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Annual Report of the Council for 2002-03

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

The Vice-Chancellorship

1. The Council wish to pay tribute to the leadership of Professor Sir Alec Broers as Vice-Chancellor for seven years to 30 September 2003. Under his Vice-Chancellorship the University's academic strengths have been vigorously supported and developed.

2. On the nomination of the Council, the University have appointed Professor Alison Richard, formerly Provost of Yale University, as Vice-Chancellor from 1 October 2003. The Council look forward to supporting Professor Richard's leadership of the University.

Resources and strategy

3. One of the major immediate challenges facing the University, and therefore the Council, is to achieve, without damage to the principles governing academic and educational work in the University, rectification of the financial problems which the University at present faces because of deficiencies in public funding.

4. The Council, working with the General Board and the Planning and Resources Committee (PRC) (a joint committee of the Council and the Board), are implementing a carefully worked out programme to establish the medium- and long-term financial situation of the University. Several major measures are being taken which take into account the conclusions of a review of the University's finances carried out by a working party chaired by Professor M. J. Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Reporter, 2002-03, p. 697).

(a) A development group, now chaired by Professor A. C. Minson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, is working on the early implementation of the Resource Allocation Model (RAM) which will permit further decentralization of decision-making about resource management by the Schools and similar units. As recommended by the Finance Working Party, staffing plans are being prepared by Schools and other major groups of institutions which take into account the funding that is likely to be available. (The Council and the General Board published a Joint Report about the RAM on 19 November 2003 (Reporter, 2003-04, p. 182).)
(b) A major development programme, aimed to celebrate the University's 800th Anniversary, which is being marked in 2009, is being planned and will be launched during 2005.
(c) Immediate proposals for the short-term reduction of the Chest account deficit were announced in the Allocations Report for 2003-04; the Council aim to return the Chest account to balance within three years.
(d) A University-wide budget, including Chest and non-Chest income and expenditure, will be prepared annually from 2004-05 and will be the basis of the next Allocations (or budget) Report.
(e) The Council, through the PRC, have initiated the preparation of a new strategic plan.

5. The Council, following recommendations by the Audit Committee and the Finance Committee, have agreed that the financial statements of the University should be broadened by producing a comprehensive University-wide account, which would include not only the teaching and research activities of the University but also the activities of the Local Examinations Syndicate and other bodies which are at present excluded from the University financial statements. The consolidation of the activities of Cambridge University Press remains under discussion. The accounts of the Colleges will continue to be published separately. Following extensive review by an intercollegiate working party, the Council, on the recommendation of the Finance Committee, put forward proposals for a modernized standard for College accounts, known as the Recommended Cambridge College Accounts. These proposals and the necessary statutory changes have been approved by the University.

6. The Government has announced improved funding for universities such as Cambridge, which have shown consistent strength in research assessments. This development is welcome and will, if it is continued, and as it feeds through into funding allocations from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), assist the University in supporting academic activities, including academic infrastructure for the arts, humanities, social sciences, science, technology, and medicine. Nevertheless, the changes currently proposed are insufficient fully to meet the problems arising from long-term systemic public under-funding which has had such a serious effect on the financial position of the University. It is disappointing that the HEFCE has further reduced the unit of resource for teaching. It is therefore particularly important for the future of the University that the Government should pursue developments in relation to the HE funding system which have been put forward in the recent White Paper. The Council's comments on this White Paper were published in April (Reporter, 2002-03, p. 843). While not entirely satisfactory, the Government's proposals provide a basis for further discussion and action. The choice facing the country is clear: either there will be a significant, and probably irreparable, decline in the quality of higher education, especially undergraduate education, or substantial additional resources must regularly and reliably be available to those universities which provide high-value, but higher-cost, education. This could be done either through public grant, but the Government appears to be unwilling significantly to increase such public funding, or by raising funds from other sources, in particular through fees or the equivalent.

7. An essential requirement if a new fee system is introduced will be that there should be no disincentive to students without significant financial resources of their own to apply to those universities which must charge high fees. The Council are working with the Colleges and the Isaac Newton Trust to formulate an enhanced University-wide bursary scheme, building on the existing University-wide arrangements which the Council believe already to be the largest of any UK or other European university (see Reporter, 2003-04, p. 230). The Council plan that the new bursary scheme will be put in place in good time for any changes to the fee regime.

Education and research

8. The Annual Report of the General Board for 2002-03 is published with this Report. Among the matters to which the Council wish to draw attention are:

(a) educational quality - the results of the Quality Assurance Agency's institutional audit which commended many aspects of the University's activities and the General Board's response are now available on the Agency's website (http://www.qaa.ac.uk/revreps/instrev/cambridge/main.htm);
(b) research arrangements and intellectual property - the Council have published the Report of the committee chaired by Professor W. R. Cornish about intellectual property arrangements, which has been the subject of a Discussion in the Michaelmas Term.
(c) funding - the General Board also expressed their concerns about the under-funding of teaching and research.

