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REPORTS

Report of the Council on the Unified Administrative Service

The COUNCIL beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. In this Report the Council report on and make proposals for further changes in the Unified Administrative Service. The availability of effective administrative services, efficiently organized and managed, is on the critical path for the continued success of the University's academic and educational mission albeit that they are not in themselves part of that core mission. The Council therefore attach great importance to the matters raised in this Report. Firstly the Council report some further restructuring of the Divisions of the Service (paras. 2 to 4). Secondly they propose the establishment of the offices of those Directors who currently hold unestablished appointments (para. 5). Thirdly they propose some changes in the positions of the Principal Administrative Officers (paras. 6 to 9). Fourthly they propose changes in the way in which more junior administrative officers are appointed (paras. 10 and 11). Finally they report on the introduction of quality assurance arrangements for the Service (paras. 12 and 13). In preparing this Report the Council have consulted the General Board and the Finance Committee; the Registrary has consulted the staff in the Service. The Council have taken account of comments made through these consultations.

2. The Unified Administrative Service was set up as an institution under the supervision of the Council in 1996, bringing together the previously separate offices of the Financial Board, the General Board, and the Registry. Since then the Council have agreed that the Service should be developed into eight separate administrative Divisions, each headed by a senior professional. The Registrary is Head of the Service and is responsible to the Council for its management (see Statute D, VIII). Day-to-day operational management of the Divisions is delegated by the Registrary to the Heads of the Divisions. The Registrary has retained responsibility for the overall strategic development of the University's administration.

3. The structure of the Unified Administrative Service as now agreed by the Council is as follows;

Academic Division, including the Planning and Resource Allocation Office

Estate Management and Building Service

Finance Division

Health and Safety Division

Management Information Services Division

Personnel Division

Research Services Division

Secretariat, including Legal Services

4. This structure incorporates a newly created Academic Division to be formed from the General Board Division and cognate activity currently undertaken in the Registry, for example the administrative support for the Joint Consultative Committee on Admissions, for the Matriculation Board, for the Board of Examinations, and for the Applications Committee. In this way the central administration of the University's academic activities will be combined, with benefits of efficiency and continuity in policy development. At the same time a single Planning and Resource Allocation Office will be established, integrating the existing separate offices supporting the General Board (the Needs Sections of the General Board Division) and the Council (the Allocations Committee Secretariat), and providing an opportunity explicitly to draw into the planning support both financial and estates expertise. The remaining activities in the Registry, together with some new ones (for example a Legal Office which the Council have agreed should be created to provide professional management in the procurement of legal services) will be reconstituted as the Secretariat. These changes are summarized in Annex 1.

5. The Council announced appointments to certain unestablished posts of Director in the Service in Notices (Reporter, 1999-2000, pp. 102 and 570) and the Board of Scrutiny have subsequently commented, in their Fifth Report (Reporter, 2000-01, p. 25), on the issue of the establishment of these posts. With the advice of the Registrary, the Council are now satisfied that the University will have a continuing need for the professional advice represented by the various unestablished posts of Director. Accordingly they will be proposing a new Ordinance for the Service (see draft attached as Annex 2) that includes provision for the establishment of each of the posts of Director as Head of a Division of the Service. The stipends of the officers concerned will need to take account, inter alia, of market forces in professional areas of high demand and the Council intend to make proposals for the terms and conditions on which each office should be established.

