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Report of the Council on the Principal Administrative Officers: Notice

22 July 2002

The Council have considered the remarks made on this Report (Reporter, p. 643) at the Discussion held on 30 April 2002 (p. 845).

Professor Edwards referred to the legal basis for making Statutes. The Council have no intention of promoting Statutes which do not conform to the various legal requirements affecting the University. Extracts from the various Acts of Parliament, including the 1923, 1877, and 1988 Acts are, for convenience, printed with the Statutes (pp. 101-6). Professor Edwards mentioned Section 6 (1) of the 1923 Act. This refers to the duty of the Commissioners appointed under the Act, and subject to its provisions, to make Statutes and Regulations for the University, its Colleges and Halls, and various other matters in or connected with the University 'in general accordance with the recommendations contained in the Report of the Royal Commission, but with such modifications (not being modifications directly dealing with the curriculum or course of study in the University) as may, after the consideration of any representations made to them, appear to them expedient.'

Professor Edwards also commented on voting in the Regent House. The procedures for approval of Graces and the conduct of voting are in accordance with the Statutes and Ordinances of the University.

Professor Edwards suggested that the offices of Director of Finance and Academic Secretary should be defined by Statute, with a bar to membership of the Council, the Finance Committee, and the General Board. He asked more generally why a Statute was not proposed for the office of Director in the University Offices. After further consideration the Council have decided that the position of the Directors is best dealt with by Ordinance, like the other members of the Unified Administrative Service, the Registrary excepted, and given also that the divisional structure of the Service is itself regulated by Ordinance. The offices of Secretary General and Treasurer should, in the view of the Council, be retained in the Statutes because of the importance of the roles and also, as explained by Professor Edwards, to preserve the existing interests of those officers. The Council do not believe that statutory bars to election to membership bodies should be introduced more widely than at present, and that the matter of elections is best left to the electors and the officers concerned.

Professor Edwards also commented on the proposal that the Registrary should report to the Vice-Chancellor in his capacity as the head of the University's administrative staff. It does not seem to the Council that there is anything inconsistent in this proposal with the fact that the Registrary, for the whole of his functions, is under the direction of the Council, of which the Vice-Chancellor is the Chairman. If subsequently, following consideration of the Council's Report on Governance, different arrangements are made for the chairmanship of the Council, it will continue to be appropriate that, as head of the University's administrative staff, the Registrary should report to the Vice-Chancellor in his role as the principal administrative officer of the University.

Dr Evans referred to the proposal for the offices of Secretary General and Treasurer. The Council believe that the roles of these two officers, as described in the Annexes to the Report, are important and justify the continuation of the offices. The offices will continue to be governed also by other provisions in the Statutes and Ordinances which the Council do not intend to amend. The proposals complement those for Pro-Vice-Chancellorships as set out in the Council's recent Report on Governance (Reporter, p. 945). The role of a Pro-Vice-Chancellor is to assist the Vice-Chancellor in leadership on major activities; the role of the two officers is partly policy development and advice, and also, especially as far as the Treasurer is concerned, executive. The two roles are distinct but have important similarities in status and in their relationship to the Vice-Chancellor, and through him the Council, as well as in the requirement for breadth of experience and understanding of the University and of higher education practice and policy. As stated in their Report, the Council intend to review the new arrangements and the office(s) concerned when any of the Principal Administrative Offices next falls vacant.

Insofar as is relevant to their positions, the present Secretary General and the present Treasurer have consented to the proposed changes of Statute

Dr Evans referred to the appointment of the Academic Secretary. The post of Academic Secretary is not the same as that of Secretary General nor are its duties the same as that of the Secretary General previously. Some of the latter duties, for example in relation to personnel issues and to research grants and contracts, are now the responsibility of other Directors. At the same time additional duties, for example in relation to admissions and examinations, have been added.

The Council confirm their advice that the proposals in their Report are in the interests of the University and should be proceeded with. They are therefore submitting a Grace (Grace 7, p. 1278) for their approval.


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Cambridge University Reporter, 24 July 2002
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