Residential Operations Business Process Review

Open letter to alumni

Dear all,

You may be aware already of the Residential Operations Business Process Review (BPR) which is currently underway. We are keenly aware of the close relationship that all of our students – past and present – have with their Colleges, and as such I wanted to get in touch to explain the rationale for the review, and also to refute some of the rumours currently in circulation.

Whilst there have been previous reviews and small modifications, the current residential student experience services within the University’s Colleges and Student Experience Division - including catering, portering, housekeeping and events management - have been in place for well over a decade without any significant changes.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that our residential student experience services are operating as well as possible and are resilient for the future. We want to make our Colleges, which are of such importance to staff, students and alumni alike, even stronger and better able to focus on student support and development thanks to consistent operational underpinning.

The University, and the Higher Education sector more generally, is entering challenging times. The Augar Review – a Government review of post-18 funding – is expected to be released imminently, and is widely expected to further squeeze money coming into the sector. To continue to operate as a world class University, we are having to take a holistic look across the University to find where savings can be made which will create greater efficiency, with the least impact.

We know that Colleges are at the centre of many of the happy memories you have of your time here at Durham and the friendships you have made. We therefore want to reassure you that the collegiate system is, and will remain, an integral part of our University identity. All operations staff in the Colleges Division will continue to have a clear mandate to support and enable Colleges to express their individual identities.

All staff whose roles may be impacted are currently being consulted. We can confirm that there are currently 61 positions being considered within the review, though we expect the final number of redundancies to be significantly lower than both this, and the number in circulation across the regional media and online. Until consultation has concluded we cannot confirm the final outcome, though we will, as always, do all we can to minimise compulsory redundancies.

Whilst we would not normally release this level of information whilst consultation is still ongoing, we are very concerned about the amount of misinformation circulating, which is causing unnecessary anxiety for our staff members.

Consultation with staff, trade unions and students will conclude on 11 April. The proposal will be presented to the University Executive Committee (UEC) at the end of the month. Our current Students’ Union President, George Walker, along with JCR President of John Snow College, William Lewington, will also be collating student feedback and presenting this to UEC at this time.

If you have any further queries about the review, or any feedback you would like to be included, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Kind regards,

Professor Martyn Evans

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience)


Paul Taylor

Head of Catering and Programme Sponsor

Development and Alumni Relations Office
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road

0191 334 6305