed the UniForum Service Effectiveness Survey – which benchmarks professional services costs and user satisfaction across higher education institutes in the UK and globally. These early results placed UCL at the bottom of the Russell Group.

The Transforming our Professional Services (TOPS) programme was established in October 2016, partly in response to the initial survey results and with an aim of improving service effectiveness in order to increase satisfaction. 

Find out more about why the programme was established and what has happened since it began.