Will the timing, suspensions and price of permits change again?

QUESTION:

I was wondering if the time to get your permit displayed was going to be changed again??

And will there be a break for the permits for August September and October 2015??  If that is the case then we only have a permit for 10 ½ months of the year yet the price has gone up??

And finally if the price has been raised 150% , is the same going to happen next year???

ANSWER:

Permits will be enforced in car parks at Stoke and Stafford from Monday 6 October.

There are times and events throughout the year when permits are suspended, for example open days or during clearing, but there are no current plans to suspend permits at any other times.

We are working on plans for next year and beyond, taking all of the feedback that we have received into account and also considering the impact of the Estates Strategy and Sustainable Travel Plan. As proposals are developed these will be shared for comment.

Can we have an update on the pay schedule decision?

QUESTION:

At last year’s webcasted Ask Exec session I asked about whether the pay schedule for the University could be changed to avoid the notion of five week months (like the one we have right now) and the answer given was that it was being looked into. Could we get an update on this please?

ANSWER:

The issue of moving the pay day was picked up as part of the remuneration policy consultation, undertaken at the beginning of this year. From this exercise there was little appetite to change the day we are paid and so therefore it was determined that it remained as it currently is. It was recognised that there was no ‘silver bullet’ to the question of payday, as there are pro and cons with whichever model is used.

How many car permits were issued last year?

QUESTION:

How many car permits were issued last year?
How many car park spaces are there available to permit holders, i.e. not including car parking spaces reserved for executive or other management?

ANSWER:

For last year there were 4113 permit records. At Stoke there are approximately 1400 car parking spaces available to permit holders and at Stafford approximately 1000.

Why was such a crucial system as SITS introduced so quickly?

QUESTION:

I welcome the introduction of new ICT systems and applications to underpin our administration processes. However, although I am aware that a huge amount of preparatory work has gone into the introduction of SITS, it was deployed before staff really felt comfortable with it.

It has impacted on my work and that of my colleagues at an extremely busy time in the academic year i.e. clearing and enrolment. This has caused a huge amount of stress. However, my real concern is that I believe that it has also affected our ability to serve our new and existing students and I feel that their dissatisfaction may be reflected in the surveys which inform the league tables.

My question is : Why was such a crucial system introduced so quickly?

ANSWER:

Thank you for the question. The new SITS system, once fully implemented and embedded will make a huge difference to the way we work in both faculties and services. As with any major new system development and implementation, there will always be the challenge of a smooth implementation. What makes things more of a challenge for us, is that this system relies of the student journey from application, through the students life at the University. This means that we have to start the implementation to coincide with the start of the application process and then we have to keep apace with each of the next steps in their journey – such as clearing, enrolment, assessment etc. Therefore the timeline is dictated to us, and we have to do our very best to manage this within the University. The areas we have implemented have gone well – applications, confirmation and clearing. It is true that we have experienced more problems with the enrolment aspect, which is for a wide range of reasons, some of which were in our control (ie the complexity of our data) and some of which were down to the students themselves (eg requests for money from student Finance England). What has been amazing, has been the professionalism and dedication of staff both within the faculties, services, triage team and SSP team who have worked tirelessly to work through these issues. At executive we have had regular reports on every ones efforts. Whilst some affected students may have been frustrated with the implementation, all of the responses that I have seen and been involved within, have acknowledged the dedication of staff to address the issues and their professionalism, which goes a long way to allaying fears or concerns.

The timeline for implementation has been shared in a number of different ways since we began the project and is currently detailed on the SITS blog. There are also regular updates within the Monthly newsletter that is distributed via the RSS feed and published on the blog.

Why is air conditioning on in The Pavilion? And why the surcharge for using cards?

QUESTION:

I’ve just been for lunch at the pavilion restaurant on college road and I have to say the aircon settings are ridiculous … I was only wearing a t-shirt and was being gently gusted by freezing cold air. Other patrons sat there in full coats.

What is this being cooled ‘for’? it’s hardly the middle of summer.

Also – I’m frustrated about the card payments at the Uni. People get charged 50p to use their card if the meal is less than £5. I’ve never had a meal down there that’s been over £5. – usually it’s just shy of £5 and I have to either pay a 50p charge or buy something else to push it over the £5.

When I’m trying to eat healthily and facing a stack of conveniently placed chocolate bars on the tills, and a queue of people behind me, it’s frustrating that I feel pushed into buying an unhealthy option or face wasting 50p. Where has that 50p figure been derived from?

