Edinburgh’s Telford College: developing UNIT-e within a new corporate information strategy

29 March 2013

The background

Edinburgh’s Telford College, one of the largest colleges in Scotland. When it moved to a new purpose built campus in 2006 it was already formulating a very different vision about how it could function and interact with the community.

The Board of Management felt the College’s corporate information systems, including the student records system, failed to meet the standards expected of a modern educational institution. Overall, the College’s corporate information systems lacked proper integration, along with limited user access, limited in-house system development and administration support and frequent duplications of data input and reporting. A collection of stand alone
 in-house systems, developed on an ad hoc basis, also ran alongside the proprietary
 CIS systems.

The new premises offered widespread access to state-of-the-art technology throughout the student, teaching and staff areas.

Prior to relocation, a comprehensive review of College information systems confirmed that these did not operate to an equivalent level of technical and operational excellence. Therefore these systems failed to meet the College’s vision and aspirations.

The CIS Programme

A three year corporate information systems programme was established. It was funded with a remit to comprehensively review and redevelop its networked information systems, including:

  • Student record system
  • HR system
  • Payroll system
  • Finance system
  • Health & Safety at Work system
  • Middleware
  • Identity management
  • Portal
  • Process mapping
  • Information mapping

CIS Team, was formed comprising of an operations team and development team. The Operations Team had principal responsibility for information management and system administration, while the Development Team was responsible for developing and maintaining the new information systems. This CIS Team was created to both take the programme forward and deliver a centralised college support service. The Team managers had considerable prior experience in teaching and other college operations. They were expected to apply their knowledge of the College’s business requirements to the redevelopment of its networked information systems.

How Capita became involved

The student record system was the first to undergo review and redevelopment. Having decided to go out to open tender, the College developed an extensive tendering and evaluation process. This led to the procurement of UNIT-e from Capita Further and Higher Education. The College believed that UNIT-e offered the potential to meet its aspirations for corporate information management.

As part of the evaluation process and to ensure that the College was getting the system that best matched its requirements, end-users from the College were involved in assessing UNIT-e and the Capita team. The end-to-end system evaluation and procurement process became the model for all subsequent procurements within the College’s CIS Programme.

Commenting on the overall transition, Phil Watson, Administration Manager at the College, adds, “We’ve had a lot of support from Capita.”


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 "UNIT-e has made a huge difference to the way I work. It has made me review the way we do things."
Phil Watson, Administration Manager
Working relationship with Capita
“Capita FHE is very helpful all round and provides us with excellent support through out. The User Group is also good and very supportive, especially for new users.” Phil Watson