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Archive for the 'Finance, management information and value for money' Category

Not just for the library

Sandra I Enwesi7 December 2017

Yes, UCL has one of the best collections of manuscripts, archives, and rare books and during the project session held last week, I mentioned how we have not achieved this reputation by relying solely on limited library funds.
External funding has played a key role in helping us acquire, conserve, preserve and promote so many of these items most of which are of significant historical value.
In addition, a successful grant means less strain on already limited library funds; this means that the library resources can go further.
However, the Library/UCL is not the only beneficiary of a successful grant. We learned that writing a bid benefits everyone involved especially the writer.
The bid writer will use different skills to try to convince a funder to donate or invest money in a project.
This is a big task in itself, it takes a lot of time and effort to coordinate and deliver a bid on time, skills such as written communication skills, excellent research skills, excellent writing/editing skills, with close attention to detail, information-gathering skills.
Being able to capture the key proposition in a clear, concise way and the ability to explain concepts in simple language with the aim of generating enthusiasm for the project.
The bid writing process might mean that you have to collaborate with others in your own team or across departments. All of these are good transferable skills to have, they look great on your CV, and they will improve bid after bid.
The session touched on my role as Projects and Management Information Officer (PMI Officer) and the support I can provide. This includes coordinating the bid writing process, moving things along, gathering the essential supporting documents, obtaining sign off for key members and providing financial advice.
We also talked about the importance of briefing me, the PMI officer of any bidding intentions. This is essential for me to be able to record, track its progress, and track the funds when it does arrive and ensure that you are spending from the right pot.

The feedback I received from the session was very encouraging.
100% of the attendants thought it was helpful to hear from Rebecca Sims – Head of Archives talk about her personal experience with bids.
85% of attendants had not applied for funding before and after the session, 71% of those will consider putting together a bid with support, which I am only happy to provide
At the end of the session, I mentioned that it might be helpful to attend training on how to write bids or how to make grant applications, these are available externally.
Apart from the list of funders that I hope all those who attended the session have found useful, I will from time to time post via liblist information on available funds that I come across.
Special thanks goes to the Library Finance team and Rebecca Sims for their support and input on the day.

£1.4m additional investment in Library Services spaces for summer 2018

Benjamin Meunier23 November 2017

The Central Estates Strategy Board (CESB) met last week and considered a set of bids submitted by Library Services to enhance a number of our learning spaces and service points, and to increase the number of study spaces in the Institute of Education Library. I am delighted to report that the CESB approved the vast majority of bids from the Library, totalling over £1.4M in additional funding for 2017-18 which will be distributed across a number of sites. This follows a grant last year of £830,000, which was spent and enabled a 15% increase in learning spaces, as previously reported (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/news/2017/oct/15-increase-ucl-study-space-2016-17).

Below is a brief description of the works, which will now be taken forwards by the Library Buildings Team working in partnership with service teams and Site Managers, with support from UCL Estates to deliver the projects. A Programme Board is being established, which I will chair, to oversee the range of projects described below which are due to be completed for the start of academic year 2018-19.

  • New turnstilesScience Library

    Entrance lobby and new turnstiles
    To replace turnstiles, remove dropped ceiling, new lights, demolish Security box. Upgrade heat curtain. New information AV. Install new permanent furniture for Library/ISD service point.


Digitisation suite move
Relocate to B24, create room with AC and leak protection on pipework. Redecorate and new flooring.

  • Institute of Education

    Level 5 – creation of quiet study zone
    Remove some racking to create new study area. Replace existing furniture and add circa 100 study spaces.

Level 4 – increase study space
New study desks and chairs to replace existing and add circa 80 study spaces, including new pod for disability support.


Autosorter by library entrance
Create glass fronted enclosure and fit autosorter and consultation space.


  • royal-free-libraryRoyal Free Hospital Medical Library

    Ground floor – furniture and electrics
    Install new desking and run electrics and data to required location, redecorate space. Add circa 15 study spaces. Replace A/C in computer rooms.


  • Main Library

    Entrance/Information Point (feasibility study)
    Feasibility study to remodel Information Point

First floor – Help Point
Remodel help point in line with customer service agenda to provide more consultation space.

