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

Stephen John Cowley
university of cambridge


of Scrutiny

Minutes of the Meeting
Held at Noon on

Thursday 16 January
2003 at Selwyn College


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


Apologies: David Howarth.


1)      Minutes of
the meetings of 5 December 2002.

Draft minutes were tabled. The secretary offered to produce slightly longer
version for the next meeting. This action was agreed.


2)      Matters
The letter to
the Press Office concerning harassment information on their WWW site has
apparently not been sent. 


secretary noted that the Director of Finance had drawn his attention to
information in the Abstract of Accounts that many of the extra academic and
academic related posts that appeared in the Allocation Report were as a result
of incorporation of Homerton staff.


3)      Result of
the ballot on the Grace on the Principal Officers.
There was a discussion of the consequences of
the Grace on two of the principal officers covering the reasons for the result.
There was a discussion as to how University should proceed when, at some point
in the future, the posts became vacant.


4)      The
governance ballot.
It was
noted that the Chairman had written to the Vice-Chancellor and Council at the
end of last term. It was also noted that the Council had rearranged the dates
of the governance ballot so that the ballot fell within term time. The ballot
was now underway.


5)      The budget
deficit: projected meeting with Financial Working Party
. It was agreed to take up the offer of
a further meeting with Malcolm Grant. It was agreed that the Chairman and Susan
Lintott would seek a meeting.


6)      Buildings,
Graces and the Regent House
. The
Chairman reported that he had been informed by the Registrary that the building
for primate research by Experimental Psychology had already been Graced. It was
noted that the associated Report had not been particularly informative as to
the nature of the research.


Programme of forthcoming meetings.


a)      The
Registrary and the Treasurer
This meeting is primarily to discuss buildings and will take place on 11
February. It was agreed that the Chairman, Timothy Milner, Christopher Forsyth,
Jennifer Rigby and Oliver Rackham would attend.


b)      Andrew Reid
. It was agreed
to ask the Director of Finance to come and meet us at one of our Thursday


c)      Professor
Brown and Laurie Friday (BoGS).

The meeting with Professor Brown will take place on 20 January. The Chairman
and Helen Thompson will attend.


d)      David
Adamson (EMBS).
meeting with David Adamson will take place on 24 January, with the Chairman,
Susan Lintott and Jennifer Rigby attending. Questions to be addressed include
the English building, the Marconi building and the issue of grey water.


e)      David
Secher (RSD).
The Secretary
will organise a meeting with the Director of Research Services. Robin Lachmann
and the Chairman will also attend.


8)      Annual
Reports of the Council and the General Board; Abstract of Accounts
(Reporter No. 5908, Wednesday 18
December 2002). Each of these Reports was discussed. It was agreed to raise
certain issues at the Discussion on 28 January 2003.

a)      Annual
Report of the Council.
Para 3:
the relative roles of the Business Committee and the Executive Committee were
discussed. Para 21: it was noted that the Council was concerned about the
maintenance of new buildings, but that did not seem to stop them approving new
projects. Para 24: it was agreed to determine how far the University had
progressed in setting up a legal department. The issue of the recent public
procurement legal case needs to pursued. Para 30: there was a discussion over
admissions policy as to whether there was a University strategic plan regarding
expansion, and as to whether the Press Office was as effective as it might be.
Para 31: it was noted that although CUFS might be working in some respects, the
unsatisfactory state of the Research Grants Module is very important given the
large amount of income/expenditure of the University that is associated with
Research Grants. Para 33: the odd phrasing of the final sentence was noted.
Para 38: it was noted that the Senior Academic Women’s Advisory Group seems to
be a self-selected group.

b)      Annual
Report of the General Board.

Para 4: there was a discussion of e-learning, and in particular the
cost-effectiveness of the University’s current involvement. Para 16-17: it was
noted that the time allocation survey results might be statistically useless
since the meaning of University time was not defined. Para 28: apparent
teething troubles with the new Endeavour Voyager system were discussed.

c)      Abstract
of Accounts.
It was noted
that the relative rosy picture of the University’s accounts was helped by a
number of one-off items of income (e.g. a VAT refund). It was noted that while
Deloitte and Touche state that their opinion is “not qualified” they also state
that certain of the policies of the University, e.g. regarding the Press and
the Local Examinations Syndicate, mean that the financial statements do not
comply with applicable UK accounting standards.


9)      Any other
It was reported
that there is a new Director of MISD. The Secretary will arrange a meeting. The
existence of a risk committee was noted.


10)  Date of
next meeting.
The next meeting
will be on Thursday 30 January 2003.