IT Change Management policy

IT underpins many of the processes and systems used by the University. Change is necessary to maintain and improve the IT facilities offered, to ensure the University is able to carry out its commitments and priorities of teaching, research and administration.

We provide a complex and interdependent set of IT services for the University. To ensure that maintenance work and improvements are completed without causing too much disruption to our users, we manage changes to these systems in a controlled, planned and informed way; taking into account risks and any potential negative impact to staff and students.

Change Approval process

We follow a standard process to assess, approve and implement changes to services. This ensures:

  • changes are well thought through
  • adequately planned
  • ready for implementation
  • do not conflict with other planned work
  • IT staff are available to carry out and support the change.

Depending on the scale of a change, it will either be classified as Minor, Significant or Major change.

The Change Manager approves Minor changes on daily basis, as these are low risk and unlikely to have an effect on our users even if they go wrong. Significant and Major changes are approved at the weekly Change Advisory Board (CAB).

Change Advisory Board (CAB)

The CAB is held weekly on Thursday mornings. The purpose of the CAB is to scrutinise the Major and Significant changes which have potentially higher impact or greater risks. The CAB membership is made up of senior IT staff and generally consists of:

  • IT Change Manager
  • Head of IT Operations
  • Head of IT Customer Services
  • Head of IT Infrastructure
  • IT Service Owners
  • IT Risk and Continuity Manager
  • Deputy Director(s)
  • IT Communications Specialist
  • IT Business Partnering
  • IT Senior Test Co-ordinator

The Change Manager may also invite other staff to CAB at his discretion based on the changes to be reviewed.

Critical Periods

During critical periods in the academic year, such as registration week or confirmation & clearing the impact of an IT change going wrong could cause reputational or financial damage to our University.

To protect against this, we reduce the number of changes we make, or even stop implementing changes completely. When we do this, we refer to either Change Exception Periods (when we limit changes made) or Change Freezes (when we stop implementing changes).

Our IT services continue to be available, however changes to them will not be made unless they are needed in an emergency to keep IT facilities and services running.

We may also implement change freezes when the number of IT staff available are reduced e.g. around the Christmas closure period.

Planned Change Exception Periods

Changes will be limited during the following dates:

  • Monday 18 December 2017 until Thursday 21 December 2017 during the Christmas and New Year period
  • Monday 11 September 2017 until Friday 29 September 2017 during Registration Period
  • Monday 5 June 2017 until Friday 30 June 2017 for Summer Exam Panels and Boards Period
  • Monday 19 December 2016 until 2 January 2017 during the Christmas period
  • Monday 29 August 2016 until Friday 7 October 2016 during Registration and Arrivals
  • Friday 13 May 2016 until Friday 29 July 2016 during Summer Exams, Exam Panels and Boards

This is to ensure that these key events run smoothly and are protected from unforeseen issues.

Planned Change Freezes

Changes will not be made during the following dates:

  • Monday 7 August 2017 until Friday 25 August 2017 - Confirmation and Clearing
  • Monday 8 August 2016 until Friday 26 August 2016 - Confirmation and Clearing
  • Monday 21 December 2015 until Sunday 3 January 2016

All IT services including email, Blackboard, University PCs, finance and HR systems will be available during these times. No changes will be made to any of these systems.

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