Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6361

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Vol cxlv No 5

pp. 56–84

Report of Discussion

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Discussion was held in the Senate-House. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor John Spencer was presiding, with the Registrary’s Deputy, the Deputy Senior Proctor, the Deputy Junior Proctor, and nineteen other persons present.

The following Reports were discussed:

Report of the Council, dated 15 July 2014, on the implementation of electronic voting in ballots of the Regent House ( Reporter, 6355, 2013–14, p. 744).

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 2 July 2014, on the establishment of the University offices of Lecturer (teaching) and Senior Lecturer (teaching) (Reporter, 6355, 2013–14, p. 745).

Professor I. G. Roberts (Chair of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, in its Report of 2 July 2014 (Reporter, 6355, 2013–14, pp. 745–47), the General Board recommended the establishment of the University offices of Lecturer (teaching) and Senior Lecturer (teaching). While I and my colleagues in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages welcome this proposal, I would like to express my concern about the terms of its implementation with regard to Language Teaching Officers (LTO) and Senior Language Teaching Officers (SLTO) currently in post.

As the Report recognizes, the new offices of Lecturer (teaching) (Grade 9) and Senior Lecturer (teaching) (Grade 10) would provide a more appropriate framework for the role of specialist language teachers. At the moment, the offices of Language Teaching Officer (Grade 8) and Senior Language Teaching Officer (Grade 9) are classed as academic-related. Considering these offices for conversion to the new offices would acknowledge that their role, like that of other teaching-only posts, is academic in nature, with a focus on teaching. Further, it is envisaged that holders of teaching-only appointments should be eligible for promotion under the Senior Academic Promotions Procedure. This would introduce a significantly improved career structure for holders of University offices such as LTO and SLTO.

While the Report acknowledges that the new offices would provide a more suitable model for specialist language teaching posts, it then goes on to suggest that the new structure should only apply to new appointments and that current LTOs and SLTOs should be excluded. No justification is given for this exclusion:

‘9. The General Board have considered the position in respect of specialist language teachers where there is already a structure of University offices: Lector, Language Teaching Officer, Senior Language Teaching Officer. Although the Board see no reason to disturb that structure the new offices may provide a more appropriate framework for the future. As vacancies arise it would be open to the School concerned to propose the substitution of one of the new offices if the needs of the institution justified it.’

This is in contrast with what is proposed for the current holders of other teaching-only posts who, if the proposals of the General Board were approved, would see them converted to the new offices in the very near future:

‘10. Subject to the approval of the recommendation of this Report, the HR Division, in consultation with the Councils of the Schools and institutions concerned, will review posts at Grade 9 (or above) with substantive duties concerned with teaching which might be converted to one of the new offices. Where this is considered appropriate and agreed by the School, the relevant Appointment Committees will consider appointing the individual(s) concerned. Where this is not considered appropriate the individual will remain in the unestablished appointment until the expiry of their tenure.’

I and many of my colleagues in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages believe that the provisions outlined in Paragraphs 9 and 10 as they currently stand risk creating a situation of discrimination between posts established at the same Grade, on the one hand, and between holders of similar posts, with comparable teaching-only duties and responsibilities, established at different Grades, on the other.

Further, the Report recommends that only teaching-only posts at Grade 9 or above be reviewed and considered for conversion to the new offices. If this provision were to be approved, it would be doubly detrimental for LTOs at Grade 8.

I, as Chair of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, fully share the concerns of the LTOs and SLTOs based in our Faculty – and indeed of those based in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and the Faculty of Classics. This statement also has the support of all Heads of Department in my Faculty, the Chair of the Faculty of Classics, and the Chair of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

In light of the above, I am speaking here today to urge that the possibility be allowed for converting the posts of Language Teaching Officer and Senior Language Teaching Officer, during the period of tenure of the current post holders, to one of the new offices whose creation is now being proposed. This process, as it should always have been, should be taken forward in full and close consultation with the School of Arts and Humanities.

Professor J. K. M. Sanders (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs), read by the Deputy Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am Chair of the Human Resources Committee and also Chair of the working party that proposed the establishment of these teaching-only offices.

