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 Change Advisory Board (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 Coordinator

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 16 December 2019 until Friday 20 December 2019 during Christmas and New Year period
  • Monday 15 June 2020 until Friday 26 June 2020 for Summer Exam Boards period
  • Monday 27 July 2020 until  Thursday 13 August 2020 for Change embargo - A level Results
  • Monday 3 August 2020 until Wednesday 5 August 2020 for pre-Clearing 2019
  • Wednesday 19 August 2020 until Friday 21 August 2020 for post Clearing 2019
  • Monday 14 September 2020 until Friday 25 September 2020 for 2019 Registration and Arrivals period
  • Monday 17 December 2020 until Friday 23 December 2020 during Christmas and New Year period

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:

  • Thursday 6 August 2020 until Tuesday 18 August 2020 - Confirmation and Clearing 2020

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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