Initiative fatigue is preventing universities from introducing best management practice. So say responses submitted this week to a funding council consultation.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England plans to introduce a fund for the development of good management practice, worth Pounds 10 million over three years. It would provide at least Pounds 50,000 for each of up to 100 projects.
The fund is intended to recognise that institutions have had to make difficult choices in coping with real-term cuts of 35 per cent in funding per student over the past ten years. "Many of these changes represent opportunities for institutions, but opportunities that call for high-quality strategic decision-making and effective arrangements for governance and management," stated the consultation document.
"HEFCE has done good work in identifying good practice, and it is now up to the sector to pick it up," said John Haywood, head of the Southern Universities Management Services, which represents 13 institutions. "The question is, what are the barriers to picking it up?" The response from the SUMS will recommend that bids for funding should not be prepared in detail until they have been approved in principle. This would prevent staff wasting time.