Priority projects and initiatives

To help focus our collective efforts and make the most of this opportunity to work together, colleagues across the University are working on five priority projects. You can also play your part in these projects. The projects include: 

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We recognise that we must provide greater clarity and consistency about how staff can develop their careers across the University. We are prioritising options that will better enable internal career progression and maximise transferable skills for key roles.

What’s happening?  

  • Career pathways - we will continue to work with staff to map career pathways that identify job families, transferable skills, and key experiences to make it easier to think about the range of ways staff might develop their careers at Oxford.
  • Mobility framework - we will continue to work with line managers to create a mobility framework that enables internal career progression through placements, secondments, and other opportunities.
  • New methods for career development - we will pilot new methods, such as role swaps, to support internal career development. We will embed this framework and development opportunities (for example, coaching and mentoring) into phases of the employment lifecycle (for example, recruitment, induction, PDR, development, succession planning).

How can I get involved?

  • We are currently mapping career pathways for pilot groups of key professions and will be developing new frameworks and toolkits to support staff to think about their careers. Contact to get involved with the pilot work and help shape resources that will make developing careers easier for everyone
  • We are piloting a range of development opportunities including job shadowing and role swap rotations across a range of departments. If you are interested in participating for yourself or for a member of your team, please email
  • Visit the tools and resources page for links to existing professional development support, advice, tools and training
  • Be inspired by some of the career pathway stories of your professional services colleagues.

The People and Organisation Development (POD) team is responsible for the work on enabling Oxford-wide careers. You are welcome to email the team with any questions or suggestions.


We can more effectively plan and review our existing leadership development provision, so staff are ready to take on key leadership roles across the University, when they come up. We can more actively manage and nurture talent. 

What’s happening?

  • Talent management - we will introduce succession planning and talent management initiatives to develop the next generation of professional service leaders proactively and collectively
  • Leadership provision review – we will review our leadership development provision to help us understand the academic and professional services leadership development needs and priorities for Oxford, and we will recommend changes to how we currently support our leaders to grow
  • Leaders’ Community - we will bring together leaders from across the University to collaborate, network, and develop as a community.
  • The Confident Manager – this hugely successful development course has been transformed into a flexible, modular programme with increased capacity from Michaelmas term 2023. The programme focuses on continuously supporting all people managers throughout their career and in a changing environment. It has been expanded to include new masterclasses for managers on new areas, created in partnership with teams across the University, including Leading Continuous Improvement, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Wellbeing, and Health and Safety. 

How can I get involved?

New development resources and opportunities are being created and will contribute to developing professional services leaders.

Visit the tools and resources page for links to leadership resources and guides. 

The People and Organisation Development (POD) team is responsible for the work on developing leaders. You are welcome to email with any questions or suggestions. 


We want to help nurture and support an environment where staff can reach out to their peers across Oxford to network, collaborate, and problem-solve. In the spirit of Professional Services Together, this will help everyone to tackle silos and duplication, and help reduce confusion and frustration. 

What’s happening?

  • Communities of Practice - we will support existing Communities of Practice (CoPs) to maximise their impact by introducing a common framework and toolkits to support their development.
  • We will work with staff to establish communities of practice across key professional areas, and work with the communities to make sure they are as effective as possible.
  • We will ensure that Communities of Practice are understood, recognised, and supported as key enablers for knowledge exchange, professional development and continuous improvement.  

How can I get involved?

  • Tell us about another network for Professional Services staff or make a suggestion to set up a new network email
  • We will be sharing toolkits to support the setting up and long-term success of professional communities at Oxford in Michaelmas term 2023. You can get involved with this work  by emailing and help develop resources that will support all communities to become as effective as possible.
  • Are you interested in setting up your own network or community of practice? You can learn more about building your own professional networks and talk to People and Organisation Development (POD) about your ideas by emailing

POD is responsible for the work on supporting professional communities. You are welcome to email the team with any questions or suggestions. 


We all plan on a day-to-day basis, but we can all be more joined up when it comes to understanding academic needs and translating these into collective priorities for professional services. We can make better decisions if we understand the broader implications and costs involved. All planning should be aligned with divisional and departmental priorities.

What's happening?

  • Embedding the Finance White Paper - more transparency and accountability will make it easier to identify the financial consequences of decisions and ensure better alignment of costs and benefits
  • Services Subcommittee - supported by colleagues in the Planning and Council Secretariat, this subcommittee is helping central services teams to provide the best possible service to academics, students and professional service colleagues 
  • Divisional Planning - as part of the University Strategic Plan, Divisional Planning input will make it easier to share key strategic planning information between divisions and the central administration and governance bodies for the next five years

How can I get involved?

The Planning and Council Secretariat team is responsible for effective planning. You are welcome to email the team with any questions or suggestions.


The central services teams want to ensure that they are meeting the needs of colleagues in divisions and departments and other stakeholders, and be more responsive as those needs change. Embedding continuous improvement approaches and skills at a local and service level is giving all staff the capability and tools to improve the services they deliver. 

What’s involved?

  • A rolling programme of service reviews – just like departments, all services will undergo regular service reviews. This process is overseen by the Services Subcommittee and the reviews are carried out by the Focus team. You can find our about current and completed reviews on the service reviews page.

What’s the latest?

  • The Focus team is currently working on service reviews on research finance management (post-award) and information compliance
  • The IT Infrastructure Service Review was completed in the long vacation 2023 and its recommendations will be implemented as part of phase two of the Digital Transformation programme
  • The Focus team is also working on a scalable services assessment methodology for services or departments to use themselves. The Service Review Guide for departments and faculties is currently available as a beta version whilst it is being piloted
  • Local Continuous Improvement –  recruitment for the next cohort of Continuous Improvement (CI) Local Practitioners will begin in October 2023 and the development programme will start in Hilary term 2024. There are now 38 CI associate practitioners, who have graduated from the local practitioner programme, spread across central services and departments. The current cohort of 12 local practitioners will complete the programme in February 2024.

How do I get involved?

The Focus team is responsible for reviewing our approach to service delivery. You are welcome to email the team with any questions or suggestions.

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Contact us

The Professional Services Together team:

University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD