Candidate brief for the position Campus 2030 Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Be surprising and inspiring. Be so much more.
About The Open University The Open University (OU) is the largest university in the UK by student population and has a significant global reach through a network of alumni in over 157 countries, international partnerships and research. The OU is the only university to receive funding from, and operate in, all four nations of the UK.
The OU was established in 1969 with a unique aim to make high quality, flexible education open for all. Our mission was to provide a new style of university education that was truly open to people, places, methods and ideas, to improve lives and enrich communities in the UK and across the world. Since our foundation, more than two million people have studied with us, and our commitment to our mission is as strong as ever. That’s why we continue to evolve and adapt our teaching methods and technology to support student success in a rapidly changing world. A unique institution The OU is unique. A world leader in open access, supported open learning and open educational resources, our distance learning approach sets us apart from other universities. Our commitment to open entry requirements means the OU has an unrivalled reach and influence on today’s society. Our flexible approach supports people of all ages and backgrounds to study and achieve their potential. Through academic research, teaching innovation and partnerships, the OU constantly breaks new ground in the design, content and delivery of supported open learning. Open, ambitious, innovative and inclusive We believe anyone, anywhere, can study with The Open University. Over 205,000 students are currently studying with us, and these include: • 37,078 students who declared a disability in 2021/22 • 1,400 people from 150 UK prisons and secure units
• Students sponsored by FTSE 100 companies and major public services like the police and the NHS • In excess of 2,700 students on apprenticeship courses partnering with over 750 employers with 46 apprenticeships across Scotland • 71% of directly-registered OU students work full or part-time during their studies • 25% of OU UK undergraduates live in the 25% most deprived areas • 32% of new OU undergraduates are under 25 • 71% of OU undergraduates had no previous HE qualifications on entry. Some other highlights include: • We ranked 6th out of 175 universities in respect of the overall satisfaction of our students as measured in the 2022 National Students Survey • A unique partnership with the BBC since 1971 and co-production of approximately 35 prime- time TV and radio series every year: including flagship co-productions such as Frozen Planet and Blue Planet II, which transformed attitudes about the health of our oceans, and Blue Planet Live winning the 2020 BAFTA for ‘Best Live Event. During 2018/19, OU-BBC TV and radio programmes reached a large audience and were viewed or listened to 264 million times • The OU’s free-learning platform, OpenLearn, which provides free courses and has had over 67 million course visits from learners to date
Contents About The Open University One University, Four Nations
3 4 5 6 8 9
Mission and Strategy
Finances and Key Statistics
About the Role
How to apply
One University, Four Nations The OU delivers world-class, flexible education to people across the four nations of the UK, Ireland and worldwide. England In England, we are the largest provider of
• Being one of the top three Space Science Research Centres in the UK; pioneering an inclusive innovation approach to international development research; and having worldwide influence on innovations in learning technologies to deliver digital education at scale • Providing free educational resources to teachers and healthcare workers in sub-Saharan Africa and India, reaching over two million people • Our world-leading Business School, which is part of the top 1% of the global business schools that are triple accredited by the world’s leading management education association. We play a unique role in society, making higher education open to all and promoting social justice and social mobility. We are innovative, leading the learning revolution, placing innovation at the heart of teaching and research, continuously seeking new and better ways to inspire and enable learning, and conducting world-class research and teaching. We are responsive to the needs of individuals, employers and communities, and dedicated to supporting our students’ learning success. Location The University has its headquarters on a purpose- built campus of approximately 110 acres in Milton Keynes. It also has national headquarters in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin, and bases in Manchester and Nottingham. Teaching and learning As well as hundreds of accredited higher education courses, from access modules to doctorates, we provide free courses on our OpenLearn platform, many linked to our partnership with the BBC. With over, 11,000 employees, we are a large employer in a wide range of professional areas. About half of our employees are associate lecturers, who provide
the small group tuition that is a key feature of the OU’s teaching and learning model. Others include academics, researchers, student advisors, specialist administrators, IT specialists, designers, editors and a wide range of support services from marketing and communications to finance, estates and governance. Leadership and governance The University received its Royal Charter on 23 April 1969. It is an exempt charity registered in England and Wales and regulated on behalf of the Charity Commission by the Office for Students. It is also registered as a charity in Scotland. The University’s governing body is the Council, which focuses on the University’s overall strategy, finances, property and staff, and is supported by a number of subcommittees, such as Finance and Audit Committees. The Council has the ultimate authority within the OU, but it must respect the views of the Senate in academic matters. The Senate is the academic authority of the University, responsible for academic strategy, policy, priorities and performance. The University’s Chancellor is Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho and its Pro-Chancellor (who also chairs the Council) is Malcolm Sweeting. The Vice-Chancellor is accountable to the Council for maintaining and promoting the efficiency and good order of the University.
