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Board of Scrutiny, meeting on Thursday 10 October at Selwyn College

Board of Scrutiny

Minutes of the Meeting Held at Noon on

Thursday 21 November 2002 at Selwyn College


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


Apologies: Susan Lintott.


1)      Minutes. The Minutes of the meeting of 7 November 2002 were agreed after minor amendments.


Matters arising:


i)        CAPSA/CUFS. Correspondence received by the secretary was referred to the CAPSA/CUFS subcommittee. It was agreed that the “fundscheck failure” issue would be raised the next time the subcommittee met the Director of Finance or the Director of the Research Services Division.


ii)       Buildings. It was reported that the Chairman had sent a letter to the Registrary regarding the English building. There was a further discussion of the timing of Reports for new buildings.


iii)     Administrative Help. It was agreed that an advert would be sent to the Registrary and that his advice would be sought.


iv)    Health and Safety. The issue of mercury-affected buildings was discussed. It was agreed to raise this matter with Director of EMBS and/or the Director of Health and Safety.


v)      EMBS. It was agreed that we would take up the offer of a visit to the Director of EMBS. The delegation will comprise the Chairman, Susan Lintott, Jennifer Rigby and Oliver Rackham. Correspondence concerning building issues on the Sidgwick site was noted. The Chairman requested that we all email him with suitable questions for the meeting with the Director of EMBS.


2)      Visits to the Central Bodies. A report was made of the visit to the Director of Personnel.


a)      The Human Resources Strategy has now been approved by HEFCE and the associated funding released.


b)      At the meeting it had been suggested that there is apparently a problem in responding in a timely manner (e.g. within three months) to requests by HEFCE and similar bodies because the University’s democratic procedures are sometimes slow.


c)      It was reported that the University policy on disability was still only advisory. Progress on disability had been made.


d)      It was noted that there was a draft policy on racial equality issues. One problem on this front was the issue of data collection since members of the University were often unhappy to give details of their race.


e)      The Senior Women Committee is self-appointed. It has met regularly with the VC. Women are still under-represented on committees, but there are attempts to rectify this.


f)        There is a trial re-grading exercise in progress.


g)      Personnel were unable to answer our question as to where the extra 100 established academic staff and 100 extra un-established academic-related staff (as reported in the allocations) had come from.


In the light of the above remarks, the Board concluded that the Personnel Division seemed to be making some positive progress. However, the Board was concerned that its question about increased staff numbers could not be answered (particularly given the deficit), and asked the Secretary to write to the Registrary concerning this matter.


3)      Governance Proposals. The Board was concerned to note that the votes on the Governance proposals were to take place in the middle of the Christmas vacation between 16 December and 6 January when members of the University might be expected to be away, and when the UMS would not be working for an extended period.


The Board was also concerned to note that a date for amendments to be received had not been announced, and that there seemed to be an implication in the Notice that amendments would not be accepted.


The Board discussed the proposals. It agreed that it would not make a collective response. However, four members of the Board would draft a non-placet flysheet concerning the change of Statutes regarding the Vice-Chancellor.


4)      Any Other Business.


a)      The Chairman reported that he had written to the Director of Finance stating that the Board had no objection to the Abstract of Accounts being split into two parts, as long as it was made clear that the Abstract of Accounts comprised of both parts.


b)      It was agreed that the Chairman and Helen Thompson would seek a meeting with Professor W. Brown, the Chairman of the Board of Graduate Studies, e.g. to determine what occurred over the summer re graduate admissions.


c)      It was agreed that the Secretary would write to the Director of Finance regarding the redeployment of redundant equipment.


d)      It was reported that the Chairman had received further correspondence concerning the legal fees incurred by the University and its attempt to recover them.


e)      It was noted that during the Discussion on promotions it had been argued that College teaching continued to be unvalued.


f)        On reading the report of the Discussion on IPR in the Reporter, a member of the Board wondered if the comments of one of the speakers had been edited. The Secretary will investigate.


5)      Date of Next Meeting. It was agreed that there was no need for a meeting on 5 December, and that the next meeting would be on 16 January at Selwyn College.