The firmly established career pathway for Cambridge academics is University Lecturer, University Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor. The holders of these offices are expected to carry out teaching and research and also to make more general contributions internally and externally. The proposals in this Report will not change these expectations in any way.

However, there are a few, currently unestablished, appointments at Grade 9 held on open-ended contracts, mainly in scientific Departments, whose duties are primarily concerned with teaching. These appointments are funded from a variety of sources and have been made in a piecemeal fashion, by informal appointments processes, and the holders are subject to some variation in terms and conditions. The absence of a formal structure for these important posts is profoundly unsatisfactory. For the University, the lack of a uniform appointments and promotions process poses risks around quality control for the delivery and continuity of teaching. For the individuals, the insecure and anomalous status, by comparison with holders of University offices, and the lack of opportunity for recognition and progression, are clearly unsatisfactory and, I would argue, are unfair.

This Report makes proposals for a career structure and framework for such ‘teaching-only’ posts, including the recognition of greater responsibilities by promotion to Grade 10, which is equivalent to University Senior Lecturer. My aim today is simply to provide reassurance to the Regent House on two aspects that I know have caused concern in some quarters. The first is a matter of principle, and the second is a practical matter.

The matter of principle is the claim by some that the creation of these offices creates a precedent by breaching the traditional link between teaching and research. That is simply not true: we have had for many years established offices of Language Teaching Officer and Senior Language Teaching Officer, and the intellectual roof has not collapsed onto the School of Arts and Humanities or onto the Department of Engineering. We have also had for many decades Senior Teaching Officers, responsible for the delivery of preclinical teaching, in the School of the Biological Sciences. So we are not setting any precedent in this proposal: we are bringing some order and process into an otherwise unregulated arena, as well as taking the opportunity to recognize the contribution of valued colleagues.

The practical worry that some have expressed is that this is a slippery slope leading to a large number of teaching-only posts and a corresponding increase in research-dominated posts, leading to a separation of teaching and research. We believe that the cost of establishing teaching-only posts which are not supported by HEFCE QR funding or research grant indirect costs will inhibit the creation of more than a very small number. The numbers will be small, but the positive impact on the individuals concerned will be substantial and positive.

Mr F. G. G. Basso (Language Teaching Officer, Faculty of Classics):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, members of the Regent House who are not also members of the Faculties of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, of Classics, of History, and of Modern Languages, or of some other Faculties to which established University officers with ‘teaching-only’ posts have long been appointed, or else who are not extremely well acquainted with every page of the Statutes and Ordinances, may have been tempted to break the proverbial injunction and believe what appeared in the press – not the tabloid press, admittedly – in the middle of the summer. On 31 July, under the heading ‘Cambridge plans formal teaching-only posts’, the Times Higher Education revealed to the world that some potentially significant break with the past, and a rather symbolically charged one at that, was in the making at our University. But not only are there already ‘teaching-only’ University offices established in the Statutes and Ordinances but the Report from which the Times Higher derived its information and that is now under discussion, proposes to assign to the new office of ‘Lecturer (teaching)’ exactly the same duties and responsibilities that are associated with some of these existing posts (and recorded in the relevant PD33 forms). On the other hand, the false impression that the type of posts the Report proposes to create represents a departure from any other already existing is not one invented by the Times Higher Education but one that the Report itself, if not positively intent on creating, at least allows to be formed.

After a rather solemn reaffirmation (in Paragraphs 1 and 2) that the current combination of teaching and research should remain the norm for what the Report calls the ‘academic career structure’, in the second half of Paragraph 2 the Report moves on to say that:

‘there are currently some 180 unestablished appointments in the University, with an expected tenure of over one year, whose primary duties are the delivery of teaching, or other instruction, and the organization of teaching programmes, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Many such appointments are part-time, renewable, and are concerned with specialist teaching provision in e.g. the Department of Education, the Department of Architecture, and the Language Centre where the requirements, both for the amount and type of teaching, may change and there is a need for flexibility from year to year, or are specialist roles in the School of Clinical Medicine.’

