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Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on the supervision of the University's information strategy and information communication and technology services and systems: Notice

22 October 2007

The Council and the General Board have considered the remarks made at the Discussion on 10 July 2007 of their Joint Report on the supervision of the University's information strategy and information communication and technology services and systems (Reporter, 2006-07, p. 894). Those remarks expressed reservations in three broad categories: the responsibilities of the proposed new Information Strategy and Services Syndicate and the consequential Sub-syndicate structure outlined in the Report; the relationship to each other and to the proposed new Syndicate of the existing University Computing Service (UCS) and the existing Management Information Services Division (MISD) of the University Offices, and their accountabilities; and the recommended membership of the proposed new Syndicate. In this Notice the Council and the Board reply to these concerns.

The Council and the Board recognize that the culture and methods of working of the ITS and the ISG have been different. The new arrangements are intended to provide for governance oversight of strategic issues by the Syndicate itself. Mindful of the operational supervision responsibilities of the present ITS and the Joint Telecommunications Management Committee, the Council and the Board thought it appropriate to propose that the new ISSS should have Sub-syndicates to oversee project development, operational systems management, and the critical data communications and telecommunications infrastructure. Because the Council and the Board recognized the considerable expertise and understanding that currently existed in the ITS, the UCS, and MISD, they thought that it would be better for the new Syndicate to consult and to make its own arrangements for these operational structures. The proposals in the Report, as they made clear, were illustrative and not prescriptive. However the Council and the Board accept that the terms of reference given for the two Sub-syndicates in the Appendix to the Report should be considered further by the new Syndicate and have agreed to withdraw the Appendix.

The relationship between the UCS and MISD was raised by Professor Shattock in his report (Reporter, 2001-02, p. 177) when he recommended that consideration be given to their merger. The Council and the Board recognize that there are arguments in favour of a merger but they also are aware that the two bodies have different roles and responsibilities, that each is currently undertaking important priority work, and that there are significant opportunity costs associated with a merger. The Council and the Board see no advantage in a merger at this time. The work of the UCS will therefore continue to be overseen, but by the proposed new ISSS rather than by the ITS, with its Director accountable to the Chair of the Syndicate, as at present. The work of the MISD will also be overseen by the proposed new Syndicate; its Director will continue to be accountable to the Registrary for the proper performance of his duties. The Council and the Board are confident that these organizational and accountability arrangements will be robust in the short term but they may wish to review them in the light of experience of some years' operation.

The Council and the Board have reconsidered the proposals for the membership of the Syndicate. They entirely agree that the two Directors will have key roles to play in advising the proposed new Syndicate. However as a matter of general principle they take the view that there is a clear distinction to be drawn between officers advising and being accountable to any Syndicate or other body, and being in membership. The two roles are incompatible in terms of good governance. They therefore are of the view that it is inappropriate for either Director to be a member of the proposed new Syndicate but each must have the right of attendance. The Council and the Board have revised their proposals for the membership of the ISSS in the light of the other remarks. They now propose that membership of the Syndicate be as follows:

the Vice-Chancellor (or a duly appointed deputy) to chair

three persons nominated by the Council

three persons nominated by the Colleges

three persons nominated by the General Board

two persons elected by the staff, one from each of UCS and MISD

two students including at least one graduate student

up to two co-opted persons

with the Registrary, the University Librarian, and the Directors of the UCS, MISD, and the Finance Division having the right to attend.

The Council notes the comments made by the University Telecommunications Manager. In their Report the Council and the General Board recommended that the staff of the Telecommunications Office be transferred to the University Computing Service. The distinct office of University Telecommunications Manager would be rescinded but the current holder would hold the equivalent office of Senior Assistant Treasurer (designated University Telecommunications Manager) and be assigned to the UCS for the remainder of his tenure.

The Council, with the concurrence of the General Board, is accordingly submitting a Grace (Grace 1, p. 113) for the approval of the recommendations in their Joint Report as amended below.

22 October 2007 ALISON RICHARD, Vice-Chancellor M. CLARK G. A. REID
 ROSS ANDERSON S. J. COWLEY DAVID SIMON
 TONY BADGER BOB DOWLING VERONICA SUTHERLAND
 NICK BAMPOS S. ENSOR-ROSE JOAN M. WHITEHEAD
 Z. BARANSKI M. FLETCHER RICHARD WILSON
 NIGEL BROWN DEBBIE LOWTHER S. J. YOUNG
 WILLIAM BROWN D. W. B. MACDONALD  

 

10 October 2007 ALISON RICHARD, Vice-Chancellor WILLIAM BROWN KATHERINE LINDER
 NICK BAMPOS P. COULTHARD D. W. B. MACDONALD
 GRAEME BARKER PHILIP FORD MELVEENA MCKENDRICK
 JOHN BELL RICHARD FRIEND PATRICK SISSONS
 TOM BLUNDELL RICHARD HUNTER I. H. WHITE

Amendments to the recommendations of the original Report

Revised Regulations 1-3 for the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate (see the Annex to the Joint Report (Reporter, 2006-07, p. 805))

1. The Information Strategy and Services Syndicate shall consist of:

(a) the Vice-Chancellor (or a duly appointed deputy) as Chairman;
(b) three persons appointed by the Council;
(c) three persons appointed by the General Board of the Faculties;
(d) three persons appointed by the Colleges' Committee;
(e) one person elected from among their own number by the officers of the University Computing Service;
(f) one person elected from their own number by the officers of the Management Information Services Division of the University Offices;
(g) two members of the University in statu pupillari, co-opted by the Syndicate, at least one of whom shall be a graduate student;
(h) not more than two persons co-opted by the Syndicate, provided that it shall not be obligatory for the Syndicate to co-opt any person or persons.

2. The Registrary, the Librarian, and the Directors of the University Computing Service, and of the Management Information Services Division and the Finance Division of the University Offices, shall have the right to attend meetings of the Syndicate.

3. The appointment of members in classes (b), (c), and (d) shall be made in the Michaelmas Term for periods of four years from 1 January following. An election of members in classes (e) and (f) shall be held in the Michaelmas Term of every year of which the number is even; the procedure for such an election shall be that prescribed in the Single Transferable Vote Regulations, except that the returning officer shall be the Chairman of the Syndicate or a deputy appointed by the Chairman. Members in classes (e) and (f) shall serve for two years from 1 January following their election. Co-opted members in classes (g) and (h) shall serve until 31 December of the year following that in which they are co-opted, provided that if a member in class (g) ceases to be in statu pupillari he or she shall thereupon cease to be a member in that class.


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Cambridge University Reporter 24 October 2007
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