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26 February 2004

Board of Scrutiny


Thursday 26 February 2004


Robinson College

Garden Room


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


1.       Apologies

Roger Salmon.


2.       Minutes of the meeting of 19 February 2004

The Board confirmed the minutes with some minor corrections.


3.       Matters arising


3.1.     Administrative support

The Chair confirmed that Personnel had graded the position of support officer for the Board at A02. He noted that he is now waiting for the Registrary formally to say that money is available before advertising can proceed. He reaffirmed that the Chair would be the formal manager of the officer. He reported that he had ascertained that it would be possible to house the officer in the Proctors’ office.


3.2.     Meeting with the Council on 19 February 2004

The Board accepted the record of the meeting with some minor amendments.


Elisabeth Leedham-Green reported that Professor Brown and George Reid had reported to Council that the meeting on 19 February was constructive. Others on the Council, she noted, had raised the question of changes to the ordinances relating to the Board.


The Chair circulated a letter that he had received after the meeting from the Registrary. The Board agreed that it had not suggested, or wished to suggest, that it should see Council reports in draft form. Rather, it suggests a change to the timetable for Reports that would allow sufficient time for the Board to make considered responses before Discussions. The Board agreed that the Chair would reply to the Registrary’s letter, stressing that whilst the Board understood the limitations of its role, its purposes were those defined by the statutes and the ordinances. The Board also agreed that it wished to work to improve relations with the Council.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the Registrary.


3.3.     The University’s strategy


The Board agreed that David Phillipson’s revised working paper on strategy would inform its Ninth Annual Report. The Board agreed to request any papers that there are on the question of a strategy for the University which have gone to University committees.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the Registrary to request any documents that exist.


3.4.     The Building Maintenance Fund

Nick Holmes reported that he had heard no further news from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources.



3.5.     Audit management letter

The Chair reported that he had received a copy of the audit management letter that he circulated to the Board. The Board agreed to consider the letter in detail at its next meeting and identified some preliminary areas for discussion: (i) department sign-offs; (ii) the continuing question of consolidated accounts; (iii) the total return policy on amalgamated fund investment, particularly the issue of the income policy of the University.


3.6.     Request for the Blue Book

The Chair reported that he had requested the Blue Book from the Director of Finance but had not received a reply.


3.7.     The University’s investments

The Chair reported that he had requested the letter sent to the University’s investment fund managers and any minutes on discussions of alternatives to the present management of investments from the Director of Finance but had not received a reply.


4.       Preparation of the Board’s Annual Report

The Board agreed that it would begin its work for the Annual Report by looking inter alia at: (i) the statutory reports; (ii) RAM; (iii) the University’s financial position; (iv) governance, which will include the role of the Council, the Pro-Vice Chancellors, the K9 statute, and the implementation of commitments made by the Council; (v) HERA; (vi) the position of statutes and ordinances on contracts and supplementary payments.


5.       The Staff Development seminar

Stephen Cowley reported that he had attended the presentation given by the Registrary to the Staff

Development seminar. He noted that there were some issues for the future in the Registrary’s remarks about the purposes of Pro-Vice-Chancellors, and the responsibility for decisions between different University committees. John Spencer reported that in his presentation to the seminar he had explained the purpose of the Board of Scrutiny and the ways that it worked over the past few years.


6.       Any other business


6.1.     Management Information Services Division (MISD)

The Board agreed to request a meeting with the Director of MISD and that the delegation for the meeting would be Stephen Cowley, Jennifer Rigby, and Elisabeth Leedham-Green.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the Director of MISD to request a meeting.


6.2.     Estates Plan

The Board agreed to approach the Director of Estate Management and Building Service (EMBS) to request a copy of the plan.


ACTION: Nick Holmes to write to the Director of EMBS.


7.       Date of next meeting: 11 March 2004