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Impact Calculator Pilot Project Report Background Student case work has increased substantially in volume in recent years. The University of Nottingham’s current procedures for dealing with such cases involve the transfer of substantial paper and electronic files around the institution as cases are referred from the Governance and Logistics Team to Schools and adjudicators for consideration. As the University of Nottingham has several campuses in the East Midlands the time taken to send hard copies of documents from one campus to another can lead to delays in processing students’ cases. Although some cases are now sent to interested parties by email the size of some documents means that this is not always possible and that even where it is, the size of documents has a negative impact on the disk space of both the sender and the recipient. The existing process for transferring such student records means that there is significant duplication of records being held across the University. Whilst the Governance and Logistics Team is identified as the primary record holder for student case files in the University’s Records Retention Schedule many academics and administrators who handle student cases choose to keep a copy of the documents they are sent and may also add a copy of the documentation to the student’s local file. The transfer of case files between campuses via internal mail presents a further risk to data security and the Governance and Logistics Team was keen to reduce the combined risk, particularly in light of the ICO’s new punitive powers. In summer 2009 the University of Nottingham bought a small number of licences for “Knowledge Worker” to assist in its data capture for the requirements of the new Points Based Immigration System. “Knowledge Worker” is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system designed around Microsoft’s Web Server technologies. The system is used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organisational processes and work is underway to link it to the University’s student records system. The JISC-funded project that ran from January-July 2010 extended the use of “Knowledge Worker” to the Governance and Logistics Team and their key contacts on student cases to facilitate the secure and timely transfer of student case files. The use of “Knowledge Worker” in this context was also reduced the amount of physical and electronic storage such case files require. Student case work is a discrete area and thus the project acted as a “pilot” of “Knowledge Worker” as an electronic documents management system in the University providing information to inform decision making on whether it would be appropriate to extend the use of “Knowledge Worker” across the University. At present the University does not operate an electronic document management system but this has been identified as an area for consideration and development by the University’s Records Management Steering Group. An audit of physical and electronic space used for document storage was undertaken and this was used to inform several of the metrics used in the Impact Calculator. Other data relating to staff time and the cost of that time was obtained by asking the staff involved with the process to track time taken. Unfortunately our work on this project was severely disrupted and delayed by problems with software. This meant that we had to narrow the breadth of the project to look only at offences cases rather than all student


cases as we had to balance the need to ensure a timely resolution to student cases with the need for data for the project. Using the Impact Calculator: Outcomes achieved and lessons learned The project achieved its desired outcomes in relation to the management of student offences files although it is of course disappointing that we were unable to extend the scope of the project to include other types of student cases, such as academic and disciplinary appeals due to the difficulties we experienced. We intend to continue to use “Knowledge Worker” to manage student cases and monitor its effect. The Impact Calculator seemed well suited to the simple and straightforward kind of records management initiative that we undertook in this project. The Impact Calculator has demonstrated that the use of “Knowledge Worker” to manage student cases could deliver significant cost and time savings over a number of years. The existing process for managing student offences relies on the input of a number of academic and administrative staff employed at different levels within the University. A small “time and motion” type study was undertaken to see how long the existing process took for ten cases of varying complexity, with each staff member involved measuring the time taken. This “cost” of this process was then calculated using salary scales. Once the new process was established the study was repeated. This led to a considerable reduction in time taken to process a case (down to 5 minutes from 17.25 minutes) but an increase in staff costs as the much of the staff time involved in the original process was from lower paid administrative staff whereas the revised process relied almost wholly on the effort of higher paid academic staff. Figures for the fifth and sixth measurable benefits (reductions in server and physical space used) were obtained from the audit undertaken at the start of the project. This demonstrated that contrary to general perception the amount of electronic space being used was small. The costs associated with it were obtained from the University’s Information Services Division and extrapolated from actual costs. Similarly space costs were obtained from the University’s Estates Department. Nevertheless we found that some of the some of the key metrics we had identified at the outset of the project-particularly the reduction in risk and increased data securitywere not measurable and had to be excluded from the project. In many ways these, rather than cost savings, would be the driving factors for implementing the pilot more widely so it was a disappointing that we were unable to identify a meaningful measure. Unfortunately we also experienced some difficulties with the stability of the Impact Calculator itself and found that changes did not always save correctly. The difficulties appeared random with figures changing in some columns but not others. We found a consistent problem when sending the impact Calculator as an email attachment and when opening it on the Windows partition of a Mac. Our investigations suggest that this might be as a result of local issues with Excel following an upgrade to Windows 2007.


Expected and actual milestones Project Milestones (expected)


Project Milestones (actual)

Financial Information Staff Hardware/software Consultancy Total

Budget (£) 0 5000 5000 10000

Actual Expenditure (£) 1500 1622.87 6815.00 9908.87


Data Collection Methodology Metric

Method

Reduction in time taken to post case files from Governance Team to Schools.

“Time and motion” study, timing how long it took each staff member involved in the original and revised processes to complete their part of the task for 10 cases of different sizes. This was then averaged and the mean time taken used for the Impact Calculator.

Reduction in time taken to post case files from Schools to Governance Team.

“Time and motion” study, timing how long it took each staff member involved in the original and revised processes to complete their part of the task for 10 cases of different sizes. This was then averaged and the mean time taken used for the Impact Calculator.

Reduction in time taken to post case files from Governance Team to Adjudicators

“Time and motion” study, timing how long it took each staff member involved in the original and revised processes to complete their part of the task for 10 cases of different sizes. This was then averaged and the mean time taken used for the Impact Calculator.

Reduction in time taken to inform Governance Team of Adjudicator's decision.

“Time and motion” study, timing how long it took each staff member involved in the original and revised processes to complete their part of the task for 10 cases of different sizes. This was then averaged and the mean time taken used for the Impact Calculator.

Reduction in server space used to store electronically held elements of students' case files.

G&L Team and Key School contacts completed a brief questionnaire to establish space used previously. The revised process meant no space was required. (see below)

Reduction in physical space used to store "hard copies" of student files.

G&L Team and Key School contacts completed a brief questionnaire to establish space used previously. The revised process meant no space was required.

(see below)


QUESTIONNAIRE REQUESTING INFORMATION ON ACADEMIC OFFENCES COMMITTEE CASES Name of School/Department: Electronic Storage Space: Where is the electronic information on cases sent to the AOC in 2008/2009 kept? (eg: g drive, personal drive, within student file etc?)

How much total space is taken up electronically with cases sent to the AOC in 2008/2009? (the size of each document can be seen by hovering the mouse over it)

Physical Storage Space: Where are the “hard copies” of cases sent to the AOC in 2008/2009 kept? (eg: multi-drawer cabinets, filing cabinets, hanging files, are they kept locally or in an archive room?) How much total space is taken up with “hard copies” of cases sent to the AOC in 2008/2009? (ie: how many multi-drawer cabinets, filing cabinets, hanging files etc and what amount of space is taken up in total?)

Any Other Comments: Please feel free to make any additional comments which may be useful.

Nottingham Impact Calculator Pilot Project Report  

Background As the University of Nottingham has several campuses in the East Midlands the time taken to send hard copies of documents from on...

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