Scotland The Open University in Scotland is funded for the delivery of learning and teaching by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). Each year we submit an outcome agreement to the SFC demonstrating what we deliver in return for public investment in line with Scottish Government policy priorities, particularly in relation to widening access, skills development, economic recovery and lifelong learning. We work in partnership with the education sector, employers, trade unions and community-based organisations to deliver knowledge and skills across Scotland. We have partner agreements with 15 regional colleges and we deliver a national schools programme in all 32 local authority areas which helps final year pupils transition to FE/HE study. Ireland In Northern Ireland the Open University is working with the Department for the Economy and elected representatives to support the current Higher Education Strategy and the new “Skills for a 10x Economy” ten-year strategy to identify how our model of higher education can continue to enhance the lives of citizens. We have enhanced engagement with employers, developed new partnerships with the further education sector, implemented a successful widening access plan and developed knowledge exchange capability – all of which are priorities in this strategic period. In the Republic of Ireland, we have built strong partnerships with employers, like national broadcaster RTÉ, and with Enterprise Ireland through our innovative ‘Open for Growth’ scheme for growing businesses. We are well placed to grow our student numbers and to contribute to the University’s international work with Dublin as a base for our work within the European Union.
undergraduate part-time education. As is the case across all four nations of the UK, we are highly rated for student satisfaction, and through our scale and reach we make a major contribution to addressing widening participation and access to education. We work with employers in both the public and private sectors to address important skills gaps and continue to invest in new learning pathways for students and employers, such as higher and degree level apprenticeships as well as higher and technical qualifications. Our cost- effective model of flexible and lifelong learning is a key way for the UK government to meet the economic and social challenges ahead, equipping students with the skills they want and need wherever they are. Added to that, we continue to offer a wide range of free educational resources via our OpenLearn platform which extends our reach as well as local relevance via dedicated partnerships such as with the Department of Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus network. Wales The Open University in Wales is building on successive years of student growth following the introduction of part-time maintenance grants by the Welsh Government in 2018. We’re looking to become the provider of choice with employers, particularly in terms of health and education courses – as well as degree apprenticeships, postgraduate and continuing professional development. We work with many partners across Wales to help widen access to part-time education in line with HEFCW and Welsh Government aims. We remain committed to our social responsibility, and place a significant emphasis on equality, sustainability, and reaching more people through our civic mission work.
More information More information on the OU’s leadership and existing structure can be found at www.open.ac.uk/about/main/ governance-ou/executive-team
Mission and Strategy The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas . Mission We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education
Finances and Key Statistics In 2021/2022 the OU had 208,300 students. Total income was £554m, of which £423.1m from tuition fees and education contracts, £113.8m from funding body grants, and £14.6m from research grants and contracts.
Extending our reach We remain the largest university in the UK and one of the largest universities in Europe in terms of student numbers, the majority of whom are part- time and study at a distance. Enhancing our multiple media channels Our enduring relationship with the BBC continues to provide high caliber programming demonstrated by Blue Planet Live winning the 2020 BAFTA for ‘Best Live Event’. We won Public/Private Partnership of the year at the 2020 PIEoneer awards in recognition of our successful partnership with Uber. The paper co-authored by STEM PhD student, Madhu Madhavi, called ‘Coal in the twenty-first century: a climate of change and uncertainty’ was formally awarded the James Watt Medal by Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Publishing. The Language of Lying, commissioned by our OpenLearn team and produced by Hamlett Films, won the MEDEA Award 2020. In Ireland we received an ‘Excellence in Online Learning’ Award from Public Sector Magazine in Ireland. Two Guardian University Awards, for the Uber partnership widening access and outreach, and nQuire for research impact. Both initiatives reflect the remarkable ability that our channels and platforms have to reach people who want to learn and discover new knowledge. Use of our multiple media channels continues to grow. Total downloads from The Open University iTunes U service reached 73.4 million, video views of Open University content on YouTube reached 53 million, total Amazon kindle downloads for Open University books since 2013 reached 1.7 million and visits to the University’s open educational resource website, OpenLearn, reached 80.8 million.
The University receives funding from the Office for Students (OfS) in England, and the funding bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but its principal financial regulator for all the nations is fulfilled by OfS. The majority of its expenditure is on its staff and the infrastructure to support distance part-time education. The University has a strong balance sheet with substantial reserves. A programme of agreed strategic change driven cost-reduction measures will support delivery of the OU’s financial strategy for financial sustainability. The strength of the reserves has enabled the investment in strategic change to build for our future. Key Statistics The Open University has spent over 50 years inspiring learning and creating higher educational opportunities with no barriers to entry. We continue to demonstrate excellence in research and teaching and achieve enormous reach through use of open access educational resources and our partnership with the BBC. Growing our attractiveness to students We continue to increase the numbers of students directly studying with us and these students are studying at a higher intensity as shown by the increase in full-time equivalent students. Our students have voted us sixth overall in the 2022 National Student Survey Awards. We retained an overall satisfaction rate at 88% across the UK, with a rate of 90% in Scotland. We ranked first in Scotland and in Northern Ireland we were again first. Our excellent research informs our cutting-edge curriculum and is recognised by numerous external funding grants.
