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Thirteenth Report of the Board of Scrutiny: Notice by the Council

3 November 2008

1. This Notice is in reply to the Thirteenth Report of the Board of Scrutiny (Reporter, 2007-08, p. 996) and to the Discussion held on 14 October 2008 (Reporter, p. 123).

General

2. The Council was pleased to note the constructive and positive comments of the Board, especially on financial and related matters.

The recommendations of the Board

3. The Council comments on the eight recommendations of the Board:

Recommendation 1. The University should investigate with all expediency the prospect of taking advantage of current market conditions to raise significant sums of long-term funds via the fixed interest markets.

The Council and the Finance Committee are proposing amendments of Statute to permit (but not require) such action when conditions are optimal. A Report proposing amendments to Statute F has been published on p. 145.

Recommendation 2. A clearer picture of the contribution to finances of the Cambridge 800th Anniversary campaign should be represented in the annual accounts.

Publication of this information is kept under review, and, as the Board recognizes, substantial information is always published. Information published in or with the accounts must comply with the relevant SORP.

Recommendation 3. With the establishment of the University's Investment Office, a more substantial report into its activities and relative performance should be considered for future annual review.

Information about investment performance is published in the Financial Statements, which are published in the Reporter alongside the Council's Annual Report, and in the Financial Management Information, which is published in a Special No. of the Reporter. The Finance Committee (and the Council) receive regular information from the Council's Investment Board. The Finance Committee (and the Council) receive an annual report on the Cambridge University Endowment Fund, and both the Committee and the Council meet with the Chief Investment Officer to discuss investment matters. The reporting of the Investment Office and the Investment Board is to the Finance Committee and the Council. The Investment Office will continue the current practice of an annual summary to investors in the Endowment Fund and expects to develop the scope and content further.

Recommendation 4. A Syndicate should be established as soon as possible to undertake a revision of Statutes and Ordinances.

Proposals for the revision of Statute U (about the employment, grievance, discipline, and dismissal of academic staff) are in the course of consultation. A process of consolidating Orders (that is decisions of the Regent House which are not in the form of regulations) has been initiated by the officers, and will be concluded during 2008-09. Fuller information will be contained in the Council's Annual Report for 2007-08, to be published later in the term.

Recommendations 5, 6, and 7. 5. The Project Board of CamSIS should endeavour to fulfil the aspirations of the agreed vision statement. 6. Efforts should continue to improve communications on the VoIP project. 7. The HSO and the VoIP project managers should issue joint guidance on safety requirements for VoIP installations.

The Council is referring these recommendations to the relevant project boards for consideration and report to the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate.

Recommendation 8. The University should append an explanatory note to Regulation 24 [for Intellectual Property Rights] in the next and future publications of the University's Statutes and Ordinances.

This is agreed.

Procedural matters

4. Various procedural matters have arisen:

(a) In the Discussion the outgoing chair of the Board regretted that the Council had not published an interim Notice commenting on the Report. The Council believes that it is appropriate for an interim Notice to be published only when necessary, and will consider whether to do so each year. On this occasion the Council considered the Thirteenth Report and saw no need to publish an interim Notice.
(b) The Council endorses the statement by the outgoing chair of the Board that it 'cannot act as an Ombudsman about individual grievances'.

Other matters

5. The Council comments on various detailed matters raised in the Report and the Discussion:

(a) Cambridge Enterprise

Cambridge Enterprise is at present set up as a service organization, not a profit maximizing organization (its income is predominantly distributed directly to the Schools, Faculties, and Departments, so a 'profit' is hardly possible). An abstract of its financial position for 2006-07, taken from its business plan submitted to the Finance Committee and to the Council, is given in the Annex to this Notice.

A review of the present arrangements for Cambridge Enterprise and related matters will take place in due course (this is planned for 2011).

(b) IPR

The Council has noted the remarks of Professor Fray. There have been properly conducted proceedings by a Referee and by the Technology Appeal Tribunal about this matter, which arose before the present IPR policy was approved, and before the creation of Cambridge Enterprise as a company. The Tribunal's interpretation of Regulation 24 will be included as a footnote to the regulation (see Recommendation 8).

An internal audit report on IPR (February 2008), which also dealt with aspects of Cambridge Enterprise was submitted to the Audit Committee on 13 March 2008.

(c) High Performance Computing Facility

The Head of the School of the Physical Sciences commented in detail on this facility and its resources. Questions about its procurement were the subject of an internal audit review considered and noted by the Audit Committee at meetings in the Easter and Michaelmas Terms 2007.

The Council has been asked by the Audit Committee to point out that the responsibilities of the Committee are stated in Regulation 4 (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 942) and include the following:

(a) to keep under review the effectiveness of the University's internal systems of financial and other control;
(g) to monitor the implementation of any recommendations made by the internal auditors;
(h) to satisfy themselves that satisfactory arrangements are adopted throughout the University for promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness;
(l) to oversee the University's policy on fraud and irregularity, and to ensure that they are informed of any action taken under that policy;

(d) Senior Academic Promotions Procedure

Points about the Senior Academic Promotions Procedure were raised in the Discussion. The Council is referring the matters of principle raised to the General Board (the body responsible for the procedure) for consideration.

ANNEX

Cambridge Enterprise Group 2006-07: Abstract  
 
Group Actual 2006-07 (Salary Costs and Grants Restated with Full Year Effect)
 
£
Income
Software, Royalty and Licence, Consultancy, Exceptional Consultancy, Private Practice
6,021,288
 
Direct Costs/Distribution to Stakeholders
Amounts to be Distributed to Academics and Costs, Distributions to Departments
5,317,661
 
Retained Income from Activities
703,627
 
Portfolio Management Costs
Patent, Proof of Concept
540,119
 
Overheads
Staff Costs, Other Overheads
1,711,708
 
Other Operating Income
Equity Sales Tech Transfer, Patent Reimbursement, Other
417,467
 
Operating Profit
(1,130,732)
 
Fees for Technology Transfer Services
Chest, HEIF3, Wolfson Fund, Cambep, Other
800,992
 
Interest received
142,577
 
Profit/Loss Before Taxation
(187,163)
 
Taxation Adjustment
0
 
Profit after Taxation
(187,163)


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Cambridge University Reporter 05 November 2008
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