Organisational change for operational support

Published Oct 08, 2018

A decision has now been made. At the end of the year, KTH administration is being reorganised with the aim of creating a clearer common operational support structure at KTH. The changes will be implemented in two stages, starting with central administration.

The administration review, that was initiated by KTH President Sigbritt Karlsson last autumn, is part of efforts to create a more coherent KTH. To this end, the current university administration will also be renamed, in association the reorganisation, to become Common Operational Support (GVS).

“Administration should clearly be seen as an integrated part of KTH,” says Sigbritt Karlsson.

From 1 January, operational support will be structured into a total of nine departments. Several of the current departments who perform similar duties will be merged in these departments. For example, the GVS Department for Education Support will incorporate the current departments of Academic Registry, Students’ Office and International Relations.

“We will have few departments and departments with a clear focus. This will simplify cooperation between administrators and teaching staff/researchers,” says Sigbritt Karlsson.

Profile raising

Two current departments, Finance and Procurement and HR, will remain as separate departments.

Of the new departments, Common Infrastructure will stand out as a more mixed composition. This embraces six somewhat disparate units, Internal Audit, KTHB, KTH Innovation, Open Lab, Alba Nova and SciLifeLabs administration. Several of these units have not previously had an obvious home or been really “visible” in the KTH organisation,” Sigbritt Karlsson explains.

“They need to be lifted up and made visible. This is one of the reasons why we need a department for common infrastructure.”

A separate President's Office is being established alongside Common Operational Support. What currently is called the President's Staff will therefore become an independent unit. This is to enable the staff/office to be better able to focus on providing analyses and other decision-making data to the President and Deputy President.

The next step

Several pieces of the puzzle remain to be put in place before the new organisation can become operational. Such as exact Swedish names for the GVS departments and the issue of whether the president's office should be headed by a manager or a controller.

Above all, the organisational placement of individuals must also be determined. However, the president does not intend to advertise either management positions or any of the other positions.

“No, nobody will have to apply for their own job. This is something we should be able to resolve via dialogue,” she says. 

The transformation of central administration is only stage 1 of the reorganisation, however. Stage 2 will be to create a Common Operational Support for the whole of KTH. This means that processes and ways of working at the schools and centrally must be further developed and modified to become more homogeneous and transparent. This work will take more time than we have available up to the end of the year,” Karlsson says.

“The interface between local and central departments needs more extensive work, there are a lot more factors that need to be taken into account.”

A steering group has been appointed to lead this work. In turn, the steering group is to appoint four case study groups for the following areas: Student Services, HR, Financial Management and IT Support.

Stage 2 of the reorganisation is to be completed by 1 January 2020 at the latest. However, the President hopes that the changes can be made earlier in one or several areas.

Text: Ursula Stigzelius

Fact sheet: Changes to Operational Support

  • On 27 September, the President of KTH took three decisions on a new organisation for OperationalSupport at KTH.
  • The first decision concerns current university administration. The idea is that the current nine units and their associated services will be merged to form nine more all-embracing departments.
  • This part of the reorganisation is to be completed by 1 January 2019. KTH University Administration will then also change name to Common OperationalSupport (GVS).
  • At the same time, in accordance with another decision, a separate President's Office will be established alongside GVS. An Office Manager or Controller will be appointed to head this office, who will report directly to the president.
  • GVS will be on the same organisational level as the KTH Schools. The Head of GVS will accordingly have the same status as a Head of School.
  • The third decision address stage 2 of the reorganisation. A steering group has been appointed to investigate and submit proposals as to how operatational support at KTH as a whole could be made more homogeneous and universal. The steering group is to appoint four case study groups for the following areas: Student Services, HR, Financial Management and IT Support.
  • The steering group is to submit its proposals by summer 2019 and the changes are to be implemented throughout KTH by 1 January 2020.

Changes to the department structure (based on current departments within brackets) from 1 January 2019

GVS departments:  

  • Finance and Procurement (Finance and Procurement)
  • Planning, Evaluation, Quality (Planning and evaluation, Administrative law)
  • Human Resources (Human Resources, Employment law)
  • Education Support (Academic Registry, Students´ Office, International relations)
  • Research Support (Research Office, Contract law, Fundraising)
  • Collaboration (Communication, KTH Business Liason excl. Fundraising)
  • Sites and Operation (Site services, Departement for Building and Environment)
  • ICT Sevices (IT Department, Records Management and Archive)
  • Common Infrastructure (Internal audit, KTHB, KTH Innovation incl IPR law, Open lab, Alba Nova, SciLifeLab administration)

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