Second floor – Research Grid
Complete refurbishment of three dedicated Post Graduate rooms, providing extra spaces with new furniture.

  • Main Library / Science Library / Senate House Hub

Additional student lockers
To install additional card-controlled lockers in various locations.

  • Language and Speech Sciences (LASS, Chandler House)

    Redesign reception and power to desks
    New service desk, self-service and Print@UCL device. Add power to new desks in main reading room.



Thank you to all the colleagues who have been involved in preparing early briefings and the cases for the above projects, which once realised will significantly improve the quality of our physical spaces. I look forward to working with colleagues as we develop detailed designs and plans, with a view to initiating these building works in summer 2018.


Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris10 November 2017

PRES survey results (2017)

PRES, the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, is the national survey co-ordinated by the national body for improving teaching and learning in Universities, the Higher Education Academy. The survey is a chance for our research student community to provide us with feedback on their experience and allows UCL to benchmark against the wider HE sector.

Portico green lightPRES 2017 was open at UCL from mid-February until mid-May. It is important that we know what postgraduate researchers think so we can address issues and keep doing what is valued. The full results of the survey can be seen here.

Question 4_3_a relates to the Library: There is adequate provision of library facilities (including physical and online). 87% of the respondents agreed with this statement, compared to 88% in 2015. This is a remarkably consistent performance by UCL Library Services and the scores represent one of the highest as regards answers to the top-level PRES questions.

At its meeting yesterday, the Library’s SMT agreed to establish a Survey Response Team – to give additional focus to the way the Library responds to national and institutional surveys. Survey data is increasingly important as it represents an assessment of the value which students assign to their experiences whilst at UCL. The Library’s 87% score in the 2017 PRES is very good indeed, but the target for all such scores for the Library should be 90%.

Congratulations to all colleagues who contribute to the student experience in UCL and support our students in London’s Global University.

Paul Ayris


The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris25 October 2017

Visit by UCL Council

On 25 October 2017, UCL Library Services was honoured with a visit by members of UCL Council. The Council is UCL’s governing body, which oversees the management and administration of UCL and the conduct of its affairs, subject to the advice of the Academic Board on matters of academic policy. Council approves UCL’s mission and strategic vision and its long-term academic and business plans. Council delegates authority to the Provost, as chief executive, for the academic, corporate, financial, estate and human resources management of UCL.

DSC02332The visit started with a tour of the Cruciform Hub, led by Anna Di Iorio through a packed learning facility. Anna explained the philosophy behind the design of the Hub, the emphasis on digital delivery and the practice of 24-hr opening in this and other UCL spaces. The tour ended with Council members being able to meet Vikram Ajit Rajan Thirupathirajan, MBBS student Year 2, and to ask him questions about his use of the Hub.

The final part of the visit consisted of a presentation which I gave on the Library’s performance in delivering the Library Strategy, which can be seen here as Strategic Directions 15-18 for Council. I was able to show that the Library was on target to deliver 89 out of the 94 Actions which make up the Strategy by July 2018. In the discussion afterwards, Council asked about the % of total institutional budget devoted to support the Library; and the impact of UCL Press as the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press. Council members then left for the Council meeting proper, armed with gift bags which contained more information and handouts from UCL Library Services.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris22 October 2017

Library Strategy – Implementing the Future


The Library Strategy provides the framework for delivering the Library’s contribution to UCL’s 2034 Strategy.

At its meeting in September, the Library Leadership Team undertook a review of the Library’s progress in implementing the Library Strategy. This is done by looking at the Action Lines, 94 of them, in the 6 Implementation Plans which are designed to deliver the Library Strategy in the current Strategy period, which lasts until July 2018.

Progress is excellent and Library colleagues are making great progress in delivering what we said we could do.

