Customer_bulletin_banner-Achievements Capital Projects Buildings & Space Environmental Sustainability Round-up People Achievements Coming up

University now 100% wind-powered

All the electricity the University now buys is generated by wind turbines, under the terms of a new contract with Scottish Power that came into effect from the start of October. Under the old contract with SSE, the University’s power came mainly from large-scale hydroelectric plants. Wind power is significantly more sustainable, because wind turbines contain much less embodied energy than dams and hydroelectric plants, and because their installation typically causes less environmental harm.

Wytham on the web 

In August, the Wytham Woods website got a much-needed reboot. Its new web presence is a vastly more attractive browsing experience than its precursor, and includes lots of new information for visitors, closer integration with the Woods team’s presence on social media, more comprehensive contact details and the ability to order permits to walk in the Woods and arrange to do research there. You can explore the new site at

University recycling rate tops 40% for first time

41% of the waste produced under the University’s central waste contract was recycled in July – the first month in which the total percentage exceeded 40%. The remainder of the waste was turned into energy – none of the rubbish produced under the central waste contract goes to landfill. To find out more about recycling and re-use at the University, visit waste recycling and re-use.

Customer Service Excellence update

Estates Services has made further progress towards its goal of securing Customer Service Excellence (CSE) accreditation for the whole department.

The Finance team received its accreditation in July, with the assessor highlighting its efforts to understand and engage with customers. He also identified four areas of Compliance Plus, in which the team already exceeds the requirements of the CSE standard, including its innovative approach to segmenting customers and understanding their needs and its flexible, professional response to requirements that arise at short notice, such as its work to facilitate the launch of the Science Transit Shuttle.

The Capital Projects team also received re-accreditation recently. The assessor identified ten areas of Compliance Plus – three more than at the last assessment. The new areas were the team’s engagement with stakeholders, including greater efforts to tailor the information it provides depending on the audience; its Health Safety & Site Review Forum, which aims to improve safety on construction sites; and the way it records lessons learned from events.

Estates buildings take part in Oxford Open Doors

On 9-10 September, a number of buildings and facilities joined some of Oxford’s most fascinating structures to welcome members of the public as part of Oxford Open Doors 2017.  Some FM event venues took part, alongside other buildings including the Radcliffe Primary Care building, Blavatnik School of Government and Andrew Wiles Building. The Sheldonian Theatre received 3,739 visitors, with over 150 attending a free concert there. They enjoyed short talks given by tour provider Oxford City Walks, and then got to take part in a ‘mini-degree ceremony’ in which they pretended to be students receiving their degrees. The Examination Schools attracted over 2,300 visitors, who sat mock exams and tried on academic gowns, while St Luke’s chapel had more than 850 visitors.

The DLO joiners opened up their workshop at the Malthouse, attracting more than 100 members of the public with an interest in the work they do across the estate. Visitors saw examples of this work – from parts of the new Meadow Bridge that will replace the old one in the Parks to restored chairs from around the University. They got to find out about what the joiners do, inspect their impressive array of machinery and even in some cases ask for advice about how to do furniture repairs or new projects of their own.

University Mail Service growing strongly

The University Mail Service (UMS), part of the Estates Services FM team continues to see strong growth. It now sends out around 5,000 items of external post in an average week, and processes some 1.5 million mail items a year. The recently-established courier service has also thrived. It carries non-dangerous parcels anywhere in the University, and to external organisations in Oxford provided the shipment concerns University business, for just £5 each.

More than 40 departments now send their outgoing external post via the UMS, avoiding Royal Mail’s £1,000 annual business post collection charge. By relying on the UMS franking machine, they can also avoid having to lease one themselves, as well as paying staff to do the franking themselves. In the last academic year, departments that used central franking saved an estimated £6,000 each.

New contract with Abbot Fire will cut costs

The University has signed a new contract with Abbot Fire to maintain and service fire extinguishers around the estate. This has significantly lowered costs; it is around £17,000 a year cheaper than the previous maintenance contract – a saving of around 31%. These savings will increase if the University also buys more fire equipment under the contract. 

Keeping exam celebrations safe

For the fifth year running, the Security Services team has helped keep post-exam celebrations within reasonable limits, with a particular focus on ensuring the safety of all involved. The team provides security for more than 350 exams a year, assessing each one and grading it on an A-D scale, with A-rated exams seen as having the greatest risk of trouble due to factors such the number of students finishing at the same time. Security is then set up according to that risk assessment; for A-rated exams in the Examination Schools, for example, the team might ask the police to close off Merton Street and stop people parking there. This year the team supervised more than 9,000 finalists alone, with team members Simon Carter and Pete Roberts playing particularly important roles. There will always be some unruliness after exams, but the team aims to keep it under control and ensure a safe environment. A secondary benefit is the opportunity to limit disruption to the general public and wider University.   

Event venues get Green Tourism accreditationGreen Tourism Logo

All FM event venues passed the Green Tourism accreditation assessment in June. St Luke’s Chapel at the ROQ was awarded gold certification, while the others – William Osler House, the Sheldonian Theatre and the Examination Schools – achieved silver.

This is the first time a department or college of the University has gained Green Tourism certification. Assessors praised the way the chapel’s restoration, which used recycled materials and sustainable hardwoods where possible, combines the best of old and new. Low-energy LED lighting, water-saving toilets and energy-efficient condensing boilers take their places amid old stained-glass windows, magnificent chapel architecture and pollinator-friendly gardens that are watered with harvested rain.

Green Tourism is the world’s largest sustainable certification programme of its kind. The venues will seek re-assessment in two years’ time, providing further opportunities to improve their performance. The successful application this summer arose from a collaboration between FM and Environmental Sustainability.

UAS space review helps bring teams together

The Space Management team’s recent review of space usage by University Administration and Services (UAS) staff at key locations around Oxford is already delivering important benefits. The Space team focused on staff working at the central University Offices at Wellington Square, at 2-6 Worcester Street and at the Examination Schools, interviewing numerous teams based there about the space allocated to them and how well it matches their current and future needs. Often teams’ space allocation has arisen in a piecemeal fashion as offices have become available, meaning there are clear opportunities to make available space fit their requirements more closely.

Based on their findings, the Space team made recommendations to helpUASuse its space more effectively. For example, the Public Affairs Department’s various teams have historically been split between several rooms; dividing walls have now been knocked down to encourage more interaction and knowledge-sharing between teams. The Residential Accommodation team within Estates Services needed more space so that its component teams could sit together, so they have moved from 6 Worcester Street and the Malthouse into 4 Worcester Street. The Undergraduate Admissions team was previously split over two floors of Wellington Square and will now be collocated in one location, helping the team work more efficiently, while the Student Fees and Funding team, until now divided between the Exam Schools and Wellington Square, will now work together for the first time after moving to 4 Worcester Street. The work in response to the space review’s findings should be finished by late 2017.

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