CUBO gets set to make waves in 2019

CUBO gets set to make waves in 2019

The College and University Business Officers (CUBO), has announced ambitious plans for 2019, which include raising the bar on member value as well as increasing its profile within the HE’ sector, and beyond.

The professional association which represents senior managers of diverse commercial and campus services in Higher Education – including Catering, Accommodation, Conferencing, Retail, Sport, Nurseries and management of Facilities (to name but a few) – enjoys a membership base comprising around two thirds of institutions within HE. 

CUBO intends to grow this membership and support the development of skills and talent within its ranks, whilst driving standards through sharing best practice and associated insights.

Chief Executive, Jan Capper, highlights some of the key initiatives planned for 2019, which she says will be focused on the development of specialist skills that sit behind each university’s professional business team:

2019 will be a pivotal year for CUBO, not only as we start to see the impact of Brexit on elements such as recruiting skills to fill positions within university departments, but the growing concern over the continuing attraction of UK campuses to overseas students.

“Never has it been so important for universities to optimise their facilities, services and commercial standing, which brings us back to the importance of campus services.  Our aim is to bring the value of these services right to the top of the HE agenda.

“With our new digital platform and a permanent staff base in place, we are set to deliver the next set of key activities for our members.  This includes the development of online special interest groups to complement our sub-groups for marketing and finance, alongside significant investment into research that will benefit our members. 

“For example; one of our first research studies will be into the impact of campus services on the student experience, identifying the value added of campus services, whilst identifying gaps for sharing and learning improvement. 

“We also plan to relaunch our annual benchmarking exercise to provide better data for members and will be scoping out a piece of research investigating accommodation supply and demand….  Accommodation is a primary area of interest – and opportunity - and we are continuing to carry out vital work administering the UUK Accommodation Code of Practice, which maintains standards for student accommodation”.


CUBO’s training has increased in stature and uptake each year.  The association’s partnership with UHS is now in its third year and courses are developed hand in hand with member’ feedback and offered to stakeholders at a discounted rate.  2019 will see the CUBO – Acuho-I Residence Life Masterclass expand to become a full conference, responding to demand and interest in this field.

The 2019 plans follow on from what was a busy 2018 for the association when it launched a new, progressive digital platform (including a public and a members’ website with integrated social media, special interest groups, resource libraries and administrative management), as well as fourfold increasing the number of partnerships with suppliers.  

Additionally, a review of the Board was undertaken to further strengthen CUBO’s voice, which resulted in the appointment of Julie Barker (former Chair of TUCO) and Jo Hardman, Head of Commercial Services at Lancaster University, with further appointments to follow in 2019.

The year also saw CUBO launch new training events alongside its two annual Conferences as well as the launch of the Residence Assistants Awards to complement a growing programme of work on residence life, and add further value to the CUBO Awards set.

Capper concludes:

“CUBO is playing an increasingly important role in supporting university business officers and their teams when it comes to front line efficiencies and optimising value from their activities, while showcasing the impact of those activities and celebrating their contribution.  

“As an association, we listen to our members and respond to their needs, bringing together members and partners to share knowledge, and help them learn and grow.  CUBO offers business advantage through learning and membership is increasingly relevant in a highly competitive market, helping to deliver business advantage within the HE sector”.

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