Department Coding Structures
The three letter department codes used by the CIS, HR, Finance and Estates systems have been reviewed and a more robust governance and quality assurance process has been established. This will inform work Strategy, Planning and Governance (SPG) are doing to create a Business Intelligence/Management Information System in response to the changing needs of academic departments.
The main benefit will be better consistency across the different systems. There are now definitions and principles in place to minimise the need for changes to the codes used and a new process for requesting changes to department names and/or new units.
The following principles will underpin the ongoing maintenance of the structure:
- Three letter codes will be used consistently for all systems to refer to individual units of activity
- Codes will be available for use once and once archived cannot be reactivated.
- The same codes will be used across the University’s systems
- As organisational units change their name over time the three letter code will remain unchanged.
- Responsibility for setting up new codes will be restricted to key staff to minimise risk of duplication or reuse of codes.
- When a new code is set up it will be added to the central register and communicated to key staff to ensure consistency across systems.
Impact of future changes to the coding structure
Under the previous system, changes to codes were not applied retrospectively which meant that in some cases users had to use multiple codes in order to access data.
The new arrangements will enable greater consistency in coding over time as changes to long names will not affect the underlying data structure.
The following management tools have been set up to support maintenance of the structure:
- A single shared Coding Register which is held centrally in GoogleDrive
- An agreed process to manage changes
- A communications plan to raise awareness of the process and register
Approval process and data assurance
The following process for adding new codes ensures consistency across all systems.
1. New code requirement identified
- Department or Faculty requests a new code
- SPG may also flag decisions emerging from Council or Senate
- Professional Services may identify a need for a new code
- CIS Support in CiCS is the central point of contact.
2. CiCS/Finance/HR create new code in each system
- CIS Support confirms the code with SPG, creates the code on the relevant system and updates the Coding Register
- CIS Support emails DAG to confirm the new code
- New code confirmed with requestor by SPG or CIS Support
3. Overview of codes by the Data Assurance Group
- DAG receives an overview of new codes at each meeting from CIS Support
- Any coding issues are discussed
- Proposals for non-standard codes are considered
4. Report to Audit Committee
- DAG reports to Audit Commitee on an annual basis in line with regulatory requirements.
For a more in-depth description of the new coding structures see the PDF file below