It is already less than helpful that a Report, whose scope is sufficiently ambitious to propose the establishment of new offices dedicated to teaching, should not have provided the Regent House with fuller and more detailed information clarifying, for example (and in table form, perhaps) how many of the 180 appointments mentioned by the Board are open-ended, how many are made at what Grade on the salary scales, under which titles and in which Faculties. But it becomes positively incomprehensible that the Report should not even have mentioned in this same paragraph, for the purpose of comparison, if nothing else, and even in the same cursory form in which the unestablished ‘teaching-only’ posts are treated, the numerical consistency, or indeed the very existence of several types of ‘teaching-only’ University officerships already established across the University. Not so surprisingly, perhaps, given that when the Report finally gets round, in Paragraph 9, to mentioning this group of ‘teaching-only’ University officers, the manner in which these posts are considered gives the impression of a rather limited after-thought inserted into a conceptual framework that to begin with – and whether by accident or design – was simply ignoring them.

Before moving on to that, however, let us first of all be clear as to what the main practical concern of this Report really is, and about the fact that for all the general sounding (if bizarrely selective) premise leading to it, this concern is a remarkably particular one. We are finally told, in the second sentence of Paragraph 3:

‘There are also a small, but growing, number of appointments at Grade 9 held on open-ended contracts, mainly in scientific Departments, whose substantive duties are primarily concerned with teaching.’

It is only to the current holders of this ‘small, but growing, number of appointments at Grade 9’ that all the proposals contained in the rest of the Report are meant to apply. It could be that there are reasons why immediate action is needed solely in relation to this group of staff but, if so, none are given by the Report. Nor is the Regent House put in a position to consider what is being proposed with full knowledge of the facts, since no numbers are given for established ‘teaching-only’ staff, nor for how small the ‘small but growing group’ actually is, other than it falls within the larger number of ‘about 180’ unestablished ‘teaching only’ posts quoted before. Similarly, and crucially perhaps, no information is given about the Grade at which any other type of ‘teaching-only’ appointment already in existence, be it established or unestablished, is made.

Whatever impression members of the Regent House would form about the proposals of the Report, once they were given the chance to consider them within a fuller and adequately detailed set of data, would remain to be seen, but there is one respect at least in which the very selective provisions of the Report appear already arbitrary and indeed materially discriminatory and it is to this and to Paragraph 9 that I will now turn. Paragraph 9 reads:

‘9. The General Board have considered the position in respect of specialist language teachers where there is already a structure of University offices: Lector, Language Teaching Officer, Senior Language Teaching Officer. Although the Board see no reason to disturb that structure the new offices may provide a more appropriate framework for the future. As vacancies arise it would be open to the School concerned to propose the substitution of one of the new offices if the needs of the institution justified it. Similarly, other offices including those concerned with medical or veterinary teaching e.g. University Physiologist might over time be converted to one of the new offices.’

There cannot be any doubt that the word ‘structure’ is used elsewhere in the Report, with explicit reference to a ‘career structure’. This is already the case, as I have observed before, in the very first sentence of the Report and remains the case throughout. For this reason, it is incomprehensible how the General Board could have regarded ‘the position of specialist language teachers’ as already provided with a ‘structure’ and such a one that the Board would ‘see no reason to disturb’. These posts could be said to have a ‘structure’ only in the sense that they are already established (a strange use of the word in this case, and a confusing one too, given the way in which the word is used elsewhere in the Report) but certainly not a ‘career structure’. The roles of ‘Lector’, ‘Language Teaching Officer’, and ‘Senior Language Teaching Officer’ are not stages of a ‘career structure’ along which any post-holder can potentially progress by means of individual promotion.

It is enough to bear in mind that the office of ‘Lector’ established at Grade 5 is not an open-ended appointment to realize that a post-holder’s progression from that office to that of ‘Language Teaching Officer’ established as an open-ended appointment at Grade 8 would never depend on an individual’s contributions while in post (however defined), but rather on a Faculty’s institutional needs to have the role regraded following reorganization. Exactly the same is the case for the regrading of the role of ‘Language Teaching Officer’ to that of ‘Senior Language Teaching Officer’ even though in this case the two roles are both open-ended and established as Grade 8 and Grade 9 respectively. For this reason, the way in which these offices are listed in sequence and the claim made by the Report that when taken together they would amount to a ‘structure’ can only be misleading.

