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25 January 2005

MEETING OF THE BOARD OF SCRUTINY

 

25 January 2005

 

Minutes of the meeting held at 12.00 in the Chadwick Room, Selwyn College

 

1. Apologies

The Board received apologies from Margaret Glendenning and John Little.

The Board welcomed Nick Downer to its membership.

 

 

2. Minutes of previous meeting

The Board agreed the minutes of the meeting on 25 November 2004.

 

 

3. Matters arising

The Board agreed to invite Andy Cliff to a meeting of the Board and to arrange another meeting with Peter Deer.

 

 

4. Discussion on 1 February

The Chair reminded the Board that it had discussed with members of the Council the possibility of the Board formally contributing to the Discussion on the Annual Reports of the Council and General Board, and Financial Statements rather than withholding comment until the Board’s Report later in the year.

 

The Board agreed that the Chair would make a speech at the Discussion on 1 February with comments on the Reports of the Council and the General Board and the Annual Abstract of Accounts.

 

On the Report of the Council, the Board agreed to welcome (i) the reorganisation of Council Business; (ii) the promise of a comprehensive budget for the University in 2005; (iii) incorporation into the accounts of UCLES and the intention to incorporate CUP next year; (iv) the increase in the money received by the Cambridge Foundation in the hope that in the future the Foundation would be able to draw nearer to the kind of revenues raised by competing Universities. The Board agreed to ask (i) about progress on drawing up lines of accountability and responsibility in relation to paragraph 2 of the Annual Report of the Council; (ii) about the lines of responsibility around the unestablished post of Director of Public Affairs; (iii) noted the remark that ‘there are worrying signs that the unit of resource for the public funding of teaching will be further reduced, despite the Government’s evident assumption that universities such as Cambridge will implement the new fee regime’.

 

On the Report of the General Board, the Board agreed: (i) to encourage the University to act on act on IPR in light of views of the Regent House expressed at the Discussion, and to take due notice in same way of the new pay and grading structure; (ii) that the Secretary would ask for the response to a HEFCE consultation document on plans for a Leadership, Governance and Management Fund.

 

On the Annual Abstract of Accounts, the Board agreed that in the Discussion the Chair would (i) welcome inclusion of UCLES and the future inclusion of CUP and the trust funds in the accounts; (ii) note that the costs of administration went up by 13 per cent last year and say that the Board will return to this issue in its Report later in the year; (iii) note that Board has benefited from meeting with Andrew Reid and his explanation of the distinction between ‘big U’ (which includes UCLES) and little ‘U’(which does not) and suggest that the University’s finances could be more easily understood if this were emphasised in the presentation of the accounts; (iv) stress  that the University’s underlying operating deficit is  about £12 million.

 

The Board also agreed that the Secretary would write to Andrew Reid and ask for further details about the rise in specific aspects of administration.

 

 

5. Response to Dr Fairbrother, Senior Bursar, Trinity College

The Board agreed that the Chair would write to Dr Fairbrother saying hat there was no contradiction between the Board’s comments and his own response to the report on the Amalgamated Fund, and that the Board believes that he made an important point in the Discussion.

 

 

6. Update on HERA and Personnel Committee

The Chair reported that after a protracted correspondence with Peter Deer and Andy Cliff, he had received the papers for the Personnel Committee meeting on 23 November.

 

The Chair reported that his reading of the minutes of that meeting revealed that very little sense of the detailed responses made by different committees and institutions in the University had been conveyed.

 

The Board agreed that David Philipson and Stephen Cowley would read and summarise the papers for the rest of the Board.

 

 

7. Report on meeting with the Board of Graduate Studies

 

The Chair reported that a group from the Board would meet Laurie Friday and Prof. Willy Brown on 8 February.

 

8. Report on meeting with the Andrew Reid

 

Jennifer Rigby presented a report on the meeting of a delegation of Board members with Andrew Reid on 14 January. She stressed the significance of the rise in the annual financial deficit, particularly since non-pay related expenditure has been flat for three years, and the depth of Andrew Reid’s concern about the deficit. 

 

 

9. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 8 February at noon in the Chadwick Room, Selwyn College

 

 

10. Any other business

 

The Board agreed to invite the new external members of the Council to meet it.