Of the 94 Actions:

  • 55 Actions (or 58.5% of the Strategy) has already been delivered
  • 34 Actions (or 36.2% of the Strategy) are on target to be delivered by July 2018

So over 90% of all the Actions originally planned should be delivered by the end of the Strategy period. That will be a tremendous outcome and everyone in the Library should feel congratulated on a job being well done. A more detailed breakdown of performance can be found in the accompanying Performance analysis.*

All the Actions being delivered by the Leadership Team are important, but one that has resonated particularly in UCL as we start a new academic year is the delivery of new learning spaces. UCL Library Services, ISD and Estates invested over £1.5 million in 2016-17 to develop new learning spaces as part of UCL’s commitment to put the student experience first. In total, an additional 534 study spaces were opened during 2016-17 across UCL Library Services, mostly completed in summer 2017. The Great Ormond Street – Institute of Child Health Library was completely refurbished and transformed into a fitting learning environment for biomedical learning and study, open to all students at UCL. The new Student Centre, with 1000 digitally-enabled learning spaces, will come on-stream in 2018-19.

New Portico Doors

The Library Strategy, and the Implementation Plans which underpin it, are the doorway to the future of UCL Library Services. Our ambitions and hopes for our staff, students and academic researchers are encapsulated in what we say we will do. But this is not possible without the support of all colleagues across UCL Library Services.

So, a big thank you to everyone who has been involved in delivering the ambitions of the Library Strategy. It’s a great performance to date and I know that we have more good news to deliver in the coming months.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

* If you have difficulty in viewing the detailed analysis of Library Strategy performance, please view the attachment in Chrome or Firefox, or to “Save As” and open as a PDF.

Higher Education Conference 2017: highlights

Benjamin Meunier17 October 2017

The annual Higher Education (HE) Conference took place last week at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, in the shadow of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. big ben scaffolding (2)I attended to learn more about how HE policy is changing, as both Brexit and the focus on student fees in the recent General Election are continuing to impact on the future of universities. There were a range of speakers, from HEFCE, universities, suppliers and experts in education. Below are some highlights from 2 key speeches by the Chief Executive of HEFCE (1) and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham on new ways of thinking about the role of universities as educators (2), as well as a summary of a panel discussion on life for universities after Brexit (3). I will post separately on a learning spaces workshop led by a US furniture supplier, based on their research and experiences of fitting out learning spaces.



1. Keynote Address, Prof Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE

HEFCE is the body which currently funds and regulates universities and colleges in England; from next year it will be replaced by the Office for Students.

The Chief Executive of HEFCE set out 4 main themes:

  • Brexit
  • Industrial Strategy
  • Social Mobility
  • The Student Interest


  • Brexit concerns
    • Rights of EU staff and researchers
    • Relationships and partnerships with EU institutions
    • Funding

Prof Atkins indicated that whilst there are (many) challenges, there is also a significant “Brexit opportunity”, namely that the UK as a country, may be able to define an international strategy for research partnerships, which was not possible or practical eithin the EU. An early example perhaps was Jo Johnson, as Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, signing a £60m agreement with the US Department of Energy’s for the LBNF/DUNE neutrino programme in late September: http://news.fnal.gov/2017/09/uk-commits-88-million-lbnfdune-first-ever-umbrella-science-agreement-u-s/.

(Whether or not this agreement was helped by Brexit is open to question, but there is a sense that research institutions in the UK are thinking very seriously about which countries and institutions we wish to make or grow partnerships with.)


  • Industrial Strategy

Prof Atkins expected that the White Paper for the new Industrial Strategy was due around the time the Budget comes out on 22/11. The UK Government is determined that research, knowledge exchange and commercialisation undertaken by HE institutions (HEIs) should increasingly be linked and be seen to be linked to the priorities identified in the Industrial Strategy. She referred to a HEFCE-managed £100m boost provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for industrial priorities as well as an additional £100m capability fund to support university-to-university partnership for innovation.

Apprenticeships should be seen as part of this broad Industrial Strategy, with many apprenticeships being created in Engineering/STEM areas.

Advent of new T-level (Technical) qualifications coming alongside A-levels: Prof Atkins suggested that HEIs need to think about equivalence of qualifications, so that in due course a “climbing frame of opportunities” enables students to move from secondary education to Further Education into HE.


  • Social Mobility

Prof Atkins reiterated that social mobility is an absolute priority for the current government. She outlined how HEFCE has been supporting this, for instance through a collaborative outreach programme, working with 25 consortia with schools and local communities. This initiative is taking action at ward level, looking at school outcomes based on student results at 16.

