Legislation and common-practice influence and challenge the work-life of our H&FE clients. Having the opportunity to share these challenges with others is both reassuring and educational. To do this, we facilitate bi-annual University Discussion Forums (UDF) in Birmingham, Cheltenham, London, Manchester, and Glasgow, attended by clients involved in for AR; Credit Control; Treasury; Student fees; Income and Finance, and clients from independent student accommodation providers.
COVID-19 meant the cancellation of discussion forums across the country in 2020. We are hopeful that 2021 will see us return to our usual schedule meeting twice each year in six different locations.
Virtual forums substituted for the real meetings, providing a new and welcome form of communication in 2020, where the unique challenges caused by the pandemic provided many discussion topics. These discussions included working-from-home, sanction relaxation for re-enrolling and new students, international students distance learning, blended learning situations, increased instalment plans, and accommodation under-utilisation, to name just a few.
Since UDFs began in December 2008, interest and enthusiasm for them has grown:
Naturally, discussion topics evolve with time, just as many of them are resolved with collaborative solutions, such as out-of-hours arrears recovery to mitigate the removal of sanctions by the OFT, and the introduction of credit control training to meet HEIs desire for sector-specific solutions.
In the winter 2019 series, the most discussed topics were:
Fraudulent card payments
Ratio of Finance staff to student numbers
Direct currency conversion
Cashless campus Enforcing CCJs
Handling small invoices
Money laundering and cyber fraud
Experts in the HE sector attending the forums include:
- Chartered Institute of Credit Management
- Student Loans Company
Feedback from attendees at the Winter 2019 included:
Always really enjoy the forum, is a great opportunity to network and also discuss common issues effecting all University’s and how we can overcome them. Really well hosted and facilitated. Thank you.
Great opportunity to openly discuss issues instead of having speakers to talk about different issues. Discussion aspect to this event was key to it being useful and relevant to daily work and issues. Networking opportunities and links to improve systems was great.
Great opportunity to meet others and get perspective on how other institutions are tackling events/issues that arise.
I always find these forums to be helpful as they give me a better understanding of how other universities operate their collections
I wanted to say a really big thank you for inviting me to your Forum. The hospitality and professionalism, not to mention friendliness, was amazing. To top it all, I gained a lot of knowledge as well as confidence in the way our university works. Thank you again for making me feel very welcome
Thank you for a very informative and useful discussion forum and lunch today. It was a very worthwhile event and provided lots of networking opportunities too. Looking forward to the next one already
Thanks for hosting the forum yesterday. It was an enjoyable and informative day