Appointment of the Director of Planning, Performance and Strategic Change - University of Nottingham


Dear Candidate

Thank you for your interest in this important role at the University of Nottingham. I hope that the following details are of help to you.

The University of Nottingham is a world-leading comprehensive research-intensive institution with a distinctive and pioneering global platform. The University’s ethos is built on the premise that education and research transforms lives and societies around the world. This drives a commitment to excellence in teaching, learning and graduate outcomes, and to unlocking the potential of 45,000 students across campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia. At the University of Nottingham the culture is ambitious, simultaneously creative and collaborative, and without boundaries.

We are now seeking to appoint a Director of Planning, Performance and Strategic Change to lead the development of strategic planning, performance improvement and strategy formulation across the University. The Planning, Performance and Strategic Change directorate is key to the future success of the University and the Director will deliver a fundamental step change in the directorate’s performance and impact, enhancing cross-University collaborative working (including in collaboration with the campuses in China and Malaysia), improving management decision-making, maximising performance and optimising the University’s overall position.

We are seeking to attract candidates with a proven track record of leading and developing planning, performance processes and strategic change initiatives in a relevant environment. Candidates will bring strong analytical skills along with significant team leadership experience and the ability to influence and engage at the most senior levels. Experience of horizon-scanning, data management/governance and strategic business planning will be essential, as will experience of leading the delivery of complex and challenging change programmes.

The University of Nottingham is a stimulating environment in which to work, and this role offers the opportunity to lead a transformative approach to planning, performance management and change. If you are excited by the opportunity to shape the University’s strategy and support outstanding performance then I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Dr Paul Greatrix


We are a pioneering institution providing an exceptional research-led education and an outstanding experience for 45,000 students from more than 150 countries. Built on the ethos that education can unlock potential and transform lives, we feature in the top 20 of all three major UK university rankings, and our graduates are among the most sought-after in the UK.​

Our staff are world-class too. Nottingham academics have won two Nobel Prizes – for medicine and for economic sciences. We have pioneered a new model for international education and with campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia, we have created a unique learning environment and are acknowledged as a leader in the internationalisation of higher education.

We have five faculties: Arts, Engineering, Medicine and Health Sciences, Science, and Social Sciences. In the last Research Excellence Framework, 28 units were judged to have 75% or more outstanding (4* and 3*) impact, and Nottingham was ranked eighth in the UK on a measure of research power. The University’s professional and support departments contribute to the effective running of the University and encourage its growth and success, nationally and internationally.

Founding principles

The University of Nottingham was founded on a compelling vision that education can transform lives, has great social and economic value and should be accessible to everyone who can benefit from it. This vision continues to anchor the educational ethos of our University and drives our strategy.

But further enhancement and innovation are vital to ensure our success continues – increasing competition for students means we must review and refresh the design, delivery and assessment of programmes on a continuous basis. Teaching and learning remains core to the University’s activities, recognised with the award of Gold status in the inaugural Teaching Excellence Framework.

Driving innovation

There are significant digital developments underway including the Teaching Transformation Programme (TTP) which is concerned with developing our teaching to integrate technology-based learning activities. Moodle, our Virtual Learning Environment, has nearly 1.5m individual learning resources. All are powerful drivers for innovation, providing dynamic, engaging and technology-rich learning environments.

Similarly, in research, the need to recruit, retain, develop and resource leading researchers in an array of rapidly evolving disciplines has never been greater. That’s why we are making a significant investment in our vision for research which includes six Beacons of Excellence to bring together talented researchers who are committed to finding solutions to today’s global challenges.

Nottingham is a highly entrepreneurial institution as our business engagement and knowledge exchange activities attest. Knowledge exchange is firmly established as a key feature of the research lifecycle, and this builds on a strong tradition going back to the roots of the institution. We are consolidating the University’s position as a UK leader in knowledge exchange and setting bold targets for performance in this area internationally.