The full impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and its use of student background data has yet to be determined. Prof Atkins speculated that this data being made public would shape how providers are perceived, in terms of the reality of widening participation. Future use of these data will become very important, helping to give much more sophisticated answers to “what works in social mobility?”.

Better information and better careers guidance for students is a priority for OfS.

HEFCE is looking to develop a toolkit for learning gain in curriculum (identifying metrics and effectiveness of curricula). HEFCE has agreed over £4m of investment in this area, expect OfS will continue with this investment. For more information, see HEFCE’s webpages dedicated to learning gain and current pilots.

Finally, Prof Atkins referred to the emphasis made by Nicola Dandrige, the incoming Chief Executive of the Office for Students (OfS) in a speech to the NUS on 09/10: “the OfS will be the champion of students and the taxpayer, not the friend of institutions.”

[See also this recent report from HEPI (August 2017): Where next for WP and fair access?, which was mentioned during the conference]


  • Student Interest

The traditional view of young 18-yo F/T student as the default model for universities is becoming increasingly obsolete.

Whilst the percentage of 18 year olds in education has been generally rising, there has been close to a 60% drop in Part-Time mature students; at the same time, in-house training is declining. Prof Atkins suggested that the sector needs to consider how the Apprenticeship levy can be used to support people in employment as part of CPD.


Opportunities and Challenges

  • Teaching excellence and student outcomes
  • REF 2021
  • Related initiatives


Teaching excellence and  Student outcomes

Sir Michael Barber, who will be Chair of the OfS, sees TEF as part of the “Golden Age” which he expects to introduce. For his full speech to Universities UK, see UUK’s website.

TEF structure retained for Year 3 TEF (specification published last week, on DfE website)

In order to gauge to progress of HEIs in preparing students for employment, LEO (Longitudinal Employment Outcomes Survey) will be used as a metric in the new TEF. ProfAtkins added that Subject-Level TEF is progressing: pilots are recruiting for panellists and assessors now. It will be rolled out across the UK in Year 5, i.e. 2019-20.


REF 2021

Prof Atkins described a number of decisions recently agreed by HEFCE:

  • Impact weighting goes up
  • Each area will include a member of the panel focused on multi-disciplinary research
  • Entries will be allowed to demonstrate how they support activity outside of the university
  • Impact in teaching will be allowed, including impact within the institution

HEFCE webinar and blog floated suggestion that portability of outputs could be resolved for 2021 by some double-counting as a transitional method, i.e. both originating and new institutions eligible to submit.


Joint Agendas: OfS and Research England responsibilities

  • Postgraduate
  • Knowledge exchange
  • Infrastructure funding
  • Health of disciplines
  • Sustaining the research base
  • Research degree awarding powers
  • Interface between TEF and REF


Related initiatives

  • Learning Gain Programme
  • Degree Apprenticeships
  • Institute of Technology
  • Expansion of medical places
  • Connecting Capability Fund
  • Research Partnership Investment Fund
  • Local Growth Academy programme (sending representatives to the next iteration of Academy programme, to address the need of HE institutions to work more closely with regions/sub-regions, NHS, etc.) to address precise regional needs in social mobility or industrial and skills needs


2. Should we be Educating just Brains or Whole People in HEIs, Sir Antony Seldon (VC, University of Buckingham)

New paper published on “The Positive University” [See also caveats on wonkhe: https://wonkhe.com/blogs/beware-of-the-positive-university/]. The University of Buckingham is regularly ranked as best in the UK for student satisfaction (in fact, it has been top or second every year since 2011 – see, for instance,

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/student-life/Studies/buckingham-university-named-best-in-the-uk-for-student-satisfaction-a7006276.html or https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/universities/top-5-uk-universities-for-student-satisfaction-2018/?entry=1)

Sir Antony, Vice-Chancellor at Buckingham, is also a contemporary historian, educationalist, commentator and political author. He makes 10 recommendations in his new book about transition between school and university. He described the 10 points in his talk, which was well presented, posed challenging questions to reflect on and was at times caustic towards leaders and managers in the HE sector, particularly around the need to speak out and act as a critical friend of government, rather than slavishly following policy. As noted above, some caveats have been raised against the moralistic aspects of positive psychology.

