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Report of the Council on the regulations for the Local Examinations Syndicate: Notice

9 November 1998

In their Report, dated 13 October 1997, on the regulations for the Local Examinations Syndicate (Reporter, 1997-98, p. 50) the Council proposed a revision of the regulations for the Syndicate. Among the changes proposed was one affecting the Syndicate's power to make donations; under the pre-1997 regulations the Syndicate were empowered to make donations, subject to the approval of the Council, to the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust (CCT), and it was proposed to extend this power so as to cover donations to the Cambridge Overseas Trust (COT) and other similar trusts. At the discussion of the Report on 28 October 1997 (ibid., p. 131), Professor Lamb commented adversely on this proposal; he suggested that such transfers of funds ought not to be made direct between the institutions concerned, but should be channelled through the Chest. To avoid delaying the introduction of the other measures with which the Report was concerned, the Council agreed to withdraw the proposal relating to donations, and to reinstate for the time being the wording of the existing regulation, which permits donations to the CCT but to no other trusts. With that modification the revised regulations were approved by Grace 10 of 12 November 1997.

In their Notice of 10 November 1997 (ibid., p. 138) the Council said that they intended to review the operation of the provision for donations, in consultation with the trusts concerned and with the Syndicate. The Council have now done this. They have been advised by the Syndicate that for many years a substantial part of the Syndicate's income has been derived from examinations in various countries overseas, and that in recognition of this the Syndicate have thought it proper to offer financial assistance to the trusts which have been established for the benefit of students from those countries. Because this represents a clearly defined purpose, the Syndicate would not wish their support for overseas students to be channelled through central University funds; such an arrangement would obscure the rationale for their donations, and would be liable to misinterpretation in the countries concerned. They have therefore represented to the Council that it is proper and indeed preferable that their donations should be made direct. The Council recognize the force of this argument; they also note that, contrary to Professor Lamb's suggestion, the transfers in question do not bypass the central bodies since, under both the existing and the proposed regulations, any donations made by the Syndicate to the trusts would be subject to the approval of the Council. The Council have therefore agreed to adhere to the original recommendations of their Report; they are submitting a Grace to the Regent House (Grace 3, p. 151) for the approval of a revised version of Regulation 11(f) for the Syndicate in the form in which it appeared in their Report of 13 October 1997.

Professor Lamb also drew attention to the undertaking, given by the Financial Board in 1986, to provide the University with information about trust funds of which the University is custodian trustee; he suggested that nothing has been done to honour this undertaking. The Council wish to assure the University that this is not the case. The principal trust funds in this category are the CCT and the COT. Since 1986-87 the Council have published each year a detailed account of the awards made to overseas students by the CCT and (since its inception in 1988) by the COT; this supplements the Annual Report of the Council's Committee on Awards for Overseas Students, which is also published to the University each year. The Finance Committee receive a detailed statement each year of the financial position of these two trusts; in 1997-98 the Abstract of Accounts gave details for the first time of the holdings of both the CCT and the COT in the Amalgamated Fund and in cash on deposit. The Council have asked their Finance Committee to extend this practice to cover other funds of which the University is custodian trustee; however, they remind the University that only limited resources are available for work of this sort, and that in the present financial stringency other more urgent projects may have to take priority.

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Cambridge University Reporter, 18 November 1998
Copyright © 1998 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.