The Report states, but only with reference to the unestablished posts appointed at Grade 9 that – and I quote from the last sentence of Paragraph 3: ‘the lack of opportunity for recognition and progression is clearly unsatisfactory’, where the progression currently denied in this case, must be to Grade 10. I do not for a moment mean to argue that what the Report suggests may not indeed be the case. What I do wish to argue, instead, is that it is neither more nor less unsatisfactory for ‘Language Teaching Officers,’ placed at Grade 8 on appointment, never to be given the opportunity of personal progression (as opposed to the regrading of their roles) to Grade 9.

The Report already states in relation to the specialist language teaching posts considered under Paragraph 9 that ‘the new offices [that is of Lecturer (teaching) and Senior Lecturer (teaching)] may provide a more appropriate framework for the future’, so there is no need to expand further on this rather obvious conclusion. The somewhat tentative language with which this is stated in Paragraph 9 is the only surprising detail when considering that under Paragraph 4, when outlining the general aims behind the establishment of the new offices, the Report has already stated that they would:

‘meet the evolving needs of disciplines that need to educate in core subjects, in languages, or in other academic activities where there are no, or limited, research active staff to fulfil these needs;’

In light of all this, one would really like to imagine that the General Board’s proposal that no changes should be introduced during the period of tenure of the current post-holders can only be based on the kind of misconception that I have tried to address. If it were really the case, as it is not, that a ‘career structure’ was already in place for these posts through which individual post-holders could seek to progress by applying for personal promotion, then the fact that the General Board should apparently be in no hurry ‘to disturb’ this already existing ‘structure’ could perhaps have been less incomprehensible. As it is, it can only be regarded as substantially and materially discriminatory in respect of all the current holders of these offices.

I am making this particular point, in respect of which I must declare an interest, because I do not have the necessary information to comment on any other comparable cases. Given, however, the confusing way in which the Report discusses the type of posts I know, I would not be at all surprised if similar observations could be made for some of the other already established ‘teaching-only’ offices that are even more hastily considered in Paragraph 9. I very much hope that this Report will not be submitted to the Regent House to be graced without substantial and thorough revisions ensuring that whatever proposals are made are sufficiently well thought out and comprehensive as to be both in the best interests of the University and equally fair to all members of staff. As members of the Regent House would have become aware, if they were not before, this is a matter characterized by some complexity and significant scope for confusion. What the University needs and deserves is a better attempt at reducing the former and eliminating the latter. The proposals of this Report, if implemented in their current form, would achieve precisely the opposite.

Dr R. S. Omitowoju (Senior Language Teaching Officer, Faculty of Classics, and King’s College), read by Mr Basso:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Report of the General Board proposes that in the case of specialist language teaching appointments, the position of the current post-holders should remain unchanged for the remaining duration of their period of employment. It is envisaged that the Schools concerned would be allowed to phase in the new posts proposed in the Report, if they so wish, only ‘as vacancies arise’. This is in notable contrast with what is being proposed for the current holders of other ‘teaching-only’ posts who, if the Report of the General Board were approved as it stands, would potentially see themselves ‘converted’ to the new offices in the very near future. Such a discriminatory treatment of one group of employees may well be open to challenge in law and in any case could only have the most profoundly detrimental effect on the morale of all the current holders of specialist language teaching posts.

The Report states clearly in a number of places that it is concerned with the position of Grade 9 posts. For this reason, if its remit was not widened to include specialist language teachers currently on Grade 8, the holders of Language Teaching Officer appointments would be excluded from the provisions of the Report. This raises the possibility that SLTO Grade 9 posts might be converted while LTO posts would never be converted – an extremely odd result when the teaching duties are identical in the two cases. The list of duties, some or all of which the Board now propose should be included in the role description for the new Grade 9 office of ‘Lecturer (teaching)’, is identical to those undertaken in practice and listed (with other additional ones) in the role description (PD33) of some, at least of the Language Teaching Officers that are Grade 8 at present. Indeed, some of the duties that the Board propose to assign only to Grade 9 Senior Lecturer (teaching) (for example: ‘advise/train less experienced staff on learning, teaching’) are also already included, among the duties and responsibilities of a Grade 8 Language Teaching Officer and undertaken in practice.

