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Compliance

IT Services takes seriously its obligation to comply with the legislative framework within which the University operates. To this end we have developed policies on issues such as the disposal of old computing equipment and use of peer-to-peer software. We also assist with and contribute to requests submitted to the University under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection acts. Please see below for more information regarding this.

Enquiries

As IT Services is part of the University Administration and Services, requests made under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts are handled by the central teams and should be directed as follows:  

Freedom of Information

Information Officer
University Offices
University of Oxford
Wellington Square
Oxford  OX1 2JD

Before submitting an FOI request, you may wish to consult our Guide to Information below to find out if the information you require has already been published. This Guide is also available to download.

Data Protection

Data Protection
University Offices
University of Oxford
Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JD

 

Guide to Information: IT Services

The information in this Guide is intended to supplement the Guide to Information published by the University’s Freedom of Information Office. All the information published in the IT guide is freely available via the web and no charge is made for access. The information is organised under the following headings taken from the ICO’s ‘Model Publication Scheme’.

If the information you require isn’t available here, please refer to the University’s Guide or the general website. If you still wish to submit an enquiry, you should address it to:

Information Officer
University Offices
University of Oxford
Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JD

Further details are available at https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/councilsec/compliance/foi/

Who we are and what we do

IT Services Department

IT Services is one of the 18 sections that make up the University of Oxford’s central administrative service referred to as University Administration and Services (UAS). The department is responsible for providing the IT services that the University requires to fulfil its mission to be a world-class centre for research and teaching. As well as the core IT systems, tools and services that keep the University running day-to-day, the department provides innovative services and projects to support learning, teaching and research.

Due to the complex structure of the University and to ensure local needs are met, considerable autonomy is given to individual units regarding the management of, and expenditure, on IT. This means it is frequently not possible to answer FOI requests regarding IT at a University level.

Vital statistics

  • Name of Department: IT Services
  • Administrative address: Dartington House, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD
  • Head of Department: Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (ASUC) and Chief Information Officer
  • Number of employees in IT Services: 370 (FTE) as at September 2016.
  • Structure: The department is organised into six functional groups, each headed by a director, and an administrative section.
  • Number of sites: IT Services operates from four sites in central Oxford

For more information see:

What we spend and how we spend it

IT Services’ primary source of funds comes via the JRAM, the mechanism by which the University’s income is allocated to departments and Colleges. This is augmented by income for miscellaneous services and recharges to capital projects. The department also receives an allocation from the University’s capital fund for IT projects. This was £112M for the five years starting in FY2012/13 .

In 2015/16, the department’s overall operating budget net of project recharges was £21.84M, with key areas of expenditure being:

  • Salaries £19.44M
  • Casual, agency and other non-payroll £1.94M
  • Equipment  £4.62M

In the same year, £31.2M was committed from the capital envelope, of which £21.11M was spent.

Due to the complex structure of the University and the autonomy given to individual units regarding the management of, and expenditure on, IT, it is not possible to provide a definitive response regarding the University’s overall IT budget.

For more information see:

What are our priorities are and how we are doing

IT Services’ activities are determined by the IT Strategic Plan  which is designed to ensure that IT-delivered systems and services meet the needs of the University and support the achievement of its objectives.  Priorities regarding delivery of the plan are set in consultation with the IT Boards (research, digital content, education IT, infrastructure, business systems, and user services) and other stakeholders.  

The IT Strategic Plan is owned by the IT Committee (ITC) and IT Services is responsible for its implementation. Progress regarding delivery of the Plan is reviewed regularly and reports are made to ITC and other bodies within the University.

For more information see:

How we make decisions

Provision of IT within the University is overseen by the IT Committee (ITC), a sub-committee of Council. ITC’s remit includes all matters relating to the management and maintenance of the University's central IT policies, facilities and services, overseeing all capital projects funded from the IT capital envelope, and the development and implementation of the University's strategy relating to IT. ITC is chaired by Professor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of the Department of Engineering and member of Council, supported by Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (GLAM) and Chief Information Officer. Members are senior academics and administrators who represent the core user constituencies of the University.

