Systems Development Manager (Technical)

Updated: 4 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Systems Development Manager (Technical) (
Job Number:
Recruitment and Admissions
Grade 7: - £36,333 - £43,155 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Working Arrangements: Nominal 35 hours per week, Monday to Friday. Hybrid working and TOIL is available.
Closing Date
: 11-Jun-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.  Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University. Further information about the University can be found here

The Role and Department

The Systems Development Manager (Technical) is an essential role in optimising and enhancing the use and development of IT systems in Student Recruitment and Admissions, which underpin the work of the whole department. Motivated by the idea of developing and enhancing systems, the role holder will proactively identify and contribute towards the delivery of system developments and enhancements, including ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines. They will also act as a subject matter expert in IT systems in the department, especially Dynamics 365. In partnership with a second Systems Development Manager, the role holder will work closely with colleagues in CIS and with external software providers, so strong networking and relationship building skills, along with demonstrable technical expertise are essential components for success in the role.


The Department

Based in the Global Division, Student Recruitment and Admissions (SRA) brings together several teams providing services in events, enquiry management, widening participation and outreach, CRM campaigns, data analysis and forecasting, systems development, and admissions. SRA provides a critical service to the University in ensuring its financial sustainability and in delivering target student numbers and increasing diversity in line with strategic aims and targets. It is the public face of the University in UK schools and colleges, through contact with prospects, enquirers and applicants across the world and through our events programme. The department includes a range of professionals from a number of specialisms including administrators, decision makers, data analysts and forecasters, IT specialists, designers and marketers, events managers and recruiters. Teams work collaboratively, using the expertise across the department to jointly deliver the optimum service to our internal and external customers. The department is also responsible for adherence to requisite regulations and UCAS contract requirements.  

SRA works in collaboration with colleagues across the Global Division, most notably with the Marketing Team (Marketing and Communications) to develop pre-contact and conversion marketing campaigns and with the International Office for international student recruitment. It also works alongside academic departments, faculties and colleges in the development of their contributions to recruitment and provides domestic market insight and customer relationship management.

Holly Chatbot, an AI Assistant developed by Student Recruitment and Admissions with colleagues in Computer and Information Services and an external company (ICS.AI) was shortlisted for the Times Higher Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year 2021 .

SRA has adopted a hybrid working model, with staff working some of their time on-campus or attending external events, and for the rest of their working time having the option of working from home.

Staff leave is not permitted during the week that A Level results are published (that date in 2023 is week commencing 14 August) and on occasional days through the year when major recruitment events are delivered, such as open days.

Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description.


Working at Durham 

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits: 

•    30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year.  
•    The University closes between Christmas and New Year – please include or delete if not applicable 
•    We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled into the University Superannuation Scheme (USS).
•    No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.
•    There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities. 
•    Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.
•    On site nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays.
•    Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).
•    The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community
•    Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions. 
•    A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits. 
•    If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas.


Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification

When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  

Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.  Your application should cover the following criteria:

Essential Criteria  

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop excellent working relationships both internally and externally.   
  • *Excellent digital competence with demonstrable skills in using core digital tools including internet, email, digital communication tools and Microsoft 365 applications, with a proven ability to quickly learn and understand new IT systems. 
  • Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).   
  • Continuing professional development required to maintain professional recognition in the use of CRM systems.         
  • *Professional practitioner with knowledge and expertise used to contribute to the delivery and development of CRM within the organisation.   
  • Experience of implementing policy and procedures and involvement with future changes for a service area.   
  • Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.    
  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance on IT systems to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.   
  • Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to achieve timely system updates.  
  • Ability to successfully manage a varied and busy workload to strict deadlines.
  • Ability to work creatively to find solutions, with proven analytical and problem-solving capability.
  • A flexible and adaptable collaborative approach to service delivery and problem resolution.
  • Ability to explain complex concepts to a non-technical audience.

    Desirable Criteria

  • Experience of working in a higher education environment. 
  • Knowledge and expertise in the use of student records systems.
  • Experienced use of Microsoft Dynamics and the Power Platform (PowerAutomate, PowerApps, PowerBI).
  • Experience of delivering continuous improvement projects.

    How to Apply   

    To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above).

