Cambridge University Reporter

Report of Discussion

Tuesday, 1 February 2005. A Discussion was held in the Senate-House of the following Reports:

Annual Report of the Council (p. 307).


Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Board of Scrutiny commends to the Regent House the Annual Report of the Council. It contains encouraging news on a number of important matters, to some of which the Board has drawn attention often in the past. The move towards 'joined-up budgeting' is also pleasing. It is right that the University should produce a budget covering all aspects of expenditure and income - and in which the finances of the subsidiary bodies such as the University Press and the Local Examinations Syndicate are included. We welcome the rising level of financial support that the University appears to be receiving from its alumni - although we realize that the support that Cambridge University receives is still small when compared with what our academic cousins on the other side of the Atlantic can count upon. We are also pleased to note the moves towards the creation of a strategic plan.

One matter to which the Board has often sought to draw the attention of the Council and of the Regent House is the need to clarify the lines of reporting, and accountability, within the Central Bodies and the Central Administration. Although this is not mentioned in the Council's latest Report, the Board hopes the Council will not lose sight of it. In this connection, we notice in the Annual Report the creation of an unestablished post of Director of Public Affairs. The Board believes that the Regent House would like to know what the responsibilities of this office will be, to whom the holder will report, and to whom he or she will be accountable.

Professor G. R. EVANS:

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, my theme in speaking on this year's Council Report is 'freedom of information'. The Council obediently fulfils its duty to report to us each year, but the Council of today is a very different animal from the one the Regent House took into its household as part of the Wass reforms. You will be familiar with the joke: 'Dogs have owners; cats have staff'. We bought a dog but it has turned into a cat. There has been strategic repositioning of kennel and bowl and basket and cat-flap. The relationship of the Council to the Vice-Chancellor and the new Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the senior administrative officers has changed quite radically. Some of these alterations were approved by the Regent House, but perhaps without a full appreciation of the knock-on effects. So my first point is that we need to be kept informed much more fully and in respect of a wider range of aspects of the Council's work than the conventions of this Report afford us each year.

Oxford's Green Paper, which stirred up such headlines last week, emphasizes the 'stewardship' role of those who serve Congregation there: 'The challenge for those drawn from or appointed by Congregation to serve in a stewardship capacity is to chart a course for Oxford that commands the active support of its staff and students. It is essential, therefore, that members of the University are engaged in the process. The purpose of this Green Paper is to lay out, and invite responses on, the issues which appear to Council to be of immediate concern.'

Compare what happens here: 'Towards the end of the academical year the Council received from the Vice-Chancellor, and discussed with her, a paper about her first year in office and her plans for the future. The Council welcomed the thoughtful and energetic approach which the Vice-Chancellor had brought to her first year as Vice-Chancellor in Cambridge' (1).

May we, the Governing Body of the University, please be allowed to read this? It is to us not to the Council that our Vice-Chancellor should primarily be reporting. What objection can there be to its being put up on the cam-only website?

Apparently the Pro-Vice-Chancellors have not done even as much (2). Papers from them too please about their first year in office and their plans, for us all to see exactly what each of them is doing.

Some of the changes of strategic relationship have been made by the Council itself as though they were mere matters of the 'conduct of business'. The 'streamlining' of Council business (3) means the Chairman of the Business Committee is now in good part running the University, doesn't it? I do not recollect the Regent House being asked for its view of this huge alteration in the way the Council conducts its business. The starring of items is familiar to most Governing Bodies and members of such bodies will be aware of the immense power which is in the hands of those who select items for starring. This goes much further than mere starring. We voted for individuals who would, we believed, be there at Council meetings discussing all business which is approved in the Council's name. It may indeed be more 'efficient' and 'economical of time' for them not to do so, but it is surely a handing-over of real power to a place where its exercise becomes largely invisible.

Oxford's Green Paper attempts to set out the underlying dilemma here: (12) 'Within the framework of the Corporate Plan,there must be clear responsibility and accountability for the delivery of agreed objectives. University committees need to be trusted to undertake the management tasks they have been set by Council. They, in turn, need to trust the Divisions, Faculties, Departments, and Colleges to set and achieve their own objectives within the agreed framework. Building trust requires an improvement in internal communications and the engagement of the University community in decisions on strategic directions.'

The call to renewed 'trust' made by our Vice-Chancellor when she entered office does not seem to have been followed up. That is deeply disappointing. The new Vice-Chancellor of Oxford has already set up a website on which he communicates directly with the University and I understand it communicates pretty voluminously with him in return. I have tried that here, but one is greeted by silence. Let us at least have a similar website of Vice-Chancellor's remarks, and not remarks written by the several dozen now drawing salaries in our Press Office, please.

