top of page

Supporting University College London to Review Strategic Business Partnering

UCL logo

UK universities are facing an increasing set of institutional challenges – reductions in public funding, increased competition for students, ensuring the wellbeing of staff and students, attracting talented staff – so it is vital that university services transition from a siloed provision of services to an integrated model supported by strategic business partnering that enables enhanced decision-making across organisations.

The brief:

At University College London (UCL), business partners support professional services and VP Offices by providing strategic functional leadership, surfacing business requirements and ensuring alignment of resources.

Strive Higher was engaged by UCL to review its business partnering service with a view to designing a model to serve core functions, clarifying the scope and services offered, and defining the people capabilities required to strengthen the service. This included identification of the current set of challenges as well as development of a revised model. We were asked to propose the methodology and tools to ensure a consistent approach, to support understanding of how the model can mature over time, and to ensure effective delivery of the service to support UCL’s strategic objectives.

Our approach:

We set about agreeing objectives with key stakeholders to build a sense of shared ownership, and identifying UCL’s current business partnering model and contrasting this with the preferred future model. This was achieved through desk-based research, focus groups and interviews across academic and professional service areas and culminated in recommendations for the VP Operations to develop the service further. 

The design work that followed established a set of commonly agreed design principles, aligned with the case for change and endorsed by UCL’s Professional Services Leadership Team. The final output of the design phase included work with the Heads of each service (e.g. HR, Finance) to build out a high-level roadmap for change.  


We then supported development of detailed plans with milestones to progress maturity over the coming 2-3 years and agreed which tools developed in partnership over the course of the review would be most fundamental to delivering on UCL’s change delivery plans.


  • A revised business partnering model providing consistent levels of service across core functions and aligned with UCL’s strategic objectives

  • A roadmap for change including milestones commonly agreed by university heads of service

  • A maturity model to support implementation of continued transformation

Read more about our Strategy Development and Transformation & Change service offerings.


bottom of page