The work of ITC is supported by six IT Boards. The Boards engage stakeholders in IT in their respective areas more closely in decision-making around capital investment and service development. The Boards report to ITC and are expected to work closely with the appropriate functional committees of Council. Chaired by a senior member of the University, each Board meets twice a term and may approve individual project funding requests up to a value of £150,000. Requests for more than that amount are referred to the IT Committee.

For more information see:

Our policies and procedures

General

IT Services complies with the Statutes, Regulations, Policies and Codes of Practice that govern activity in the University – see http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/lso/statutes/. The regulations and policies that apply specifically to the use of University ICT facilities are listed at http://www.it.ox.ac.uk/rules.

The department also supports other units to enable the University to comply with its statutory and other monitoring and reporting obligations.

Note:

  • Responsibility for ensuring University regulations are observed and policies are implemented properly lies with the departments, faculties and colleges, who may have additional rules for use of facilities they provide, depending on local need.
  • While IT Services has significant input into drafting the ICT policies, they remain the responsibility of the University’s Legal Services Office, to which enquiries should be directed in the first instance.

Cloud-based services

Use of cloud-based services is decided on a project-by-project basis, and, at any time we are likely to have a range of projects considering a cloud service as a solution. Examples of the University's use of the Cloud include: 

  • Email and calendaring via Outlook will be moved to the cloud in 2016 as part of a major upgrade of Exchange, although SharePoint will continue to be hosted locally.
  • Visitor access to Wi-Fi is provided via The Cloud in a number of sites across the University.
  • IT Services uses the HEAT Service Management SaaS ITSM tool to underpin support and other service management processes.

Any use of the cloud has to be compliant with UK and EU data protection legislation.

Disposal of electronic equipment

IT Services complies with the University’s policy on the disposal of old computers. The University has two preferred suppliers, Dataserv Limited and Computer Aid International, for the disposal of PCs and laptops. IT Services also uses EDR Europe for secure erasure and disposal of hard disks and other data-holding media. IT Services does not currently keep records of the number of items which are disposed of, but historically this has ranged between 150 and 1000 pieces of equipment per year.

Disposal of devices such as mobile phones is covered by the same policies as for PCs and laptops. The University does not routinely seek to recover the residual value in such devices when they are no longer of use.

The University complies with the Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013.

Note: the above information applies to University-level activity – the academic departments are free to make their own arrangements provided they align with University policy on this issue and practice will vary according to local needs.

For more information see:

Enterprise architecture

IT Services has adopted TOGAF as its enterprise architecture tool. 

Mobile devices

IT Services observes the University’s Information Security Policy as it applies to mobile devices and follows the associated advice provided by the Information Security Team. Mobile devices managed by IT Services are subject to rules regarding passwords, tracking and remote wiping. These rules are configured using device policies on managed Mac devices.

Open access and research data management

IT Services works closely with Research Services and the Libraries to ensure the University is able to meet its statutory and other obligations regarding open access and research data management. This includes developing or customising systems to store and make discoverable details of research outputs, providing secure storage for live research data and archive space for data at the end of projects, and drafting and implementing policies in these areas.

For more information see:

Note: the above information applies to University-level activity – practice in the departments will vary according to local needs.

Outsourcing

IT Services investigates the possibility of outsourcing elements of projects and services alongside in-house provision in accordance with the University’s outsourcing criteria. IT Services has outsourced two services:

  • Out-of-hours IT support via a contract with the NorMAN Helpline
  • A range of Oracle R12 Financials maintenance and development tasks to Version 1

Future plans:

  • IT Services is about to start a project to outsource email and calendaring to Microsoft Office 365

For more information see:

Prevent duty

IT Services supports the University in its work with HEFCE and other agencies to ensure that the University will respond proportionately to risk whilst at the same time ensuring that it meets its obligations under the Prevent duty.

For more information see:

Procurement

IT Services complies with the University’s policies and procedures regarding procurement. The University is a member of Unibuy (Higher Education marketplace for consortia frameworks), the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium and the Crown Commercial Service (formally Government Procurement Service).

For more information see:

Software licencing compliance and audit (see also: Software agreements)

IT Services complies with suppliers’ licensing requirements on a case-by-case basis. The Department does not conduct software compliance investigations, exercises or audits.

