Pink flowers blooming outside the Great Hall/Yorkshire in Bloom

University campus wins Gold in Yorkshire in Bloom Awards

The University of Leeds has achieved a Gold status and is a winner in the Universities, Colleges and Further Establishments category at this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom

Thanks to the hard work of the Estates and Sustainability teams, the University achieved a Gold award for its variety of well-maintained planted areas around campus, the volume of green space and future plans for the creation of green walls.

Tulips outside Roger Stevens Building

Yorkshire in Bloom – the regional body representing the Britain in Bloom – organises its annual competition encouraging schools, businesses and other community groups to create pleasant natural environments around them.

Sustainability was a major focus of the University’s submission, with significant interest paid to the Living Lab Sustainability Garden and the involvement of members of the University community in sustainability efforts around campus.

Daffodils outside St George's Field

The award marks another successful result for the University in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition, winning Gold in 2017, 2019 and 2022.

Find out more about the Grounds and Gardens team.

Cleaning staff holding awards

Cleaning Services celebrate their achievements

Cleaning Services held an event last Thursday (28 September) to celebrate the first cohort of team leaders to complete the British Institute of Cleaning Sciences (BICSc) supervisor certificate.  Read more

Screenshot of the facilities management service desk website

What is the Facilities Management Service Desk (FMSD)?

The FMSD is the new online process that enables people to report maintenance jobs across the estate, and informs those who carry out the work what the jobs are. It is an integrated workflow management system.  

The Facilities Directorate bought the system from Planon, a company that offers a range of software products. They chose their Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software because it focuses on asset and maintenance management.  

The University uses the Planon system for other activities, including desk booking and space management. 

This is the first implementation of the Planon maintenance function. The next will support the University’s Health and Safety requirements. 

Is the system live?

No not yet. There is a huge amount of work going on to enable the system. Much of this is around the interface of the CAFM software with SAP and other University online systems.  

The system is housed on the Estates website and requires the design of a complex webpages linking to the CAFM software housed on the Planon website.

Who uses the FMSD?

  • Staff who would usually contact the Estates Helpdesk via phone, SAP or email to report a maintenance issue. 
  • Staff who receive and schedule maintenance jobs. 
  • The FD’s Maintenance team and external contractors, i.e those who carry out the maintenance and compliance jobs, and their managers.  

What are the benefits of the FMSD?  


  • Replacing an admin-intensive, paper-based system, the FMSD enables the assignment of jobs to colleagues such as plumbers and joiners working in the Maintenance team through their mobile device . 


  • Staff will be able to view maintenance jobs raised in their building in the system meaning that that facilities managers and others can plan, execute and monitor all activities involved in reactive and planned preventative maintenance. 


  • People logging jobs enter the system through a webpage that has clear icons prompting a set of questions related to the types of jobs. 

Enables Health & Safety: 

  • Supports the FD in keeping buildings and assets in the required technical and functional condition. A safe workplace enables everyone to do their jobs effectively. 


  • Well-maintained facilities use less energy and produce less waste.  

Helps achieve business objectives: 

Aim three of Our Way Ahead

  • We will deliver our services staying focused on the needs of our communities and on environmental and financial sustainability.  
  • We will focus our services to reflect the expectations, needs and experience of students, staff and the wider University communities while ensuring they operate in an efficient and sustainable way. 
  • Shaping our services to be focused on the experience of the user, we will continually look at opportunities to improve service delivery. 

Read the Facilities Directorate business plan – Our Way Ahead.

Jill Roberts winning BICSc award

Lifetime achievement award for Head of Cleaning Services

Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services, has been given a lifetime achievement at the BICSc Awards ceremony on 21 September 2023.  

The University’s Head of Cleaning Services won the Eric Hill Award, signifying Jill’s hard work and dedication to the Cleaning Services, including steering her team during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The BICSc awards acknowledges the cleaning industry’s success by recognising some of the sector’s brightest stars – with the Eric Hill Award honouring “those with an exemplary contribution in the field of training and education alongside their unrelenting support for the Institute”.   

‘Calmness and authority’ 

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development, said:  

“I’m thrilled about this wonderful recognition for Jill, which is thoroughly deserved. During her time at the University, she has led Cleaning Services from strength-to-strength, recently introducing an industry-accredited training scheme to maintain and develop her team’s outstanding professionalism. She steered her team through the challenges of the pandemic with calmness and authority.   

