At Facilities Support Services, we recognised that customer needs have changed significantly over the last five years.
With the introduction of higher student fees and the increase in student numbers, expectations regarding the quality of our teaching spaces and the support required have increased. Additionally, the demand for more traditional ‘portering’ services such as mail delivery has reduced with the decline in use of mail and the expansion of automated locking systems.
These changes made it necessary to review our Service to emphasise customer service, flexibility, teamwork, financial efficiency and establish an enhanced support service for the users of our teaching spaces.
To achieve our vision, we undertook the following steps:
– Customer consultation in each building to enable prioritisation of services
– Collaboration with the Trade Unions and other University services to reduce any adverse impact on staff wellbeing
– Staff consultation, including a series of meetings to specifically explain the proposed changes, receive feedback and address any concerns as appropriate
– Review of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each building, bringing several buildings into larger zones to increase staff flexibility and provide us with additional options to cover staff absence whilst reducing the need for overtime working
– Improvement in the provision of training to ensure all team members are comfortable working flexibly between buildings when required
– Introduction of new shifts to support customers during evenings and weekends
– Review of the Facilities Supervisor role with the aim of increasing day to day support to staff; and recruitment of an additional Facilities Supervisor to ensure leadership throughout the working day
– Commencement of regular team meetings to inform staff of any proposed changes and address any concerns
– Recruitment of enthusiastic, flexible staff with excellent customer service skills
– Introduction of a secondment scheme offering Facilities Assistants the opportunity to work within the Technical Team for six months
– Introduction of daily checklists into all teaching spaces, as well as monthly audits by the supervisory team.
The results have been very positive, monthly online surveys led to an increase in (building specific) customer satisfaction with the number of customers rating the service as ‘excellent’ increasing from 66.1% to 78.7% over a 12-month period. Staff survey results report a significant increase in staff satisfaction from 2015 to 2017 of 36.8% and an increase in access to training from 31% to 71%, and staff feeling more valued by their Manager.
2018 Winners of the Education Project of the Year Awards
An innovative, sector leading redesign of our lecture theatre space was undertaken in 2016. As a result three tiered lecture theatres in key locations across the campus were transformed from traditional didactive layouts to a new set of standards which seeks to improve collaborative and technologically enabled experiences for staff and students alike.
This exciting transformation enables physical spaces to allow group discussion alongside the use of installed technology to allow group work, interaction, communication and recording.
This combination of physical space changes and innovative use of digital technology is sector leading and gives the University of Leeds a distinctive edge to support recruitment and student experience.
This pilot has been subject to an in-depth evaluation over a teaching session, to gather feedback from teaching staff and students, and usage statistics to form a view about the value of these rooms for teaching and learning. The results of this evaluation will help inform the strategic direction for teaching facilities at Leeds.
Facilities Support Services are excited to continue on this innovative journey as part of the Education Spaces Group.