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Rapid improvement - confirmation

Reason for Action

In the summer of 2015, the Postgraduate Student Admissions Service had an unprecedented number of offer holders. This in turn led to an increase in the number of documents that needed to be processed over the ‘confirmation period’ to determine who could or could not be accepted. The majority of applicants were overseas students, many of whom required Confirmation of Studies (CAS) for UK entry visa purposes. As such, the processing of their applications was more complex.

With the high level of applications received, the team were facing the following issues:

  • 68% of calls were not answered
  • There was a 10 working day gap between the receipt of a document and the final decision being taken
  • A delayed response to applicants in turn drove more repeat calls ‘failure demand’ into the department with applicants wanting to know the status of their applications
  • 30% of all documentation received from applicants was incorrect, creating additional staff chasing tasks
Work Undertaken

To improve the process, it was essential to reduce the levels of incorrect documentation received as this would provide additional capacity. In order to do this, the team undertook the following actions:

  • They created agreed minimal acceptance thresholds with departments to reduce the waiting time for departments to respond
  • Better utilised overseas representatives to re-enforce the need for applicants to supply the correct documentation right first time
  • Set a target on the number of applications that are scanned and acknowledged each day

It’s too early to truly assess the impact, but following the RIE, the team are confident that they will achieve the following:

88% of calls will be answered versus 68% currently
A reduction in the decision turnaround cycle from 10-6 days, a 40% improvement
A reduction in overtime/toil from 3 months per FTE to < 12 hours