The University has been subject to two third-party software compliance investigations:

  • Oracle Software (2013-14): A license compliance review for the Oracle Software was conducted by an Oracle Partner, on behalf of Oracle. The document expressly states that we must not pass it on to unauthorised persons but we can state that the University was found to be compliant in the main.
  • Business Systems IBM (2011): An audit was carried out in 2011 to check the University’s estate for possible non-compliance. A formal report was not supplied – instead, the University received a spreadsheet which outlined our compliance position.  This activity was conducted on a confidential basis and the findings may not be passed on to unauthorised persons but we can state that the University was found to be in full compliance with the IBM licensing entitlement that was purchased.

IT Services is about to deploy a software asset management tool which will be offered to the rest of the University in due course.

For more information see:

Training (policy)

IT Services follows University guidance on training and staff development. IT Services's main training budget is managed at director level and funding is allocated according to team needs.  As requirements are often highly specialised and time sensitive, suppliers are selected on a case-by-case basis. Strategic development activities are managed and funded centrally.

Staff are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities provided by the department’s own training programme (IT Learning Programme) or the Oxford Learning Institute.

For more information see:

Lists and registers

IT Services manages the following lists and registers:

  • The Core User Directory (CUD) which contains details of every person who has a current relationship with the University including students, researchers, tutors, staff and alumni.
  • Groupstore, an institutional repository of groups of people, which contains automatically populated groups defined by the academic course and organisational structure of the University as well as custom groups defined and populated locally by units.
  • The GAL (Global Address List), which contains personal, generic and group email addresses.

IT Services provides the infrastructure on which the data for the major enterprise systems are based but does not own the data the systems contain. IT Services also hosts a number of databases on behalf of other units but does not own the data they contain.

For more information see:

The services we offer

Application development

Because of the complex structure of the University, most systems and services require special configuration or customisation to meet the needs of the institution. IT Services retains an in-house team to do this work.

  • Development team: IT Services’ application development team comprises 15 developers led by a director.
  • Development languages: We use a variety of development languages depending on the project including Perl, VBA, Java, Uniface, C#, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Objective-C, PHP, PL/SQL, Powershell, Python, Shell script, SQL, TSQL, VB.NET, XSLT, Swift.
  • Use of external contractors: We bring in contractors on a project-by-project basis depending on the requirements of the project and resource availability.

Desktop provision

IT Services is responsible for the provision of desktops for the central administration departments and the libraries. The academic departments, faculties, and other units are independently responsible for providing and supporting desktops for their staff and students.

  • Number of desktops managed by IT Services: c. 3,500 desktops.
  • Operating system: Windows 7.
  • Supplier: Primarily Dell.
  • Refresh rate: We have a rolling replacement programme for desktop equipment over 5 years old.

Backup

IT Services provides a University-wide backup service to all postgraduate students and staff, providing up to 500GB of data storage per user.

  • Backup hardware:  TS3500 IBM tape libraries.
  • Backup software: IBM Spectrum Protect, formerly Tivoli Storage Manager.
  • Backup refresh rate: Licenses are renewed on an annual or three year cycle; hardware on a five year cycle.
  • Support contract: We do not have a single support contract. There are distinct contracts for both software and hardware.

For more information see:

Data centres

IT Services runs the University Shared Data Centre (USDC) which provides departments, faculties and colleges with an always-on facility for housing vital services and which allows them to physically locate computing equipment in a highly secure and controlled environment.

  • Number and location of datacentres: IT Services operates two data centres, one located in central Oxford and one in a business park outside the city. Other data centres exist in the University estate.
  • Number of servers: Approximately 1,500 servers (630 Windows; 870 UNIX/Linux) are hosted across the two IT Services data centres.
  • Operating systems: IT Services uses various flavours of Microsoft Windows, AIX, and Gnu/Linux.
  • Virtualisation: Approximately 60% of our servers are virtualised using VMware.
  • Volume of data: Approximately 2640TB of data are stored in our data centres.
  • Server suppliers: Our principal suppliers include Dell, IBM, and HP.
  • Server refresh rate: Servers are replaced on a 4-5 year cycle.
  • Storage suppliers: Our principal suppliers include Dell, EMC, IBM, and HP.
  • Storage refresh rate: Hardware is replaced on a 4-5 year cycle.
  • Networking equipment: We use a variety of network equipment in the data centre, ranging from data centre connectivity to in-rack switches. The core networking equipment is currently primarily Cisco-based.
  • Network equipment refresh rate: The refresh rate for network equipment varies in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations.

