No, not a joke title. There were genuinely two stories that interested me. Firstly on shared services http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=416115 where Warwick and five unknown partners are exploring sharing registry and other services. From a technical point of view registry is largely back-of-house and everyone uses SITS these days, so outsourcing is clearly very feasible; but I'm genuinely surprised that anyone in the sector would relax control of something so close to the institutional core. Previous outsourcing - cleaning, catering a couple of cases of IT - has affected professional groups very distant from the Registrar track. Perhaps this is another marker on the long road downhill that the traditional university administrator is currently walking.
Secondly Matt Robb's puff piece for Parthenon struck me as genuinely interesting http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=416122. Presumably Parthenon are trying to increase their Education business, although I can't see anything very specific linked to this on their website. Their view that the £9k fee is rational and sustainable in the short term is clearly right. The view that it will be undermined by new private entrants in the medium term (at least for some institutions) rests on some assumptions about future Government policy that may be open to challenge.