Campus Administrative Relief Initiatives

Case study

Background

In July 2008, a group of UC Vice Chancellors of Administration issued a report
called “Building Administrative Efficiency for the University of California”
(also commonly referred to as the “Morabito Report”). One area explored in the
report was “Opportunities for Legislative Relief” which contained initiatives
that sought administrative and/or fiscal relief for the University through
legislative action. After a thorough review of these initiatives by the UCOP
Issues Management, Policy Analysis and Coordination unit (IMPAC), in
consultation with the UC State Governmental Relations Office in Sacramento, it
was determined that some of the initiatives could be achieved through either
changes in state agency or UC policy or procedure, without changes in
legislation, while many were outdated or infeasible in this rapidly shifting
political and economic climate. As a result, a second phase of this effort was
launched in June 2010 to solicit campuses for new initiatives aimed at improving
administrative efficiency, through either legislative, regulatory, or UC policy
change.

Goal

The goal is to pursue all viable initiatives — through legislative, regulatory,
or UC policy changes — to achieve real savings, financial and/or temporal, for
the campuses and the system. A secondary goal is to provide UC campuses with a
single, dedicated point of contact at UCOP in order to jointly explore and
pursue ideas for legislative relief and administrative efficiency on an ongoing
basis.

Successes

Three examples from the first phase of Legislative Relief initiatives are
indicative of what success might look like with the second phase. Note that none
required legislative action:

  1. After initial contact by IMPAC, UCLA is now working directly with the State
    Controller’s Office on a procedure for the University to submit
    post‐expenditure reimbursements to the State electronically rather than
    through a completely manual process, creating substantial savings in time
    and effort. Pending the outcome, the solution could be expanded to the other
    campuses.

  2. IMPAC is working with the Employment Development Department to automate the
    quarterly unemployment insurance benefits report, which could be achieved as
    early as January 2011 (EDD systems are currently down for revamping).

  3. UCOP is working to identify ways to simplify vacation and sick leave
    reporting for the entire UC system.

Challenges

Several of the initiatives require action by the State, either
through legislation or a change in internal state agency policy,
which may prevent or delay changes from occurring. Further,
UC has previously pursued many of the initiatives that require
legislative action but has only achieved minimal success in its
efforts (e.g., revisions to the Stull Act concerning laws on
procurement and capital projects). Thus, there is reason to
expect resistance to change, within the Legislature, state
agencies and, in some cases, the University itself. However,
given the State’s current budget situation, to the extent that it
is possible to achieve and demonstrate outcomes that would
increase savings for UC, the timing of this effort could be
beneficial.

Initial investment

None of the initiatives requires cost outputs (except for staff
time) at this stage. Some initiatives may require staff time and
administrative effort to implement the changes sought in the
event that they are enacted.

Fiscal results, current and anticipated

The fiscal impacts of some of the initiatives have been roughly
estimated (e.g., a call to revise the sole‐source justification
language in the California Public Contract Code estimated
savings at $50,000 to $200,000 per year), while others have
not. However, each initiative calls for reductions in
administrative burden and increases in efficiency.

Current action and next steps

In response to the recent call to campuses for new initiatives,
UCOP has received nearly 40 initiative ideas. IMPAC is
currently researching each of the initiatives, gathering
additional information where necessary from the campuses
and from UCOP departments to determine feasibility and the
costs and benefits of pursuing each one. Once a more fully
formed list has been developed, UCOP will seek additional
feedback and prioritization from the Vice Chancellors of
Administration. Then, individual initiatives deemed feasible
and worthwhile will be assigned to UCOP departments for
further exploration and action. Some of the initiatives will be
addressed through the annual call for sponsored legislation,
which typically launches in early November.

Concluding statement

This project will be an ongoing reflection of the new way of
doing business, as a system, in this political and economic
climate. Although it is unrealistic to expect that all of the
initiatives will result in quick, simple changes, this effort
represents the breadth of opportunities for the University to
work with the State, proactively identifying and pursuing
systemwide efficiencies, and for UCOP to serve and collaborate
with the campuses.