Setting the Scene: 

Self-certification is the process by which students record their absence from a mandatory class and gives their reason for this absence. An academic then approves the absence if appropriate.

There were a number of problems with the original self-certification process:

  • Manual process with material variously emailed, scanned, printed, and filed
  • No golden copy of a completed and approved self-certification form
  • Incomplete and inaccurate forms submitted
  • Records incomplete and held in a number of repositories
  • Time consuming at both Registry and School level
  • Inconsistent process across the Schools
  • Significant backlogs of certifications commonplace
  • Reporting and monitoring was after the event

 At the time of this project, approximately 350 self-certifications were lodged per academic week. Around 10% were rejected as incomplete or the student, if emailing the form, had either omitted to attach the form to their email or the attachment could not be opened.

 

Objectives: 

The overall objective was to design a self-certification process that was significantly more efficient and effective for students and staff

Specifically, the team was charged to:

  • Automate the process (if appropriate)
  • Eliminate the potential for backlogs to develop
  • Deliver instantaneous reporting and monitoring
  • Create a consistent process across all Schools
  • Free up staff resources

 

What we did: 

The Lean Team meet, at a series of meetings, with all School administration staff involved with self-certification, together with representatives of Registry and Student Support Services. A small number of academics were interviewed and the views of Deans and various Vice-Principals were also sought. The later in regard, in particular, to the need for self-certification in the first place.

After creating a current state process map, we worked with the staff to develop a new, more lean, process which was then implemented.

High-level current state process maps showing variation across the Schools

S1050637

 

High-level map of proposed new process

Self Certs (part 2) Absence Reporting

 

Outcomes: 

Process Improvements

The self-certification form is now digital and available on the intranet, and links with other University systems

Quantitative Benefits

An estimated 5 FTE (~£124,000) was freed up annually

Qualitative Benefits

Real-time monitoring of student absence by relevant staff across the University, which means prompt intervention/assistance where required

Consistency of the process across all schools