Our digital world

We are living in the age of digital: an era of unparalleled technological innovation. To thrive and grow, the University is transforming the way in which we connect, communicate, engage and collaborate via our digital strategy as we strive to create the digital university of the future.

So far, we’ve installed Lecture Capture in 326 teaching rooms globally, making our UK installation the largest in Europe. We’ve established five Smart Bars in our libraries offering a one-stop shop for staff and students – face-to-face IT support and advice on a wide range of issues including laptop repairs, virus removal, email, software and wi-fi. We’re continually modernising our infrastructure to increase our network resilience and reduce the number of incidents that affect our services, and we are transforming the way staff, students and researchers can communicate and collaborate.

As the power, reach and capability of digital technologies continues to grow, we have significant ambitions in this area as a digital approach is fully embedded in all of the University’s global activities and we build our capability to be a digital exemplar in higher education.

Building a culture for success

Our reputation and heritage are critical drivers for the University’s continued success. We deliver our reputation through our people – and how we manage, support and develop our people is essential to our future success and reputation as a world leader.

Building a culture for success defines the expectations and the behaviours we expect of our people and how they align to our strategy.

Fundraising to achieve the incredible

Having exceeded an initial target of £150m – and then a subsequent target of £200m – the University’s largest-ever fundraising initiative went on to raise £242m by its conclusion in summer 2017. Led by the President and Vice-Chancellor, Impact: The Nottingham Campaign was the most successful in the University’s history, and underlined the growing importance of advancement and alumni engagement. The University’s family of 270,000 alumni are a key part of our global presence – a network of successful, talented individuals who continue to play a part in Nottingham’s success.

Funds raised are being invested in key student initiatives and pioneering research into areas such as dementia, breast cancer and childhood brain tumours.

Amplifying our reputation

To thrive and succeed in a changing higher education landscape, we must share our vision and highlight our success with the world so that we remain a first choice for students and staff. This imperative drove a review of reputation and positioning which culminated in the launch of a refreshed global brand and dynamic reputation campaign – Discover our World. This focuses on our world-leading research to strengthen external communications activity, taking a proactive approach to articulate what is special and unique about the institution. Together with our first ever Global Student Recruitment Campaign, we have significantly strengthened our profile among core audiences.

Global reviews and financial statements

You can read the University’s most recent published Global Review and Financial Statements here: Global Review and Financial Statements 2017

Global Strategy 2020

The University of Nottingham – an inspiring place of learning and scholarship that transforms lives through:

  • Offering an outstanding, broad-based, international education to talented students;
  • Developing skilled, reflective global citizens and leaders;
  • Undertaking fundamental and transformative discovery;
  • Being committed to excellence, enterprise and social responsibility;
  • Sustaining and improving the places and communities in which we are located; and
  • Being engaged internationally to enhance industry, health and well-being, policy formation, culture and purposeful citizenship.

Our strategy:

The University’s strategy sets out goals and actions that target areas of challenge while laying the foundations for on-going success into the future. Informed by analysis, reflection and broad engagement, we have determined we need to consolidate and enhance our position as a world-leading University and:

  • Strengthen and enrich our core activities of Education and Research;
  • Address the changing expectations of our students;
  • Target investment in research strengths;
  • Focus on enhancing quality; and
  • Continue to differentiate The University of Nottingham on the basis of an outstanding student experience and our distinct approach to internationalisation.

Download the University of Nottingham Global Strategy 2020

Management and governance

The University of Nottingham is a corporation formed by Royal Charter and holds charitable status. Two main bodies are involved in the governance of the University:

  • Council
  • Senate

The day-to-day management of the University is the responsibility of University Executive Board.

University Executive Board

The University’s Executive Board meets monthly and comprises:

  • Vice-Chancellor
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor
  • Pro-Vice-Chancellors
  • Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellors
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Registrar
  • Chief Estates and Facilities Officer
  • Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Chief Student Management Officer

Governance Support

Support for the governance of the University is provided by the Registrar’s Department.


