Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6287

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Vol cxliii No 10

pp. 147–190



28 November, Wednesday. Scarlet day and Flag day.

29 November, Thursday. End of third quarter of Michaelmas Term.

30 November, Friday. Full Term ends.

19 December, Wednesday. Michaelmas Term ends.

Discussion on Tuesday, 4 December 2012: Cancellation

26 November 2012

The Vice-Chancellor gives notice that the Discussion announced for Tuesday, 4 December 2012, will not take place as there are no Reports ready for discussion.

Report of the Council seeking authority to commence development of University land at North West Cambridge: Notice in response to Discussion remarks

26 November 2012

The Council has received the remarks made at the Discussion of this Report on 6 November 2012 (Reporter, 6285, 2012–13, p. 125). It notes the remarks made by Professor Sanders, Dr de Lacey, Mr Sargeant, and Mr Goode in support of commencing development of the land.

In response to the remarks made by Dr de Lacey, the Council recognizes that while the location of the boundary between the City and South Cambridgeshire will be of relevance to residents, the priority in planning this new neighbourhood has been to provide coherence for the development as a whole. The proposed estate charge will be levied equally on all residents on the estate in direct relationship to their occupied area. Any differences in the charges to which Dr de Lacey refers will therefore relate to differing levels of Council tax across different administrative areas, neither of which is under the control of the University. Links with local community representatives including local clergy have already been established through a stakeholder forum. It is anticipated that representatives of this forum will be consulted on the eventual management of the completed development, including the new open spaces within the scheme. Dr de Lacey was also concerned about the maintenance of public spaces. The scheme involves a much greater proportion of open space than is typically included in commercial developments, and there was concern about the level of capital contributions required by the local authorities before they would assume responsibility for those and also the standards of maintenance over the long term. The Council has agreed that the University should retain responsibility for most of the open space, although the central green space and Community Hall will be jointly managed with the City, which will make a contribution to the costs.

Mr Sargeant asked about the ‘social housing’ aspects of the scheme. The land has been released from the Green Belt to meet University development needs for key worker housing, student accommodation, and research buildings. As the Report makes clear, a primary driver for commencing the development now is the shortage of suitable residential accommodation for rent in Cambridge and the consequent inability of new research staff in particular to obtain suitable accommodation at an affordable price. The local authorities have accepted that in providing such accommodation, the University will have a sufficiently helpful impact on housing supply in Cambridge that the normal social housing requirement on developers would be inappropriate. The Council reminds the Regent House that it was consulted on the whole scheme in 20101 including the approach to housing and the allocation policy for the rented accommodation. In resolving to grant planning consent, the local authorities have satisfied themselves that the University’s proposals will create a mixed and balanced community.

Mr Maclaren asked about the form of tenure for the ‘market housing’. Expert legal and housing market advice has been taken regarding land to be sold for development and whilst disposal on a freehold basis is most likely, sale on a leasehold basis to a housing rental investor is not precluded; however there is no established demand in Cambridge to date. The Council is satisfied that an adequate assessment of the risks of the approach to disposal has been undertaken. The value of £50,000 per plot calculated by Mr Maclaren is erroneous. However, for reasons of commercial sensitivity, the Council does not want to release information in a format which would enable potential developers to calculate the University’s expectations in respect of land values or engage in detailed analysis on the point. The Council does however wish to reassure the Regent House that the anticipated income from land sales has been calculated with professional external advice and is reflective of values obtained from similar developments in the Cambridge and wider area. The total income shown in the graph in paragraph 23 of the Report accurately reflects the total income shown in the financial summary, although there are some differences of detail in the descriptions attached to income streams. ‘Other income’ for example is not shown separately in the graph. Paragraph 24 of the Report considers financial metrics, assumptions, and sensitivity analysis. The Finance Committee papers referred to at the end of that paragraph contain, as Mr Maclaren found, and as the Report indicated, further details on these points but not necessarily on the other matters which are of concern to him. Mr Maclaren has also misinterpreted the Council’s Notice of 24 October 2011 (Reporter, 6240, 2011–12, p. 82), which made it clear that the £13.25m to develop detailed proposals for Phase 1 was in addition to sums previously approved for the project.