'The Council have held two special strategic meetings away from Cambridge in the course of 2003-04, at which major policy matters and other aspects of the Council's work were reviewed.' Agenda and minutes please? We are ahead of Oxford in posting our Council and General Board agendas and minutes and those of other major committees on our internal website.

But when is a Council meeting not a Council meeting? When it is an Awayday? When it is a meeting of the Business Committee? When it is a mere e-mail circulated to the members of the Council giving them a momentary opportunity to object before something rolls onward as a 'Council decision'?

(9). The reviews of the Research Services Division and the Personnel Division. May I repeat my request in an earlier speech that evidence submitted to these 'inquiries' be published, and certainly that it be made available to the two Divisions concerned.

Paragraph (15), which speaks of 'a strategic approach to the teaching, research, education, and knowledge transfer which the University undertakes,' skates past the fact that it is not 'the University' but its staff and students who 'undertake' all this. An admittedly financially driven strategic approach constitutes a far worse threat than the botched bid for our intellectual property. But may we see these 'strategies' published so that staff and students may understand better how their work is now being driven. (Without it, those staff inclined to send in submissions for the Time Allocation Survey will not know exactly how to follow the Pro-Vice-Chancellor's explicit instructions that we should not try to be too exact.)

(26). 'Good progress has been made on Risk Management processes, on disaster and recovery management, on preparation for the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, on systems for the declaration and registration of interests by staff, and on managing Value for Money (VFM) processes.' I ask (again) why we do not include in our Risk Management thinking the full range of matters which are covered by the HEFCE-funded ARMED procedures which may be viewed on the website.

We should be unwise to let this drift. HEFCE intends to send out warning letters to selected universities which do not appear to be managing their 'risks' adequately.

Finally, there is still nothing published by way of a procedure for requesting documents under the Freedom of Information Act. When may we expect it to appear, please?

Annual Report of the General Board (p. 310).


Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Board of Scrutiny welcomes the Report of the General Board. Its paragraphs bear witness to hard and serious work done by the members of the Board and, in the background, the University Administration. For their efforts, they deserve the gratitude of the Regent House. We are pleased to see that, whilst attending to details, the General Board has kept its eye on the bigger picture: on the subject of Cambridge making bids to HEFCE for money offered for particular initiatives, it stresses that such projects must be 'appropriate to its mission'.

The General Board's Report mentions two ongoing matters of great importance: intellectual property rights, and the proposed new pay and grading structure. Both of these topics have generated intense debate within the University, in which some aspects of the original proposals have been widely criticized. We express the hope that these criticisms will be taken seriously and considered in detail by those who are charged with taking these matters forward. We also hope that when the Central Bodies publicly respond (as for example the Council has promised to do over pay and grading) the response will engage closely with those criticisms, and answer them.


Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, commencing in January of this year I have recently been elected to the University Council but I wish to address my remarks today from the perspective of a different position. I am also serving for a second elected annual term as the President of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers, a trade union which represents the interests of academic and academic-related staff.

What concerns me most about the Annual Reports for 2003-04 is not so much what they say, but what they fail to say. Largely as a result of a Government-driven initiative, we currently face the prospect within the Higher Education Sector of major reforms of our employment structures, both nationally and locally. Both the Council (paragraph 24) and the General Board (paragraph 15.1 (i)) cover this important issue in just a single paragraph. The General Board does make mention of the Consultative Joint Report published in the Reporter, 2003-04, p. 971, but it does not make any mention of how critically that Report was received. The paragraph also makes mention of 'the nationally agreed two-year pay settlement' and 'the introduction of a single spine and a Framework Agreement intended to facilitate pay restructuring and the introduction of common grading methodologies'. I find myself wondering just how many of the signatories to these two Reports before us, have a clear view of what that Framework Agreement is about, and exactly what Agreement was reached.

Cambridge University is a member of the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and was, through that body, a party to the national negotiations with the relevant trade unions, and a party to the resolution of those negotiations in the Framework Agreement with the trade unions (including AMICUS, UNISON, and AUT) and the additional Memorandum of Understanding reached with the AUT. The adoption of the Framework Agreement and its implementation within a fixed time-scale is a condition of future funding to the University by HEFCE. Copies of these agreements are available on the UCEA and the AUT websites ( and Specifically it mentions within that agreement that for the implementation: 'It is expected that institutions and their local union representatives will work in partnership to this end, with mutual respect for the interests of all stakeholders, and will negotiate to reach agreement on a timely basis. In some cases new or revised joint local machinery may be needed for this purpose.' The agreement also spells out in great detail how it is expected that institutions and the trade unions should work in partnership to expedite the process within the allotted time scale.