For more information see:

Enterprise systems (see also Microsoft)

IT Services hosts the following enterprise systems and works with the relevant unit to maintain the systems and support users:

  • Business information: We use Tableau for analysing and distributing management information, particularly student data.
  • Customer relationship management: The Development Office uses Blackbaud CRM for fund-raising and alumni relationship management.
  • Document sharing: The University uses SharePoint to share and store documents. We have recently upgraded to SharePoint 2013.
  • Finance: Finance uses Oracle R12 to provide financial and other administrative information.
  • HR/payroll: Finance/Personnel use Core HR to manage HR information and the payroll.
  • Student Records: The University principally uses Tribal SITS to manage student information.

Contracts for these systems are generally renewed on a one-year rolling basis.

Microsoft (see also Enterprise systems; Software agreements)

IT Services has the following agreements for Microsoft products:

  • Microsoft Campus Agreement (through Civica, running to 31st August 2017) which licenses University use of Microsoft desktop software.
  • Microsoft Select Plus Academic Deal (through Eduserv and fulfilled by Civica, running to 31st October 2016) for a range of additional Microsoft desktop and server products not included in the Campus Agreement.

These agreements include the ‘work at home’ element which allows users to load software onto an additional device.

For more information see:

Networks

IT Services manages the University-wide ethernet, which provides fast links between systems  in addition to maintaining the links to the national and international networks (JANET and the Internet). 

  • Access: Access to and use of the University network is covered by the Regulations Relating to the use of Information Technology Facilities, supplemented by additional regulations regarding mobile wireless networking.
  • Provision: IT Services is responsible for providing network services up to the front door (‘FroDo’) of the user unit. The user unit is responsible for managing the network on its own premises.
  • Equipment: The University’s core routers, premise switches, wireless controllers and, where applicable, wireless access points are manufactured by Cisco. Each college or department is responsible for their LANs, including in many cases wireless services.
  • Support: IT Services does not hold a single maintenance contract for the wired and wireless networks. For the most part support and maintenance is provided by staff in various groups within the IT Services department or by local IT Support Staff.
  • Monitoring: OxCERT, the University’s network security team, monitors the network and systems to prevent and respond to external attacks. Content filtering software is not deployed on PCs managed by IT Services, but practice may vary in the academic departments and other units.
  • Devices connected: Over 100,000 devices including servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, phones and other devices are connected to the IT network.
  • Number of users: There are approximately 43,000 NEXUS Exchange users.

IT Services is running two network related projects:

  • GOWN, to update wireless provision
  • TONE, to upgrade the physical network

For more information see:

Projects and project management

  • The University’s IT project portfolio is funded via the IT capital envelope and overseen by the IT Committee and its sub-groups. The capital envelope for 2012/13 to 2017/18 has been set at £112M, allocated on a three-year rolling basis.
  • Projects are managed by a team of up to 15 permanent project managers supplemented by contractors as necessary. A Portfolio Management Office of five supports the delivery of projects and programmes.
  • The principal project management methodologies used in IT Services are PRINCE2, Agile and Scrum.
  • Up to 80 projects and 5 major programmes may be live at any one time.

For more information see:

Software agreements

IT Services manages a variety of software agreements which are made available to the various parts of the University depending on the type of agreement and funding model. In addition, various software agreements have been taken out by individual departments with usage rights for the whole University.

For more information see:

Training (provision)

IT Services provides a programme of classroom-based and online courses for all staff, academics and students at the University, the cost of which is minimal.  The department has also arranged a subscription to Lynda.com, a library of training videos which is available to all members of the University.

For more information see:

Telephony

  • The University is upgrading its telephone system as the current system goes out of support in 2017.
  • PBX services are provided by Unify and call logging by BTS.
  • There are approximately 28,000 phone extensions.

For more information see:

User support

Wi-Fi

  • Provision: Members of the University access the network wirelessly via Eduroam. 
  • Access: Academic visitors may use Eduroam if they have registered to use the service at their home institution; those who have not registered with Eduroam may use OWL. Members of the general public may use The Cloud in a limited number of locations.
  • Hardware supplier: Cisco and Dell.