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Transforming Our Professional Services (TOPS)

Benjamin Meunier3 January 2018

It has been some time since I last wrote about TOPS, so as we start the New Year, I would like to provide a brief update. But first, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for a successful 2018.


As a reminder, the vision for the TOPS programme is for UCL to provide effective, efficient and integrated professional services that enable us to achieve our vision of academic excellence, sustain our position as one of the top ten universities in the world and create an environment in which our staff can personally develop and fulfill their potential.


The TOPS programme has been set an initial list of priorities to start work on in 2018, which were outlined by the Provost in December. These include:

• Research and innovation support services

• Improving the student experience

• Relieving the pressures on the Bloomsbury estate

• Improving procurement practices to enable more investment in the academic mission

• Making better use of our estate

• More fulfilling and rewarding careers


Thankfully, more detail is emerging from the TOPS programme following consultations conducted 2017 with over 1,700 staff and students at UCL. The ideas are developing into more practical objectives, from the high-level aspirations listed above.

These ideas are described on the TOPS webpages: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/transforming-our-professional-services/tops-emerging-ideas. There are few references to Library Services specifically, except to note our enabling and supporting role within “UCL Research Support” (under the Research Support Services tab).  Library Services is not one of the areas which TOPS is looking to transform, as I have mentioned in previous posts this recognises the high quality of our services and the levels of satisfaction with the Library from our diverse user groups. Nonetheless, many of the strands of TOPS are pertinent to Library Services, as a department and as members of UCL staff. For each of the areas which TOPS is focusing on, there is a PDF file which provides some detail about the emerging ideas. Within these documents, a brief summary sets out what the TOPS team heard from a large number of colleagues regarding the issues they are facing, for example around Estates, IT, Finance or People services – these are challenges which are shared across UCL (you may recognise these from your own experience) and which TOPS aims to address.

There have been some changes in the Programme Team and Tom Rowson has taken on the role of Programme Director, in addition to his role as Director of Planning. Tom will work with his team and the TOPS Executive Group to take forward the TOPS programme in 2018.

Feedback from the latest round of consultation is due to be published on 19/01. I will send an update once this is made available.