Long-term financial sustainability is a key part of the University Strategy and is essential for the secure employment of staff, as well as the continued health of our institution.Our University, and the Higher Education sector in general, are facing challenging financial pressures over the next few years, with tuition fees flat in cash terms, and wider pressures on UK and international recruitment. For those of you who attended the recent Transforming Lives sessions, Deborah Harry, our Chief Finance and Planning Officer, outlined the current financial climate. You can view a video of this below [view from 0:00-20:39]:Download the slides Deborah presented – click here (PDF with presenter’s notes; 542KB)We have a responsibility, both to our students and to taxpayers, to demonstrate that we are delivering value for money. We need to be confident that we are spending money sensibly and appropriately, and in ways which enable us to continue to transform lives.While much of our funding goes on meeting staff costs, we also spend around £100 million every year on goods and services, including work to maintain our estate or provide our IT, travel and subsistence costs, printing and stationery, and much more.In many of these areas, we can control how much we spend. Here’s a breakdown of our controllable non-pay spend:To support the delivery of our strategy we have agreed that we should aim to achieve a £4 million saving on these areas of spend in 2018/19, and budgets have now been set on this basis. Not all of this will be easy or welcome to everyone, but it does enable us to protect as far as possible expenditure in other areas, not least our staff costs.If we are to succeed in this, we need to embed a change in culture around our spending habits; by thinking twice, scrutinising what we spend money on, and challenging ourselves on whether it’s genuinely necessary. This aligns well with other initiatives underway in the University such as our Green Champions and sustainability work.A number of cost-saving opportunities have already been agreed by ULT, a summary of which can be found here (Guidance to Buying Goods and Services). These are currently being developed into policies and guidance, which will be shared from September 2018. This document is not comprehensive and there are many other ways savings can be made. Please consider all ways in which we might deliver better value for money, whether large or small, in your team or as an individual.From September, colleagues from across the University will be attending local meetings and facilitating workshops to gather your thoughts and ideas. In particular if you are a ‘top user’ of the travel booking system, printers, purchase cards, or you raise a lot of purchase orders, you will be contacted separately as we are keen to have University-wide discussions, as well as local discussions. Additional support will also be available from colleagues in the Facilities Directorate.In the meantime, if spending is unnecessary, stop it now- don’t wait. Please start to develop your ideas and share your suggestions and best practice with colleagues. We are looking to appoint local champions to get more involved and feedback ideas that can be shared across the University. Every idea, no matter how small, can make a difference and will help to strengthen the financial position of the University for the future.This intranet page will be added to over time, so please keep checking back.