1) Need to ensure staff are contented, so that they can fulfil role in supporting mental health and pastoral care for students, as well as having fulfilling lives.

2) The VC of Buckingham questioned why there is a paradox currently, where British universities have never been more successful but public opinion on universities has never been so low

2) Universities are called “Higher Education Institutions”: too often, the focus on the “H” detracts from universities’ role as educators

3) What does “education” mean? to lead out / to draw out what is inside. HE has narrowed down intelligence to 2 of the 8 types of intelligence (see Howard Gardner, Harvard). Focus on linguistic and logical intelligence. Sir Antony argued that universities need to also develop emotional intelligence, social intelligence, cultural intelligence, kinaesthetic intelligence, moral intelligence, spiritual intelligence.

Not about teaching to the tests: schools that prioritise roundedness see their results increase. Those that prioritise results, see decline.

4) UK has extraordinary universities but need real leadership to help them grow and thrive. Universities are narrow. Universities are mainly driven for academics; academic subjects need to be re-booted to their radical roots.

5) Rebellion about universities; government is coming in and insisting on the TEF. In critiquing TEF, Sir Antony contended that it is mechanistic, not looking at learning, more focused on teaching, little learning from abroad, little learning from schools. Sir Antony recognised that there was a need to address education in universities, but does not believe TEF is the right approach.

6) VC pay case playing out over the summer was not persuasive for VC salaries; in contrast with other university staff pay

7) Subjects need to be re-oriented to radical roots, not shaped around academics’ career needs

8) All students should do volunteering

Everybody should be taught virtues: performance virtue (see Jubilee Centre for performance, Birmingham); Civic virtues, Moral. All students should be taught entrepreneurship. Everybody should be taught leadership.

9) The positive university. General mental health crisis response was to get more counsellors, but that is insufficient – need to also think about how to develop personal efficacy and resilience. Mindfulness is one way that we can learn.

10) The British HE sector is outstanding. Contribution of universities to local communities as well as to public perception of Britain abroad is boundless. Sector needs to lead more strongly, to be clearer on the benefits of our sector, since the public case is not being made. Positive psychology, about advocacy and making the case.

Antony Seldson panel

3. Maintaining International Collaboration after Brexit

Brenda McMahon (Global Head of Higher Education, British Council), Vivienne Stern (Director, Universities UK International), Conrad Bird (Director of the GREAT Britain Campaign, Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office)


Universities showing commitment to students in the aftermath of Brexit vote. GREAT Britain Campaign keen to support universities promoting to international students, e.g. via the embassy network.


UUK: “need to work harder”. Plenty of reasons for believing that we will retain access to some key partnerships, based on government rhetoric (frameworks for research, Erasmus +)

If cannot remain in EU frameworks, UUK are looking at how we can work with networks (scenario planning with EU counterparts)

The British Council is supporting and avocating for an “open Brexit” with movement permitted for staff and students


Conrad Bird: people who come into contact with a country (as a tourist, student, coming across culture in own country, etc.) are c. 30% more likely to invest in that country. There is a business case for attracting students into the UK.

UUK: there has been neglect in terms of developing commercial/innovation links with other countries. There will be more of this type of thinking. UUK have launched a blog campaign on “bringing innovation home” (600 words, write to Miranda.Thomas@international.ac.uk) describing benefits of universities’ international activity for local/UK firms.


How are Government addressing the risk of loss of EU research funding?

UUK: absolutely believe that belonging to framework is essential and irreplaceable. 7-year multi-lateral agreement provides stability for major international partnerships and also supports networking and benefits not just UK but also EU institutions.

UUK understand urgency; EU counterparts don’t really know whether UK partners can be included in bids. Theresa May said to the House of Commons on 09/10 that the UK wants to continue contributing to research programmes; commitment of intents. Conrad Bird (to the audience of university staff): “you’re doing very good work in this area and I think it’s being heard.”


