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Board of Scrutiny

Helen Thompson
Stephen John Cowley
Social & Political Sciences


Board of Scrutiny


Thursday 11 March 2004


Robinson College




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


Apologies.  Mantas Adomenas


Minutes of the Meeting of 26
February 2004.
The Board confirmed the minutes with a minor


Matters to Report. The Chair
reported that Mantas Adomenas has resigned from the Board after intermitting
his fellowship at Gonville and Caius.


4.       Matters Arising.


Administrative Support. The Chair
circulated a draft of the advertisement for a support officer for the Board.
The Board approved it after making some minor changes.


Paper on the Effectiveness of
The Chair circulated an e-mail he had received from the Registrary on
the issue of the Board’s paper on the effectiveness of Council. The Board
agreed to discuss the issue at its meeting on 22 April 2004 that the
Vice-Chancellor will attend.


The Building Maintenance Fund. Nick
Holmes reported that he had received minutes of meetings relating to building
maintenance, which he circulated to the Board. He noted: (i) that the Building
Sub-Committee has recommended a significant increase in building maintenance;
and (ii) that there was an assumption that the volume of buildings would
increase by 3 per cent a year, which would lead to a further increase in the
need for maintenance expenditure. The Board noted that some Departments and
Faculties are spending money on maintenance from funds other than the EMBS


 Request for the Blue Book. The Chair reported that copies of
the Blue Book were available for members of the Board to see.


The University’s Investment Policy. The Chair
circulated a set of documents that he had received on the University’s
investment policy.  On first reading
Roger Salmon noted: (i) that there were important constraints on the way that
the University can manage its investments, especially relating to capital distribution;
(ii) that there are questions to ask about the coherence of the University’s
asset allocation policy; and (iii) that as a piece of theoretical modelling,
the University’s portfolio is not ideal. The Board agreed that to write a
working paper on issues relating to the University’s endowment.


ACTION: Roger Salmon to draft a paper on the issue.


Visit to Management Information
Services Division (MISD).
The Chair noted that he would be writing to
the Director of MISD to arrange a meeting.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the Director of MISD.


Estates Plan. Nick
Holmes reported that he had received a copy of the Estates Plan. He noted that
the University had the lowest proportion of C-graded buildings of any
institution of higher education in the country. He also noted that the Plan
reflected clear, strategic thinking, which the Board applauded.


reported that the Director of EMBS had suggested that the Board visit him to
discuss the Plan. The Board agreed to accept the invitation.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the Director of EMBS to
arrange a meeting.


Audit Management
After a discussion of the issue, the Board reiterated its view that
there is no statutory bar to consolidating the accounts of CUP and the
University, and commended all efforts being made in the University to achieve
this end.


Estate Management and Building
Stephen Cowley explained that he was still concerned about the
cost-efficiency of the services provided by EMBS. The Board agreed to raise the
issue of the EMBS’ systems for assessing whether it received value for money
when it met the Director of EMBS.


HEFCE Funding Announcement. Stephen
Cowley reported that his analysis of HEFCE’s announcement on funding suggested
that the University would do somewhat better for research and somewhat less
well on teaching than last year. This, he judged, was probably the result of
changes to the HEFCE teaching-weightings for different subjects


Preparation of the Annual Report. The Board
agreed that it would aim to have a draft of the Report for it’s meeting on 10
June with the aim of approving it on 17 June. If, the Board also agreed, it
does not receive the Allocations Report in time to meet this timetable, then it
will publish a separate report covering that material.


ACTION: The Chair to write to the
Registrary to explain the Board’s proposed timetable. Stephen Cowley and Nick
Holmes to draft the section on RAM. Stephen Cowley to draft the section on K9.
John Spencer to draft the section on governance. Jennifer Rigby to draft the
section on HERA. Stephen Cowley and John Spencer to draft the section on
statutes and ordinances and contracts.


9.       Any Other Business.


Secretary for Easter term. The Board
appointed Stephen Cowley secretary for Easter term to cover Helen Thompson’s


10.   Date of Next Meeting. Noon on 22 April 2004.