Keep Calm and... Remember the IT Services Charter

Following on from the positive response that I've received from posting some of our policy and strategy consultation documents, I thought people might be interested in the IT Services Charter. This is a cracking piece of work that I think it has much wider applicability than just my own department and institution. Do let me know if you pick it up and use it at your own organization.

Many thanks to the working party that put the charter together: Pritesh Parmar, Lee Preston, David Wilson, Martin Edwards, Anjana Lad, Jane Snape, Dan Towns, Graeme Fowler, Mark Newall, Gary Hale, Sharon Kitson and Lynne Render - and also to Matthew Cook for facilitating.

ITS Charter General Principles

The ITS Charter is designed to create an inclusive working environment, with the collegiate ethos of the University to support the needs of teaching, research and learning through IT.

Above all, colleagues in ITS should treat other colleagues with dignity and respect as personal equals. This is not limited to specifics outlined in this charter; these are essential human and social factors expected across every area of life. The term colleagues should refer to all that we come into contact with; across the wider University membership and not just within IT Services.

The charter should be used to improve communications in a positive manner and not in a negative manner to enforce action; where coaching and encouragement may be more suitable. There should be a consistency in expectations and approach to employee wellbeing across the department.

An annual review of the charter will take place, actioned at the May ITLT meeting each year.

  • I will not raise my voice in anger;
  • I will not swear, use aggressive language or tone;
  • I will not use physical intimidation;
  • I will listen to my colleagues (who are often the technical experts), to appreciate the timescales and their evaluation of the requirements and work to be undertaken;
  • I will feel empowered to say no with reasonable justification;
  • I will not be afraid to ask questions.

Expectations of Senior Managers (ITLT)
  • I will ensure I proactively develop my skills in senior management through appropriate programmes; particularly in the area of effective change management;
  • I will treat all concerns seriously and with respect; managing them in an appropriate manner;
  • I will provide a mechanism of facilitating discussion with any member of the department who feels that their issues are not being resolved by their line manager;
  • I will consider the ‘people factor’ and the implicit trust I am empowered with when planning the strategy of the department;
  • I will trust and empower managers to manage their respective areas;
  • I will ensure that staff do not feel bullied, pressured or stressed by the way in which they are managed from all levels;
  • I will ensure that the environment is comfortable and that there is adequate space (including work, food preparation and rest areas) and catering facilities;
  • I will carry out significant change openly and with meaningful consultative dialogue;
  • I will hold regular Staff Meetings with equal time for discussion as well as presentation;
  • I will contextualise work within the University and IT Strategies in written communication and through Staff Meetings;
  • I will welcome and respond to questions and queries from teams;
  • I will take responsibility for the mood and morale in the department and take action to address any problems.

Expectations of all Managers
  • I will facilitate an inclusive, effective two way PDR process and follow up as required any actions including at least quarterly meetings;
  • I will hold a regular One2One meeting with all direct reports at least on a quarterly basis;
  • I will facilitate regular communications, including team/section meetings at least once a month;
  • I will cascade in a timely manner all relevant information as soon as it is available;
  • I will ensure decisions are made effectively and promptly to the best of my ability;
  • I will provide staff with support and encouragement, but will also identify and deal with underperformance and staffing issues in a sensitive and positive but firm and consistent manner;
  • I will maintain a positive attitude within the team and not foster a ‘blame culture’ or to use excuses like the ‘that’s just the way it is’ attitude;
  • I will adopt a ‘service’ culture attitude within the team and ensure that Service Delivery is a key part of day to day work;
  • I will ensure I proactively develop my skills in management through staff development training (ILM programme), in particular people management and empathy;
  • I will encourage staff development through the most appropriate means suited to individual members of the team;
  • I will make myself available and approachable for guidance, help and support on a regular basis;
  • I will build an effective team through effective: planning, communication, consultation, delegation, motivation, support and workload management;
  • I will work to ensure the workload of the team overall is managed in an appropriate manner and not overcommitted at the detriment of the team or the department;
  • I will manage any issues in an impartial manner, getting as much information as is reasonable to plan a suitable outcome;
  • I will ensure that time is invested in improving and automating processes; 
  • I will ensure University policies, such as sickness absence and grievance, are carried out in a fair and consistent manner and in accordance with equality and diversity policy. 
  • I will ensure all members of my team are clear on their job description, knowledge required and understanding of role.

Expectations of all Staff
  • I will treat all colleagues with dignity and respect, as personal equals;
  • I will act as a team player to support the needs of my team, department and the University;
  • I will carry out all responsibilities with due diligence, to the best of my abilities and be approachable to undertake new work as appropriate;
  • I will ensure that my own workload is appropriately planned and communicated;
  • I will follow procedures and processes set by the department and University;
  • I will try to take personal ownership of issues and act to resolve them before escalating with my line manager;
  • I will take ownership of my own professional development with support and guidance from my line manager;
  • I will allow for the possible nerves and differing experience of colleagues when hosting meetings and accept that is part of their professional development;
  • I will ensure I keep the holiday chart and exchange calendar up to date; accepting and declining meetings in order that I do not waste time within the department;
  • I will accept that members of the department will have a technical opinion based upon their expertise and I will respect that;
  • I will take the most appropriate route to requesting resource of other teams; if I’m not sure, I will discuss this with my line manager;
  • I will proactively engage my line manager to highlight issues with areas of work as far in advance as possible.

Last reviewed 30th April 2013

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