UK campuses

With established woodland, landscaped gardens and period buildings set around a large boating lake, Nottingham’s flagship 300-acre University Park Campus is one of the largest in the UK.

Built on the site of the former Raleigh factory, the 65-acre Jubilee Campus is an exemplar of brownfield regeneration and has impeccable green credentials, with five Green Flag Awards. Jubilee is the home to UNIP which includes the Nottingham Geospatial Building, the Energy Technologies Building, the Institute of Mental Health and Aerospace Technology Centre. Recent additions include the Ingenuity Building and the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry, both of which opened in summer 2016. A new Advanced Manufacturing Building opened in 2017.

The 110-acre Sutton Bonington Campus is 10 miles south of University Park Campus in countryside on the border of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Its rural location makes an ideal home for the School of Biosciences and the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, which opened in 2006. The School of Biosciences is internationally renowned for research across its five divisions: Animal Sciences, Food Sciences, Plant and Crop Sciences, Nutritional Sciences, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

China campus

The University’s strong links with China resulted in an invitation to become the first foreign university to establish an independent campus, under legislation passed in China in 2003. UNNC is in Ningbo, an historic city on China’s eastern coast close to Shanghai, and has been developed in partnership with the dynamic and innovative Wanli Education Group.

The campus in Ningbo provides accommodation, sports facilities and a shopping street, and is close to the central business district. The campus has more than 6,600 students, undergraduate and postgraduate, with around 650 international students from 60 countries.

Key research areas include the marine economy and technology, sustainable energy technology, global finance, Sino-Foreign universities, international finance, fluids and thermal engineering and creative and digital cultures.

UNNC management comprises Professor Yang Fujia, former Chancellor of The University of Nottingham and President of UNNC, and the Vice-Chancellor. Professor Chris Rudd, Provost and Pro-Vice-Chancellor oversees growth and development.

Malaysia campus

The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus opened in September 2000. It was the first branch campus of a British University established outside the UK – earning the distinction of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2001 and the Queen’s Award for Industry (International Trade) 2006.

The purpose-built campus opened in 2005 and provides on-campus accommodation, good sports facilities, and a multi¬level library, as well as state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities. The campus has more than 4,800 undergraduate and postgraduate students from 65 different countries.

Research areas include the major Crops for the Future programme, Asia Pacific Studies, Sustainability, Islamic Finance and Communication and Cultures.

UNMC is led by Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Lodin Bin Wok Kamaruddin, and the Vice-Chancellor. Professor Graham Kendall, Provost and CEO, has overall responsibility for all academic and operational aspects of the Malaysia Campus.


Planning, Performance and Strategic Change (PPSC) is a division of the Registrar’s Department.

It provides decision support, advice, reporting and analytics to senior colleagues across the University, broadly broken down into the following main activities and areas.

  • Strategy development support for the University’s Executive Board and Council in the development of the University’s Strategic Plan.
  • The University’s annual planning process, for example by developing projections of student numbers and income, monitoring institutional and business unit performance, analysing trends in demand, and managing the planning framework.
  • The provision of management information to decision makers on both a regular and ad-hoc basis, including metrics on School and institutional performance, bespoke research, and the development of surveys and the analysis of responses.
  • Development and coordination of an advanced and specialist analytics capability, including acquisition, development and exploitation of data assets from a range of sources (internal and external) to enable deeper understanding of causes of performance and opportunities for improvement and innovative visualisation to drive insight generation.
  • Support for the University’s ongoing internal review process, covering both Schools and Professional Services.
  • The development of student statutory returns and statistics, including the institutional HESA and HESES statistical returns, on which the University’s entitlement to government teaching funding is based and which informs national performance indicators and league tables.

Our support and services are delivered through the teams below:

  • Strategy Development
  • Planning
  • Business Intelligence

To view the current PPSC Structure Chat please click here.

