Transforming Our Professional Services


Chief Operating Officer's reflections on TOPS

26 February 2019

Reflections on the TOPS Programme from co-sponsor and Chief Operating Officer, Fiona Ryland

Photo of Fiona Ryland, TOPS programme from co-sponsor and Chief Operating Officer

"Having recently taken on the role of co-sponsor for the Transforming our Professional Services (TOPS) Programme, I thought it would be a good time to share some reflections.

Currently, we get things done often through the exceptional commitment of individuals who achieve great results in spite of, rather than because of, the underlying processes, systems and ways of working. These can hinder rather than help, and frustrate rather than facilitate, so we need to get them working better both to support academic excellence and offer more rewarding and fulfilling careers in professional services. 

The priorities for TOPS have always been:

  • To improve our services – by getting the basics to work better, making our services simpler and easy to use and investing in good systems 
  • To offer more fulfilling careers for our professional services colleagues – with visibility on how you can develop your careers and the options available to support you

These aims have been at the heart of the programme since it was established and I am committed to us making progress on both as quickly as we can. 

Many of you have already been involved in supporting the TOPS Programme for some time. From my previous experiences of delivering change, it is vital that we continue to work together as one professional services community. By drawing on your expertise, as the people who manage and use our services on a daily basis, we will develop and embed improved services that work. So, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of your contributions and dedication so far and for your continued commitment.

It is important that we now move at pace and build upon our momentum. We can do this by adopting an agile approach to change, implementing without being constrained by rigid plans, accepting that circumstances will change as we go along and being flexible in our response. 

I will continue to work with the TOPS Programme team and Anthony Smith (Vice Provost Education and Student Affairs and TOPS Programme Co-Sponsor) to ensure we keep these principles at the forefront of everything we do. 

We will provide updates on our progress via the TOPS Monthly Newsletter and on our website. If you have any questions, please contact the TOPS team at tops@ucl.ac.uk"

Fiona Ryland

(Chief Operating Officer and TOPS Programme Co-Sponsor)

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