Foreword, Umesh Desai, AUDE Chair 2023/24 and Director of Estates, Nottingham Trent University

This association gets busier and busier. As AUDE Chair of course I’m going to say that this isn’t an accident. It’s a result of choices made over a number of years. We’ve made a conscious decision to support the development of a widening circle of special interest groups working under the AUDE umbrella, and for these to be strategic in nature, so we can develop the high level thinking in these specialist areas that is needed. Our recently formed group for risk and assurance is an example and I look forward to more special interest groups potentially coming on stream in the second half of my tenure as Chair. We’ve also made a conscious decision in recent years to broaden the focus of the association, so that despite our name, we support colleagues at other levels of seniority than simply the director role.



It means we get a broader range of inputs, and get to hear from specialists including this year from energy managers – and there have been few more critical roles than that in 2022-23. We’re actively supporting colleagues up the career ladder, most obviously through our Summer School residential programme, now in its fifth year; but also through the year-round programme of digital learning events that cover every aspect of our roles. One highlight of that programme for me has been the EDI XII series of webinars on equality, diversity and inclusion issues. A new group dedicated to lead AUDE’s thinking on EDI has also been formed and we’ll be sharing more of our thinking soon.

To summarise, this year there is far too much to cram into a single nutshell when thinking about AUDE highlights. The Estates Management Report remains our key publication, and this year we have a digital version for the first time – I encourage you to use that. We’ve reworked the Sustainability Leadership Scorecard, which remains the best tool of its kind that we have in HE to support us on our net zero journeys. We look at net zero as a whole AUDE team, and with the help of our Sustainability Advisory Group we support colleagues on their net zero journeys. This year we have also been looking at the challenges of recruitment and retention with colleagues from Universities HR to guide our thinking. In other words wherever we viably can do given the small size of our salaried team and the willingness of member volunteers to undertake these projects, we intervene to the benefit of the membership.

As always, the more you put into your professional association the more you’ll get out. Every new initiative takes some of those volunteer hours to help it get off the ground, so do consider how you can get involved to the betterment of estates and facilities management in Higher Education. I hope you find this year’s Annual Report a convincing summary of the right direction of travel for the association.

With best wishes

Umesh Desai










Our Year


Member benefits

We offer membership to organisations in the education and private sectors within the UK and overseas. It will provide your organisation with access to over 3,500 influential estates and facilities professionals from 185 UK institutions, estate management reports, tools, resources, networking and conversation.


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Business partner benefits

Access a targeted audience with buying power AUDE members are leaders and decision makers within their institutions with budget authority for campus planning, capital projects, construction/refurbishment, energy and utilities management, accommodation, commercial enterprise, maintenance, security and much more.


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About AUDE

The Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) is the representative body for higher education (HE) estates and facilities staff. Its members are the directors of estates and facilities from 184 institutions in the UK, ten oversees institutions and alternative providers and seven carefully selected business partners. In total, we have over 2,726 individual members from across these sectors.

AUDE works closely with other sector representatives, charitable, and regulatory organisations for the benefit of its members. It is run under the umbrella organisation Professional HE Services Ltd (PHES). PHES is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and is owned entirely by its member HE institutions.


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Special Interests


Sustainability Advisory Group

Driving our sustainability objectives, this well connected group is driving the net zero agenda and addressing some of the biggest challenges the sector faces.

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This group has launched a capital cost database and corresponding annual report, both freely available to members.

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Strategic Facilities Management

Raising the profile of this key profession, the group will focus on the use of technology within FM.

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Space Management

AUDE are delivering across 12 strategic themes in space management, utilisation, data and strategy with partners and providers to the sector.

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Estates Management

From land, leases, property and accommodation this is the go to group for all things estate management.

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Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Our latest special interest group chaired by Stephen Wells, Director of Estates University of East Anglia and Immediate Past Chair.

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Small HEIs

This body tackles the unique challenges faced by small teaching and research institutions.

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Professional Development

AUDE have awarded 11,120 hours of CPD to members and welcomed 837 delegates at their annual conference programme plus 37 members attended their flagship Summer School residential for aspiring directors.

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Risk & Assurance

A new group formed to collectively highlight and explore sector risk and compliance.

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AUDE's statement of accounts for the year ending 31 July 2022.


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Thank you

AUDE would like to acknowledge and thank all those who have given their time and expertise to participate in and support the activities of the association. Special thanks goes to the chair, Umesh Desai and members of the executive committee for their hard work and dedication in bringing the AUDE aims and activities to life. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our business partners, event sponsors and exhibitors for supporting our work.



AUDE are pleased to be partnered with the following businesses:


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Avison Young

Over 30 years of experience across over 200 Higher and Further Education Institutions.

Avison Young



Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald’s purpose is to improve society by considering social outcomes in everything we do, relentlessly focusing on excellence and digital innovation, transforming our clients’ businesses, our communities and employee opportunities.

Mott MacDonald




EQUANS improves lives through better living and working environments. We help to balance performance with responsibility, enabling progress in a harmonious way.





Your Trusted Partner in Education.




Sir Robert McAlpine

A family-owned building and civil engineering company operating across the UK.

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We provide catering, facilities management, employee benefits and personal home services to 100 million consumers daily in 56 countries.

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SSE Energy Solutions is a division of SSE that delivers ‘Business Energy’ electricity & gas supply as well as ‘Distributed Energy’ infrastructure solutions to public and private businesses across the UK and Ireland.

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Willmott Dixon

Founded in 1852, Willmott Dixon is one of the UK’s largest privately-owned construction companies.

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