The role

Planning, Performance and Strategic Change

School/Department: Registrar’s Department
Job Family and Level: Administrative, Professional and Managerial Level 7
Contract Status: Permanent
Hours of Work: Full-time
Reporting to: Registrar, with a dotted line to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Purpose of the Role:

The Director of Planning, Performance and Strategic Change will provide proactive leadership, with responsibility for the development of strategic planning, performance improvement and strategy development across the University.  The Director will put in place the right team for the University with the right capability and lead it in driving forward strategy and planning for the University.

The Director will be key to the future success of the University of Nottingham, delivering a fundamental step change in enhancing cross-University collaborative working (including in collaboration with the campuses in China and Malaysia), improving management decision-making, maximising performance and optimising the University’s overall position.

The Director will work closely and collaboratively with the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, reporting to the Registrar. The role will engage, collaborate and work in partnership with academic and Professional Services colleagues across the University.

Main Responsibilities

1. Strategic and business planning

Take an active leadership role in developing and managing the University’s annual business planning model, continually enhancing the format and operation of the activities within the process to ensure effective planning.  Develop and manage effective governance and organisation of the strategic and business planning processes.

Lead the development of and be accountable for ensuring analysis and provision of accurate information, intelligence and insights on performance and activities required by the business planning model, and by Faculties and Professional Services for academic and service improvement.

2. Institutional performance, Analytics and Data Governance

Develop a framework for institutional performance management in order to use measures and incentives to drive performance and deliver strategic plans; this will involve performance reporting and provision of insight to ensure that the University has the best chance of delivery.

Develop innovative approaches to the collation, analysis and presentation of data in order to promote enhancements in University performance.  This includes leading the development and implementation of effective data governance arrangements across the University.

Lead on the management and analysis of core University/sector surveys, sector benchmark data and University data to present key performance information, provide expert advice and insights on performance improvement initiatives that will maximise the University’s competitive advantage.

Ensure management information systems and frameworks are fit for purpose and provide the accurate information and analytics that the University requires to reliably inform strategic planning and forecasting.

3. University strategy

Lead the development and maintenance of the Global strategic plan for the University; creating a simple, clear framework to ensure the successful implementation and monitoring of the strategy.

Research and analyse information to provide expert advice supporting strategic decision-making.

Work in partnership with senior leads across the University, including on the Malayisa and China campuses, to ensure strategic alignment across agendas and across all of the University’s campuses.

Develop and lead engagement and consultation processes with Faculties and Professional Services in the process of strategy development and refresh, empowering ownership and responsibility for delivery.

Responsible for strategic oversight of implementation plans, ensuring co-ordination and delivery.

4. Regulatory Compliance

Ensure institutional regulatory compliance with key agencies. Oversee the student statutory returns required by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), OfS and other national bodies, including meeting the requirements of HESA Data Futures.

Assess the impact of the data in external submissions on the Univeristy’s position in league tables and identify where improvements to policies and practices can have the maximum reputational benefit for the University.

5. Strategic Projects and Reviews

Provide leadership and ensure the management and delivery of strategic projects and reviews initiated by the University Executive Board (UEB), including supporting the PMO function generally in the University.

Provide detailed analytics to help shape existing and future projects and reviews.

6. Forecasting and academic planning

Lead the strategy for ensuring that student and curriculum data and forecasts are provided, analysed and utilised for academic planning purposes and participate fully in planning discussions.

Provide input and advice to UEB on government, OfS and other student related public policy in order to inform the University’s strategic decision-making.

Support the delivery of student number planning and ensure that it it is integral to the business planning process, working closely with other professional services directors. Ensure that detailed accurate forecasts of student numbers, load and income are provided that meet internal operational requirements.

Oversee the setting of tuition fee levels and provide University management with expert advice on national requirements and policies with respect to tuition fees.

