SSG23: Reboot, Refocus, Recharge: Redefining the world of Support Services

Booking Closed

Primary Sponsor


5 July 2023

6 July 2023

Book Before

27 June 2023


The Hilton Newcastle, Gateshead

About the Event

SSG23: Reboot, Refocus, Recharge: Redefining the world of Support Services

We invite you to join us in Newcastle for the 2023 UCISA Support Services Conference, where we will ‘Reboot’ how we explore the changing world of support services, ‘Refocus’ on celebrating our diverse community’s collective achievements in making positive and innovative change to our institutions, whilst being mindful to ‘Recharge’ service delivery.

Join SSG23 as we focus on the changing landscape for what now defines ‘Support Services’, how our past and future interconnect and what that means for us now.

The sessions will cover a range of areas, including (but not limited to) topics such as:

  • The impacts, benefits, and real-life examples of transformational change within support
  • Evolving adoption of frameworks and best practices across IT
  • Major Incident Management
  • Career Development, journeys, and direction in an ever-changing landscape
  • Reconnecting with staff and students with a customer satisfaction focus
  • Mental Wellbeing and the Work Life balance in a digital world
  • Hybrid learning and Digital Skills Training- how it has changed and how it is achieved
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging within IT
  • Digital technology in teaching and learning

We look forward to seeing you there!


Why you should attend? Conference Chair Antonia Jones tell you why below.


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Antonia Jones

Customer Success Manager

University of Leeds

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Andrew Smith

Chief Customer Office


Andy Scott

Senior Manager (Service Desk and 2nd Line support)

Durham University


Bex Cattran

Associate Operations Manager

University of Leeds

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Bhagyashree Bherwani

ITSM Education - Account Executive

Freshworks Technologies

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Account Executive specializing in Customer and Employee Engagement technologies.

At Freshworks I handle our full suite of SaaS solutions for; CRM, Omnichannel Support, Sales, Marketing, and ITSM. Over the past 7 years, I have enabled businesses across many industries to adopt cloud-first communication strategies, re-gaining ownership of their customer & employee relationships and technology.

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Caroline Hackman

Head of IT Customer Services

University College Dublin

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Caroline joined IT Services 1996 as part of the front line team providing support for students. Caroline is now the Head of IT Customer Services and as part of this role, leads a team that provides first and second level support to all university IT users and is responsible for a portfolio of projects to enhance and improve the IT customer service experience.

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Calvin Reid

IS Specialist (Collaboration)

Durham University

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David Wilson

Application Support Manager

Loughborough University

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David is an IT Specialist, activist and trade unionist from Loughborough University. They initiated Loughborough’s LGBT+ Awareness course, which educates staff on gender identity and sexuality. They’ve led numerous trans-inclusion initiatives and delivered workshops on trans-inclusive feminism for the Women in Higher Education Network and Manchester University.

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Dean Markey

ITSM Education - Account Development Specialist

Freshworks Technologies

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I'm a results driven sales professional, with the ambition of developing high-quality relationships in fast evolving markets. I find motivation in learning and sharing experiences with others, in order to help organizations achieve scalability through leveraging SaaS solutions effectively (CX, ITSM, ESM, CRM).

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Elizabeth Gordon

Head of Collaboration and AI Services

Durham University

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Iain McCracken

Assistant Director of IT Infrastructure

University of Sussex

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Jake Dovey

In-Person Support Manager

University of Southampton

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Jake has worked for the University of Southampton for over fifteen years and has been leading teams both small and large for most of that time. He has a strong track record for turning team performance around and building positive and inclusive team cultures. Jake is a popular speaker at UCISA known for his highly engaging talks that always give you practical takeaways.

Jamie Pitchforth

Jamie Pitchforth

Higher Education Practice Leader EMEA


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Jamie Pitchforth is vertical sales specialist with responsibilities for Higher Education across EMEA. In addition to initiating HE specific business development activities, Jamie is a Juniper Ambassador, authorised to write press articles & attend press engagements. Jamie’s primary area of value is supporting sales in climbing to C-level engagement with focus on business outcomes, strategic values and mapping sales win strategies to MEDDICC. Jamie joined Juniper in July 2019 and brings over 25 years of frontline networking experience.