The Council shares the frustration of Professor Sir Peter Lachmann about the problems caused by repeated changes to plans for the improvement of the A14 corridor, but has to operate within the current planning guidance and national highways policy. In response to concerns raised by residents of the Conduit Head Road Conservation Area during the planning application consultation period, the University modified the height parameters to restrict building heights north of the conservation area to 10m (from 15m previously). This is shown in Zone T on the approved parameter plan. The existing hedgerow and track to the north of the Conduit Head Road Conservation Area will also be retained to provide further separation between the new development and existing residences. The width and length of the zone are considered appropriate to reduce the effects on adjoining residential properties.

The Council is submitting a Grace (Grace 1, p.173) to the Regent House for the approval of the recommendations in the Report.

Notice of a Ballot

In the Report published on 24 October (Reporter, 6282, 2012–13, p. 59), the Council indicated its intention to call a ballot on the proposed Grace seeking authority to proceed with the development of a first phase of development at North West Cambridge, as described in the Report.

In accordance with Regulation 7 of the regulations for Graces of the Regent House (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 107), the Council now gives notice that a vote will be taken on the Grace (p. 173) by postal ballot.

In connection with the ballot, the Registrary will arrange for the printing and circulation of any fly-sheet, signed by ten or more members of the Regent House, which reaches him at the Old Schools by 1 p.m. on Thursday, 6 December 2012. Fly-sheets may also be faxed to 01223 332332 or scanned (showing signatures) and sent by email to Fly-sheets must bear, in addition to the signatures, the names and initials (in block capitals) of the signatories (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 112). Voting papers and fly-sheets will be distributed to all members of the Regent House on or before Wednesday, 9 January 2013; the deadline for the return of voting papers will be 5 p.m. on Thursday, 24 January 2013.

Seventeenth Report of the Board of Scrutiny (2011–12): Notice

26 November 2012

This Notice is the Council’s reply to the Board of Scrutiny’s Seventeenth Report (Reporter, 6274, 2011–12, p. 815) and the Discussion of it held on 9 October 2012 (Reporter, 6281, 2012–13, p. 52).

The Council is grateful to the Board of Scrutiny for its constructive comments on the matters it has considered and wishes to respond as follows to the recommendations made in its Report.

1.The Board recommends that the Council makes as much information as possible available to the Regent House before asking for its approval for the North West Cambridge project.

The Council agrees with the Board on the importance of publishing full information about the North West Cambridge project. Updates on the project’s progress are provided regularly via a dedicated website ( and also in Council Notices and Reports published in the Reporter, including most recently the Report seeking authority to commence Phase 1 of development on the North West Cambridge site, on which a ballot will be taken in January (Reporter, 6282, 2012–13, p. 59). This most recent Report included financial information about the project and an invitation to any member of the Regent House to request further such information considered by the Finance Committee from the Director of Finance.

2.The Board recommends that positive interest coverage throughout the duration of the project is a condition for approval of the North West Cambridge project.

It is normal for a large project of this nature to require a significant up-front investment before the subsequent income streams can be developed sufficiently to repay that investment. Hence it is unrealistic to require a positive interest cover throughout its duration. The intent of the project is to deliver a high quality sustainable environment and viable community with good facilities in place at the outset. It also has a high proportion of housing let at below market rent in order to provide suitable affordable accommodation to University employees. The inevitable consequence of these factors is that the project bears a higher level of infrastructure cost in its early stages, that providing a high quality environment incurs some additional cost, and that rental income does not match that which might arise on a site receiving rents charged at market rates. However, the interest rate on borrowing is fixed and therefore, over time, the impact of inflation increases income from rental streams such that interest payments are exceeded by income after the first ten years following occupation of the site. Further, the cost of additional interest (i.e. the amount by which interest exceeds income) arising in this first period is not significant compared to the overall level of borrowing, adding £7m to the outstanding debt, before interest cover becomes positive (see the chart illustrating this in the Reporter, 6282, 2012–13, p. 62).

3.The Board recommends that Council, through the Finance Committee, undertakes a comprehensive review of the total return objectives for the Cambridge University Endowment Fund in order to ensure that the targets are realistic and achievable over future rolling ten-year periods.

4.The Board recommends the establishment of a process by which total return objectives for the Cambridge University Endowment Fund will be reviewed at regular intervals in order to ensure that they remain appropriate.

The Council is pleased to note the Board’s recognition of the efforts made to control budgets and to make the reporting of its financial position more transparent.

In agreeing the total return objective the Council, through the Finance Committee, considered the historical performance of the Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF, formerly known as the Amalgamated Fund). The CUEF has since its inception in 1958 achieved this objective and modelling provides an acceptable probability of achieving it into the future.