6. Under present arrangements, the Estate Management and Building Service, the Research Services Division, and the Finance Division report to the Treasurer; the General Board Division and the Health and Safety Office report to the Secretary General; the Registry Division, the Management Information Services Division, and the Personnel Division report to the Registrary. These reporting arrangements and the roles of the Principal Administrative Officers have not been reviewed since the creation of the Unified Administrative Service although there have been some ad hoc changes, for example the creation of the Personnel Division and the Research Services Division. In September 2000 the Council therefore established a Working Party to consider these matters having particular regard to any changes that could be identified as having occurred as a result of the creation of the Unified Service. The main focus of the Working Party's deliberations arose from the need to distinguish between the senior management of the University and the responsibility to help in policy development on the one hand, and the management of the Unified Administrative Service and its Divisions on the other. The Working Party's conclusions, which the Council have accepted, are that there is a need to strengthen the capacity to guide the development of policy on the part of senior officers and also a need for a greater clarity so far as management of the administrative Divisions is concerned. The Council are therefore of the view that it would be appropriate that the focus of the work of the Secretary General and of the Treasurer should be adjusted so as to allow those officers to devote more time and energy to their advisory roles as well as providing a clearer management structure within the University Offices. The Secretary General will concentrate on the development of the University's learning and teaching strategy, understood for these purposes to include undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and study; the Treasurer will concentrate on the acquisition, development, exploitation, sale, and use of the University's assets (understood for these purposes to include money, investments, and property, real and intellectual). Under these proposals each of these officers will in future report direct to the Vice-Chancellor outside the structure of the Unified Service. They will however be able to call upon the resources of the Service to support them in their duties and they will work closely with the relevant Divisions and their Directors. In particular, the Treasurer, as regards the Estate Management and Building Service, Finance, and Research Services Divisions, will exercise functional management alongside the administrative management exercised by the Registrary (see following paragraph) who will also report to the Vice-Chancllor as Chairman of the Council. The Council will report in detail on these arrangements, including the further definition of the Secretary General's and the Treasurer's portfolios, when they have received and considered the report of their Working Party on the Vice-Chancellorship and Pro-Vice-Chancellorships (see paragraph 9 below). The Council believe it is appropriate for them to wait for this further report to allow them, in particular, to review the role of the Secretary Generalship which under the arrangements the Council are envisaging will be analogous to a Pro-Vice-Chancellorship.

7. In presenting these proposals, the Council consider it necessary to clarify the relationship between the Directors of Divisions, the Vice-Chancellor, and the Principal Administrative Officers. The Registrary, as Head of the University's administrative staff, is responsible to the Council for the management of the staff and other resources in the Service. Operational management of the Divisions is delegated by the Registrary to the Directors, but the Registrary retains personal responsibility for the more strategic aspects of administration and for the overall coordination of the services provided. The Council consider that it is therefore appropriate for the Directors of the Divisions to report directly to the Registrary on these administrative matters, as distinct from their functional and policy reporting. At the same time, it is also of the first importance that those principally charged with guiding development of policy, the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Registrary, the Secretary General, and the Treasurer, should, in addition to any functional relationships, receive regular briefing from Directors. The Council expect that, as professionals in their various functions, the Directors and members of staff in the Service will contribute to policy development through their attendance at meetings of and their advice to the central bodies and their committees. Nonetheless the Council think it helpful to draw greater distinction than hitherto between the development of policy, its implementation, and the management of the Service as a support function.

8. The Council see benefit in direct lines of regular and systematic communication between the Vice-Chancellor and the divisional Directors on the substance of matters within their remit. The Council have a particular concern that the Vice-Chancellor, as Chairman of the General Board, of the Planning and Resources Committee, and (in succession to the Needs and Allocations Committees) of the Resource Management Committee, all of which it is intended should be serviced by the Academic Division, should support and be supported by the Head of that Division. The Council are therefore proposing that a new office of Academic Secretary should be established to head the Academic Division. The Academic Secretary, as the equivalent of a Director, will report administratively to the Registrary, but will also have a major part to play in ensuring that the relationship between the central bodies, the Councils of the Schools, and the Vice-Chancellor works and develops effectively. The Council also intend to bring forward amendments to the Statutes and Ordinances so that the Academic Secretary becomes Secretary to the General Board.

9. The Council have concluded that it is not possible for them to complete their review of the senior management of the University without giving further consideration to the role of the Vice-Chancellor. They have further concluded that the senior management team of the University is still under strength and that its capacity can and should be enhanced perhaps by the appointment of one or two more additional Pro-Vice-Chancellors. The changes proposed in the responsibilities of the Secretary General and the Treasurer will be helpful in this respect. The Council have however established a further Working Party to give specific consideration to the Vice-Chancellorship and the possibility of appointment of further Pro-Vice-Chancellors.

10. The Council, advised by the Registrary, expect that this broad structure will provide the University with the administrative services it needs for the foreseeable future. However, to provide the necessary managerial flexibility for themselves and the Registrary they intend to include provision in the new Ordinance (Annex 2) for the internal Divisional structure organization of the Service to be in their discretion. As a consequence, the previous separate Ordinances for Estate Management and Building Service and for certain University offices will no longer be necessary and should be rescinded. The Council would not want at this stage to rule out bringing forward further Reports to incorporate in the Service other functions currently organized as separate institutions in the University, if it were to seem appropriate professionally or managerially to do so. The Council recognize the close working relationships, often with the same data and informations system requirements, of, for example, the Development Office, the Corporate Liaison Office (formerly the Reach-Out Office), the Accommodation Syndicate, and the Careers Syndicate. No proposals will however be made without consultation with the institutions concerned.