7. Institutional Risk Management

Contribute at a strategic level to the University’s approach to risk management. Ensure that the major risks facing the University are appropriately identified, managed and monitored through effective risk management processes and map these to units at the appropriate level within the University.

8. Leadership, Engagement and Collaboration

Ensure the development, engagement and performance of the team, motivating achievement against key objectives and driving continual improvement.

Ensure effective collaborative cross team working and foster a culture of service and support, especially with Faculty-based staff, Finance, External Relations, Research & Innovation, HR and Information Services.

Work with key internal and external partners and stakeholders and represent the University effectively in key networks and groups. Lobby within and beyond the sector on areas of strategic importance to the University.

Work with the Communications and Advocacy team to ensure that the University’s position on external developments is effectively portrayed.



Qualifications/ Education

  • Honours degree or equivalent
  • Higher degree or relevant professional qualification (desirable).


  • Detailed knowledge of business planning processes in the higher education or comparable sector.
  • A thorough understanding of Higher Education Sector, including policy, environment, politics, national and international trends/developments which present current and forthcoming challenges and opportunities.
  • Understanding of the information and operational requirements of improving the performance of academic/delivery and service units in a large university or similar organisation.
  • Excellent people management skills, with the ability to motivate, coach and mentor colleagues.
  • Excellent presentation, communication, analytical and problem-solving skills with the confidence to utilise these in a large range of formal and informal settings.
  • Excellent project management skills.
  • Ability to use and manipulate complex databases.
  • Ability to interpret and present complex statistical information.
  • Well-developed communication and influencing skills.
  • Knowledge of IT systems used to provide management information.
  • Project Management qualification (desirable).


  • Significant experience of leading a complex strategic planning and data function, supporting strategy delivery and the operation of a planning cycle in a large university or similar organisation.
  • A successful track record of strategy development, delivery and execution resulting in sustained business improvement.
  • Experience of driving a performance and continuous improvement culture, ensuring ownership and transparency across management structures.
  • Experience of effectively leading and managing a diverse and specialised team to deliver complex services in a university or comparable environment.
  • Proven ability of working collaboratively with senior staff internally and externally and influencing decision making at a strategic level.
  • Experience of budget management.
  • Experience of managing institutional projects and programmes, including risk management.
  • Proven ability to deliver complex and challenging objectives with competing demands.
  • Managing a HESA return and the provision of student number forecasts (desirable).


  • Knowledge of legislation around tuition fees (desirable).


Expectations and behaviours 

We have a clear set of expectations and behaviours of our people at the University and the following are essential to this role:

Valuing People Role models the highest ethical standards to cultivate a collaborative workplace that develops talent and enhances wellbeing, whilst also balancing the needs of the various stakeholders.
Taking Ownership Translates the vision into a strategy for own area, enabling people to take the right action for the wider organisation. Can resolve complex problems, balancing the needs of varied stakeholders.
Forward Thinking Always has the overall strategic goal in mind, manages to stimulate agile and forward thinking in others, motivating them and giving them the confidence to driver for continuous improvement.
Professional pride Goal is to be best in class; ensuring this can be achieved in line with long term strategy regardless of short term challenges. Supports people to do what is best for both the organisation and the department.
Always inclusive Promotes how collaboration and positive partnerships are essential to success, constantly looking ahead to explore how to involve other potential stakeholders.
The University of Nottingham strongly endorses Athena SWAN principles, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in furthering women’s careers. It is our mission to ensure equal opportunity, best working practices and fair policies for all.

Terms of appointment

This is a full time appointment based at the University Park Campus.

A competitive salary will be negotiated with the preferred candidate.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the University of Nottingham. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley: Elliott Rae on +44(0)7584 078 534 or Carolyn Coates on +44 (0)7825 871 944.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 8th October. 

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of 3 pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the experience criteria of the person specification.
  • Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • We would be grateful if you would follow this link to complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ275.

Closing date Noon on Monday 8th October 2018
Longlist Mid October
Shortlisting Early November
Final Interviews Mid-November