Overall, the discussion illustrated that there is still a lot of uncertainty around Brexit (unsurprisingly) but the agencies and government departments involved are committed to ensuring that the HE sector in the UK is maintained as a world-leading area. There was no guarantee, nor indeed any real news, about Brexit at the conference, and I will update you as and when there are any developments. I referenced the UUK “bringing innovation home” blog above, in case it is of interest to colleagues (within the Library or UCL more widely).

Extra UCL funding granted to support Library Services initiatives

Benjamin Meunier1 August 2017

Every year, as part of its Strategic Operating Plan, Library Services bids for additional resources to provide additional services which will enhance the user experience of our students and academic users. UCL allocates money from its Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), after consideration by UCL’s Senior Management Team (SMT). Competition for funds is fierce, with £3.8M worth of bids submitted against an allocation for 2017-18 of £2.1M.

As reported in the Director’s View last November, Library Services bid in the 2016-17 round for funds to replace our Sentry access control system with the UCL-wide Gallagher system. We also bid to increase our opening hours, particularly during the exam revision period (with 24/7 opening at the IOE and SSEES) and at Christmas (keeping the Main Library open every day of the “Closure period”). This bid also includes provision for extending opening hours at a number of our biomedical libraries in the summer, and some additional cleaning. In addition to these bids, Library Services sought an uplift to its operational budget to mitigate against the exchange rate fluctuations in the wake of Brexit, since many of our global subscriptions are charged in currencies other than the pound. In total, Library Services bid for a total of £449,000. Paul Ayris announced the outcome of the planning round at the Library SMT, and was delighted to report that all of the bids submitted by Library Services this year were successful.

This means that gates will read the radio-frequency signal in our ID cards, rather than the barcodes. The system has already been installed at the Institute of Education Library, and will be replacing Sentry in the Cruciform Hub from the start of the next academic year. A project to implement this new system on other Sentry sites will be initiated shortly, and timeframes will be advised for a programme of replacement which will run until July 2019 (spanning two financial years).

IPortico green lightt also means that we will be able to substantially increase our opening hours for the academic year 2017-18, and provide access to more study spaces, especially at the times our students need them the most. Official announcements will be made in October, after the start of term.

Finally, the approval of the funds to mitigate against fluctuating exchange rates means that Library Services can continue to operate without the looming threat of requiring vast savings from operational budgets to cover the weakness of the pound against the dollar or the euro.

The Library SMT welcomed this news: the success of the bids speaks to how highly the Library is regarded by senior managers in the university, and the value they see in terms of investing in the Library to improve the Student Experience. Congratulations to colleagues who were involved in preparing these bids, which were both collaborative and time-intensive. Special congratulations also to Andy Pow, who edited the final Strategic Operating Plan and made the case to UCL Finance for this additional investment. I look forward to working with you as we implement these new services and facilities.

Library Finance Team survey results July 2017

Ken On17 July 2017

A few weeks ago, the Library Finance team sent out a survey wanting to find out the following:

  1. What Library staff think the Library Finance team does on a day-to-day basis.
  2. How satisfied Library staff are with the response they get from queries they raise.
  3. What content Library staff would like to see next on the Library Finance team’s libnet page.
  4. Other comments that the Library staff want to share with the Library Finance team.

So following on from Andy’s blog Smile and deliver,  here are the survey responses that we collated and addressed below:

What Library Staff think the Library Finance team do Does the Library Finance team actually do this?
Payments of invoices No. Central finance’s Accounts Payable (AP) team manages payment of invoices.
Process invoices Yes – but only book invoices, other invoices are processed by AP and requires a purchase order (PO).
Matching invoices No – matching of invoices was centralised a few years ago, all matching is now done by AP.
Resolve issues with non-payment of invoices Yes if the invoice is an invoice for books, as the Library Finance team processes these.

No, if the invoice is a PO invoice (non-book related), the staff member who raised the PO should be liaising with AP to sort this out

Raising requisitions (POs) No – the responsibility for raising requisitions lies with the staff who has permission from the budget holder to spend.
Raising Inter Departmental Transfers (IDTs) No, the Library Finance team does not raise IDTs; this should be done by the staff member who wishes to order or supply, to and from the other UCL department.
Approval of POs, Expenses and IDTs Yes, the library finance team does the approvals, and ensures that the correct code has been used.
Manages user access on MyFinance The Library Finance team can give access to project codes, but it is the MyFinance help team that gives access to the system.
Managing Library budgets No, the Library budget is allocated to various budget holders at the start of each financial year, and it is the budget holders who manages their allocated budgets.

