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Board of Scrutiny

Helen Thompson
Tessa Payne
Social & Political Sciences




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Board of


Noon, Thursday 28 April 2005



New SCR, Selwyn


Present: Stephen Cowley, Nicholas Holmes,
John Little, Timothy Milner, Saskia Murk-Jansen, David Phillipson, Nick Pyper, Jennifer
Rigby, John Spencer, Helen



: The Vice-Chancellor, Tessa Payne




Downer, Margaret Glendenning,



 Meeting with the Vice-Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor discussed with
members of the Board a wide range of issues.


included the process of the Council, General Board and Finance
and their identification of strategic issues, the need to agree timetables to
deal with them, and to regularly assess achievements.  Additionally, progress is being made on
strategic planning at School and non-School level.  A report on the progress of strategic
planning is expected in the next few months.


The Vice-Chancellor confirmed that
the appointment from 1 June of a Director of External Affairs and
Communications was a key move to address the issue of internal and external
communications.  His responsibilities
will include bringing together those concerned with internal and external
communications within the University, and identifying with them not only what
needs to be communicated but how this should be done.


Key policy activities at present
include the proposals for Pay and Grading, IP rights, changes regarding the
management of the Amalgamated Fund, and the launch of the 800 Campaign.  The issue of governance is also under preliminary
discussion both by Council and the Audit Committee, who are considering the
matter in terms of risk and opportunities. 
Additionally, the Vice-Chancellor has asked Lord Wilson of Dinton, together with a small working group, made up of
Lord Simon, Professor Badger and Professor Bell, to provide advice to her in
this area.


The Vice-Chancellor confirmed the
importance she attached to the inclusion of the Colleges within University
processes and her desire to emphasise the
collegiality of Cambridge.  The Colleges would be heavily involved with
the 800 Campaign, and, in fact, work was ongoing with the Colleges on a number
of issues with the goal of improving communication and co-ordination.


In terms of the roles of the Pro
Vice- Chancellors (PVCs), the Vice-Chancellor
confirmed that there was now in place a regular schedule of meetings between
the PVCs, and the PVCs and
senior managers, and that it was important that they convened without, as well
as with, the Vice-Chancellor.  The
Vice-Chancellor emphasised the need for clarity of
role and team working at this level, and the need to look at the strategic
landscape.  She confirmed that the role
of the PVC was still evolving and that the PVCs were
appointed by Council and formally report to Council.  Regular meetings are also held between the Chairs
of Schools, to which the Registrary is also invited
on a regular basis.  Each School now has
a financial manager who also reports to the UAS.  This arrangement appears to be working well
and consideration is being given to extending this model to other roles.  The Vice-Chancellor confirmed that a view was
forming that indicated that it could be beneficial to put the service providers
where the service was required, and that this may lead to a degree of rational decentralisation. 
However, any such move would need to be implemented with great care, due
to the complexity of the University.


The Vice-Chancellor confirmed that she expected the implementation of the
new pay and grading structure to take place on time.  She acknowledged that the task is difficult
and complex, but that the appointment of a consultant project manager has
strengthened the overall process.  Even
when the structure has been agreed, the full benefit of implementation would
take time to become apparent.  It has
been important to have undertaken a wide consultation exercise, and to provide
reassurance to staff.


The meeting discussed a concern regarding the proposed timing of the
publication of the Grace relating to the new pay and grading structure, and the
probability that the Grace may be published at a time when many staff would be
on holiday.  The importance of the
University being in a position to do business for more than eight months a year
was noted by the Vice-Chancellor and agreed, but it was hoped that there could
be a degree of flexibility regarding this particular issue.


The Vice-Chancellor confirmed that the projected budget deficit for the
financial year ending 31 July 2006 was better than expected, and that she
expected to see modest surpluses within two years, which it was anticipated
could accommodate the implementation costs of the new pay and grading
structure.  However, there would still be
a requirement for a substantial reconfiguration of financial underpinnings to
accommodate, for example, salary enhancements and any further pension
deficits.  However, such moves would
demonstrate externally that the University is properly managing its resources.



3.    Minutes of previous meeting

were agreed, subject to amendment of the action point on SC under agenda item
5, where it was noted that SC had agreed to obtain information from Andrew Reid
(completed), and not to arrange a meeting with him.



4.    Matters arising

Holmes confirmed that a meeting with Professor Minson
has been arranged at the Old Schools on 9 May at 5pm.  Probable attendees would be SC, ND, NH  HT (tbc). 



5.    New arrangements for the Pay and Grading
Review for non-clinical staff

Board welcomed the recent public consultations regarding this issue, but voiced
concern that all the information given may not have been entirely correct, and
that it is still not clear that the process will be transparent or fair.  Members reported that concern continues to be
voiced from various quarters.  The
turnout at the public consultations has been high, but it was noted that the
presentations appeared to be directed at support staff and not academic staff,
and this raised the question of whether the two groups have been dealt with


was agreed that an additional meeting of the Board should be scheduled on 2
June to enable consideration of the expected Discussion (on 30 May) on this



6.    Annual Report

was agreed that the Board would aim to complete their Annual Report in July,
and that this would necessitate additional meetings over and above those
already scheduled.



7.    Date of next meetings

next meeting will be held on Thursday 12 May in the New SCR, Selwyn College.



8.    Any other business

was noted that David Phillipson would be unavailable
for around one month from 23 June.