“Cleaning Services are essential to the smooth running of the University, and I couldn’t be more pleased for Jill that she has received this award.”  

Parkinson Building

Innovation in waste management helps University’s Net Zero goals 

The University of Leeds is working with a new waste management provider to inform its approach to waste. 

Driving down carbon emissions

New contractors Mitie will work with Cleaning Services and other teams in the Facilities Directorate (FD) to explore further waste reduction techniques, seeking to eliminate waste before it’s created and driving down carbon emissions.


Michael Longstaff, Interim Deputy Director, Estates & Facilities, said:  

“We are now able to more effectively assess data and analyse the lifecycle of waste to inform interventions in our drive towards Net Zero, one of the seven principles of the University’s Climate Plan. 

“Awarding a new waste contract following a tendering process is in line with the FD’s delivery of services that stay focused on the needs of our communities and on environmental and financial sustainability 

“Our activity must reflect the expectations, needs and experience of students, staff and wider University communities while ensuring we operate in an efficient and sustainable way, as outlined in our business plan.” 


Thom Cooper, Acting Head of Sustainability, University of Leeds said: 

“What we purchase, use and dispose of at the University has big implications for sustainability. Working collaboratively with Mitie will enable us to minimise and simplify the waste we produce and therefore reduce our emissions and the resources we consume on a daily basis.  

“While our emissions from waste are not included in our Net Zero 2030 target, they are an important part of Net Zero Plus – those scope three emissions that we need to eliminate to meet our target of achieving no direct emissions by 2050.  

“Identifying ways to reduce or even avoid creating waste in the first place, therefore, and increasing recovery and recycling of what is left, supports the delivery our ambitious Climate Plan.” 


Waste management innovation

Under the contract, Mitie will build and maintain relationships that enhance and support the operation of waste management at the University as well as manage all subcontractors, optimise the collection schedule, provide and analyse data and suggest waste management innovations. 

There is also new guidance around ordering skips which can be found on the University’s purchasing website.

Visit the Cleaning Services webpage for further information. 

Find out more about sustainability at the University of Leeds by visiting here.

Alex Lilley outside the Esther Simpson building

Ten minutes with Alex Lilley

Meet Alex Lilley, Interior Designer in the Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds. Alex is currently working on projects in the E C Stoner building and The Edge, as well as other multifunctional spaces across the University of Leeds campus.

Tell us about a current project

I’m working on a couple of projects in E C Stoner at the moment. I joined the University as the Helix project – a new space for digital innovation – was in its final stages. I’m now coordinating finishing touches including two murals from local artist Nicolas Dixon; who also did the mural on the side of The Edge.

We’re also looking at refurbishing Level 9 in E C Stoner as a few teams have grown and need extra space. It’s been empty since everything shut down during the pandemic and we want to modernise and make it look smart.

What aspects of your work are the most important to people at the University?

It’s really important to create environments that we actually want to spend time in. As staff we spend so much time in our workplace so we need multifunctional spaces with areas for quiet and collaboration, and it’s similar for students.

I want people to come into a space and psychologically feel good about being there – it’s spaces that not only create a good first impression but that actually work for people and continue to work for years to come.

What do you like most about your job?

I love how varied everything is. Since starting with the University I’ve already worked on such a large range of projects including office spaces to cafes, and we’re also at the beginning of looking at a new Muslim prayer space. No two days are the same!

Tell us about a project you are particularly proud of 

I’ve just finished a major renovation of my house! My partner and I bought an old village prison in West Yorkshire –  complete with wooden stocks in the front flowerbed – and we’ve been refurbishing it and have finally moved back. It was a big challenge and I’m really proud of it!

Follow our ‘Ten Minutes With’ series on @UoLCampusDevelopment.

Interested in finding out more about University of Leeds campus developments? You can keep up to date by subscribing to our bi-monthly email newsletter.

The cleaning team at the University of Leeds

Cleaning Services achieve national training accreditation

The University’s Cleaning Services team has become a British Institute of Cleaning Science-accredited training centre. The accreditation means that the team can standardise and deliver staff training to the high level set out by BICSc which is recognised internationally and across the industry as a gold standard.   

Helping the University achieve its aims

 Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services said: 

“Delivering excellent standards of cleaning and service supports the University in achieving its aims.  

“The BICSc accreditation ensures that our highly-motivated team can develop professionally and consistently along industry guidelines, and I hope gives staff and students even more confidence in their fantastic colleagues.   

