Working Smarter 2021

What this report is about

This report presents USECEC’s initial consideration of how the flexibility, collaboration and resourcefulness evident in our actions to date can inform our response to the climate emergency and build back as we come out of the pandemic. This will involve envisioning the direction of digital transformation, reflecting on changes to the pattern of use of the physical estate, extending collaboration among professional services within the sector and building on the good relationships developed with other sectors and public services during the pandemic.

Next steps

Coming out of the pandemic it will be important to retain the collaborative, innovative, and ‘can do’ approaches that have supported the sector’s impressive pivot and resilient continuity of operations. Therefore, whilst previous workplans have been structured by workstream (led by professional service members of USECEC) ensuring credibility across the sector, a greater focus on collaboration between services will characterise the plans from now on.

The 2021-2024 workplan will bring forward from the 2017-2020 workplan a number of developments as follows:

  • Shared services: shared support for software users; shared support for a change management function (to include business improvement, business analysis and project management); and ability to liaise with USECEC.
  • Environmental: Further development and usage of low carbon shared data centres.
  • Procurement: continuing development to support more of the needs of the sector, for example through more framework agreements especially to cover new / emerging “new-normal” needs and to provide more options for climate impact reduction.
  • Estates: Collaboration on estates developments, starting from coordinated data collection on space needs and maintenance funding. Opportunities for space sharing and efficiencies potentially with other bodies should be explored.
  • Environmental: recycling and upcycling, creating a circular economy in IT equipment and furniture.
  • HR: The proposed HR workstream is reshaped for the future work plan. This could support identification and sharing of best practice in delivery of HR services and the utilisation of office and teaching space to support remote and in-person activity.

Key Points:

  • Universities have consistently achieved more than the Scottish Government’s expectations of public bodies that they achieve 3% year on year efficiency savings, savings that can be re-invested.

Further Reading


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