Cambridge is probably one such institution where it is appropriate to revise the joint local machinery but I can report that the process has so far achieved only limited success. One significant step of progress has been an agreement for the separate local union representatives and staff association representatives of ACUA, AMICUS, UNISON, and AUT to work together within a new forum, the Joint Union Negotiating Committee, and to enter into joint discussions with the Personnel Division. Representatives have been meeting together with senior members of Personnel on a regular basis. Also many of us, myself included, have participated in training and induction workshops on Role Analysis and in Job Profiling and Role Matching in an attempt to better understand and to assist in the process. We have also attempted to review some of the data collected during the piloting of the local Cambridge job evaluation and we have discussed how this might facilitate implementation of restructuring.

Yet despite this willingness from the unions to co-operate and participate, progress has been painfully slow. Indeed, that process has recently ground to a halt and I am sorry to have to say that the joint committee recently wrote to the Vice-Chancellor on 20 January with the following message: 'As you are aware the unions have been raising our concerns about lack of constructive union involvement in the University's implementation of the Framework Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding. We find ourselves in a position where regrettably we feel that we have to suspend our involvement in any discussions on this matter. It is our sincere hope and expectation that the meeting we have instigated on 9 February between Professor Andrew Cliff and senior officers from each union will guarantee full partnership and 'negotiations to reach agreement on a timely basis as per the Framework Agreement'.'

Indeed, as we discuss these Annual Reports here in the Senate-House, I can also inform you that similar statements are currently being put by colleagues in the other unions at this afternoon's meeting of the University and Assistants Joint Board. A major reason for the breakdown in progress has been the continued expression in our meetings by the Director of Personnel that many senior staff in Departments seem to take the view that the restructuring and evaluation process was primarily a management one and thus there was no place for staff and union representatives on the matching panels. We find this to be an extraordinary interpretation of working in partnership, and we also wonder whether these views are really informed as to the nature of the process of restructuring, or whether they are representative of the University as a whole, or perhaps we are simply being fed selected view-points chosen by Personnel to further their own agenda? What I will say is that from the examples given to us by other universities, that it is those universities that have embraced a true working spirit of co-operation, which have progressed the furthest and with the least problems in introducing pay restructuring, whilst those few universities that have tried to impose the restructuring without full consultation and co-operation have had the greatest problems. So why have we reached this current position here in Cambridge University?

My personal opinion is that this breakdown is the direct consequence of our institutional structure and the lack of clear guidance and ownership of the process by any one authority. That opinion was reinforced by the Vice-Chancellor during the recent induction meeting for new members of Council, where she pointed out that the Personnel Division and the Personnel Committee were conspicuously absent in the flow chart prepared for us by administration to show the relationship between all of the Council and General Board sub-committees and the UAS.

One major problem is that there is a significant faction within the University which takes the mistaken view that somehow the statutory role of the Regent House negates, or substitutes, the need for employee representation on employment matters. This has been used as an argument, by some, for the failure of the University to fully recognize the AUT. It is however quite obvious that the Regent House performs an entirely different role to that of a staff association or a trade union. Also, whilst staff representation through membership of trade unions or associations is voluntary, and available to all, any influence over policy given by virtue of membership of the Regent House is determined by appointment to designated posts within the University. There are over 8,000 employees of the University, and only approximately 3,500 Regents, many of which are not employees of the University but who are instead members of the Regent House by virtue of their College appointments. Quite clearly our Statutes do dictate that any final proposal for pay restructuring will eventually require the approval by a Grace of the Regent House, but they also do not prevent the proposals put forward for approval being formulated as a result of a working partnership between the Personnel Division and the unions. A partnership approach is very important since it is crucial that both the employer and the employees should all have an understanding that the process is fair and transparent to all.

So who is taking the lead in deciding how the Personnel Division performs its role in following the requirements of the Framework Agreement? Who gives the lead to the many institutions of the University on what partnership should really mean in practice? Should it be left to the individual whims of Heads of Department? Is it the responsibility of the Director of Personnel? Is it the responsibility of the Personnel Committee? Is it the responsibility of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Personnel? Is it the responsibility of the General Board or of the Council? Perhaps the Vice-Chancellor would like to fill in that blank in her flow chart that she has been given.

