The risks and challenges facing HEIs around large investment, transformation and change programmes

Sep 29, 2016

The scale of institutional change and investment programmes in higher education is at a pace not seen before.  Many institutions are embarking on major estates or IT investment programmes, organisational structures, curriculum developments, or other major change programmes.  While the EU referendum outcome has created uncertainty for many, most universities are continuing with their projects and programmes.  These programmes are increasingly reflected as standalone risks given their scale, complexity and importance to delivering institutional strategies.

The challenge for institutions dealing with multiple advisors and contractors for individual projects in excess of £20m, portfolios of multiple projects or institution-wide change programmes, is inherently more difficult than single, standalone projects of smaller values.

This means the governance, oversight and day to day management of these programmes needs to be in keeping with their scale.  Universities therefore need to ensure the appropriate governance and oversight, as well as operational enablers, are in place, such as systems, and people with the right skills and experience.

This briefing document highlights the key issues and risks institutions should consider in managing these programmes and the sorts of questions non-executives should be asking.

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