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Report of Discussion

Tuesday, 13 July 2004. A Discussion was held in the Senate-House of the following Reports:

Report of the Council, dated 21 June 2004, on College contributions in the financial year 2003-04 (p. 886).

Dr D. R. DE LACEY:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the inclusion of the Annex to this Report is a welcome innovation, but the details given are in one respect tantalizing. The statement with which the Annex begins is puzzling: 'The amount of money available in the Fund for distribution in 2004, including a £500,000 voluntary contribution from Trinity College, is approximately £2.75m' (my emphasis). From the figures given in the Report the income is exactly £2,724,711. Do the Managers not know what the residual balance was before this? The disbursements total precisely £2.75m. Whence the extra £25,289? As I understood it from Statute G, the Colleges Fund was set up to help 'the general purposes of the University'. Schedule G indicates that this is no longer its function; but if now the University is funding the Colleges through this Fund should not the Report make this clear?

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 28 June and 16 June 2004, on the implementation in Cambridge of the 2003 and 2004 pay increases for non-clinical academic and academic-related staff (p. 888).

Dr S. J. COWLEY:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I intend to speak about some of the stipends listed in Annex 2 of this Report. I wish to make clear from the outset that all the comments I make refer to the stipends of offices, not the stipends of individual office holders.

Next, it has been suggested to the Board of Scrutiny that when members of that Board contribute to Discussions it might help members of the Regent House for that affiliation to be declared. I do so now, but let me also make clear that I speak as an individual and not on behalf of the Board.

Why am I going to talk about stipends? One justification might be because they are there. Unlike some institutions the University publishes its stipends, or to be more precise it publishes the stipends of established posts (more of that later); but what is the reason for publication?

One justification for publication might be based on the argument of equal pay for equal work. If everyone knows what everyone else earns then that transparency might act as a self-regulator. Indeed, if you are unaware of other stipends how do you know if you are being discriminated against? On a related point, one of the main justifications for the forthcoming Consultative Report on a new pay and grading structure for non-clinical staff in the University (see paragraph 3 of this Report), is to ensure equal pay for equal work. Will that Report adopt the principle that all stipends should be published?

Another justification for the publication of stipends is embarrassment (possibly self-regulation in another guise). This may be the reason why the stipends of the Directors of my building society are published, and I as a member have the opportunity to vote for or against the proposals of the remuneration committee (I voted against). If those at the top happen to receive disproportionate and/or unjustified increases then those in the middle and at the bottom, and other stakeholders, should know. Indeed, in my old rosy coloured world those at the top would receive the same increase as those at the middle and the bottom, in order to ensure that those at the middle and the bottom were not left behind by overweight, if not obese, felines. Since we are all going to receive 3% that should be the end of my speech, but it is not.

I wish to make three main points concerning (i) the late publication of stipends, (ii) the non-publication of stipends and/or additional emoluments, and (iii) the relative increase in stipends.

The late publication of stipends. In the 3 June 2002 Report of the Council on the base stipend attaching to the office of Director in the Unified Administrative Service (as approved by Grace 2 of 13 November 2002) it was stated 'That the stipend of each Director be determined by the Council on appointment to the office at a single step … and published in Schedule II to the regulations for stipends'. Why has it taken over 18 months for this publication to take place? Why did the base stipends not appear in the 2003 edition of Statutes and Ordinances? Why, although the office of Administrative Secretary appears in the December 2002 phone book, has the relevant base stipend yet 'to be determined'; has a new appointment been made? Why, given that there are eight Directors listed in Statutes and Ordinances, are there only seven are listed in Annex 2 (also see below)?

In their Notice of 13 May 1991 on future arrangements for the Vice-Chancellor, the Council proposed that they should be authorized to determine the stipend of the Vice-Chancellor and that when settled the stipend should be published. The stipends of the Vice-Chancellors appointed on 11 November 1991 and 10 June 1995 were published 30 and 18 days respectively after appointment (in separate notes by the Council). The stipend for the Vice-Chancellor appointed on 2 December 2002 took 577 days (or thereabouts) to be published. Why the delay in publication? Also, in an admittedly quick search of the minutes of the Council that are available on the World Wide Web, I was unable to find the minute approving the stipend of the office of Vice-Chancellor.

