Results of UniForum Service Effectiveness Survey (Part 1)

Results of UniForum Service Effectiveness Survey (Part 1)

The UniForum Service Effectiveness Survey (Part 1) was carried out by an external consultancy, Cubane Consulting, on behalf of universities involved in the global UniForum programme.

The aim is to understand which services meet the needs of our staff and identify where we need to improve our services, by asking questions about whether respondents are satisfied with each service and asking about their experience of individual services. This is part of our commitment to continuous improvement of our professional services and to help focus investment where needed.

Survey Coverage

This survey is the first part of two and covers the following functions, and the services within these:

  • External engagement
  • Facilities management
  • Finance
  • General administration
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Research administration
  • Research facilities and support
  • Student support and services
  • Teaching design, development and design
  • Teaching administration

The survey was launched on 5 September and closed on 19 September.

The survey was directed at FT and PT mid-tier and senior academic and professional services staff who have been employed by the University for more than 6 months at the time of the survey.  

In line with the Cubane methodology, staff were identified by their level of seniority as defined by HESA contract levels (HESA seniority level J and above for academic staff and level L and above for professional services staff). This broadly translated into academic staff at grade 6 and above, and grade 5 and above in professional services, although there were some exceptions to this. The reason for the limited survey pool was that the survey is a comparative survey being carried out at universities in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The University achieved a response rate of 36% which is considered good and above the median for surveyed institutions.  By staff type the response rates were 29% from academic staff and 43% from professional services, both figures being above the median response rate for surveyed institutions.


Overall Net Satisfaction

For the Service Effectiveness Survey (Part 1) the University of Aberdeen has an absolute net satisfaction of +39 within the -100 to +100 absolute score range for this measure.  This places the University =3rd from 46 institutions that have participated in this survey.

Net Satisfaction by Staff Category

Academic Staff had an absolute net satisfaction of +29, which placed the University 4th among the participating universities.

Professional Services Staff had an absolute net satisfaction of +53, which placed the University 2nd among the participating universities.

Net Satisfaction by Function

By function, the absolute net satisfaction score was positive for all functions and in the top quartile range for all but one function in comparison to other institutions.

Particularly strong net satisfaction scores were seen in the following functions:

  • Information technology (+66)
  • Facilities management (+52)
  • Research administration (+45)
  • Finance (+39)
  • Research facilities & support (+36)
  • Student support & services (+35)
  • Human resources (+35)

The only function to not be in the top quartile range was General Administration, which was placed inside the lower middle quartile range, although the net satisfaction score was still positive at +19.

Net Satisfaction by Service

The functions were divided into a total of 35 services within these functions.  Of these 35 services, 28 had an absolute net satisfaction in the top quartile range, and all but one service had a positive net satisfaction.

The top four services by net satisfaction were within the Information Technology function:

  • Self-serve print & copy (+69)
  • Network services (+69)
  • IT help desk (+68)
  • AV & multimedia (+55)

It is worth noting that the following services have an absolute net satisfaction within one point of the top of the top quartile range:

  • Network services (+69) – Information technology
  • AV & multimedia (+55) – Information technology
  • Post-award research grant reporting & compliance – Research administration
  • Shared research technical facilities – Research facilities & support
  • Research commercial – Research administration

The only service to have a negative net satisfaction score is Travel Administration (General Administration function) with an absolute net satisfaction score of -15, which is in the bottom quartile for this service.

Next Steps

The overall survey results for the University of Aberdeen are very encouraging, highlighting excellent service satisfaction in many areas. However, the survey has also identified some areas for improvement as well as indications of uneven experience across our twelve Schools, and these are now being analysed in more detail.

The survey results also give an indication of the drivers of satisfaction, allowing us to understand which improvements will have the highest impact on overall service effectiveness.

We will share more information about the results with the staff community in the near future.

We are hoping to participate in Part 2 of the survey in AY 2023/24 – this part of the survey will focus on services, or elements of services, that weren’t included in Part 1.