Vice-Chancellor’s Circular No. 3 – Administrative Efficiencies and Service Delivery

Dear Colleagues

One of the key priorities for the Senior Executive Team in 2013 is to promote operational efficiencies across the University, to eliminate red tape and bureaucracy as far as possible, and to support the academic project, without compromising governance in any way.

To this end, several key decisions have been made, some of which are outlined below:

Vacancies – The Human Resources Office has adopted measures and processes that will see vacancies within the University filled within three months. This means that once an employee resigns, his/her manager has three months within which to make an offer to a prospective candidate. If after three months an offer has not been made to a candidate, the matter should be escalated to the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. The vacancy list will also be monitored by the Senior Executive Team on a monthly basis.

Credit Cards – The issuing of University credit cards to executive management and certain academics/employees on application, and after approval by their respective Heads of Schools and Deans, and Heads of Departments and Deputy Vice-Chancellors, has been approved. All executive managers are eligible to receive credit cards, as are all academics or employees who incur University business-related expenses that are best paid by credit card and/or who frequently travel on University business. Credit cards can be used to procure books, articles and subscriptions, business meals and expenses, conference registration fees and emergency travel and accommodation when on University business. The cards will have a limit of R30,000 for executive management and R20,000 for academics and employees. For more information, contact Henry Main on Henry.Main@wits.ac.za or (011) 717-1526.

Research Office – All researchers can now receive a ‘project statement’ via email on a monthly basis. This statement gives simple but accurate financial information about research project accounts that normally contain external funds. For more information contact Robin.Drennan@wits.ac.za on (011) 717-1254.

Procurement – The Procurement Office has cleaned up its vendor list and has revised its procedures to make it easier for vendors to be registered on the University system. The Office is working towards implementing an online vendor application and registration system in 2014. Tender processes are also being streamlined. A Procurement Helpdesk will also be established in the coming months. Details will be circulated as they become available.

Legal Office – The Legal Office has been restructured to ensure that specialised services are now located in key departments. For example, dedicated lawyers will now be assigned to the Research Office, where they will be expected to mainly review and conclude research-related contracts. Other lawyers will specialise in dealing with student affairs and disciplinary matters. This will ensure a quicker turnaround time and focussed attention on delivering specialist services efficiently.

Property Management and IT Services – The incoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Beatrys Lacquet, who will manage this portfolio, will be responsible for ensuring that all teaching venues are properly equipped and maintained, with specific attention to detail. This responsibility ranges from ensuring that buildings are energy efficient, to ensuring that light bulbs are being replaced timeously. A complete overhaul of Wits’ many disparate IT systems is required and this will be one of the important University-wide projects that the new DVC will tackle.

Reporting Inefficiencies

If you have a problem that cannot be solved in any of the portfolios described above, please report it in the first instance to the appropriate Head of Department/Unit.

In the case of finance, if after seven days a financial transaction was promised and not delivered, the matter must be escalated to the relevant Dean. If it is not dealt with after 14 days, it should be escalated to Professor Tawana Kupe, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance and Operations. If the problem persists after 21 days, it should be reported directly to me.

As far as legal matters are concerned, if a contract has been referred to the Legal Office and there has been no response on the matter within seven days, then the matter must be escalated to Professor Tawana Kupe, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance and Operations. If after 14 days there is no response from Professor Kupe, the matter should be escalated directly to my office.

If any matters are not responded to within 21 days after staff or students have exhausted all the relevant channels, these matters should be reported directly to me via Adam.Habib@wits.ac.za or (011) 717-1101.

I am open to any further suggestions on how we can promote operational efficiency for the betterment of the academic project, and the University.

Best

Professor Adam Habib

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

16 September 2013