9. The recent White Paper on higher education, and a later consultation paper by the Government, proposed what is now referred to as the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). No proper 'regulatory assessment' has yet been published. The suggestion is that this regulator would scrutinize universities' access plans and have power to impose financial penalties especially with regard to charging fees above some basic level. The University is deeply committed to widening access for students of high potential and this extension of Government regulation and micro-management is therefore neither necessary nor helpful.


10. During the year, the Regent House voted on proposals made by the Council about governance. The resulting changes of Statute have now been approved, and provision is in place for the appointment of a team of five Pro-Vice-Chancellors, and for changes to the composition of the Regent House. The Regent House has also approved statutory changes to allow the appointment of two external members of the University Council, one of whom would be Chairman of the Audit Committee.

11. The Council have suggested that the team of Pro-Vice-Chancellors will include Pro-Vice-Chancellors with responsibilities in the areas of planning and resources (already appointed from 1 August 2003: Professor Minson); education; research; personnel; and special responsibilities including strategic oversight of the needs of University institutions and activities which are not covered by the Councils of the Schools (such as some libraries, museums, and collections). The Council expect that the appointment of this team of Pro-Vice-Chancellors will significantly strengthen the academic leadership of the University, and will enable the Vice-Chancellor herself to concentrate particularly on strategic development.

12. The Council are reviewing certain aspects of University committee arrangements, and in particular the relationships between the present statutory Finance Committee, the Planning and Resources Committee, and the Buildings Sub-Committee of the Finance Committee. The Council expect to report on these matters during the coming year.

13. The Council have accepted the early retirement of the Secretary General of the Faculties and the Treasurer. A Pro-Vice-Chancellor has been appointed formally to fill these offices on an acting basis; the detailed responsibilities are delegated to officers in the University Offices. The Council expect to report to the University in due course proposing statutory changes as regards the two offices.

14. The new statutory review jurisdiction of the Commissary came into force on 1 January 2003. The Council have been informed that three applications for review have been made to the Commissary, all of which have been rejected. The Commissary will in due course publish a summary of his decisions.

The Unified Administrative Service

15. The Unified Administrative Service has recently undergone extensive reorganization and restructuring and has benefited from additional resources provided for its strengthening and development. The Council believe that it is now much stronger, professionally based, and delivering services which are necessary if the University is to achieve its academic goals. The Council have agreed that the Registrary will report to them annually on the Service and, on the recommendation of the Registrary, have agreed to undertake a series of reviews of parts of the Service on a rolling basis. The first of the reviews will be that of the Research Services Division in early 2004.

Cambridge Student Information System Project (CamSIS)

16. During the year 2002-03, on the recommendation of the Information Strategy Group and the Planning and Resources Committee, funding for the full project was approved by the Council and provision has been made in the Allocations Report for 2003-04 (Reporter, 2002-03, p. 1074).

17. The Project Board, which is responsible for overseeing the running of the project and which has delegated to it control over the above budget, is chaired by Professor B. F. G. Johnson, Master of Fitzwilliam College, with the Academic Secretary as Project Sponsor, and has members nominated by the Council, General Board, and the Colleges plus senior staff from the project and the Management Information Services Division (MISD).

18. At present the Project Board reports to the Information Strategy Group and thence through the Planning and Resources Committee to the Council. The Board is advised by the Project Steering Group which, through its working groups, is responsible for obtaining as widely representative as possible a set of views from across the University and Colleges. The Project itself is managed on a day-to-day basis through its management team, led by Mr D. Barrington-Light as Project Director and comprising members from the University, the Colleges, and the implementation advisers, Ciber Inc.

19. The Council will continue to monitor the project by means of the procedures developed by the Director of MISD for the life-cycle management of Management Information Services applications and infrastructure systems, and by audit at key stages.

The building programme

20. This work is directed through the Council's Finance Committee and their Buildings Sub-Committee, and the Estate Management and Building Service. The year has again been busy for management and development of the University estate, with design and procurement of several large projects. For the largest, a research building at Addenbrooke's for Cancer Research UK and University staff, the many associated land deals were completed, and construction work started on the building in July 2003; construction of the associated 1,255-space car park also began, following extensive archaeological works relating to a Roman settlement. Also at Addenbrooke's, the University is included in the Addenbrooke's NHS Trust's first 'Private Finance Initiative' (PFI) project, with a proposal currently before the University to inject £15m into a much larger project being carried out by the Trust for Elective Care and the Cambridge Institute for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism. Under new procedures developed to inform the University about proposals for new buildings at an early stage, the Council's Report on this development was presented as a First-stage Report requesting approval in principle. If this approval is obtained, a more detailed Second-stage Report will be published,1 seeking approval of the specific proposals. Near to the Addenbrooke's Hospital Site, work at the Strangeways Research Laboratory for a new genetics epidemiology building was largely completed.

