Cambridge University Reporter

Annual Reports of the Council and the General Board for the academical year 2005-06 and Reports and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2006: Notice

19 March 2007

The Council has considered remarks made at the Discussion on 6 February 2007 (Reporter, p. 437) of the Annual Report of the Council for 2005-06, the Annual Report of the General Board to the Council for 2005-06, and the Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2006 (Reporter, pp. 255-95).

The Council notes from the remarks of Mr R. J. Stibbs on behalf of the Board of Scrutiny that the Board will be commenting further in their report in the summer. The Council is grateful to the Board for their recognition of the achievement of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources and of the Director of Finance and his staff in achieving the opinion on the accounts for 2005-06 given by the external auditors as 'true and fair', following the completed programme of consolidation of the accounts of various organizations within the University.

It was suggested that strategic planning was largely financial and resource driven, but this is not the Council's understanding of the University's strategic processes. Although the annual planning statements made by the Councils of the Schools and other bodies have a particular budgetary importance, they are broader than this and there are other elements in strategic planning processes which relate to educational and other policies and activities of the University, in their broadest aspects. The Council's Report (paragraph 22) refers to the commissioning of certain strategic reviews from other bodies in the University and individuals during 2006-07, with the intention that a statement or statements of strategic directions will be published in the academical year 2007-08.

In view of Professor G. R. Evans's remarks about a senior management team, it may be helpful to summarize some of the regular co-ordinating officer-level arrangements for the administration of University business: (a) the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources convenes a meeting approximately monthly including the Vice-Chancellor, the other Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Registrary, the Academic and Administrative Secretaries, the Directors of the Finance Division, the Estate Management and Buildings Service, the Personnel Division, and of Development and of External Affairs and Communications to review current business; (b) some of these officers meet more frequently, convened by the Vice-Chancellor to discuss immediate business; (c) the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, convened by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources, meet approximately weekly (with the Academic Secretary) to discuss their own work. These meetings are not for formal or official decision, but are advisory to the officers attending in discharging their duties. In addition the Registrary convenes two streams of meetings of the Directors of the Divisions in the Unified Administrative Service (UAS), one concerned with the management of the UAS itself and of the University Offices, the other with the co-ordination of the UAS Directors' contributions to University business. These two meetings are advisory to the Registrary and the individual Directors in discharging their responsibilities.

The Council has noted the comments about the format of the Report of the Council and of the General Board's Report to it. These two Reports are to be read together. Both Reports are drafted with the intention of providing succinct but comprehensive summaries of the work of the two bodies and of their joint and other committees. Many aspects of the work of both bodies are reported in detail elsewhere, for example in the annual Allocations Report.

The Council's and the Board's Reports, and the Financial Statements, will be published later in 2007 in a new-format University Annual Review. The Council has further improvements under consideration for future years to provide a fuller annual report about the University and its work, not restricted to administration and management.

The Council is submitting a Grace (Grace 2, p. 537) for the approval of its Annual Report (which includes the General Board's Report) under the provisions of Statute A, IV, 1(d).