Transforming Our Professional Services


The PS Hub team have been working together to improve the student experience

30 July 2019

Queries regarding Portico (the system used by students throughout their whole journey at UCL) are now managed by the PS Hub Service Desk which has resulted in some great improvements to the service.

Photo of students working in the cruciform hub

What is Portico?

Portico is a vital application that our students use throughout their whole journey at UCL. Prospective students first apply through Portico where they log their letter of intention, references and certificates. Current students use the system for everything from submitting their work to receiving their marks and seeing their attendance log.

Before the move

Before the PS Hub launched, the Portico Helpdesk phone line was a direct number. If the line was busy then no other calls could get through. If a student had issues submitting work before a deadline, or if they’d missed this deadline, then they may have had to wait for support. 

At this time, the Portico Helpdesk was managed by one person. They were logging and fixing about 1,000 service calls a month and were doing an amazing job, managing a system that is central to our student experience, in a challenging situation. 

This is a perfect example of our colleagues getting things done through their exceptional commitment and achieving results in spite of, rather than because of, the underlying processes, systems and ways of working.

How we are improving the student experience 

When the PS Hub launched, Portico queries were moved to the PS Hub Service Desk, the previous Portico Helpdesk and phone line was closed and the colleague who had been managing this joined the PS Hub. Since then:

  • We’ve cleared the backlog of 735 calls

The team are now mostly fixing calls on the same day, rather than it sometimes taking weeks. 

  • We are able to offer a more comprehensive helpdesk service to our students

The team are in the process of cross-training which means that students now receive a more comprehensive service. Portico queries can now be resolved five days a week rather than four and from 8.30am until 5.30pm, instead of 10am to 4pm. This means students will have more access to customer service, faster resolutions to queries, shorter waiting times and more same-day fixes.

In addition, the team have shared five quick wins covering the top five queries that students have regarding Portico, meaning all colleagues in the Service Desk know how to resolve these quickly. Four senior members of the team have been given extra training to fix more technical issues.

  • We are able to focus on more complicated technical issues

20 colleagues in the Service Desk are available to take calls from students and log tickets, freeing up the Portico system experts to focus on more complicated technical issues. Going forward the Service Desk will be working with the Portico team to resolve more issues at the first point of contact (when a student first calls the Service Desk). 

By resolving more queries at this point, the teams who are experts in the Portico system will have more time to focus on continuous improvement, problem management and addressing more complicated technical issues such as fixing bugs and liaising with Portico development teams. 

More information