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Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on the appointing arrangements for certain academic-related offices and analogous unestablished posts: Notice

16 February 2004

The Council have considered the remarks made at the Discussion of this Report on 2 December 2003 (Reporter, p. 301). They have consulted the General Board and have agreed to comment as follows on the remarks that are relevant to the Report.

1. Mr N. M. Maclaren, Professor G. R. Evans, and Dr M. R. Clark raise points concerning the proposed abolition of the present arrangements and the desirability of removing the detailed provisions relating to Appointments Committees for academic-related offices from Ordinances. The Council and the Board draw attention to the reasons given in paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2 of the Report for the need to alter the current arrangements. The proposed changes aim to address a widely felt need and, in relation to the detail of the proposals, informal consultation has involved the Directors of the University Computing Service and the Management Information Services Division, the University Librarian, the Registrary, and the Academic Secretary. They also acknowledge that it is important, for transparency and ease of reference, that the details of the proposed new arrangements be widely available in published form and they have accordingly agreed to incorporate the arrangements described in Section 4 of the Report in Ordinances in the form of a Notice under the General Regulations for University Officers (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 645 ff).

2. In response to Mr Maclaren's 'compromise' suggestion, the Council and the Board point out that, in their view, the advantages of the proposals outweigh the disadvantages. With regard to Computer Officers, in particular, it should be noted that the Computer Officers in Faculties and Departments in the more senior grades are currently appointed by the relevant Faculty Appointments Committees supplemented by University officers with experience of computing matters. These Committees do not necessarily share common elements of membership (see Regulation 5 for Computer Officers, Statutes and Ordinances, p. 702).

3. With regard to the apparent disparity in the proposed arrangements for appointing to senior grades in the Unified Administrative Service (UAS) and in other institutions, the UAS comprises eight Divisions (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 661) containing staff of a number of different types and wide-ranging specialization and expertise. The Council believe that it is appropriate that appointments in the Unified Administrative Service up to and including the grade of Assistant Registrary/Treasurer and equivalent should be handled on the same basis as other academic-related staff. However, in the more senior grades, because of the wide-ranging nature of the service that the UAS provides to the University and the Council's ultimate responsibility for that service, the Council believe that it is appropriate that a Standing Appointments Committee continues to appoint to the most senior grades on its behalf.

4. Mr Maclaren expresses the view that for Computer Officers the senior academic-related officer with knowledge and expertise of the role of the office/post to which an appointment is being made should be a Senior Computer Officer. The Council and the Board take the view that sufficient technical expertise and advice will be provided by the Director of the University Computing Service or his Deputy. However, the Council and the Board agree with Mr Maclaren that not only members of appointing bodies for Computer Officers but also for the other categories of staff covered by the Report should be at a grade at least equivalent to the office or post to which appointment is being made.

5. Mr Maclaren suggests that fair treatment of academic-related staff requires that Appointment Committees be involved in the promotion process and that the continuing provisions of Regulation 6 of the regulations for the staff of the University Library and the dependent libraries (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 625) indicate inconsistent treatment of the staff of the University Library and the dependent libraries in this regard. In response both to this point, and also to the point Dr M. R. Clark makes about the implications of the proposed new arrangements in relation to the promotion of staff, the Council and the Board draw attention to the fact that the recently approved Joint Report on arrangements for the regrading of certain offices and posts, and for the award of discretionary increments, eliminated Appointments Committees from the promotion/regrading process for academic-related staff. This was achieved through the introduction of a regulation in the general regulations for University officers (Regulation 2, Statutes and Ordinances, p. 644) which stipulates that appointment to a University office arising from a regrading review shall be made by the competent authority. However, the Council and the Board agree that Regulation 6 of the regulations for the staff of the University Library and dependent libraries is inconsistent with this general regulation and should therefore be rescinded.

6. Both in the context of this Report and the General Board's Report on the probationary arrangements for academic offices and comparable unestablished posts, Dr Clark raises issues concerning the nature of the consultative arrangements between the Cambridge Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the University. Although the arrangement is currently one of a number of matters that are the subject of informal discussion between the representatives of the CAUT and officers of the Personnel Division, it is worth explaining the exact nature of the arrangement in order to clarify any confusion that may exist. No recognition exists between the CAUT and the University for collective bargaining purposes and there is no procedure agreement. Such agreement would require a proposal to be approved by the Regent House. However, consultation has taken place over many years and currently there are regular meetings between the officers of the Personnel Division and local CAUT representatives.

7. Given that a consultative mechanism has been available for some years, the Council and the Board wish to make the general point that consultation is a two-way process and that it is equally for both parties to raise for discussion matters which are of particular concern to them.

8. With the concurrence of the General Board, the Council are submitting a Grace (Grace 2, p. 481) to the Regent House for the approval of the recommendations contained in this Report as amended by the proposals in paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Notice.

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Cambridge University Reporter 13 February 2004
Copyright © 2003 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.