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AUDE Annual Report and Review 2015/16

I am delighted to say that it has been a very successful year for the Association with significant and positive developments, many of which are outlined in this report. And all in a year where I think it is fair to say there have been many challenges and changes to the HE sector. 

AUDE published the Higher Education Statistics Report in 2015, now a long standing achievement of AUDE. This year the report, amongst other developments, included sections again relating specifically to Scotland and Wales. Published in November, the report proved to be a big asset with regard to publicity and I am delighted to report that AUDE achieved a great deal of positive coverage, not least a piece in the Timers Higher Education Supplement. We were grateful to Sir Ian Diamond for contributing to the foreword, knowing he believes we provide key data to government showing how we address modernising and maintaining our estate. Also for reminding us of the value students place on excellent and well maintained facilities. The report also provides each of us with evidence in favour of strategic standards and developments and the opportunity for peer benchmarking at macro and micro levels.

We know from the income generated for a lot of estates and facilities-related activity, that the use of the estate continues to provide a more complex picture of increased use, less downtime and higher expectations. Using the evidence from the report to highlight our efficiency and effectiveness highlights the contribution we continue to make.

The changes in higher education continue apace. We have seen the cap come off in the last year, creating a different approach to student recruitment for most of us. Also challenges on a number of fronts signalled in the recent comprehensive spending review, with potential shifts in funding and policy. This means that, yet again, Estates and Facilities is central to ensuring we provide a world class experience and high quality environment for students and staff. This context means our members value the services AUDE offers, and make demands of our network to foster development, gain information and provide support – which is often not available on an institutional basis.

We had a superb response for our inaugural AUDE Awards and presented the winners at our conference dinner last year in the splendid surroundings of Stirling Castle. We have continued to develop our approach to a Green Scorecard. Thank you to everyone who contributed to workshops on the topic. We are determined to develop a useful tool that helps and supports us in managing the green agenda. The development links into EMR data we already collect and signals our individual needs and aspirations that should fit more closely with our own institutional strategic plans. We expect to introduce training in the new process in Spring 2016, and are working with consultants and EAUC to review how we collectively can demonstrate sector improvements.

I have highlighted just a couple of areas of AUDE work here, however, this annual report sets out in much more detail the achievements and progress made by the Association across a whole range of activities to support and enhance the work of the estates and facilities community. A well run estate, with high quality facilities has never been more important in supporting the mission of universities and contributing to a high quality student experience. Our presence in the national, trade and regional press has grown significantly, showing that AUDE is the organisation of choice for expert comment and advice.

All that we do within AUDE depends on the active participation and involvement of colleagues throughout the sector who give freely of their time to promote and further the aims of the Association and for mutual benefit. I would like to offer sincere thanks to everyone who has become involved this year. We hope very much that you will continue to support the Association and to derive benefit from it.

I would like to thank the Officers and Executive of AUDE, who have been an enormous support to me and continue to make a contribution on your behalf. Henry Gun-Why retired from Wolverhampton having been instrumental in leading the Learning and Development Group, and Gary Jebb (Edinburgh) has said he is stepping down after leading the Conference Committee in running a number of very successful conferences. I’m grateful to them both.

I would like to thank Trevor Humphreys (Surrey) as Chair-Elect and Mike Clark (Brighton) as Deputy Chair, for their support over the past year, and wish them both luck as they step up to the roles of Chair and Chair-Elect.

I have enjoyed my role as Chair of AUDE tremendously – it’s a privilege to give something back to the sector I enjoy working in.

I hope that you will enjoy reading our Annual Review and Report and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Yours sincerely

Sue Holmes

Chair of AUDE (2015/16)

Director of Estates and Facilities, Oxford Brookes University