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Board of Scrutiny

Helen Thompson
Stephen John Cowley
Social & Political Sciences


of Scrutiny


Thursday 15 January 2004


Robinson College

Garden Room



Present: Stephen Cowley, Christopher Forsyth (chair), Nicholas
Holmes, Elisabeth Leedham-Green, Saskia Murk-Jansen, Timothy Milner, David
Phillipson, Jennifer Rigby, John Spencer, Helen Thompson.




Board received apologies from Mantas Adomenas and Roger Salmon.


Minutes of the meeting of 27 November 2003

minutes of the meeting of 27 November 2003 were confirmed.


Matters arising


3.1.    Administrative

Chair reported that he would send the Registrary the particulars for the job of
an administrative officer for the Board and ask that an advert for the position
appear in the Reporter.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the


3.2.    RAM Report
and meeting with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for planning and resources.

Cowley reported that the meeting was very constructive. He noted that that
there were several issues that remain unclear in regard to RAM: (i) how to
calculate an appropriate figure for savings to be made in the central bodies of
the University; (ii) a realistic time-scale for the University to break even
without a significant increase in income; (iii) the implications of HEFCE's
announcement on 23 December 2003 of new funding ratings for arts, mixed
science, science, and medical students; (iv) research overhead income; (v) how
to advance co-operation between Departments when the incentives for Heads of
Departments to pursue departmental self-interest are so strong.


3.3.    RSD

Board received notes of its previous meeting with the Director of RSD.


Board agreed to inform the Cornish committee of its concern about the possible
tax liability to the University on assigning patents rights to CUTS. The Board
also agreed to ascertain whether the Council review of RSD would receive input
from members of the University who use RSD services.


The Chair to write to the chair of the Cornish committee and the chair of the
Council RSD review.

3.4.    Meeting with
the Registrary

Board amended the record of the meeting and agreed that the Chair would send
the record to the Registrary.


Secretary to amend the formal record and the Chair to forward the new record to
the Registrary.


3.5.    Primate
research faculty at 307 Huntington Road

Chair noted the announcement of a second grace on the issue.


Response to the letter from the Registrary

Board agreed that it wished to meet a delegation from the Council.


4.1.    Frequency of
reports to the Regent House

Board agreed that it would in the future make some formal comments on the
Annual Reports of the Council and the General Board, and the Abstract of
Accounts prior to its annual report.  It
also agreed that it would continue to deliver a report annually.


4.2.    Matters
within the remit of the Board

The Board agreed that it would
continue to exercise its right laid down in statutes and ordinances to
scrutinise the policies of the University and the arrangements made for the
implementation of those policies.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the
Registrary to arrange a time for a meeting.


Annual Report of the Council, General Board and
Abstract of Accounts


5.1.    Annual Report
of the Council

The Board noted that
there is a £6 million hole in the budget for building maintenance after HEFCE
turned down the University's bid to use SWIFT II funds for this purpose. The
Board agreed to seek further information on this issue.

The Board noted the new
Estate Plan and agreed to seek a copy.

The Board noted the
unwieldy command structure for the Project Board for CAMSIS.

The Board noted
ambiguities around the introduction of a single pay spine as part of the
two-year pay settlement offer. The Board agreed that pay is an important issue
for the morale of University staff and hoped that the Council would provide
more information.


ACTION: Nick Holmes to make enquiries
about the building maintenance fund. Jennifer Rigby to request a copy of the
new Estate Plan.


5.2.    Abstract of

Board noted that: (i) premises expenditure was down from £49.04 million to
£43.31 million largely due to lower expenditure on repairs and maintenance;
(ii) depreciation had fallen which appeared odd in view of the number of new
buildings; (iii) the modest increase in expenditure on administration and
central services hides significant increase in administration stipends and
wages from £12.992m to £15.501m; (iii) general educational  "other" fell from £6.026m to
£3.895 m; (iv) expenditure on staff and student sports and PE facilities fell  by 25%; (v) 
the investment performance was well above average, with capital
maintained and only a small fall in overall income; (vi) the fall in  the quinquennial equalisation fund by
£6.116m; (viii) in  centrally held
reserves,  there is a significant annual
surplus in the buildings maintenance fund, HR strategy and "other",
offset in part by a significant deficit in the 
redundancy and restructuring fund; (ix) in department-held reserves,
there is a significant annual surplus in research grant overheads and
under-spend in "self supporting accounts - other departments", partially
offset by a significant deficit in non-recurrent grants.


Progress on Shattock and Finkelstein

Board agreed to defer this issue.


ACTION: Stephen Cowley to circulate
relevant papers.


HEFCE audit memorandum

Jennifer Rigby reported that
the Finance Committee had discussed the recommendations of the HEFCE audit
memorandum. Stephen Cowley noted that that HEFCE are producing revised audit
guidelines. The Board agreed to request the minutes of the Finance Committee.


ACTION:  The Chair to request the
minutes of the last meeting of the Finance Committee.


Invitation to the Vice Chancellor from the Board

Board agreed to invite the Vice-Chancellor to one of its meetings.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the



Any other business. There
was no other business.


10.    Date
of the next meeting:
29 January 2004