Dr D. A. GALLETLY (read by Dr D. R. DE LACEY):

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, it is not what is in this Report that concerns me; it is what is not. Given the big furore, both within Cambridge and nationally, about the very real possibility that the Department of Architecture might be closed, it is disturbing to find, in the Annual Report of the General Board, only one sentence relating to this subject - and that only tangentially. '14.3. In preparation for the next Exercise, as described in their last Annual Report, the Board have put in place arrangements for monitoring and reviewing the performance of those few Departments that did not achieve at least a 5 rating or retain their 1996 RAE rating of 5*.'

Yet clearly the General Board were heavily involved in the decision as to whether the Architecture Department should be shut. On 1 November 2004, a spokesman from the General Board put out a press release1 following a certain amount of speculation in the national press concerning the Department's future.

'Following their consideration of the reports, the General Board have advised the School of Arts and Humanities, that, in the interests of all concerned, the status quo cannot be allowed to continue. The Board has advised the School of its considered view that the Department has so far made insufficient progress towards meeting Cambridge standards in terms of research quality.

'Accordingly, the Board has recommended to the School that closure of the Department and redeployment of the staff to other allied Departments would be justified.'

This raises two separate issues. The first is that, given the ostensible reason for the desired closure was poor performance in the RAE, in what way did it make sense to keep these (possibly) underperforming researchers, distributing them among related Departments, while destroying the feature of the Department of Architecture which surely was not in doubt - their widely-acknowledged excellent teaching?

Surely it would have made more sense to require them to collaborate with the researchers in these 'allied Departments' to increase the quality of the research output, while maintaining the status quo with regard to the teaching?

The second point concerns the complete lack of involvement of the Regent House at any point in this process. It is quite astounding that a Department could have been on the brink of closure, with associated redundancies - and even now there may be some of those - without anyone having seen fit to consult the Regent House. Is this the way it is to be in the future? I hope not.

Less negatively, it is good to see that, in the end, common sense2 mostly prevailed. Again, the hand of the General Board may be seen here, so why no mention, even merely to say that discussions were on-going and the outcome not yet certain, in the Annual Report?

Finally, the establishment of a Professorship and a Lectureship in the field of sustainable design seems a positive step. It is to be hoped that they will collaborate with the Centre for Sustainable Development within the Engineering Department. Maybe a case could be beginning to be made for a School of the Built Environment, comprising the Department of Architecture, parts of the Department of Engineering, and perhaps the Department of Land Economy? Just a thought.



Professor G. R. EVANS:

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor:

Institutional audit

'1.1 In October 2003 the report of the Quality Assurance Agency's Institutional Audit was published (Reporter, 2003-04, p. 92)'. There were serious criticisms on two main counts. The first was that we were failing properly to monitor the provision of courses 'offered in conjunction with bodies outside the University', so as to ensure that they 'fully meet the requirements of the University for the award of its qualifications'.

'This has begun to be addressed,' the General Board assures us. But why did we ever allow ourselves to rush headlong into partnership arrangements without getting the rules clear first? Cambridge has so far escaped the sort of merry laughter which broke out in the case of another institution over an M.Phil. in Windsurfing conveniently provided by a partner in Alicante. But when getting the money in comes before ensuring academic rigour that is the kind of thing which can happen.

'The Board have agreed a Good Practice Strategy which will enable the considerable amount of good practice in the University to be disseminated more easily. Activities associated with the strategy will include an e-newsletter, workshops, and a good practice website.' The second running theme in the audit report, not quite crisply admitted to here, was how recent and unfamiliar a number of our procedures protecting student interests seemed to the auditors to be. Just publishing these mysterious procedures in the Reporter would be a start, perhaps putting them into a Report so that we could discuss which among them, and in what forms should become ordinances.

Why is this Report so unnecessarily opaque in places? (1.3) 'The QAA report also suggested that the University might wish to give consideration to the current monitoring of Professional and Statutory Body (PSB) activity in relation to the University's educational provision'. Is this the question whether those of our courses which are taken by students wishing to enter the relevant profession (say, Architecture) are recognized by the relevant professional body? If so, could that not have been admitted in plainer language?

(2.2) and (6) Funding for students

The allocation of discretionary funding, not merely the proposed bursaries, but our whole existing raft of trust funds and odd sums of money in corners which can be used to bail out graduate students and others, needs a protocol of transparent application procedure and an avenue of appeal.