The Library Finance team oversees and monitors the budgets to ensure that budget holders are using the budgets effectively to achieve the goals of the Library.

Financial forecasting Yes, the Library Finance team would liaise with budget holders in order to complete a financial forecast at various stages during the academic year.
Produce reports for Library and central UCL Yes, bespoke reports are created and present to SMT and the Directorate.

Central UCL produces their own reports in which the Library Finance team has to explain the figures in the reports created by them.

Collates and reports on stats Yes, stats from various surveys are collated and reports to assist in the development of the Library strategy.
Maintains payroll No, Library HR works closely with Central HR who maintain the payroll.
Develop strategies and plans for long term financial goals of UCL No.


Lib Fin Jul 17

From the chart, it shows a 70% satisfaction rate with the speed, knowledge and detail of the response from queries raised within the Library Finance team.

Based on the dissatisfied ratings, we will be looking to improve on the speed and clarity of responses to your queries.





THINGS to look forward to:

  1. Finance Vocabulary table – explains terminology that you may come across when dealing with the Library Finance team, Central Finance or when using MyFinance.
  2. Services that the Library Finance team provides (a list of things that we do that we can assist you with)
  3. More how-to guides for specific areas in MyFinance.
  4. “Stat of the month” (one key stat that we find interesting).
  5. An email to liblist responding to some of the actual comments we received.

Ken On on behalf of the Library Finance Team

Smile and Deliver

ucylapo17 July 2017

Dear Library colleagues, THANK YOU for taking the time to complete our Library Finance Survey, especially with so many Survey requests around these days. It is very much appreciated.

The information received was most interesting and revealing. This will be shared with you over the next few days, so watch out for Ken’s blog.

Why have I used the title ‘Smile & Deliver’? Well you may recognise it from the Conference which was of course tongue in cheek at the time and meant to be humorous especially for the occasion. I’ve used it here to capture your attention, as I don’t want you to think this might be another boring accounting piece. Accountants can have a reputation of being the shy quiet retiring types, (similar to Librarian’s so I’m told! :)) but library finance are looking to change that.

We’re hoping we can use the wonderful human factor, a smile, to connect and engage with our colleagues and hopefully deliver a more than satisfactory service for you and in turn, the library and UCL. I am aware that it’s not always possible, especially in our field of attaining value for money and limited budgets. We are also a small finance team potentially serving more than 300 members of Library staff, plus Professional services finance teams, but we non-the-less, will do our utmost to be a success.

Our survey may have come about sooner, but since my arrival (5 years ago) we had a major task in laying down the foundations for accurate reporting so that effective strategic decision making could be possible. We’ve also had changes in staff with Chris (Lobo) and Laura (O’Hanlon) returning to Australia and New Zealand respectively, Christine (Dami) leaving last Christmas as well as a new Finance system installed, myfinance.

We’re now better placed to enhance our engagement with ‘colleagues’ (‘customers’) and the idea of the Survey was fuelled as a result of members of the library asking what we do and also from questions/queries received in the group finance inbox. Ken then initiated the Survey, supported by Sandra and enthusiastically galvanised the team with the aim of improving ourselves. A brave step, but one I’m grateful for and which also coincides timely with the Library’s goal of achieving the Customer Services accreditation. The new library website will also provide us with a better platform for communication.

Thank you for your patience and your support, together we can make a difference.

Head of Finance

Launch of Art UK Sculpture in the Flaxman Gallery

Benjamin Meunier22 June 2017

MichaelStatue_12On Wednesday 21st June, I was delighted to co-host with Nina Pearlman, Manager of UCL Art Museum, the launch of Art UK’s ambitious project to catalogue the UK’s sculpture collection, supported by a £2.8m National Lottery Grant. The event took place in the Flaxman Gallery and Portico, fitting surroundings for a scheme designed to improve access to the hidden sculptures across the UK. Indeed, we recently completed a project to replace the inner doors to the gallery, so that later this summer, the external doors of the Portico will be opened on a daily basis and visitors on campus will be able to see into the gallery, as well as providing views out towards the Front Quad for Library users and staff inside the gallery.

