Common Good Assessment FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of “common goods/services”?

Common goods/services are essential, routinely consumed in the regular course of unit operations and carry no clear rationale for limitation of consumption (little to no risk of overconsumption or abuse of free ridership, for example).  In the present context, they are services that are currently offered on a recharge basis for no good reason.  Offering them through an automated assessment would:  reduce unnecessary frustrations and barriers associated with the practice of recharging between campus departments; remove cost-based disincentives to use services that campus departments should use (for example, public safety services); and remove recharge-related transaction costs, creating opportunities to redirect resources to tasks that add value.

How are common goods/services considered for inclusion in the CGA? (Can units make suggestions? Is there some process in development?)

A Phase 1 project team was convened by the VC/CFO to consider candidates for common goods/services.  The group conducted an extensive review of ALL goods and services offered at recharge.  It looked for goods/services:  where an assessment would appropriately trade specificity for simplicity; that currently generate less than 25% of revenue from recharges to contracts and grants; where an assessment would be sustainable—little risk of overconsumption or radical change in consumption; where there is a very low volume recharge, generating less than $10k annually. The services currently proposed seemed the likeliest candidates for a relatively swift implementation.  Indeed, however, units could certainly suggest goods or services for Phase 2.  Please send any suggestions to your dean or vice chancellor office’s senior financial and administrative officer, as the project team and representatives from each dean or vice chancellor office will be in ongoing dialog.

What cost and quality control processes are in place for common goods/services?

Service levels are formally established by written and posted service partnership agreements.  Costs associated with services funded by the assessment, as well as service levels, receive formal consideration annually in the context of the budget process, and proposed budget year expenses are carefully reviewed with an eye to improved efficiency of operation. 

Are we aware of any other UC campus that has a similar expense mechanism that could be considered as a rubric to follow?

Many other UC campuses have similar assessments—notably for technology services and liability sharing programs.  And of course, the Office of the President assesses the campuses annually to recover the cost of programs at the center that benefit all (common goods and services).  The project team has not exhaustively cataloged such efforts, but most of the known processes assess by employee headcount, payroll, or expenditures.

Have we identified any actual savings from the CGA? (or is the main benefit “less hassle”?)

The primary benefit for the services included in Phase 1 is less hassle for service providers and consumers of the services.  Actual savings from this initiative will come in the form of time saved processing, monitoring, tracking, resolving transactions and will vary by unit. Some savings will be relatively easy to identify, such as background checks, where the unit believes this change will free up 0.5 FTE, while other savings will be more difficult to quantify. 

How many of the common goods/services currently included in the proposed list have had rate increases effective 2015-16? How much are the rate increases and could these increases result from inclusion in the CGA? (i.e. opportunistic)

In total, recharges will increase by just 1.6% over 2014-15 for all services included in the CGA.  All seem well justified on a cost of service basis—and have been reviewed by appropriate campus authorities (Campus Rate Group, dean, vice chancellor).  None of the increases have been motivated by inclusion of a service in the CGA.  In fact, all have received additional scrutiny due to their inclusion in the CGA

Can a service be removed once it is part of the CGA? Services do become obsolete--and may stop being "common.” It seems that should be part of the review as well.

During the post-implementation CGA review process, if an included service ends up violating the original principles, it would be considered for removal from the CGA.

How are non-UC Davis groups affected?

As a general rule, all non-UC Davis groups will continue to pay the recharge rate for these services. [A few examples are: UCD Medical Center (Chart H), WHNRC, USDA, ANR and any Agency Accounts]