The seven enablers to reach our goals: • living our values , being inclusive, innovative and responsive in all we do. • supporting each other to do our best work. • continuously improving how we work and manage change. • employing secure and effective technologies with the best possible user experience. • using data and evidence in all our decision-making. • building on our uniqueness as a university for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. • stewarding our finances so that we can invest in our goals. 1 Channels are the platforms through which the University reaches learners, such as its virtual learning environment, our OpenLearn website, collaborations with employers and colleges, and broadcasting with the BBC. Learning opportunities are its various course products, from degrees and modules to apprenticeships and microcredentials, as well as different ways in which these can be studied, from higher and lower study intensity to blended or entirely online experiences.
to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential. Through academic research, pedagogic innovation and collaborative partnership we seek to be a world leader in the design, content and delivery of supported open learning. Most of our undergraduate courses have no formal entry requirements. We believe that the qualifications our students have when they leave are the only ones that matter. We are committed to promoting equal opportunities for all, and close monitoring makes sure that we live up to our ideals. Our Annual Reports provide a record of our work, events, projects and financial highlights year by year. Strategy Through the power of learning we aim to transform lives and communities, opening a world of possibilities for everyone. Our Strategy: Learn and Live (2022-2027) is built on five goals and seven enablers, showing how we will achieve our mission over the next five years. Our five goals: • greater reach , offering unrivalled choice, quality and flexibility to more people from all parts of society through a range of channels and learning opportunities, with the University’s core offer of qualifications and accredited learning at its centre 1 . • success for our students , supporting them to achieve their goals, whoever and wherever they are, with outcomes that are equitable and open up new opportunities in life and work. • societal impact locally and globally through research, enterprise and skills development that shape the future.. • equity , greater diversity at all levels, and inclusion in every aspect of how we work and what we achieve. • environmental and social sustainability .
More information More information on the OU’s Mission and Strategy can be found at https://www.open.ac.uk/about/ main/strategy
As the lead for the development of the business case, you will take the programme from broad concept to final decision, with the prospect of continuing to work on the business plan and delivery of the project. You will lead the appraisal process for the best possible options for the major elements of the programme through negotiation with potential partners and contractors in addition to securing agreement from key stakeholders inside • Provide professional expertise and advice to the Vice Chancellor, the Chief Financial Officer, and the University’s Finance Committee and governing Council and Senate. • Lead the overall production of the business case: the strategic case, financial case, and deliverability and risk management assessments, including option appraisals for delivery and funding. • Lead the business plan coordination workstream and coordinate the contributions of multiple other workstreams, ensuring their development together, managing their progress and working to an agreed timescale. • Support developing options and scenarios for the key elements of the Masterplan. • Develop options for commercial partnerships and joint venture opportunities. and outside the organisation. Main Responsibilities • Work closely with the Vice Chancellor, the Chief Financial Officer, workstream leads and
supporting staff and consultants internally and externally to develop and implement a masterplan business case, reporting on project progress against development appraisal objectives. • Have consideration for the overall financial viability of the project, in terms of capital cost, revenue streams and borrowing requirements. • Preparation of forecasts and progress reports and identifying opportunities for value engineering and cost saving. • Formulate and finalise Development Briefs for the masterplan projects. • Prepare and maintain a development programme. • Liaison with the local planning authorities and statutory consultees, manage planning applications and planning and contractual approvals in accordance with project timelines. • Create an integrated major projects pipeline and improvement of our major projects practice and processes. • Appoint, lead and coordinate the professional team, and manage the design development process through regular team meetings and design workshops. • Monitor the quality and cost effectiveness of services provided by the teams to ensure high standards and value for money and compliance with OU’s procurement policies.
