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Consultative Report of the Council on matters relating to central administration and management (the Finance and Planning Resources Committees, the establishment of a Buildings Committee): Notice

24 May 2004

The Council have considered the remarks made at the Discussion on 27 April 2004 (p. 659) of their Consultative Report dated 8 March 2004 (p. 537).

The Council have noted that the Board of Scrutiny have welcomed the proposed division of responsibility between the three committees.

The Council plan to submit a legislative report shortly, after there has been an opportunity to discuss the Report on certain administrative offices (p. 714). Legislative proposals to follow the two Reports will be presented together because they are connected.

The connection between committee and officer arrangements, and the earlier consultation and decision process on governance, are the reasons why the present proposals are put forward now. Some of the speakers in the Discussion suggested that there had been undue delay. Others may believe that this time has been well spent in achieving good proposals which command consensus.

Reference was also made to the respective roles of the Board of Scrutiny and the Council's Audit Committee. Reference to the Statutes and Ordinances demonstrates the different roles of the two bodies, and their different lines of reporting.

Reference was made in the Discussion to the role of the present Finance Committee as compared to that of the former Financial Board. The role of the Finance Committee is more focused than that of the former Board, but it would be wrong to conclude from this that the Committee is a down-graded version of the Board: the Committee has important functions in advising the University Council, on topics set out in the Report. Its significance is emphasized by the continuing role of the Vice-Chancellor in chairing the Finance Committee in person.

There was also comment that the Planning and Resources Committee (PRC), as currently constituted, is too large. The Council are well aware of the difficulty which can arise if committees or other bodies are too large. They intend to keep the performance of the PRC, and other committees, under review. If the interests of the University seem to be best served by a different composition of the PRC, the Council, after consulting the General Board, will so decide. The Council point out that, contrary to the implications of some remarks in this Discussion, such considerations are a reason why undue specification of committee constitution in the Ordinances should be avoided.

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Cambridge University Reporter 26 May 2004
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