This is a complex problem, since moneys are administered by Colleges and trust funds which have a right to do more or less as they please within the terms of reference of any trust involved. But if we are not to face headlines about unfairness, formal complaints, and possible litigation from disappointed students we must at least do as much as Oxford has already done, and draw up clear published rules.

Meanwhile, it is shameful that the bursary scheme has still not been worked out properly and published in draft for consultation.

(7). There are 'two Working Parties on international matters' one of which is 'to consider international student recruitment and support'. One of them got a mention in the The Times yesterday, as reporting next term, but they are not due to report to the University. Yet their deliberations are surely going to lead to decisions being taken about encouraging the admission of more non-UK students. 'An International Education Office has been set up, initially on an unestablished basis with support from CMI funding, to support the University's international education activities.' I think we are entitled to know whether preferential funding for overseas students is to be provided out of that £68 million Gordon Brown gave us for CMI Ltd, and if so on what basis.

(12). The balance of arts and sciences

The new established Chairs all seem to be in the sciences and in education. Research in the arts and humanities can go forward very nicely without grant funding. In fact it may get along rather better if it does not have to be distorted into team projects with fixed costs and fixed time-scales. Yet 'The Board note with pleasure the very significant improvement in the level of grant funding received by the University from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB).'

There is an increasingly shameless cost-driven pressure on academic staff to gear their research in the way which will bring in the best rewards from the 2008 RAE, without reference to the long-term interests of the scholarship involved. Should the Annual Report of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (mentioned in the Reporter of 21 January), not be on the Web for reference here? 'Copies may be obtained on application' really will not do. But I have already made that speech on communication, communication, communication.

Financial Statements (Abstract of Accounts) for the year ended 31 July 2004 (p. 315).


Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, this year, in accordance with best accounting practice, the audited accounts of the University are consolidated with those of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. This is an important first step in meeting the requirement of HEFCE and of the recommendations of the Audit Committee and the Board of Scrutiny, that our accounts should reflect best practice and allow our external auditors to describe them as 'true and fair'. I hope the Regent House will welcome the change.

The audited accounts show a £10.5m deficit, about 1.5% of turnover. The 'academic element' of these accounts show a deficit of nearly £17m. There should be no surprises here for the Regent House. A deficit for the year of approximately £15m was predicted in the Allocations Report, largely due to the deficit in the Cambridge University Staff Pension Scheme. The small additional deficit results from an unpredicted increase in Estates maintenance costs.

The deficit is expected to reduce in 2004-05 but on-going deficits remain a concern and threaten our ability to invest in staff and facilities. Following the introduction of the Resource Allocation Model and devolved budgeting, all Schools and institutions have proposed five-year plans within a financial framework. Those plans are currently being examined, and the data collated and reconciled before submission to the Colleges for consultation. It would perhaps be premature to discuss the content of the plans before they have been properly analysed and before further consultation has occurred. Nevertheless, in view of the assumptions made in the press and elsewhere I would like to emphasize that there are no proposals to decrease the admission of UK undergraduates and no proposals for a substantial change to the shape of the student body.


Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Board of Scrutiny has studied the Abstract of Accounts. It has also held a meeting with the Director of Finance at which a number of points arising from the accounts were discussed. This was useful, and we would like to thank Mr Reid for his time and help.

The Abstract of Accounts (and the University's finances generally) will be discussed in some detail in the Board of Scrutiny's next Annual Report. Today, we propose to make the following brief points only.

First, at a technical level we believe the Accounts are well produced. All credit to the Acting Treasurer, the Director of Finance, and the auditors.

Secondly, we welcome the inclusion of Note 10 which makes it possible to examine the financial health of the University in the narrow sense (the 'Little U'), and the University in the broader sense (the 'Big U', including the Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) and, in due course, the University Press). The Board hopes that this approach will continue to be followed, possibly in greater detail.

Thirdly, we note that the University's administrative costs seem to have increased last year, possibly by some 13 per cent. This is an observation, not a criticism: but it is something the Board proposes to look into, and may return to in its Annual Report.

Our fourth point dwarfs the others in importance. Echoing parts of what Pro-Vice-Chancellor Minson said in his speech just now, we find the big picture that emerges from the Accounts is worrying. In broad terms, they show that 'Little U' last year ran at an operating deficit of £16.9m (an increase of £14.7m in the deficit over the previous year, of which only £9.3m can be attributed to increased employer contributions to the assistant staff pension scheme). The Board emphasizes that this is despite the fact that a number of economies have been made and certain important heads of expenditure have been brought under control. Further-more, the Board understands that the operating deficit of 'Little U' for the coming year will be of the order of £12m, despite the contribution of an extra £4.0m from UCLES announced in last May's Allocation Report.

