Transforming Our Professional Services


The TOPS journey so far

Initiation, Oct 2016 – Jan 2017. Established the TOPS programme team and the executive committee to oversee the programme

Design, Jan – Jul 2017. Developed ideas and designs. Engaged extensively with the UCL community to understand the issues they face and ideas for improvement, consolidating this with designs for future ways of working. Discussed all 12 professional services:

  • Research support
  • Education administration and student support
  • Innovation services
  • People services
  • Finance services
  • Procurement services
  • Estates services
  • IT services
  • Marketing and communication
  • Planning services
  • Legal services
  • Culture services

Engagement, Sep – Dec 2017. Gathered feedback on the emerging ideas: Engaged colleagues to discuss the ideas identified during the design stage. Implemented some early wins by rapidly improving a small number of selected processes and rolling out Communities of Practice. From reviewing your feedback, a number of broad themes emerged:

Your feedback - broad themes
  • Make it simple. UCL processes are often complicated and time-consuming. We need to focus on making them simple
  • Make basic tasks easy. We need to link up services more efficiently to make basic tasks easy to accomplish
  • Great careers. Building a strong career is high on your agenda
  • Staff who meet my needs. You want local staff who understand your needs.  And expert problem-solving generalists
  • How can I help you? UCL professional services need to build a stronger service culture
  • Help me to help myself. You want to access simple services and information to get your job done without getting bogged down in processes. Students want to use improved technology in a range of areas
  • Money for systems. We need investment in technology so systems can help instead of hinder
  • Better buying. UCL could save time and money if we improved our procurement processes
  • Get flexible. We’re over reliant on temporary staff and agencies
  • Where's the evidence? You want to know that decisions are based on evidence


Mobilisation, Jan – Mar 2018. Prepared for the implementation and initiated priority projects 

Delivery, Apr 2018 onwards. Applying a consistent iterative framework for implementing professional services designs starting with Faculty TOPS Project, Professional Services Hub and Finance.