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Jenine Shaw

Business Continuity Lead

University of Sheffield

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Jenine joined IT Services at the University of Sheffield in 2021 as the Business Continuity Lead. Here, Jenine is accountable for developing and delivering an effective business continuity programme -coordinating departmental business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans for critical systems. Previously, Jenine worked in the construction and utilities industries as a Business Continuity Manager and Risk Manager.

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John Ireland

Director of Customer Service

University of Oxford

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John is the Director of Customer Services for central IT at the University of Oxford. He has been involved in IT sustainability initiatives in various roles, initially focussed on reducing in-use energy consumption but more recently encompassing supply chain and full lifecycle impact. Projects have included a University-wide PC energy monitoring and reporting service, driving end-user device purchasing strategy towards low-carbon solutions, measurement and modelling of emissions associated with EUC and GPU-intensive systems, and initial development of a carbon footprint calculator for IT services and projects.

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Katherine Craddock

Service Desk Operations Manager

University of Oxford

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After starting as an IT trainer, Katherine has spent 20 of her 23 years at the University of Oxford managing a help or service desk. She has a proven track record of motivating her team and even inspired a consultant, who was analysing the service, to write that he had rarely seen such passionate support for the user base and empathy with them as that displayed by the manager and staff.

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Laura Dawson

Governor, Charity Trustee and Founder

Leaderly Consulting

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A CIO for over 30 years in education, public and charitable sectors, Laura Dawson's focus is building high performing teams and helping organisations make the best use of their data and technology. Laura was CIO of LSE till 2023 and now is a Governor and Charity Trustee and Founder for Leaderly Consulting.

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Michael Askell

Assistant Director for Enterprise Development

Northumbria University

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Michael has worked with Northumbria for the past 6 years and leads their Enterprise Service Development function, developing the strategic vison and deployment of the ServiceNow platform. Prior to joining the University Michael ran a software consultancy and development business with clients in Financial Services, Higher Education, Transport and National Government.

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Max Templeman

ITSM Education - Account Executive

Freshworks Technologies

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As a Senior Account Executive at Freshworks, I specialize in transforming IT service desk operations and driving exceptional ROI. With over 10 years of SaaS experience, including 5 years in ITSM, I offer a unique perspective as the main point of contact throughout the sales process. My goal is to empower clients with innovative solutions that deliver results in today's dynamic business landscape.
I enjoy physical activity, particularly rugby, golf, and cycling.

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Mike Burns

Head of Service Delivery

University of Warwick

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Having spent over 9 years at the University of the Highlands and Islands as Customer Services Manager, Mike has recently moved to become Head of Service Delivery at the University of Warwick, leading a new team to refresh, develop and professionalize the Service Management portfolio within the newly formed Information and Digital Group. Mike has always been passionate about good customer service. As well as his work in UCISA SSG Committee over several years and achieving ITIL Expert, Mike also spent a large number of years working as Operational and Compliance Auditor for over a dozen international car manufacturers.

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Richard Aird

Director of Service Delivery & Change

University of Stirling

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Richard is responsible for a wide portfolio of services at the University of Stirling including the IT service desk, AV support, University library and archives, programme management office, digital learning and academic development. He is the President of CILIP in Scotland for 2023, and outside of work is a scout leader and chairs his local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

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Simon Corbett


Northumbria University

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Simon’s core day job is to provide strategic leadership and management of the University’s IT Service. He is also responsible for the vision and delivery of the IT Strategy and acts as an advisor and advocate with key stakeholders, to maximise opportunities for innovation and technology change across the University. Simon is responsible for all the technology infrastructure across the University, including the network, storage, servers, and end user computers ensuring that these are resilient, reliable and secure for all staff and students. He is responsible for the technical customer support, to provide a responsive customer-focused service to all staff and students and the delivery of multiple technical change programmes to support the University strategy and vision.

Simon is responsible for defining and delivering the IT Strategy and service that will deliver the technology elements of the business outcomes set within the wider University strategy. At University Executive, Simon supports colleagues as to how technology can support achievement of organisational wide ambitions, providing resilient infrastructure enabling business outcomes around teaching, research, and Knowledge Exchange.