    While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.   
    Submitting your application 

    We prefer to receive applications online.   We will update you about your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to make sure you have not missed any of our updates.
    What you need to submit   

    •    A CV
    •    A supporting statement or covering letter which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification.    
    Contact details   
    For a chat about the role or any further information please contact Miriam Clift, Head of Admissions, at


    Further information about the role


    Specific role requirements

    Motivated by the idea of developing and enhancing systems, the role holder will deliver the following functions:

    • Proactively identify system developments and enhancements, including ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.
    • Act as the Dynamics 365 subject matter expert for the department, responsible for operational activity of the CRM system working in partnership with colleagues in Computing and Information Services (CIS), and especially the Student Lifecycle Team. This includes workflow, no/low code configuration and maintenance (e.g., email account syncing) management including regular health checks in partnership with CIS. This also includes regular systems review to ensure it remains fit for purpose for Student Recruitment and Admissions.
    • Responsible for (working in partnership with colleagues in CIS, in particular the Student Lifecycles team) the ongoing continuous improvement of the CRM system. This includes oversight of short term or temporary projects required for the development of the Dynamics system, taking responsibility for decision making as appropriate. 
    • Ensure all activities and processes related the recruitment and admission of students within the CRM system are accounted for accurately and promptly to meet regulatory and professional service and policy standards including the University’s Data Retention Schedule. 
    • Facilitating a collaborative, joined-up approach to project scoping, initiation, planning and implementation for continuous improvement initiatives across the Recruitment and Admissions department.
    • Analyse stakeholder feedback, implementing and reviewing service provision and communicating these to a range of technical and non-technical audiences in regard to Recruitment and Admissions systems.
    • Responsible for the design and delivery of training sessions relating to CRM system changes. 
    • Contribute to operational team meetings and decision making across Recruitment and Admissions, with a particular emphasis on system development and related processes. 
    • Act as recognised practitioner within the operation by providing technical support and development of customer relationship management systems, including Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Ellucian Banner, and any future systems the University may choose to implement. 
    • Developing and delivering functional and user acceptance testing sessions when needed (upgrades, new functionality, reported bugs) including the maintenance of accurate test scripts and collation of testing issues


    One of the Systems Development Managers takes a lead role in the line management of the Department Assistant Manager, with cover provided by the other Manager.

    General Role Requirements

    Service Delivery

    •    Manage systems development  to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience. 
    •    Responsible for managing small budgets for consumables and some capital items, keeping records and processing invoices. 
    •    Provide management for systems development  ensuring a high quality and timely service to all stakeholders.
    •    Ensure regulations and procedures are updated to take account of internal and external changes.  
    •    A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values

    Planning and Organisation

    •    Provide input to the design and development of IT systems used by SRA.  
    •    Contribute to the analysis of stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements, inputting to the design and planning of IT systems.
    •    Analyse the use of IT systems and provide reports to Service Heads, making recommendations for improvement as appropriate. 
    •    Ensure the review and improvement of IT systems and procedures in line with University or, Department frameworks. 

    Teamwork and Team Development (delivered with the other Systems Development Manager)

    •    Recognised IT systems professional practitioner with responsibility for the management of team members. 
    •    Provide feedback on team and individual performance and identify development needs, conducting regular staff ADR and performance reviews. 
    •    Handle the vast majority of welfare issues within a team, referring more complex welfare issues to appropriate support services/senior management. 
    •    Delivery of ongoing coaching, mentoring and training to team members. 
    •    Devolve responsibilities to team members to ensure continuity of service provision and encourage skills development. 
    •    Manage and monitor performance and workload outcomes and/or staff, planning cover to ensure smooth service provision through peaks and troughs. 

    Communications and Networking

    •    Internal and external relationship development and partnership working, networking and participation to engage and influence future IT services and the University reputation. 
    •    Contribute to business meetings, working groups and sub committees at departmental and operational service levels. 
    •    Provide advice to stakeholders in relation to University and Department policy, procedures and regulations. 
    •    Distribute IT systems information and provide advice to stakeholders regarding compliance and regulations. 

    Knowledge and Experience
    •    Maintain an awareness of current policy for University business goals such as widening participation and access. 
    •    Awareness of the external environment and sector best practice to support high quality systems development.   

    •    Any other reasonable duties.   

    Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices - Durham University  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.   

    When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

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