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The administration’s budget reductions are on track

The administration’s planned cost reductions of DKK 100 million until 2019 are included in the overall financial plan for the university, which the board has just approved.

The senior management team have decided to continue the annual 2 per cent reduction of the administrative budget in 2020 and the years after. Photo: Jesper Rais, Aarhus University.

For the past six months, the faculties and the administration worked on a financial plan which specifies how AU will deal with the consequences of the 2016 Finance Act, as this Finance Act will lead to a significant reduction in revenues for AU. At the board meeting on 14 June 2016, the board approved the plan.

For the administration, this means, first and foremost, that we will retain our focus on reducing administrative costs and making work processes more efficient.

In 2014, the senior management team decided to reduce the academic units’ contribution to financing the administration by DKK 100 million until 2019, corresponding to a reduction of approx. 2 per cent per year. The administrative divisions and administrative centres have already come a long way towards implementing these cost reductions, with the involvement of the local liaison committees, and these efforts will continue unchanged.

As a result of the most recent Finance Act, the university’s overall cost reduction is estimated at DKK 280 million up to and including 2019. The reductions will be made by gradually reducing expenditure on estates and facilities, operations and payroll, the latter through natural wastage, and by reducing the academic unit’s contribution to the senior management team’s strategic funds (USM). The administration’s cost reductions of DKK 100 million are included in this process.

One of the consequences of these cost reductions is that the number of administrative staff members will gradually decrease over the coming years. However, the cost reductions will be implemented at a pace which gives us time to find sensible solutions and gradually adjust operations to match changing conditions. This means that the decrease in the number of administrative staff members will occur through natural wastage.

In terms of the long-term perspective after 2019, there will continue to be less money for administration. This is because we, the senior management team, have decided to continue the annual 2 per cent reduction of the administrative budget in 2020 and the years after. This is meant to ensure that a larger proportion of the university’s budget can be spent on research and education.

As the number of employees decreases, we must find resources to invest in process optimisation and digitisation. Although it is a paradox that it sometimes costs money to save money, process optimisation and digitisation are necessary tools for making our work processes more efficient, and a prerequisite for providing high quality administrative service for students and researchers in the future.