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ERIC Number: ED538542
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 74
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-8403-6260-2
Efficiency and Effectiveness in Higher Education: A Report by the Universities UK Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group
Universities UK
Effectiveness, efficiency and value for money are central concerns for the higher education sector. In England, decisions made by the current Government will effect a radical change in the funding for teaching. Institutions will be managing a reduction in public funding for teaching and the transition to the new system of graduate contributions, and at the same time these changes will bring with them enhanced student expectations and competition. Future funding models across other parts of the UK will differ from those in England, but the pressure to proactively manage costs and demonstrate value for money will nonetheless be present in equal measure. This report finds that significant progress is already being made in this area and that there is an acute understanding of the need to act within the higher education sector that is closely linked to the emergence of a new funding environment. The approach outlined in this report is not simply about proposing how institutions can find short-term savings. Instead it looks at efficiency as part of a wider strategic objective to enhance the effectiveness of institutions and ensure they continue to deliver high quality teaching and research. Key findings presented in this report include: (1) Information on the costs of operational activities within higher education is poor; (2) In a sector which is made up of largely autonomous institutions, benchmarking is a vital tool for driving efficiency; (3) Shared services are often held up as an "off the shelf" solution for efficiency, but if their potential is to be fully realised in higher education then simplifying, streamlining and improving internal processes needs to be a priority; (4) Building on prior simplification and standardisation, more can be done on shared services, but VAT remains a barrier; (5) There is significant potential for outsourcing and the development of strategic relationships with the private sector to deliver services; (6) The full potential of the sector to use its size and purchasing power to generate additional savings has not yet been realised, particularly in England; (7) There is much good practice in the sector, but it needs better dissemination; and (8) There are a number of areas where regulatory reform can help reduce costs associated with compliance and facilitate increased efficiency. Appended are: (1) Reports commissioned to support the work of the Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group; (2) Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group: Membership; (3) Round table discussion on procurement; (4) Reports commissioned to support the work of the Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group; and (5) Stakeholders consulted as part of the Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group project. (Contains 8 figures and 70 footnotes.) [This paper was co-created with Modernisation Task Group.]
Universities UK. Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HQ, UK. Tel: +44-20-7419-4111; Fax: +44-20-7388-8649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Universities UK (England)
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England)