The non-publication of stipends and/or additional emoluments. I have already referred to the fact that the base stipend of one of the Directors has not been published. Apparently this is because the current Director is not established (although I fail to see how the office of that Directorship is not established). A legalistic reading of the Report of 3 June 2002 may mean that there is no requirement to publish this base stipend, however I do not think that non-publication is in the spirit of the Report. Further, if we are into legalistic readings does the Council agree with me that supplementary payments cannot be paid to Directors on appointment, and will the Council confirm that no supplementary payments have been paid on appointment?

A loophole to the principle that stipends should be published is now apparent, but let me spell it out. I am informed that the difference between established and unestablished posts is that unestablished post-holders: (a) are not subject to statutory procedures for removal (b) are not members of the Regent House, and (c) are fixed term (whatever that means in the new world of employment law). To which I would add: (d) do not have their stipends published. In my opinion the non-publication of stipends is a loophole that ought to be closed. I first became aware of the difference in the lead up to CAPSA go live. The first Directors appointed were unestablished posts, and were, as far as I can tell, created as unestablished posts so that, inter alia, the Regent House did not have to be consulted (or as Professor Shattock described it: 'It has been put to me that one reason why governance and management issues, including the creation of senior posts in the Unified Administrative Service (UAS), have not been addressed more transparently is a long-standing reluctance to face scrutiny or criticism in the Regent House'). Two of the first three Directors resigned following CAPSA go live. One might presume that, having learnt the lessons from CAPSA, Council would not attempt to reorganize the UAS by creating another unestablished Director. I note that on 12 May 2004 an advert appeared in the Reporter for a Director of Public Affairs (apparently with a salary of up to £75,000 according to the further particulars). I can find no Report to the Regent House proposing a reorganization of the UAS and the establishment of this Directorship; could Council direct me to the relevant Report? Further, will the Council publish the salary of the appointee even if the post is unestablished? It might also be interesting to know the fee being paid to the head-hunter, or is there some convenient confidentiality clause?

More generally, is Council willing to publish the stipends of all established and unestablished posts, say on the basis that equal pay should be seen to be paid for equal work? Also, could Council indicate whether there are any restrictions on payments in kind and/or perks (e.g. travel expenses, housing allowances) either by the University centrally or by Departments or other institutions to both established or unestablished post-holders? If such additional emoluments are allowed does Council agree that they should all be published as, say, the benefit of an official residence already is?

A comparison of the relative increase in stipends. Finally, I would like to highlight some of the increases in stipends between 1 April 1992 and 1 October 2003. I shall express these increases as a percentage rise over the Retail Prices Index (RPI). While I might like to pretend that my motivation is free from envy and sour grapes, in truth it is not! However, I hope that these figures will make a serious point about whom the University apparently values based on who it is willing to reward. I would also like to make it clear that I am not saying that some of the following offices are not worth every penny paid, however I am convinced that there are other offices that deserve a great deal more pennies if the University is to have any hope of remaining a world-class research institution. I should also apologize in advance if some of sums are wrong, but arithmetic is not this mathematician's strong point.

In what follows I will try and make some crude allowance for job-description drift. For instance, a Professor who twelve years ago might have expected to retire at the base professorial stipend might now hope to retire with, say, two supplementary payments. Similarly an academic who in the past might have retired at the top the University Lecturer scale could now reasonably expect to retire either at the top of the Senior Lecturer scale, or as a Reader, or possibly as a Professor. There is also a difficulty in making comparisons with senior administrative posts because of the reorganization of the administrative service. However, a priori, my expectation was that if you go from a flat structure at the top to a triangular one, then the top stipends would not all increase by more than average (if you get my gist). Another difficulty is that supplementary payments to individual post-holders are undisclosed, hence for a number of offices only a range of possible increases can be given. However, in some of these cases, particularly posts that were initially unestablished, an indication of the supplementary payments can be obtained by reverse engineering the figures from the Blue Book, and of course the overall number of supplementary payments is published.

To place matters in context it might help by first noting that the base professorial stipend increased in real terms by 7% between 1 April 1992 and 1 October 2003. Supplementary payments, of which there were two steps in 1992 and four in 2003, complicate other comparisons. The handful of academic superstars receiving maximum supplementary payments in both years will have received a 30% increase, while those originally with no supplements but now with four supplementary payments will have received a 64% increase. However, maybe the best indicative figure might be the difference between the original base professorial stipend and that with two supplementary payments, i.e. a 35% increase.

Compare this with a Lecturer at the top of the scale in 1992, who is now at the top of the Senior Lecturer scale, or a Reader or Professor: that office holder has had a 19%, 28%, or 48% increase respectively. Similarly an Assistant Registrary originally at the top of the scale in 1992 and who now has maximum discretionary points, or whose office has been regraded to Senior Assistant Registrary or Principal Assistant Registrary has had a 19%, 23%, or 37% increase respectively.

