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30 September 2004

Board of Scrutiny


Noon, Thursday 30 September2004

Robinson College

Garden Room


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


In attendance: John Little, Tessa Payne, Nick Pyper


1.      Apologies


Roger Salmon. 


2.      Minutes of the meeting of 17 June 2004


These were approved.


3.      Matters arising


There were no matters arising.


4.      Ninth Report


The Board wished to thank Council for their initial response. 


Members of the Board voiced their concern that the Ninth Report was unlikely to have been read by a large proportion of people due to it having been published during August, and that consideration should be given to how people might be alerted to it prior to the Discussion.  One way could be to modify the Notice of elections to the Board which would be published around 18 October.


It was agreed that the incoming Chairman would decide how to handle the Discussion on 26 October, taking into account the comments made by members of the Board and the paper from Roger Salmon.


5.      Report on pay and grading structure


David Phillipson circulated comments on the Report.


It was noted that this was a particularly contentious Report.  Particular concern was voiced about the possible fall in salaries of staff categorised as T5 and CS4 as around 80% of staff on these grades are currently paid more than the maximum of the proposed new scale.  It was also felt that there was a risk that Directors salaries would not be published.  It was agreed that moderation in the implementation of the recommendations would be critically important.


Members of the Board voiced their concern about the timing of the publication of this Report.  It was felt that an issue as seminal as this should allow time for adequate discussion throughout the University. 


It was agreed that the Chairman would write to the Vice-Chancellor requesting that the Discussion of the Report is postponed to enable consultation to take place within the University.  If a postponement is agreed, the Board will return to the Report at its next meeting. In the event that the Discussion takes place as currently scheduled, it was agreed that the new Chairman of the Board, or another nominated member of the Board, should speak first at the Discussion, on behalf of the Board.  Other members of the Board would then speak as individuals.


6.      Review of the Personnel Division and the RSD


The Board agreed that the Review of RSD was a good report, and that it was now important to ensure that it was properly implemented. 


The Board felt that the Review of Personnel identified a number of concerns, and that representatives from the Board should try and see Peter Deer about this and the Review on Pay and Grading as soon as possible.


It was noted that Council planned that in future rules should be developed regarding the production of such reports.


7.      Review Committee on ballots


The Chairman of the Board confirmed that he had agreed to sit on the committee reviewing ballots as an individual and not as a representative of the Board.  He confirmed that generally the Committee had been persuaded by a considerable amount of evidence that there could be justification for a range of voting systems, dependant on the type of election.  However, the complexities of the explanations supporting the various systems were considerable, and the Committee had decided on balance to recommend the status quo.   It was noted that ballots of Senate members may still be required in the future, but future identification of Senate members may be difficult. 


It was confirmed that consideration had not be given to a situation where a Grace, due to be balloted, was withdrawn by the Vice-Chancellor, and re-presented some time later.


8.      Epron Industries


The Chairman circulated photos and an accompanying letter sent to him by Professor Evans.  The Board were aware that the issues raised had already been taken up at a high level and agreed that it would not be appropriate for the Board to take action on the issue.


9.      Plans for the coming year


It was agreed that the following issues could be considered over the coming year:


Follow up on the reviews of Personnel and RSD

Money – budget, expenditure

Reporting arrangements to the Regent House

Board of Graduate Studies





10.  Chairman and Secretary for the coming year


The election of the Chairman and Secretary for the period 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005 was discussed. 


It was agreed that the formal notice confirming the election of Chairman and Secretary should indicate how to contact the Support Officer to the Board of Scrutiny.


11.  Any other business


The Chairman thanked members of the Board for their support over the past year.


      Professor Spencer, on behalf of members of the Board, thanked the Chairman for

      his work over the past year.


12.  Dates of meetings


The next meeting will be held on 14 October 2004.