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Annual Reports of the Council, and the General Board for 2003-04, and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2004: Notice

25 April 2005

The Council have considered the remarks made at the Discussion on 1 February 2005 of these three documents (Reporter, p. 450). They have referred the remarks made about the Annual Report of the General Board to the Board, and a statement by the Board is included in this Notice. The Council concur with the Board's statement.

The Council are pleased to note that the Board of Scrutiny commended the Council's Annual Report. The Board referred to the need for clarification of lines of reporting and accountability within the central bodies and the central administration. The Council agree that this is an important matter. The Board also referred to the creation of an unestablished post of Director of Public Affairs: the Council hope that an announcement about this post can be made soon.

The Board of Scrutiny commented on the Financial Statements (abstract of accounts). The Council are pleased that the Board view the development of the form of the accounts as positive. The Council agree with the Board that an annual deficit of the size mentioned in the Allocations Report for 2004-05 is not sustainable and the Council welcome the Board's comment on their Notice dated 13 December 2004 (Reporter, p. 278) which indicated some of the steps which are being taken to eliminate the Chest deficit by 2008. The Council expect to report on further progress in this matter in the Allocations Report for 2005-06 later in the Easter Term 2005.

The Council have noted the remarks made by Professor G. R. Evans. The Council consider the reference by Professor Evans to the conduct of the Business Committee to be seriously misleading, and her suggestion that the Chairman of the Committee 'is now in good part running the University' to be false. As the Council's Report makes clear, the work of this Committee is conducted under strict protocols under which members of the Council, whether or not members of the Committee, can refer business to the Council itself. Similarly, her reference to the starring of straightforward items on the Council agenda is seriously misleading, in that there is also a protocol whereby a member of the Council can ask for any such item to be discussed. The Council believe that their business is now markedly better conducted than in previous years, as a result of the procedural measures which have been adopted, and that this is strongly to the benefit of the conduct of University business.

Annual Report of the General Board

The General Board commented on the remarks that concern their Report as follows:

Framework Agreement: Dr M. R. Clark, speaking as the President of the Cambridge Association of University Teachers, referred to a suspension of union involvement in discussions on the national Framework Agreement on restructuring pay and grading. This suspension was a hiatus in an ongoing process of consultation and discussion across a broad range of fundamental issues. Discussions have since resumed and progress is being made. The minutes of meetings with the unions are published on the Personnel Division's website at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/personnel/reward/.

Dr Clark asked who decided how the Personnel Division performed its role in following the requirements of the Framework Agreement. The Personnel Committee, which advise the Council and the General Board on all personnel issues including pay and grading, are responsible for overseeing the development of proposals for reform under the Framework Agreement.

Department of Architecture: Dr D. A. Galletly referred to the absence in the General Board's Annual Report of a specific reference to the potential closure of the Department of Architecture. The purpose of the Annual Report is to reflect on activity of the previous academical year. The General Board's main discussions about the Department took place during the Michaelmas Term 2004. A record of the discussion relating to the potential closure of the Department of Architecture may be found in the Minutes of the General Board (http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/cam-only/committee/gb/minutes/). The management of the University's academic and educational affairs is the responsibility of the General Board, and as such there would be no requirement to consult the Regent House regarding the future of a given Department until the Board had reached a decision which altered the status of that Department.

Partnership agreements: Professor G. R. Evans, having referred to the Board's response to the recommendations of the Quality Assurance Agency's Institutional Report, asked why the University had entered into partnership agreements 'without setting out rules first'. This is untrue. Rules did exist, albeit at a local level. The General Board accept the comment in the QAA Report that the General Board did not know enough about those local rules.

International Working Parties: Professor Evans implied that the establishment of two Working Parties on international matters would lead to the admission of more non-UK students. The Board note that they will receive the reports of the Working Parties later this term and that their recommendations will be carefully considered.

CMI funding: Professor Evans asked whether CMI funding had been used to provide preferential funding for overseas students. Funding has been provided by CMI to support the exchange of students between Cambridge and MIT. The rules of the exchange programme ensure that equal numbers of students from the two institutions are enrolled on the programme.

The Council are submitting a Grace (Grace 1, p. 632) to the Regent House for the approval of their Annual Report.


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Cambridge University Reporter 27 April 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.