Annual Admissions Conference 2018

Date and location
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Centralised or devolved admissions – does one size fit all?

Monday 26 March 2018 16:25 - 17:25


As universities move through a period of significant change, many are considering alternatives to their current admissions structure, and reviewing the different models which exist across the sector. But does one size fit all?

This break out will present different perspectives from two institutions, the University of Bradford, which has recently moved to a centralised structure, and the University of Manchester, who operate a devolved model.

Claire Pryke, Associate Director (Recruitment Operations) at the University of Bradford will share her experiences of centralising the admissions function at Bradford in summer 2016.

At Bradford, centralising admissions has involved building a new, large multi skilled team, liaising with key academic stakeholders across the University, introducing standardised processes and procedures, as well as a construction project to create new office space. Whilst this project has not been without its challenges, it has already delivered significant benefits, an improved customer experience and single point of contact, streamlined processes and multi-skilled staff with the ability to process a wider range of applications more efficiently.

Just six months after implementation, the new team was awarded Customer First accreditation and the management team were presented with a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement for the overall delivery of the project.

Fiona Eccles, Student Admissions Manager at The University of Manchester, will talk through the challenges and benefits of operating an admissions service in a devolved environment.  Fiona manages the University’s central admissions team and has responsibility for ensuring admissions staff across the institution are trained and supported to process high volumes of applications in a fair and transparent way.  Whilst there is no plan to significantly change the admissions structure, Manchester is currently undertaking a two year Student Lifecycle Project which will standardise admissions processes across its 17 admissions teams within three Faculties and most likely raise questions about how efficient a devolved model is.

Learning outcomes

  • What are the key factors to consider when planning a centralised admissions service?
  • Gain an understanding of the advantages of a centralised admissions function.
  • How to engage with key stakeholders across the institution.