AdvisoryHelp Centre Service

Title of Service: OUCS Help Centre

Status of Document: This document describes the service provision of the OUCS Help Centre as of June 2011.

1. IntroductionSelf-service printing

The OUCS Help Centre is the primary point of contact for University members requesting IT help from the Computing Services. It works in coordination and collaboration with the collegiate University’s distributed IT support staff who provide first-line local IT support for their own members. The support offered by the Help Centre covers both the central services provided by OUCS, and also a wide range of more general IT-related matters. The Help Centre supplies the 'Front of House' component of the Registration Service and the Help Centre facility at 13 Banbury Road also provides a number of IT resources for in-person visitors.

In addition to these IT support services and resources which are free at the point of use, the Help Centre also offers additional services which are chargeable. The OUCS Online Shop sells software licences and media to University members at discounted rates. The Hardware Repair and Upgrade Service is provided for University members' equipment which cannot be repaired under the terms of the Computer Hardware Breakdown Service. Hardware repairs and upgrades, data recovery and operating system reinstalls are offered for both IBM compatible PCs and Apple Macintosh computers.

2. Summary of the Help Centre’s Responsibilities

The responsibilities fall into five main areas:

  1. The operation of an IT help desk service.
  2. The day to day maintenance of the OUCS User Database.
  3. The provision of material resources in the Help Centre.
  4. The operation of an Online Shop.
  5. The operation of a Hardware Repair Service including Data Backup and System Reinstallation.

The first three items in this section are provided free at the point of use and are described below. The fourth and fifth items are chargeable and have separate Service Level Definitions linked above.

Hours of Service

2.1 A help desk service. The current opening hours are listed on the Help Centre web page.

2.2 The help desk is staffed by two staff during core hours (10.00-17.00) and one at other times. Help desk staff deal with both personal callers and telephone calls, as well as emails as time permits. At busy times, unanswered phone calls are automatically diverted to overflow phones in a “back office” where further staff can handle calls as other duties permit. Up to five lines are thus potentially available for incoming calls. If a call remains unanswered it receives a recorded message. No voice-mail facility is provided.

Serviceability Target

2.3 The service aims for all email queries to receive a response from a staff member within one working day. In person and phone enquiries are resolved immediately wherever possible or referred on via email to be handled by experts within OUCS with a response target of one working day.

Overview of Service

2.4 Help with problems (registration, forgotten passwords etc.) in the use of OUCS-run services, including:

  • Nexus/Outlook Web Access
  • VPN service
  • Webauth authentication service
  • HFS backup service
  • Weblearn VLE service
  • Personal web space
  • OWL and Eduroam wireless network service
  • EZMLM mailing lists

2.5 Help and advice on the use of the above services

2.6 Help with problems in accessing electronic journals via the single sign-on system.

2.7 Up-to-date information on major system problems via routes such as:

  • OUCS Status page (
  • OUCS news pages
  • Message-of-the-day on OUCS main phone number (273200)

2.8 Advice and help for problems relating to personal computers, primarily for Windows and Macintosh systems.

2.9 Help with system problems, e.g. non-starting systems, and suggestions for fixing them.

2.10 Virus/adware infections

2.11 Network connection problems

2.12 Help with use of software packages

2.13 The day to day maintenance of the OUCS User Database is described in the Registration Service Level Description.

2.14 Handling of support queries directed to the providing company for the products Endnote, SPSS, SAS and Cisco VPN.

2.15 The Help Centre provides the following material resources:

  • A cluster of Windows and Macintosh workstations for general-purpose use
  • Certain expensive or specialised resources, e.g. video editing facilities, Matlab software
  • Certain facilities which might be lacking or unavailable in users’ college or department, e.g. A4 and A3 scanners, DVD-writing
  • Wired and wireless network access
  • Facilities demonstrating new technology, e.g. Windows login via Single-Sign-on, Use of Kerberos authentication on Macintoshes
  • Facilities supporting the OUCS IT Learning programme

2.16 In addition to the above, the Help Centre has a responsibility to:

  • Treat Help Centre users with courtesy
  • Comply with the University’s current IT regulations
  • Comply with UK copyright laws relating the copying of software, music, video etc.

2.17 Help Centre staff do not visit users’ own premises. All equipment needing hands-on investigation must be brought to the Help Centre.

2.18 All equipment left with the Help Centre is subject to the standard conditions and limitations listed on the back of the standard OUCS Equipment Receipt form.

Administration & Support

2.19 Support via email. Queries to standard OUCS support addresses (e.g. help@oucs, postmaster@oucs) are automatically routed to the OUCS RT (Request Tracker) system with an automatic acknowledgement being sent to the user. All OUCS support staff can contribute to the handling of RT requests.

Education & Training

2.20 Online self-help resources such as:

3. Summary of Client’s responsibilities

3.1 Help Centre users are expected to:

  • Provide identification (normally a University card) or other relevant information when requested by Help Centre staff.
  • Be aware of and comply with the University’s current IT regulations.
  • Comply with UK copyright laws relating the copying of software, music, video etc. OUCS reserves the right not to deal with problems involving pirated software or other material which may infringe copyright laws.
  • Treat Help Centre staff with courtesy.
  • Pay for all chargeable work carried out via the OUCS On-line Shop before the equipment involved is returned.

4. Premium Services

4.1 The following Help Centre services are chargeable:


Service area: 

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 23 May 2017