11. Whilst they will continue to oversee appointments to individual offices within the Service and will continue to ensure academic involvement in the selection of individual staff for appointment, the Council recognize that appointments at a more junior level are more appropriately made by professional administrators. The Council are also aware that recruitment in many Divisions is competitive and the delay involved in formally making appointments through the present Standing Appointments Committee has resulted in the loss of preferred candidates. The Council are therefore proposing that appointments up to and including Assistant Registrary and equivalent should be made by the Registrary on their behalf, following procedural guidelines that they will lay down. They will ensure that those guidelines will follow best practice in equal opportunities and be open and competitive.

12. Before the establishment of the Unified Ad-ministrative Service each of the central bodies had its own administrative support. With the development of the Unified Service, although there are continuing broad relationships (for example between the Finance Committee and the Finance Division, and the Personnel Committee and the Personnel Division) the Service is increasingly managed so that interdivisional teams provide the full range of advice and information that the central bodies need on specific issues for the proper conduct of their responsibilities. The Council, and the other central bodies, see this approach as one of the important benefits arising from the Unified Service. The increasing integration of the committee structure supporting the Council and the General Board in particular is already improving the quality of decision taking and enabling the development of University-wide policies. It continues to be necessary, for the efficient management of resources and for the professional development of the staff, that the Unified Service be organized into professionally based Divisions but there is no longer a tight relationship between those Divisions and the University's governance arrangements. The Council and the Board have established a Joint Committee to consider those arrangements. Any proposals for change will be the subject of wide consultation. It is however clear to the Council that the role of the committees must increasingly be in the development of policy and that the use of committees for the management of service delivery is neither possible nor appropriate.

13. The Council as the body with supervisory responsibility for the Unified Administrative Service, must satisfy themselves that the services provided are those that the University needs to support its overall objectives, and are provided at appropriate professional standards with proper levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and economy. The Service and the staff, as professional administrators, will also want to satisfy themselves and to demonstrate to the University that they are achieving those objectives. The staff will expect to engage the University, through the Council, in discussion about how those services can be developed. These complementary aims establish a basis for the accountability of the Service and its senior management through explicit quality assurance procedures. The Council have therefore accepted proposals from the Registrary for the introduction of review arrangements based on:

(a) the establishment of a Joint Standing Committee of the Council and the General Board to oversee the introduction and operation of these new arrangements;
(b) statements of objectives and service standards in respect of each Division of the University Offices, to be agreed by the Council;
(c) periodic (no less frequently than quinquennial) reviews of each Division against those objectives and against measurable performance indi-cators, the review teams to include members of the Regent House and external professional advisors, in addition to members of the central bodies and the reports of such reviews to be presented to the Council;
(d) annual reports by the Registrary to the Council on the exercise of his responsibilities for the management of the Unified Administrative Service, its staff, and resources.

The Council see all these measures as essential if the University is to develop the administrative services it needs. The Council have previously made plain their assessment that the administration has been under-resourced for the needs of a modern University (see Reporter, p. 202). They had given initial approval to these arrangements as long ago as Lent Term 2000, but had delayed reporting these matters to the Regent House until the other issues in this Report had been clarified. The University is fortunate that in all areas of its activity, including its administration, there are committed and energetic individual members of staff working for its continued success. This Report sets out for consideration by the Regent House the Council's views on how the Unified Administrative Service needs further to be developed and supported and how the University can best draw on the professionalism of its individual members.

14. Accordingly the Council recommend that the arrangements for the development of the Unified Administrative Service, as set out in this Report, be approved in principle. Subject to the approval of the Report, amended as the University may agree, the Council intend to bring forward detailed proposals for the amendment of Statutes and Ordinances as necessary for the implementation of the Report. The Council would intend that the revised Divisional structure and the arrangements for quality assurance would operate as from the academical year 2001-02. The Council would further intend that the other arrangements should be adopted in shadow form pending formal approval of the amendments to Statutes and Ordinances.