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Sharon McKoy

Assistant Director & Head of Digital Operations

University of Wolverhampton

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Susanne Smith

Deputy Director (Business Development and Operations)

University of South Wales

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Susanne has been in Higher Education IT since 2006 when she left the world of finance to make the positive move into education, at the University of South Wales, managing the then IT Help Desk. The common thread of her roles throughout her career has been customer service and delivery, something that was quite new to HE when she joined, thankfully so much more appreciated now. She is passionate about the impact that education can have on changing lives, especially the widening participation agenda, something very close to my heart.

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Tree Hall


Charity IT Leaders

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Tanaz Gould

Chief Revenue Officer


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Tanaz is the Chief Revenue Officer at Roc, where she is responsible for driving the company's revenue and growth strategy. With a career spanning over 20 years in the IT industry, she has worked in various roles such as training and consulting, engineering, solution architecture, operations, sales, and general management. Before joining Roc, Tanaz was the Commercial and Solutions Director for Claranet UK's cloud business, where she led a diverse team of customer-facing sales, portfolio, and technical professionals. Tanaz is passionate about technology and an advocate for women in the industry. She mentors members of the Girls' Network and speaks at schools to encourage young women to pursue careers in tech. She firmly believes in the power of technology to transform businesses and society for the better. Originally from Germany, Tanaz moved to the UK in 2007, where she currently resides with her husband and children in SW London

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Catherine Misljen

Digital Project Manager IT Services

University of South Wales

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Catherine has entered HE ten years ago in a technical role in networks. Five years ago, she accepted the challenge of a secondment into project management, working of the USW Network 2020 refresh project. Since then, having gained more experience and success she has now progressed to a programme manager role for Cloud Migration, having successfully managed the USW Cyber Essential Certification project among others

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Adam Harding

Technologist Practice Manager


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Adam is an experienced, enthusiastic and effective technologist who has held various technical, consultant and leadership positions within the IT industry for more than two decades. He currently leads the Technologist team at Softcat Plc, and has a demonstrable track record of delivering successful change programmes for both domestic and global organisations.

Event Schedule



Registration and Exhibition opens


Newcomers session

Susanne Smith, Deputy Director (Business Development & Operations), University of South Wales; and Rachel Fligelstone, Head of IT Support, Lancaster University

Welcome to SSG23

Antonia Jones, Interim Application Support Manager, University of Leeds

Transforming learning: aligning pedagogy, technology investment, and support services.

Richard Aird, Director of Service Delivery & Change, University of Stirling

Networking Bingo

Jake Dovey, iSolutions Incident Response Team, University of Southampton; and Andy Scott, Senior Manager (Service Desk and 2nd Line Support), Durham University



Kill the Carrot & Snap the Stick - Rebooting, Refocusing & Recharging demotivated and unengaged support staff

Jake Dovey, Incident Response Team Manager, University of Southampton

IT Support Hub – the changing face of support in IT Services

Caroline Hackman, Head of IT Customer Services, University College Dublin




The IT Service and Shared Service Trends that will improve student support and agent experience in 2023

Bhagya Bherwani, ITSEM Education - Account Executive; and Max Templeman, ITSM Education - Account Executive, Freshworks UKI

In conversation: Freshworks and Brunel University

Sonja Browning-Page, Chief Digital Information Officer, Brunel University; and Dean Markey, ITSM Education - Account Development Specialist, Freshworks UKI

Travel time


Parallel sessions




Family Fortunes session

Mike Burns, Head of Service Delivery, University of Warwick; and Susanne Smith, Deputy Director (Business Development & Operations), University of South Wales

From awareness to acceptance - a no-holds barred conversation about what it's really like to be autistic

Tree Hall, CEO, Charity IT Leaders

Close of day 1


Drinks reception

in Gateshead Foyer


followed by Reboot Disco

(wear the original or reboot the costume)



Welcome to day 2


UCISA-SSG Global Cafe

Jo Mortimer, Head of Business Relationship Management, University of Reading; and Sharon McKoy, Assistant Director & Head of Digital Operations, University of Wolverhampton

A Day in the Lifecycle: The Managed Device Story

Adam Harding, Technologist Practice Manager, Softcat



Travel time


Parallel Sessions


Travel time




Panel session - Hybrid working

Chaired by Mike Burns, Head of Service Delivery, University of Warwick

Making the right deposits in your resilience bank

Laura Dawson. Governor, Charity Trustee and Founder, Leaderly Consulting

Closing remarks

Antonia Jones, Interim Application Support Manager, University of Leeds

Conference Close