21. On the Sidgwick Site, work has continued on new buildings for the Faculty of English and the Institute of Criminology in accordance with the Site development plan approved in May 2001. Further to the West, the Centre for Mathematical Sciences complex was completed, slightly ahead of schedule. This project has been widely acclaimed as being well designed and highly sustainable (and had nominations for both the Prime Minister's award for the best public building of the year, and for the architectural Stirling Prize). Physical expansion of the University Library continues with work on the West bookstacks. At West Cambridge, the building for the Centre of Nanoscience was completed, more infrastructure was established, and a good start was made on the construction of 206 units of accommodation for postdoctoral research and other staff; there will also be a child-care centre and small shops with these residences. Proposals for a new building for a Centre of Advanced Photonics and Electronics have been presented to the University. Proposals for the East Forum were the subject of a Discussion on 8 July (Reporter, 2002-03, p. 1180). The Council are considering revised plans for the project and expect to publish their response to the remarks made at the Discussion later in the Michaelmas Term.2

22. Closer to the centre of Cambridge, work on the second phase of the new biological research building in Tennis Court Road is expected to be completed this winter; the Fitzwilliam Museum is being extensively upgraded; the large refurbishment project of the Chemical Laboratories was concluded satisfactorily and work started on a refurbishment programme for three Chemistry Lecture Theatres. Construction of a new cricket school and pavilion at Fenner's, and new buildings for the Faculty of Education at the Hills Road site has started.

23. During the year, a strategy has been developed for the improvement and upgrading of buildings on the New Museums and Downing Sites. A key objective will be to concentrate the Biological Sciences on the Downing Site. Early discussions on the future of the Mill Lane site also began.

24. For the third consecutive year, total capital buildings programme expenditure for the University was slightly under its overall budget; this year by 5%. This is as a result of new building projects costing less than the Warrants (which include contract contingencies and client reserves) initially approved. In all capital projects sustainability and whole-life costings continue to have high priority.

25. Due to the financial situation there were reduced minor works and maintenance programmes; however despite this, the estate remained near the top in the Russell Group for building condition and suitability for purpose according to HEFCE-sponsored building statistics. In future years it will be highly desirable to keep maintenance budgets at a level sufficient to meet legislative requirements and to prevent backlog maintenance from increasing.

26. Looking to the future, and the need to ensure that our successors have appropriate strategic options, major efforts went into contributing to the County Structure Plan process, in particular making the case for allocating sufficient land so that the University has the option of continued expansion in the medium term. Following a six-week Examination in Public, starting in October 2002, into the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Deposit Draft Structure Plan, the University's land in North West Cambridge (in the area bounded by Madingley Road, Huntingdon Road, and the M11), which was the subject of a preliminary Report in May 2000 (Reporter, 1999-2000, p. 724) and an exhibition in the Senate-House in March 2001, has now been identified in the Structure Plan as a location for University-related development. A preliminary Report to the Regent House about the development of this area has been published (Reporter, 2003-04, p. 149).

27. During the year the Council and General Board approved the Estate Plan 2003, which replaces the previous plan of 2000-01. The new Plan broadly follows the same approach as the previous plan, focusing on the management of the estate over the next five years. It gives particular attention to the sustainable size of the estate, the invariable need for business planning of capital projects, better arrangements for management of space, ensuring that the overall condition of the estate does not deteriorate, and improving environmental performance.


28. The Personnel Committee (a joint Committee of the Council and the General Board) and the Personnel Division have continued to take forward the implementation of a wide range of activity in the context of the University's Human Resources Strategy, for which additional funding has been received under HEFCE's Rewarding and Developing Staff initiative. This has included:

(a) further expansion of staff development provision, including management skills training and staff and student selection interviewing;
(b) in the area of equality and diversity, the introduction of race equality and gender action plans and the establishment of an Equality and Diversity Committee;
(c) a single scheme for senior academic promotions and revised arrangements for regrading and discretionary increments for other staff groups, both of which will be implemented in 2003-04;
(d) probationary schemes for all staff groups and a career management scheme for contract research staff;
(e) responses to legislation, notably in regard to fixed-term and part-time working and race relations;
(f) continuing work in partnership with Addenbrooke's NHS Trust on the implementation of the Follett Committee's recommendations in respect of clinical academic staff;
(g) measures to assist recruitment and retention, including improved financial assistance with relocation.