Further down the tree the increase between the bottom of the Assistant Lecturer scale in 1992 and the bottom of the Lecturer scale in 2003 is 37% (which I find rather encouraging). Further up the tree, the stipend of an academic-related office on step 31 in 1992 has increased by between 23% and 74% depending on the number of supplementary payments awarded.

What about the 'flat' triumvirate of Principal Officers and their effective 'triangular' successor offices? The possible range of increases since 1992 for these offices are 23-73%, 40-91%, and 45-95%. Finally, the office of Vice-Chancellor: the headline figure here is an increase of 62%. However, suppose that the office of Vice-Chancellor is at present not in USS, and that the superannuation payments are being paid as stipend, the adjusted figure is then a 42% increase.

I leave the reader to draw his or her own conclusions as to past priorities. I finish by noting that in the Allocations Report for 2004-05 the Council stated that the greatest risk to the University is that it fails to recruit and retain high-quality staff of all grades (my emphasis), and that while I admit that there has been a lot of talk about the need to increase academic salaries, in my opinion actions speak louder than words.

Dr M. R. CLARK:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I wish briefly to address some points in this report in my capacity as President of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers (CAUT). The CAUT welcomes the recommendation of the Council and the General Board, described within paragraphs 1, 2, and 4, to implement the pay rises for 2003 and 2004.

However, I would like to draw attention to the CAUT's position on the statements within paragraph 3 referring to acceptance of the unions to the national framework agreement. As you will no doubt remember, the AUT nationally, and the Cambridge AUT locally, were in dispute over the negotiating position of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). Our understanding is that the representative of the University of Cambridge played a key role in helping to settle that dispute by helping to negotiate with the AUT and UCEA an agreed Memorandum of Understanding to be applied alongside the national Framework Agreement. We would like to reinforce this settlement position and we give notice that we will be expecting any recommendations put forward by the Council and the General Board, in the proposed Consultative Report, to adhere to that agreed Memorandum of Understanding. For those who are unfamiliar with the details of the agreements I refer them to the following websites where full details can be obtained: 1. http://www.aut.cam.ac.uk/ Website of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers; 2. http://www.aut.org.uk/ Website of the national Association of University Teachers; 3. http://www.ucea.ac.uk/ Website of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

Professor G. R. EVANS (read by Dr D. R. DE LACEY):

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, 'The modernization of pay arrangements' (3). May we have a little more information about what this is to consist of? In Cambridge it seems to mean a departure from the old rule that we were paid on a published salary-spine to a situation where no one knows what the person next to him is getting for the same work (discretionary or supplementary award? recruitment incentive?). I have remarked before that the foreseeable result of this is that the real work-horses of the place slog on without any extras while the wheelers and dealers get enhanced salaries.

So I really don't know what we are being asked to agree to here, since much of this iceberg is under water. Visible, however, is the Vice-Chancellor's salary, a gigantic step up from what her predecessor was getting, but I expect that was a recruitment incentive. That Development Director, too. Just look.

I will conclude these brief midsummer remarks by returning to para. 3. 'Institutions are expected to complete the implementation of the new arrangements by 1 August 2006. All seven trade unions nationally have now accepted the award and its associated framework agreement.' This leads, it says to 'necessary changes'. That is inaccurate. They are not necessary here. The Regent House makes the decisions here, not the unions. I do not recollect our being asked, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Personnel.

Dr D. R. DE LACEY:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, it is nice to see the stipends of our administration so neatly laid out. And instructive to compare with earlier years: the Vice-Chancellor was getting £135,086 in 2002-031 and £182,572 in 2003-04, a 35% increase.

For Pro-Vice-Chancellors the figure for 2002-03 was £41,238. In July of last year the figure was announced as £90,915, an increase of 120%.2 By August this Report tells us it was up to £95,593.

Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said is that this certainly serves to make the increases for this year seem extraordinarily modest. Of course, 3% of these salaries remains massively greater than 3% of a lowly Lecturer's stipend; but presumably this is acceptable in the name of 'modernization' (3).

For the Directors, I note that (with the exception of Health and Safety, for which it could be argued we habitually pay scant regard) they are all well towards the top of their salary ranges.

It is well-known that administrators are worth hugely more than the mere production workers: it must be true, for our administrators tell us so. But are things not getting just a little out of hand, when even the Chancellor (of the Exchequer) is arguing for massive cuts in the Civil Service?