“The first part of the training initiative – the Cleaning Supervisor Certificate – has been very successful and participants feel they have hugely benefitted from it.  

“The relentless hard work, enthusiasm and passion of Dawn Abel, our training coordinator, has been at the forefront of this achievement. Thank you, Dawn!” 


Leadership and direction

James Atkins, Verification and Support Specialist at BICSc said :

Accreditation requires leadership and direction, drive, and a willingness to learn and adapt to new ideas, whether you have been in the profession for 20 years or 20 months. We encountered all of these qualities and many more while working with Cleaning Services at the University of Leeds.  

“It has been a pleasure working with Jill and Dawn and the rest of the team and we look forward to  supporting them in the future.” 


Pictured left to right: Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services, James Atkins, BICSc Verifier, Dawn Abel Training Coordinator and BICSc Assessor, & Denise Hanson BICSc Commercial Director

Find out more information about cleaning services at the University of Leeds.

Multi-storey car park at University of Leeds

University increases number of electric vehicle charging points

Further electric vehicle (EV) charging points are being installed throughout the coming weeks across the campus in line with ambitions for sustainable travel set out in the University’s Climate Plan.

Existing charging units will be replaced with new equipment that allows for collection of data. This will help the University to better understand usage trends and the needs of staff, students and visitors, helping to improve user experience.

Download the Monta app

People will need to download an app to use the new chargers which can also be accessed through a QR code on the equipment. There is no fee for using the charging points.


There will be 14 new charging points in the Orange Zone of the multi-storey car park, doubling the current capacity. Existing charging points will be replaced at The Edge and on Cavendish Road.

There will also be new units at Bodington Football Hub and the Brownlee Centre.

James Wright, Senior Maintenance Manager, Facilities Directorate said:

“Delivering services that focus on the needs and expectations of our communities and on environmental sustainability is key to our work and the FD’s business plan – Our Way Ahead.

“We are continually looking at opportunities to improve service delivery and align to the priorities of the university.

Find out more information about car parking at the University of Leeds.

Adam Ives standing in front of the Sir William Henry Bragg Building

Ten minutes with Adam Ives

Meet Adam Ives, Senior Project Manager in the Capital Development Team at the University of Leeds. He works on managing all phases of building projects across campus, from appointments through to delivery.

Describe your job in a few sentences

My background is as a Chartered Building Surveyor but more recently I‘ve made the transition into a full time project management role in the Capital Development Team.

I manage building projects across our very diverse property portfolio. Typically this involves appointing and managing design and construction professionals, advising and delivering on procurement strategy and managing the construction and delivery phase of a project through to completion.

I’ve been at the University for nearly seven years and really enjoy building relationships with academic, operational and senior colleagues who we have supported to deliver a large number of projects to improve our estate for the students and staff who use it.

Tell us about a current project

I’m working on several specialist laboratory refurbishment schemes which means managing specialist professionals and suppliers to ensure that spaces are fit for purposes to meet the University’s research objectives.

One of these, in the Sir William Henry Bragg Building, involves installing an electromagnetic shielded chamber to house two microscopes.

The design team are working closely with the microscope manufacturers to ensure the area is fit for purpose and meets strict electromagnetic and anti-vibration criteria.

The lab is very close to other sensitive research laboratories so  great care has been taken to design out any interference between the two.

What aspects of your work do you think are the most important to people at the University (staff/students) ?

For our staff and students to perform to their best, they need facilities which allow this to happen. My position allows me to directly change our physical estate, across the campus, which in turn provides an environment which is fit for purpose and allows people to achieve their potential.

I’m a small piece of a big team of professionals whose varying disciplines allows us to make a difference so that our students and staff can achieve their potential. I’m very proud of that.   

What do you like most about your job?

No two days  are the same and the fast-paced environment challenges me with a wide variety of problems – every day is a school day!

I get the opportunity to work on complex and innovative projects that are very varied, and  that is difficult to find in other sectors. And I love that we are supporting the next generation of thinkers and doers with our work. I find that very rewarding.

Tell us about a project you are particularly proud of

A highlight has definitely been the extensive refurbishment and remodelling of the Brotherton Library Special Collections Research Suite including the John Bedford Room.

The scheme completed in early 2022 and the work was done during the pandemic –  which presented a unique and challenging set of constraints – but the finished space looks and feels fantastic. They now have a modern work area which been sympathetic to the adjacent grade two listed Brotherton Reading Room, and the overall effect is stunning.