19 March 2001 ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor IAN LESLIE G. A. REID
  A. J. BADGER A. M. LONSDALE JEREMY SANDERS
  C. R. J. BAILEY C. LUDLOW M. SCHOFIELD
  MAT COAKLEY D. MACDONALD L. TAUB
  PETER GODDARD M. D. MACLEOD R. E. THORNTON
  GORDON JOHNSON JAMES MATHESON  

ANNEX 1

University Offices : Main responsibilities of the Academic Division, the Planning and Resource Allocation Office, and the Secretariat

The following schedule indicates the main responsibilities of the Divisions/Office shown. It also indicates in parentheses in which Division those responsibilities are presently located (GB: General Board Division; Re: Registry Division; N: new activity). These indicative responsibilities will be reviewed prior to implementation with the Directors of the two Divisions and, in particular, the Head of the Planning and Resource Allocation Office when identified.

Academic division

Education Section (GB)

Office of the Board of Graduate Studies (GB)

General Board Secretariat (GB)

School/Faculty/Department administration (GB)

Office of the Matriculation Board (Re)

Office of the Board of Examinations (Re)

International matters and secretariat of the International Committee (Re)

Central University administrative support for undergraduate admissions and access including secretariat of the Joint Consultative Committee on Admissions (Re)

Planning and Resource Allocation Office

Needs Section (GB)

Secretariat of the Allocations Committee (Re)

Student Records and Statistics Section (Re)

Secretariat of the Planning and Resources Committee (Re/GB)

Secretariat

Council and general Secretariat (Re)

Legal affairs (N)

Complaints procedures (N)

Press and publications (Re)

Reprographics (Re)

Facilities management for the Service (Re)

Constitutional matters, Draftsman, and Reporter (Re)

Relations between the University institutionally and the Colleges (Re)

Ceremonial (Re)

The Vice-Chancellor's Office (including support for the Pro-Vice-Chancellors) will be formally attached to the Secretariat but will continue to operate under the Vice-Chancellor's direct management as at present.

ANNEX 2

University Offices

1. The staff of the University Offices shall form a Unified Administrative Service which shall be organized in such Divisions as the Council may from time to time determine.1

2. The Head of the Unified Administrative Service shall be the Registrary who, as such, shall manage the University Offices and their staff, budgets, space, and other resources provided to the Offices by the Council. It shall be the duty of the Registrary to ensure that arrangements for the quality assurance of the services provided by the Offices are presented to the Council and are implemented as agreed by the Council.

3. Within each Division of the University Offices there shall be a University office of Director (or such other title as may be determined from time to time by the Council) who shall be Head of the Division and whose duties shall include the management of the Division, under the overall responsibility of the Registrary.2

4. Within the Unified Administrative Service there shall be the following University offices, in such numbers as may be agreed from time to time by the Council: Deputy Director, Assistant Director/Registrary/Treasurer (including the grades of Principal Assistant and Senior Assistant), Administrative Officer (in three grades, I, II, and III), Computer Officer (in five grades, Senior Computer Officer and Officer I, II, III, and IV), Advisory Officer (including the grade of Senior Advisory Officer).

The allocation of offices between the Divisions of the Unified Administrative Service shall be determined by the Registrary.

5. The duties of the various offices, their conditions of service, the scale of stipends and the duration of tenure attaching to each office and grade shall be determined by the Council.

6. Appointments to the offices of Director, Deputy Director, Assistant Director/Registrary/Treasurer (in the grades of Principal Assistant and Senior Assistant only), Computer Officer (in the grade of Senior Computer Officer only) shall be made by a Standing Appointments Committee which shall be a Committee of the Council. Appointments to other offices shall be made by the Registrary under procedures to be agreed from time to time by the Council.

7. The University Offices shall be open throughout the year at such hours as may be approved from time to time by the Council except for such periods of closure at Christmas, Easter, and other public holidays as may be authorized by the Council.

1 The Council have determined the following structure of Divisions:

    Academic (including the Planning and Resource Allocation Office)

    Estate Management and Building Service

    Finance

    Health and Safety

    Management Information Services

    Personnel

    Research Services

    Secretariat (including Legal Services)

2 The Council have determined that the Head of the Academic Division shall have the title of Academic Secretary and the Head of the Secretariat shall have the title of Administrative Secretary.


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Cambridge University Reporter, 21 March 2001
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