The picture is only very slightly less disturbing for 'Big U', where a surplus on continuing operations of £3.5m for 2002-03 turned into a deficit of £8.9m for 2003-04.

An annual deficit of this size is not sustainable, and the need to find a way of balancing expenditure and income is extremely pressing.

The Board welcomes the Council's Notice of 13 December 2004 indicating some of the steps that are being taken to eliminate the deficit on the Chest by 2008. That this deficit needs to be reversed is evident from the prediction in the last Allocations Report that by 2007-08 the accumulated Chest deficit since 2000-01 will be £71.2m, i.e. approximately 17% of general reserves.

Let nobody imagine that the University's financial difficulties will be solved when we start charging students 'top-up fees' of £3,000 a year. The Board draws attention to the fact that the proposed increase in Home/EU student fees (estimated at £11m after bursary costs and, presumably, any transfer to Colleges) will be entirely swallowed up in trying to reduce the deficit - leaving nothing over for anything else. With regret, the Board concludes that the Council was correct in its Notice of 13 December (Reporter, p. 278) to warn that 'that the 1% 'cap' [on the savings required by Schools] may need to be revised for 2006-07 if the financial projections do not deliver sufficient and timely improvement'.

Our deficit is a major worry - and the Regent House needs to take the problem seriously.

Professor G. R. EVANS:

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor:

(16). 'The Council have agreed that the University accounts for 2003-04 will be consolidated to include those of the Local Examinations Syndicate; and that those for 2004-05 will also include the accounts for Cambridge University Press and some other institutions associated with the University.' So that has been conceded at last. But it does show up the scale of our problems more clearly.

(18). 'The Council are not at present able to assure the Regent House that the current predicted national changes in the financial situation for UK universities are themselves sufficient to safeguard the University's medium-term future.' The Times quoted this sentence yesterday, I see, in connection with rumours that we are pushing for still higher tuition fees and planning to increase the proportion of overseas students, who of course pay yet higher fees. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources has just reassured us that there are no plans to do this. I am not sure that amounts to a promise. Perhaps the Council could come back on that in its reply. Either way, why are we rushing ahead with the plans to develop North-West Cambridge as though we had money in the bank? (25). No answer to this seems to be forthcoming, however often one asks it. There is a real question about priorities in expenditure: buildings or people.

And where are we pinning our hopes of future solvency? (19). 'The success of the 800th Campaign for the future of Cambridge is therefore of crucial importance to safeguarding the University's future and to enabling the University to continue to contribute to the development of students and scholars, and to society, as we would wish.' It has been taken for granted (and our present Vice-Chancellor was appointed on this assumption) that this significant moment in our history should be turned into a giant funding drive. There is, I know, no hope at all of any backing off from that assumption.

But one does long for a little quiet celebration of the remarkable history of the University as something of beauty and interest in its own right. Not everything of importance about Cambridge can be reduced to cash value, nor should everything be driven by the profit motive. We may get in the money and then discover that what it is paying for is no longer recognizably Cambridge at all.

Report of the General Board, dated 8 December 2004, on the establishment of a Professorship of Family Research (p. 359).

Professor M. E. LAMB:

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak on behalf of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences in welcoming the Report by the General Board recommending the establishment of a Professorship of Family Research. Within our interdisciplinary Faculty, the Centre for Family Research has provided pivotal support for interdisciplinary research on families, kinships, and relationships since its establishment in 1966. Throughout this period, the internationally recognized research conducted within the Centre has been directed by Professor Martin Richards, who intends to retire in 2005. We in the Faculty recognize the central role played by the Centre in the past and expect continued pre-eminence in research and scholarship in the future. To guide these efforts, we look to the appointment of a new Professor of Family Research who will also direct the Centre following Professor Richards's retirement. As in the past, we expect the Professor to develop and sustain an active research programme and to foster interdisciplinary and collaborative research by other members of the Faculty as well as others in the University who have related interests. The new Professor will also, of course, complement and enrich the teaching programme of the Faculty at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We thus applaud and thank the General Board for recognizing the importance of leadership in this important area of scholarship and research.

Report of the Council, dated 17 January 2005, on the construction of an Avian Laboratory for the Department of Zoology at Madingley (p. 380).

No comments were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 12 January 2005, on the establishment of Readerships in the Faculty of Economics (p. 382).

No comments were made on this Report.