Part of the scheme included the installation of a large mezzanine floor, with feature windows, which repurposes existing atrium space to provide much needed research space for the library.

The team effort from our external design consultants, main contractor, internal operational stakeholders and faculty colleagues resulted in an enjoyable project which delivered a space that everyone should be proud of.

Follow our ‘Ten Minutes With’ series on @UoLCampusDevelopment.

Interested in finding out more about University of Leeds campus developments? You can keep up to date by subscribing to our bi-monthly email newsletter.

White-clawed crayfish being held by a person from the Environment Agency

Estates team help to find new home for endangered crayfish 

The Estates team working with the Environment Agency and colleagues in the Faculty of Biological Sciences have rescued endangered white clawed crayfish and moved them to a pond at Bodington Fields 

Last month, Environment Agency biodiversity specialists saved the population from Meanwood Beck in Leeds, where crayfish plague was detected during water sampling. 

The rescued fish, which included females carrying eggs, were kept for safekeeping in quarantine at York Gate Garden and in labs at the University before passing health checks to ensure they were plague free. 

Most have now been released into Bodington Pond where they can thrive and breed before being released back into the wild. 

White-clawed crayfish being held by a person from the Environment Agency

Working together to enhance biodiversity

The rescue and release is part of work by the Environment Agency and partners to carry out operations to rescue the native species after the invasive signal crayfish and a disease it carries – crayfish plague – moved through parts of the River Aire catchment.

James Wright, Senior Maintenance Manager in the Facilities Directorate, coordinated the move to Bodington Fields. He said: 

“Our balancing pond at Bodington provides the crayfish with the environment they need and so this was a perfect opportunity for us to step in and help. It’s great to be able to be able to work together to expand the ‘Living Lab’ work at the University too.” 

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation & Development, University of Leeds said:

“Bodington Pond was originally constructed to reduce flood risk in the River Aire catchment, but it also enhances biodiversity and provides opportunities for students, academics and partners to collaborate on research projects.

“The Estates team have worked in partnership with the Environment Agency and colleagues across the University to welcome our brand new residents. It’s a wonderful example of how collaboration can make a real difference.”

James Wright from the Estates team, people from the Environment Agency and academics from the School of Biology stood in front of Bodington pond.

Endangered crayfish play vital role

Environment Agency biodiversity specialist Tim Selway, who is leading the project, said:

“With so few populations of native crayfish remaining, we must act to preserve what we can.

“The endangered white-clawed crayfish plays a vital role in keeping our waterways clean and as a source of food for other native species, so it’s vital we take action to ensure its survival.

“Those rescued from Meanwood Beck are now on the next step of their journey and will be cared for at the university before going back into the wild in future. We’ll be carrying out further operations to rescue more crayfish from the deadly invasive signal and the disease it carries in the coming months.”


Rare white-clawed crayfish are the UK’s only native, freshwater crayfish, and are most at risk from signal crayfish, which spread plague and compete for food.  They have struggled to survive after the more aggressive signal crayfish population has taken hold across the country.

How can you help?

The Agency and university is calling for people to play their part by making sure they “Check, Clean and Dry” to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Alison Dunn, Professor of Ecology at University of Leeds added:

“Invasive species and diseases are a growing challenge for native wildlife so it’s really important that everyone plays their part in reducing the risk.

“The good news is there are things you can do to help stop the spread if you’re near any rivers or lakes for recreation or work. Simple steps, such as checking, cleaning and drying your equipment and boots, makes a big difference to native species like the white-clawed crayfish.”


If you see crayfish or other species, leave them there. Do not move animals or plants to a new river or lake and do not use crayfish as angling bait as this could spread invasive species or diseases. Anything that has contact with the water and riverbank needs to be cleaned thoroughly, using hot water if possible. The use of an environmentally friendly aquatic disinfectant is also recommended. This will make sure all aquatic diseases and invasive species are killed. More information can be found on the Invasive non-native species website 

If you see any crayfish, alive or dead, leave it where it is and report it immediately to the Environment Agency on 0800 807060. If possible, take close-up photos of the crayfish to help identify the species. It is illegal to handle or remove crayfish from the water without the correct licences.

To get more updates from Estates and Facilities, visit our news section here and follow us on Twitter at @uolcampusdevelopment.