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7 November 2002 Minutes

Board of Scrutiny

Minutes of the Meeting Held at Noon on

Thursday 7 November 2002 at Selwyn College


Present: Stephen Cowley, David Howarth, Robin Lachmann, Susan Lintott, Jack MacDonald, Timothy Milner, Christopher Forsyth, Elisabeth Leedham-Green (arrived late), Oliver Rackham, Jennifer Rigby, John Spencer, Helen Thompson.



1)      The Minutes of the meetings of 24 October 2002 were agreed after minor amendments.


Matters arising (not covered elsewhere):


i)        CAPSA/CUFS. Correspondence concerning possible continued problems with the research grants module was noted.


ii)       Discussion of Seventh Report. The Board noted with regret that no remarks (other than the Board’s own) were made on the deficit.


iii)     Buildings. It was agreed to investigate the question of when, in the case of a new building project, approval of Regent House should in principle be obtained.


iv)     Conduct of ballots. It was reported that the ballot on discussions had been cancelled.


v)      Electronic journals. It was reported that an acceptable solution had been reached with Elsevier.


vi)     Administrative help. It was reported that the advert was in hand.



2)      Visits to the Central Bodies. A report was made of the visit by the Chairman and Susan Lintott to see Pro-Vice-Chancellor Malcolm Grant (who had indicated that he would prefer that the Secretary did not attend).  The meeting, it was felt, had been constructive and useful.


3)      Remit of the Board. Both the Registrary (in a letter) and Prof Schofield (in a Discussion) had raised the question of the remit of the Board. The Board noted that, according to its Statute “the Board shall have the right to examine the policies of the University and the arrangements made for the implementation of those policies” in its scrutiny of “the Annual Report of the Council (including the Annual Report of the General Board to the Council), the accounts of the University, and any Report of the Council proposing allocations from the Chest”. The Board felt that it had not overstepped its Statute in being concerned in the conduct of ballots or in contributing to the governance debate.


4)      University policy towards the disabled. It was agreed to raise this issue in the forthcoming meeting with the Director of Personnel.


5)      Ownership of copyright (RSD email). An email exchange between the secretary and a member of the RSD about ownership of copyright was noted. It was agreed to raise the matter next time the Board met with the Director of the Research Services Division (RSD).


6)      Any other business.


a)      Various health and safety issues were discussed (including the grey water tanks on the Downing site). The Board were concerned that decisions made in the current period of financial distress might have disastrous long-term consequences. The Board resolved to ask the Director of the EMBS about the tanks and other issues.


b)      It was reported that the search for a new Vice-Chancellor was progressing.


c)      It was reported that there had been problems with graduate admissions this year. The Board agreed to investigate.


d)      It was reported that the Director of Finance wanted to split the Abstract of Accounts into two Parts. The Board had no objection to this as long as it was made clear that both Parts made up the Abstract of Accounts.


e)      The Board noted with concern a matter raised in Discussion on 30 October about a statement allegedly made by the Press Office in relation to a particular case of intellectual property rights.


7)      Date of next meeting.  The next meeting will take place on 21 November at Selwyn College.