The Council recognizes that the current investment and economic conditions are uncertain and has consulted its Investment Board. The Board believes that the CUEF should not take a short-term view and the current long-term perspective was consistent with past history. The Board has no reason to believe that the investment objective is not achievable and notes that the CUEF does not take on unnecessary risk in chasing a short-term target. The risk profile of the CUEF is appropriate for a perpetual endowment and the three-year rolling volatility of 11%, substantially less than the volatility of global equity markets, indicates that risks are being appropriately managed. The Board is of the view that consistency and patience were important in achieving an investment objective.

5.The Board recommends that the annual summary performance report that is distributed to investors in the Cambridge University Endowment Fund be published in the Reporter.

The Finance Committee has agreed to investigate whether it is possible to make further information available about the performance of the Cambridge University Endowment Fund to members of the Regent House while ensuring that all compliance considerations and the Fund’s commercial operations are unaffected.

6.The Board recommends that the University Research Office take steps to create a strong and visible presence in academic departments, including establishing regular opportunities for direct interaction between URO staff and academics.

Since the beginning of 2012, the University Research Office has comprised the Research Strategy Office (RSO) and the Research Operations Office (ROO). Staff from both offices work closely together in their interactions with academic institutions. This occurs frequently in the preparation of University responses to the increasing number of exercises required of HEIs by the funding bodies. Both research offices are committed to working closely with Schools, Faculties, and Departments and the engagement between ROO and academics has been facilitated by the re-organization of the office into School-based teams, with the team supporting the Clinical School being based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It is common practice for Schools to invite the relevant Assistant Director, who heads their School research support team, to participate in regular School management team meetings, while they are also invited to attend Council of School meetings.

In tandem, both offices work closely with academics in their Departments to investigate and engage in major funding opportunities, most involving significant interaction with academics across a wide range of University academic institutions, in the support, and development, of strategic initiatives and in planning for the REF.

7.The Board recommends that continuing priority be given to international engagement to ensure that the University remains internationally competitive. In particular, it recommends that the development of international strategy continues, that sufficient resources be allocated to the implementation of that strategy, and that their effectiveness be monitored.

The Council welcomes the Board’s support for the development of an international strategy. The resources, which have been enhanced and refocused, will be kept under review as the strategy develops. The recently-established International Strategy Committee is consulting with the Colleges and others to inform the development of a paper on International Engagement for the General Board.

8.The Board recommends that the University take steps to review the optimum rate of increase in graduate student numbers and to increase co-ordination with the Colleges in this area.

Graduate numbers in the University have grown by about 2% p.a. over the past thirty years. In 2009–10, a sudden increase in admissions, particularly in one-year courses, exceeded College capacity, and a cap on such numbers was introduced. Ph.D. numbers are not capped. Discussions have since taken place with the Colleges. A University and Colleges Joint Committee working group reported during 2011–12 and supported the Council’s ambition to increase postgraduate numbers by 2% p.a. at least until 2015, with further increases dependent on building projects (such as the North West Cambridge project) going ahead. This rate of growth represents a compromise between the wish of Schools to increase their graduate numbers and the ability of the Colleges to absorb these numbers, and it provides a stable basis for medium-term planning. A standing Postgraduate Admissions Committee now provides a forum for discussion of postgraduate numbers with the Colleges. No School has expressed a wish to reduce its total undergraduate numbers and the planning assumption is that undergraduate numbers will remain constant.

9.The Board recommends that there be greater oversight of Cambridge in America by the Council.

Cambridge in America is a tax-exempt organization (recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service under the terms of section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code) which funds grants that benefit Cambridge University and its member Colleges. In compliance with IRS regulations, the Board of Directors of Cambridge in America maintains complete discretion over allocation of gifts to Cambridge. Gifts to Cambridge in America qualify for an income tax deduction to the limits allowed by law. Cambridge in America therefore necessarily operates with legal independence from the University. Its Board includes the Vice-Chancellor and three other resident members of Collegiate Cambridge who are all members of the Regent House. The funding allocated to Cambridge in America for operational purposes through the planning round is subject to the same scrutiny as other allocations to Schools and non-School institutions. The review of development activities referred to by the Board has been the subject of extensive discussion by the Council on two occasions in April and September 2012. The Council considered an investment plan for the Development Office at its meeting on 26 November for consideration through the current planning round. Its review has included the Collegiate University’s relationship with Cambridge in America and how that might be improved for the benefit of more effective engagement and fundraising in the future. Ensuring that the University receives value for money for its contribution to the costs of Cambridge in America as it and the Colleges prepare for the next phase of fundraising is a principal concern and one that will be addressed through the process outlined here.