And the result of our implementation of such pay increases over the years is clearly seen in this same Reporter, on page 877: 'The Faculty Board of Divinity give [sic] notice that the following papers have been suspended for 2004-05 as the Faculty Board are unable to provide teaching for them.'3

1 http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2002-03/weekly/5919/18.html

2 http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2002-03/weekly/5931/16.html

3 http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2003-04/weekly/5968/18.html

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 28 June and 16 June 2004, on the establishment of an Undergraduate Admissions Committee (p. 892).

Professor M. C. MCKENDRICK:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the detailed thinking behind this proposal, which is supported by the intercollegiate bodies, is clearly set out in the draft Report. Its aim, broadly speaking, is two-fold: firstly to streamline and strengthen lines of communication and responsibility, and produce better co-ordinated and more effective policy proposals; and secondly, to present to the outside world a coherent and collaborative approach to admissions and recruitment. The new Committee will provide a forum for discussion of strategic issues relating to undergraduate admissions, including in the immediate future the balance of undergraduate student numbers, and it will be the main source of advice on those issues to the University's central and intercollegiate bodies. It is a bold and imaginative initiative, designed to help the University deal with external developments and the challenges they are going to bring, and it will carry a lot of symbolic capital because it will represent the University and the Colleges working shoulder to shoulder to produce joined-up thinking on politically sensitive issues.

There are two formal aspects of the proposal on which it might help the Regent House to have a little more explanation.

In order to prevent the Committee becoming too large to be effective, it is proposed that its membership should include three representatives of the Schools, appointed by the Council on the nomination of the General Board: one for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, one for Biological Sciences and Clinical Medicine, and one for Physical Sciences and Technology. The intention is that these will not be token representatives, but representatives with an active interest in the issues who will feed School concerns into the business proceedings, and generally act as a channel of two-way communication between each pair of Schools and the Committee. A fourth member of the Regent House appointed by the Council on its own nomination will supplement the University's representation, and the additional provision for up to three co-opted members will give the Committee the flexibility to draw on further experience and expertise as and when it is deemed necessary.

The most unusual feature of the proposed Committee - its joint chairing arrangement - is in fact a very logical one in view of the nature of the Committee. The Committee's agenda will be divided into two parts, one dealing with business for which the University and the Colleges are jointly responsible or in which they have a mutual interest, which the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education will chair, the other dealing with items which are the responsibility of the Colleges, which the Secretary of the Senior Tutors' Committee will chair. Clearly both chairs will attend for the duration of the meeting. The purpose here again, however, is symbolic as well as functional, in that the joint chairing will be the embodiment of the spirit of collaboration and co-ordination in which this proposal is made and which the Committee is intended to foster.

Those with any reservations about this or any other aspect of the proposal, will, I hope, be reassured by the Report's provision , should the proposed committee be approved, for the Council, the General Board and the Senior Tutors' Committee to review the new arrangements in the Easter Term 2005 in consultation with the joint Chairs.

Mr R. G. JOBLING:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am speaking as the current Secretary of the Senior Tutors' Committee, but also on the basis of my experience over many years as a College Tutor, Admissions Tutor, and Senior Tutor.

I welcome very strongly the recommendation of the establishment of an Undergraduate Admissions Committee. This will bring together in a single forum, representatives of the University and the Colleges for the joint discussion of strategic issues surrounding the admission of undergraduates. It will ensure that in the future the related tasks of recruitment and selection are carried out in a coherent and managed fashion, with the fairness and consistency which both we and the wider community rightly expect. It will enable us to explore together the important question of the size and composition of the undergraduate population, which affects both the Colleges, and the Faculties and Departments, as well as the non-School institutions which provide all of the essential support services. The Committee will oversee and facilitate the collective initiatives the University and the Colleges take to widen access and participation, and offer a framework for liaison between the Colleges in relation to their own individual efforts. It is intended to be the instrument that 'Cambridge' will use for preparing responses to external bodies consulting us on undergraduate admissions matters. Finally, and this important, it will simplify and streamline the administration of undergraduate admissions activities in Cambridge, which has become unwieldy over recent years.

The new Committee will be genuinely 'jointly owned' by the University and the Colleges, working in partnership in a key area of major common concern. This is demonstrated by the provision being made for joint Chairmanship. It is more than simply symbolic. It is a clear recognition of a crucial mutual interest in undergraduate admissions, and a determination to ensure that the University and Colleges will go forward together in the formulation of policy, and in ensuring that the admissions system works effectively and equitably at a practical level. In the process the Colleges will of course retain their overall responsibility for undergraduate admissions, and their sole responsibility for selection, but the University and the Colleges will work together in developing recruitment strategies in the context of planning student numbers for example.

