As Dissenter has pointed out in recent months, the so-called Gold Commandant, Admiral Steven ‘Poly-Uni’ Spier, our empty-headed and overpaid VC (who is also allergic to genuine staff questions), has taken the ‘consultation’ to new levels of absurdity, devaluing the whole meaning of this managerial tool. He has developed a bad bout of ‘consulmania’, seeing it as the only sure way to reach his grand plan to convert the Uni into a kind of provincial Polytechnic. The top parrot loves his consultations – there have been waves of them in recent months.
But, as we all painfully know, the reality of a Kingston University ‘consultation’ is that things have already been decided beforehand, and the ‘consultation’ is merely a sop by the Senior-Lack-of-Leadership Teamsters to try and keep the peasants (sorry, staff) happy. The SLLT can then tell the Board of Governors (BOG) that they have ‘consulted’ staff (‘insulted’ would be a more accurate word) and any dissenters can ‘bog off’. The blunt truth is that Admiral Spier hates consulting staff and the so-called consultation process is shaped by a ‘we say, you obey’ approach. Each and every time, a consultation outcome must parrot the views of the Golden One. Or else.
As we noted a few weeks ago, KU recently announced a ‘con-sultation’ on IT provision across the Uni, claiming that restructuring was needed for this service and the ‘changes’ will help the IT delivery team work ‘more flexibly’. It is all part of the Gold Commandant’s ‘Future Organisational Model’ (FOM), which he was proudly squawking about at a BOG meeting held in June.
But, predictably, the consequences of the ‘IT Service Delivery Consultation’ have inevitably created deep misery and worry for the staff concerned over the summer weeks. An insider in the team contacted Dissenter and filled us in on what a disaster the new plans will be. The technician revealed that the IT services ‘restructure’ plan has become ‘a total shambles’, and the proposals betray the on-ground staff who have worked so hard to deliver IT support to both staff and students on all the campus sites, but especially at Pen Rd.
Morale among the IT team was already low. Previous botched tinkering with IT service provision was made by Simon Harrison (now banished) and the deeply unpopular Dave Rimmer, who took arseliksan to new and ever-greater levels. Under their regime there was the demise of the Service Desk, the morale of employees in second line support plunged, and there was the constant undermining of IT End User Support Managers.
The new ‘consultation’ and latest proposed restructuring is now being overseen by two mates from Australia, Rob Westcott, and the new Exo Head of Service Delivery, Ben Fuller. They couldn’t give a Four-X for how it will impact on staff. In fact, according to our well-informed source, the so-called ‘IT Service Restructure’ will effectively be the death of meaningful IT Support across the Uni, as – incredibly – one of the proposals is to operate with just 3 technicians to support the entire University! Yes, you read that correctly. Three.
IT staff have voiced their very strong suspicion that the real agenda behind all this is to create a case for ‘outsourcing’, which will, of course, have dire consequences for the jobs of the few remaining staff, and will lead to a major decline in IT service standards across the University, as has clearly happened at other Unis where this has been carried out. And what about the implications of all this for teaching staff as the new Semester looms? Sorry, the views of lecturing staff don’t count in Spier-world, despite what he said in his recent Town House speech. We have been warned.
Rumour circulates of a decision already made at the highest echelon of the university, to replace inhouse I.T. support with an outsourced (and, of course, cheaper) alternative.
As acronyms are everything to the highest echelon (providing a grandiose sense of managerial prowess) the new I.T. support is to be a premium-rate telephone hotline, attended remotely (in Hong Kong, perhaps, and possibly answered by a guy using the name Steve…).
Given the dilapidated state of the I.T. infrastructure it is thought this could be a real money-spinner for the university’s coffers
The new service is to be called, “Support Helpline: Information Technology Enquiries” – S.H.I.T.E.