About the Role The Open University (OU) is at a pivotal stage in its history. The university, the largest in the UK, has embarked on a project to determine the best future working environment for its headquarter operations in Milton Keynes. This includes the possibility of diversifying its famous online courses to provision that includes in-person courses taught at a new sustainable and smart campus in the heart of Milton Keynes city centre. If the city centre option is shown to be the best option for the university, it will relocate from its existing 110-acre campus in the suburbs of Milton Keynes. Options for the use of this site are part of the project. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) will be leading the preparation of the business case over several months, taking it through its gateways, with the prospect, if the case is approved, of playing a lead role in the delivery of the largest change programme in the OU's history and one of the biggest in the higher education sector. The OU's governing Council has initiated work on the strategic and financial case to relocate the existing campus to a new site adjacent to the central railway station, in the process transforming the type of space provided to accommodate new ways of working and the opportunities presented by this city centre location. The ambition is to create a vibrant educational and research hub that fosters innovation, collaboration and academic excellence. In conjunction with the proposal for the campus relocation, the OU is also developing plans to investigate in depth a 'sister university' proposition, designed to provide students with in-person courses. This will build on the university’s innovation
in course design, production and presentation to provide a flexible hybrid offer, of particular appeal to young students and to international students. It would include a range of extra-curricular provisions, as well as capitalise on new developments planned for the city centre, creating a regenerated business district and revitalised evening economy. There is exciting potential to work imaginatively on how the overall campus and city centre work together to create an outstanding experience for students, staff and the public. Serving over 200,000 students across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the OU is committed to adapting continually to future needs and equipping students with the knowledge and skills for success. Engaging internal and external stakeholders, including the city council and local businesses and communities, will be a crucial aspect of the work in shaping the campus. Collaborating closely with the Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP), who are the landowners, the COO will spearhead the creation of a smart, accessible, and energy-efficient campus, featuring state-of-the-art science laboratories, interactive working and learning spaces, studios, a library and a student centre, providing an unparalleled working and study environment. Reporting directly to the Vice-Chancellor and working closely alongside the Chief Financial Officer and colleagues across the university, the COO will lead the planning and coordination of the business case, including ensuring that the work is properly resourced and does not impact on the university’s continuing operations across the UK.
Person Specification Qualifications and Experience Essential • Ideally educated to degree level with relevant professional memberships • Development management experience, working
How to apply
Personal data In line with GDPR, we ask that you do NOT send us any information that can identify children or any of your Sensitive Personal Data (racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership, data concerning health or sex life and sexual orientation, genetic and/or biometric data) in your CV and application documentation. Following this notice, any inclusion of your Sensitive Personal Data will be understood by us as your express consent to process this information going forward. Please also remember to not mention anyone’s information or details (e.g. referees) who have not previously agreed to their inclusion. For a detailed conversation about this opportunity, please contact: Michael Hewlett firstname.lastname@example.org Ben Duffill email@example.com
The Open University has engaged the services of the Management Recruitment Group, to whom applications should be sent. In order to apply, please submit a comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV) along with a short covering letter that sets out your interest in the role and highlights any pertinent experience/expertise that you would bring to the position.
Skills • Significant experience of Development Appraisal, Acquisition, Legal & Procurement, Sustainability Policy, Transport and Carbon Energy Management Systems, Insurance etc. • Extensive and in-depth understanding of institutional financial priorities and needs and the ability to translate this to the planning and management of the staff, resources and budget of a large service. • Considerable experience and skill in negotiation of complex contracts and agreements. • Specialist knowledge and understanding of the construction industry and delivery of large scale and complex capital projects. • Experience of developing vision and strategy for leadership of the implementation of a major change in a significant service or operation. • Highly developed understanding of Health and Safety, Risk Management and Business Continuity planning with the flexibility to meet the needs of a 24/7/365 service. • Detailed knowledge of residual and cashflow development appraisals in addition to an ability to interpret strategies for development solutions and advise clients on the basis of an analytical as well as a market-based approach.
on complex, large scale, mixed-use capital developments, ideally including in the higher education sector.
• Experience of successfully working on the design, planning, and delivery of substantial estate projects to programme and budget. • Experience of working with funders, partners, and investors. • Experience of producing robust and successful business cases for development projects and reporting on progress to Executive sponsors and appropriate university boards. • Track record of negotiating with planning authorities and securing planning permission for complex developments. • Experience of producing preliminary development appraisals for optioneering, managing budgets and identifying opportunities for cost savings. • Track record of managing complex internal and external stakeholder groups, including statutory consultees and the wider public. • Experience of working within large, complex organisations with multiple stakeholder groups/ constituencies. • Proven experience in contract management and negotiation and awareness of key contract requirements, SLAs and key performance indicator measurements.
How to apply Please email your application to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with successful candidates being invited to discuss their interest further via a first stage engagement with the team at The Management Recruitment Group (MRG). Candidates that are subsequently short listed will have the chance to engage informally with key colleagues at The Open University, followed by a final panel interview with the University’s Selection Committee. Closing date for applications is Sunday 6th August 2023. MRG preliminary interviews are scheduled for w/c 7th August 2023. Final interviews will take place at the Open University on Tuesday 22nd August 2023.
The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales, and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). The Open University is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to its secondary activity of credit broking.Page 1 Page 2-3 Page 4-5 Page 6-7 Page 8-9 Page 10-11 Page 12
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