29. The HEFCE has confirmed that it will run a second phase of the Rewarding and Developing Staff initiative, although there is concern amongst research-intensive universities that the funding council has indicated that it intends to apportion funding according to teaching grant only.

30. This year's pay negotiations have seen the employers offer a two-year pay settlement which is linked to the introduction of single spine and a framework agreement which is intended to facilitate pay restructuring and the introduction of common grading methodologies in institutions. At the time of writing it is not known whether all the trade unions nationally will accept the offer. Notwithstanding that, in order to assist recruitment and retention and meet equal pay considerations, the Personnel Committee hope to make proposals for significant changes in the structure of the University's pay scales and in the way staff are rewarded.

31. Work is beginning in anticipation of the implementation of legislation relating, for example, to age discrimination, information and consultation, discrimination, harassment, and dispute resolution. This work will also involve revisions to staff disciplinary, grievance, and other procedures (including Statute U, now that the Privy Council has endorsed a Revised Model Statute).


32. Cambridge Foundation income for 2002-03 was £19.4m - an increase of almost £1m on last year. This included over £6m from Cambridge in America, of which approximately £3m was for the Colleges and £3m for the University.

33. Major gifts in 2002-03 included a £1m anonymous donation towards the Centre for Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology, a £1m anonymous pledge for the plant growth facilities at the Botanic Garden, and a legacy exceeding £1m from the estate of Dr R. M. Canney for medical and psychological research.

34. In July 2003, the pharmaceuticals company Merck Sharp and Dohme extended their support to the School of Clinical Medicine by pledging a further £1.5m on top of the £1.5m already received since 1997. In addition to providing support for graduate students in the combined M.B./Ph.D. programme, this donation will continue to provide funding for a number of Ph.D. Studentships and postdoctoral Fellowships.

35. The University's substantial building programme is supported by many generous benefactions. The £40m University of Cambridge/Hutchison/Cancer Research UK Cancer Centre at Addenbrooke's, which will make Cambridge one of the largest concentrations of expertise in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer in Europe, for example, is funded by the University, Cancer Research UK, and major benefactors: Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, the multi-national conglomerate based in Hong Kong; Atlantic Philanthropies; and Dr and Mrs R. R. Sackler.

36. The fifth Ceremony of Admission of Companions of the Guild of Cambridge Benefactors, established by the Cambridge Foundation, was held in November 2002. The ceremony saw the admission of individual and corporate Companions in recognition of their support to the University, as well as College benefactors.

37. On 21 July 2003, the Chancellor hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for over 250 of Cambridge's leading supporters. The event provided an opportunity to mark the departure of Sir Alec Broers as Vice-Chancellor and of Lady Broers, and the appointment of Professor Richard as his successor to the office. Guests included Dr and Mrs G. Moore, who had given £7.5m to the University for the new Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Technology Library, opened in 2002. Dr and Mrs Moore dedicated the library, named in their honour, on 23 July 2003. Their generosity has meant that collections previously held in separate locations around the University could be united at Clarkson Road. This new library will play an important role in keeping Cambridge at the forefront of teaching and research in mathematics, science, technology, and other disciplines.

38. The annual visit of the Cambridge in America Board took place on 12 May, and was followed by a celebratory concert and dinner for Sir Alec and Lady Broers. Mr S. Price and Ms C. S. Muther retired from the Board during the year. Professor P. Goddard, who leaves office as Master of St John's College in January 2004 to take up an appointment in the United States, has accepted an invitation to join the Board.

39. Mr M. W. McCrum, formerly Vice-Chancellor and Master of Corpus Christi College, who has been involved in the work of the Cambridge Foundation since its creation, resigned as a Trustee Emeritus in 2003. The Council extend their thanks for his strong support over the past fourteen years. The Council thank also all the current and past Trustees of the Cambridge Foundation, the Board Members of Cambridge in America, and other key volunteers who make such a valuable contribution to fund-raising for the University.

Senior officers

40. The Council wish to record their thanks to the following senior officers who worked closely with the Council and who have left office: Mrs A. M. Lonsdale, President of New Hall, as Pro-Vice-Chancellor; Professor M. J. Grant, now Provost and President of University College London, also as Pro-Vice-Chancellor; Dr D. A. Livesey, as Secretary General of the Faculties; Mrs J. M. Womack, as University Treasurer; and Dr N. J. B. A. Branson, as Deputy Registrary. The Council are grateful for their service to the University.


1 Approved by Grace 2 of 12 November 2003.

2 See Reporter, 2003-04, p. 232.

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Cambridge University Reporter 17 December 2003
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