10.The Board recommends that the University Risk Register include recognition of the risks to the University, both reputational and direct, consequent upon the actions or financial circumstances of individual Colleges.

The Key Risk Register includes the risk ‘Associated Bodies’, which is owned by the Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor.  The risk analysis recognizes that association with certain bodies operating under the ‘Cambridge brand’ carries reputational and, in some cases, financial risks for the University.  The list of Associated Bodies includes the Colleges. The Risk Steering Committee reviews each risk on the Key Risk Register twice a year; there is an annual review in October and an interim review in March. 

The Key Risk Register is used by the internal auditor to compile the annual internal audit plan and risk management is a standing item on the agenda of the University’s Audit Committee.  The Audit Committee receives the annual report of the Risk Steering Committee, which includes the annual review of the Key Risk Register.

Equal Pay Review, 2012: Notice

26 November 2012

The University is committed to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value for all employees. The University aims to ensure its pay system is fair and just and that any gender bias is eliminated.

The first equal pay audit was commissioned by the University to take place in 2008 as part of the proposals in the Second Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on new pay and grading arrangements for non-clinical staff (Reporter, 6002, 2004–05, p. 745). The Group overseeing the content of the audit is the Equal Pay Review Group, comprising members of the Human Resources Division, Trade Union representatives, and representatives from University Schools and Departments. The Review Group’s first three reports were published on the annual cycle, on 18 February 2009 (Reporter, 6141, 2008–09, p. 510), 21 April 2010 (Reporter, 6185, 2009–10, p. 688), and 15 December 2010 (Reporter, 6208, 2010–11, p. 318) and can be found on the HR Division website at Subsequently, the University has agreed to publish an Equal Pay Review on a biennial cycle.

The Equal Pay Review 2012 is available at It brings together the following pay data as at 31 July 2012:

• gender representation and average salaries1 (basic pay and total pay by grade, staff category, and working hours);

• salaries paid to new employees;

• market supplements;

• other pensionable and non-pensionable payments for the 12 months ending 31 July 2012, and contribution payments for assistant and academic-related staff in grades 1–11.

The Equal Pay Review 2012 includes median2 and inter-quartile ranges3 where appropriate, in order to provide further insight into potential gender pay issues and for benchmarking purposes. The commentary in appendix A primarily refers to the mean pay gap, but reference is made to the median where appropriate.

The report examines the impact of the above by gender and highlights differences and pay gaps including market comparisons. It also comments on progress made on matters of concern raised in previous equal pay reviews including the equal pay Key Performance Indicators that have been identified to highlight key themes in equal pay at the University.

Equal Pay Review, 2012


  • 1Average (mean) salary is calculated by the single salary spine point value (or total pay if appropriate) divided by the number of instances of that value.

  • 2The median salary is the middle value of all the payments on single salary spine point values when placed in lowest to highest order.

  • 3The inter-quartile range is the difference between the upper quartile (i.e. the value of all payments three quarters of the way from lowest to highest) and the lower quartile (i.e. the value of all payments one quarter of the way from lowest to highest).

Constitution of the Planning and Resources Committee: Notice

28 November 2012

The Council has agreed, on the recommendation of the Planning and Resources Committee and the General Board, to amend the membership of the Planning and Resources Committee appointed by the Council (Reporter, 5955, 2003–04, p. 537). Following the change in status of the Fitzwilliam Museum from a Council to a General Board institution, the requirement that at least one Council appointee is ‘from an institution under their supervision’ is considered to be unduly restrictive and therefore the category has been amended so as to read ‘three members appointed by the Council, at least one from their own membership’.

Language Centre Annual Report, 2011–12: Notice

The Language Centre Committee of Management gives notice that the Language Centre’s Annual Report for 2011–12 is now available at

As a University-wide provider of language teaching and learning opportunities and information for academic, professional, and personal purposes, the Centre has produced data to demonstrate its reach across the Collegiate University. The report illustrates this reach, as well as the year-on-year increase in demand for language learning by members of the University.

Student numbers and examination results, 2011–12: Notice

The finalized 2011–12 student numbers and examination results publication has now been published by the Student Statistics Office. The data is available online at under ‘Student Numbers and Examination Results, 2010–11 onwards’.