The central budget, under the control of WBS Solutions, provides a desktop system for each non-Academic member of staff in an officially-recognised, school-funded post. Where individuals require an enhanced machine or a laptop, the contribution from the central budget will be the cost of a standard desktop, with all extra cost having to be approved by the appropriate budget holder and met from their budget.
The central budget, under the control of WBS Solutions, provides a choice of a laptop or desktop system for each Academic member of staff in an officially-recognised, school-funded post. Where individuals require an enhanced machine, the contribution from the central budget will be the cost of a standard laptop, with all extra cost having to be approved by the appropriate budget holder and met from their budget.
Each group is provided with a centrally-funded high capacity black and white printer/photocopier for networked printing. Consummable costs are included in the contract. All further networked printing devices are funded by the relevant group, including the costs of consumables.
Under current arrangements, items additional to standard provision do not come from the central WBS Solutions budget but from discretionary parts of group budgets. Your group’s contact in the WBS Finance Office can provide advice regarding these budgetary components.
Typically items funded in this way might include:
- Personal printers
- Memory Sticks
- Digital cameras.
The central budget also covers central infrastructure - mainly servers and centrally funded software provision (Microsoft, Adobe, etc., but not specialised teaching or research software). The funding of teaching software has always been complex - there used to be a small central University-provided budget, but this was augmented by teaching programme budgets and teaching group budgets. Post the WBS financial independence, all central provision disappeared and this now has to be funded by negotiation between interested parties.
This may seem complex, but there is a rationale behind it. First, it allows devolvement of decision-making, allowing groups to set their own priorities in many areas, second it allows for a much more accurate decision-making process - people within groups are much more likely to be able to assess the relative merits of competing requests (especially as such requests, unconstrained, would test any budget limit). Some time ago, WBS Solutions did participate in an initiative, which would have seen some money set aside centrally for teaching software, with a bidding system encouraging strategic purchasing, but this was voted down by academics who felt it was too complicated and would be too constraining.
Staff are, of course, welcome to use our services to help with decision-making. Dene Statham, who does all the School IT purchasing, can give prices and advice about specific items. You should note that, in line with University purchasing policy, the School has a strong line on standardisation and there are also internal issues of support for procured IT items like printers, so all purchasing should be done through Dene.