All of this represents a significant step forward. It is arguably overdue. Certainly it is essential.

Dr G. T. PARKS (read by Mr R. G. JOBLING):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, when I was appointed to the post of Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges last summer, I was asked by the Senior Tutors' Committee to draw up diagrams mapping the organizational structures that at the time dealt with matters pertaining to undergraduate recruitment and selection within the Colleges and the University. The fruits of my labours showed simply through the number of bodies featured an enormous commitment to these vitally important issues throughout Cambridge, but also highlighted all too clearly the pressing need for these structures to be reviewed, rationalized, and refocused in order to facilitate better communication and co-ordination.

The proposal to establish an Undergraduate Admissions Committee is the most externally visible outcome of the wide-ranging review of these structures that has been taking place this year. The proposal has been discussed and refined in all the many bodies currently involved in the development and implementation of policy concerning undergraduate recruitment and selection, of most of which I am an ex-officio member. The considerably enhanced clarity in the roles and responsibilities of the bodies and individuals involved in these areas that will follow the establishment of the Undergraduate Admissions Committee, and the consequent revision of some of the structures beneath it, are much to be welcomed.

Professor G. R. EVANS (read by Dr D. R. DE LACEY):

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, 'As if it were a body constituted by Statute' (Schedule, 7). Why is it not to be? To set up such a committee as the proposed Undergraduate Admissions Committee without including the word 'Joint' surely requires a Statute? It is to operate in that sensitive no-go area between the autonomy of the individual Colleges and the general good of the University and the need for consistency of practice in the treatment of our students. We funked the attempt to create a unified complaints procedure, leaving our students floundering as they try to discover whether they can use the University one or must persuade their Colleges to create or implement a College one. We are going ahead with this border-crossing bid, though. But of course this is partly about money, and those bursaries which are to draw on one student's fees in order to remit those of another. ('The funds associated with … widening access and participation.')

It is high time to retreat from the microcosmographia for a summer of 'Research Period' activities, so I will leave it there.

Report of the General Board, dated 16 June 2004, on the reassignment of the Professorship of Communications and the establishment of a Professorship of Information Engineering (p. 894).

No comments were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 16 June 2004, on the establishment of two Professorships of the Physics of Medicine (p. 895).

Professor M. S. LONGAIR:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, on behalf of my colleagues in the Cavendish Laboratory and the cognate Departments with which we are collaborating, I wish to record our gratitude to the late Dr Herchel Smith for the magnificent gift of a Chair to be assigned to the Department of Physics.

We have taken this splendid opportunity to bring into reality plans which we have developed over the last three years to make a major initiative with the Clinical School and other Departments in the general area of the Physics of Medicine. The Herchel Smith Chair of the Physics of Medicine will be complemented by a new Chair of Medical Physics which has been generously sponsored by the Addenbrooke's NHS Trust and who will also participate fully in this collaboration between the Clinical School and the Cavendish Laboratory. When the legislation is approved, we will request that these Professorships be held jointly between the Cavendish Laboratory and the Clinical School.

With the enthusiastic support of the Clinical School, we have developed plans to develop substantive collaborations in the general areas of soft condensed matter physics, biological physics, and the physics of medicine. These are areas in which there is already a considerable amount of activity in the Cavendish Laboratory. We have indicated that we will support the two new Professorships by filling two vacant Lectureships in Physics in these general areas.

Our vision is that in due course these new activities will be housed in the first phase of redevelopment of the Cavendish Laboratory, which is currently under very active consideration. This vision involves inter-departmental and inter-school collaboration, including Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Biochemistry, as well as Physics and the Clinical School.

Dr Herchel Smith was the inventor of the first synthetic birth control pill and other hormone therapy treatments. It gives added pleasure that the time is ripe to invest his gift in the Physics of Medicine. It is the view of all those involved that there is an enormous amount which Physics can bring to Medicine and that, with the endowment of these chairs and the support of the Departments, Physics will rapidly be able to make major contributions to medicine which will be of direct benefit to society at large. Cambridge is ideally placed to make this collaborative venture a great success.

Let me repeat our deep gratitude to Dr Herchel Smith for his generosity and vision in enabling our aspirations to become a reality.


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Cambridge University Reporter 21 July 2004
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