Eilish McGuinness, Director of Operations from the Heritage Lottery Fund also gave a speech, outlining their support for the scheme and highlighting the impact which HLF have been able to make thanks to the funds raised by people playing the National Lottery.

Thanks to this project, the UK is set to become the first country in the world to create a free-to-access online photographic showcase of its publicly owned sculpture. In this highly ambitious initiative, around 170,000 sculptures – located inside galleries, museums and public buildings and outdoors in parks, streets and squares – will be displayed on the artuk.org website for enjoyment, learning and research.

As you may already know, the sculptures from the Flaxman Gallery itself are digitised as part of The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Digital Library which draws together rare books and art works related to Greek history, archaeology and culture in Special Collections and UCL’s museums (including the Flaxman plasters) http://digital-collections.ucl.ac.uk/R/HDGRYJD6S5651SAFVJRSG73PVD6V87K3L9Q8TVY3JFT5MJUGU1-04447?func=collections-result&collection_id=3204

More about Art UK and the digitisation programme
This is Art UK’s second major digitisation programme, and follows another world-first – its internationally acclaimed oil paintings project which has made over 200,000 publicly owned oil paintings from some 3,000 British collections freely available online. The national sculpture collection is drawn from almost every country and era, offering insights into cultures as diverse as twelfth-century Nigeria, Victorian Britain, Tokugawa-period Japan, Renaissance Italy and 1960s New York – a truly global collection and arguably the greatest in existence. However, a significant proportion is not on display, and very little of it has been photographed. Furthermore, many public monuments have not been thoroughly catalogued and are at risk of decay or of being lost to public record. Art UK’s three-year project is focusing on sculpture dating from the last thousand years, held in public collections and locations across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. All objects – irrespective of condition or perceived quality – will be recorded and most will be photographed, some in 3D.The first photographic records will appear on the Art UK website in early 2018. Once online, Art UK’s Art Detective network of crowd-sourced expertise will help collections fill in missing information about the sculptures.A UK-wide training and volunteering programme, benefitting nearly 2,000 people across the UK, will offer many opportunities to gain photography and digitisation skills as well as other museum-centred skills.The total cash cost of the project is expected to be £3.8m (including in-kind partner contributions it amounts to £5.2m). The Heritage Lottery Fund has generously agreed to provide £2.8m of the funding, and Art UK has successfully raised the remaining £1m from a variety of donors. These include Arts Council England, the Scottish Government, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, several other grant-giving trusts and over 70 individual and corporate donors (see artuk.org for a full list ).Andrew Ellis, Art UK Director, said ‘ This project has been four years in the planning . The result will be an astonishing digital showcase for the national collection of sculpture in all it s rich and varied glory. All of us at Art UK are deeply grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and all the other donors who have made this huge undertaking possible.

Stuart Hobley, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund for London, said Wherever you are in the UK you can find public sculpture, quietly existing within our parks, museums and squares. Sculpture can be extraordinary, emotive, even challenging and yet, many of us are unaware that this sort of world-class art work is on our doorstep and free to access. Thanks to National Lottery players we re able to help Art UK raise awareness of our sculpture heritage by developing its interactive website with exciting activity to get people involved, inspired and exploring this fascinating collection.

Art UK

Established in 2002, Art UK (previously known as the Public Catalogue Foundation) is a dynamic arts charity with a national and global reach. We are working to transform access to the UK’s publicly owned art collection, much of which is not on display. We do this through digitising artworks and creating exciting opportunities for public interaction with art both online and offline. Our work contributes to the promotion and sustainability of the UK cultural sector and facilitates collaboration between cultural organisations and the public at large. Successful partnership and collaboration are a hallmark of the organisation. Our website, www.artuk.org , is a digital showcase for the UK’s public art collections and vital digital infrastructure for the UK’s cultural sector.

Go to www.artuk.org to find out more and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #ArtUKsculpturevulture