Can the limit be dropped to £3 or £4  ? alternatively provide cash machine facilities on college road ?  or perhaps lower the charge amount somewhat to make it a more appealing option than just buying more food?

ANSWER:

Thank you for getting in touch.

We have been having a few problems with the air conditioning within the Pavilion as the control units sometimes appear to re-set themselves…. unfortunately to cold settings. We are now waiting for an engineer to attend site to rectify the situation. In the meantime, if it does get too cold, please advise the staff who will arrange for the heat setting to be adjusted manually.

The 50p cost has derived from the banks; this is what they charge us to process a card payment. The £5 limit was set when we introduced Chip & Pin to the campus three years ago and to be fair we have had very little challenge on the 50p charge. Whilst we appreciate that it is an extra cost; most smaller retailers actually stipulate a minimum spend on card transactions. As a compromise to refusing card payments below £5 we took the decision to charge the fee that the banks charge us for processing the payment which gives customers that choice.

There is a cashpoint located within the train station and outside of the Post Office on College Road for those customers who wish to purchase food at the Pavilion with cash; similarly a cashpoint exists on Leek Road outside of the Brindley Building. We now also have advance cards for sale, which essentially allow you to purchase a meal card to the value of £37.90 for £32.99.

Finally we are reviewing our spend levels following the implementation of new contactless chip and pin machines which will be rolled out within the next couple of weeks and will give consideration to your idea of reducing this to perhaps £4.00.

The Catering Team

Why do we need car park barriers on Leek Road?

QUESTION:

Can you tell me why the car park barriers have been placed where they have on Leek Road as you turn right? You can actually drive around them and I have seen someone doing this (even though the barrier was up, I think they were trying to prove a point). We have permits so why the need for barriers?

ANSWER:

The car park barriers were moved as a result of the Leek Road landscaping improvements and the installation of the mini roundabout to allow vehicles to turn around before coming through the barriers. A team of architects and landscape experts were involved in development of the plans, which were subsequently approved by planners. Barriers are just one element of car park management, as you point out, but do help to control traffic.

The Campus Team will ensure that feedback is provided to the design team and that the issue you have raised is addressed.

Can students at Shrewsbury buy parking permits?

QUESTION:

I have just stopped one student based at Shrewsbury purchasing a car parking permit for Stoke and Stafford. (a second year student).

While I can see the email states it applies to Stoke & Stafford can I enquire if is there something in place to stop the students from RSH & other sites purchasing these documents because they have failed to read the instructions properly.

A note stating those based at RSH purchase their pass via the usual method would be helpful.

ANSWER:

We have worked with the faculty already to agree arrangements for students based at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital but will look at ways in which we can ensure that students are aware of the agreement.

How should we deal with begging on campus?

QUESTION:

During welcome week I had to rescue a young student who was being aggressively pressed for money by one of the university’s regular beggars.

I have just 10 minutes ago been asked for money by the very same chap I saw-off last week (he wanted 43p for the train….. again)!

Can anything be done about this? I can accept that the older, more confident inhabitants of the campus may be able to handle this sort of thing but the student I supported last week looked scared half-to-death.

ANSWER:

The University encourages an open campus environment but on occasion there may be people on campus whose business is not related to work or study. In the case of any kind of anti-social or intimidating behaviour then the Campus Team and Police Liaison Officer should be informed. If there is immediate danger to life or property then the Police should also be called.

Why are approved suppliers not being utilised to achieve savings?

QUESTION:

In line with much of the university, my department has had its expenses budget drastically slashed (as I thought, in order to save money). Please can you therefore explain how it is possible that an external visitor has been advised by another department to book his own hotel (which happens to be one of the University’s official supplier hotels) at a cost of £40 more than our corporate cost (then claim this back), as there are not sufficient resources within the department to book this at the cheaper rate. Surely if this happening for just one visitor, then how much money is being ‘wasted’ in this way – and what is the point of making arrangements with ‘approved suppliers’ ie to take advantage of corporate rates, if these are not being utilised.

It is incredulous that we are ‘penny pinching’ on basic things and literally pouring money away in other areas where savings can clearly be made.

ANSWER:

All Faculties and Departments are responsible for managing their budgets and ensuring value for money is obtained. We all have a part to play in this and should remind colleagues of the proper process if we become aware of activities which are not achieving this.

Any specific examples (such as the one being referred to) should be brought to the attention of the Commercial Accounts Team who will follow them up in in their regular meetings with all Faculties and Departments.

Thank you.