The ‘career structure’ and thus the opportunities for promotion that the Report seems to envisage between the two new proposed offices of ‘Lecturer (teaching)’ and ‘Senior Lecturer (teaching)’ seems also problematic. Judging from the additional responsibilities that it proposes should be associated with the office of ‘Senior Lecturer (teaching)’, the Report equivocates between two quite different models of career advancement – progression based on increased responsibilities (i.e. which depends on the post, and which will result in future post-holders starting at the higher Grade) and promotion based on the quality of the contribution made (i.e. which depends on the post-holder, and which will not result in future post-holders starting at the higher Grade). The former approach, involving, typically, wider managerial responsibility, may be appropriate in the case of academic-related posts and is indeed the distinction that already defines the roles of ‘Language Teaching Officers’ and ‘Senior Language Teaching Officers’ in relation to each other, but it is neither appropriate, nor indeed viable, as a way of creating a ‘career structure’ for ‘teaching-only’ offices like those existing in the School of Arts and Humanities and in the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences, all of whom are characterized by the fact of not being ‘portable’ (unlike, say, those of Computer Officers, Administrators, and Librarians) across institutions within the University. For such posts the crucial criterion must surely be quality of contribution, and the Senior Academic Promotions Procedure is the only appropriate framework. The Report does indeed propose that

‘Promotion to a Senior Lectureship (teaching) would be possible through the Senior Academic Promotions Procedure (the criteria for which will be adapted to accommodate the new office)’,

but one is left wondering along which lines, exactly, the criteria will be ‘adapted’. If they will be adapted in such a way as to make progression from ‘Lecturer (teaching)’ to ‘Senior Lecturer (teaching)’ only possible on the basis of increased managerial responsibility, then these new criteria will fundamentally alter the essential nature of the Senior Academic Promotions Procedure insofar as it has been applying until now to the progression from University Lecturer to University Senior Lecturer. If, on the contrary, the nature of the latter should be maintained, then the role description that the Report proposes should be adopted for the office of ‘Senior Lecturer (teaching)’ needs to be substantially rethought.

I observe that, under Annex 1, Section 3, the Report proposes that,

‘The duties of a Lecturer (teaching) or Senior Lecturer (teaching) shall include the delivery or organization of teaching, or other forms of instruction, and associated responsibilities, as determined by the Head of Department or Faculty Board concerned, subject to the approval of the General Board.’

A similar provision is already made in the Ordinances in respect of the offices of ‘Language Teaching Officer’ and ‘Senior Language Teaching Officer’, but with the important difference that in the case of the latter it is the Faculty Board concerned, as a whole, and not simply its Head who determine the responsibilities of the officers concerned. No reason is given for this tacit change that would result in an attribution of all relevant decisions pertaining to the new offices to a single Faculty or Department officer and would apparently remove them from the appropriate decision-making body.

Finally I observe that at the end of Paragraph 5 the following statement is made:

‘Holders of offices in both Grades would be encouraged, but not required, to undertake research related to their academic discipline or pedagogy.’

As currently formulated, this is a rather baffling suggestion and a source of potential confusion for the Departments or Faculty Boards who will have to determine, in practice, the duties of officers established under them. What, exactly, could the word ‘encouraged’ mean in this context? Does the Report envisage that ‘Lecturers (teaching)’ and ‘Senior Lecturers (teaching)’ should take up research in their spare time? As a hobby, perhaps? On the weekends? If, as it seems self-evidently desirable in the case of these new offices and as it is already for existing ‘teaching-only’ officers, the quality of teaching that the University could and should expect, and already receives, is such as to constitute, in itself, one of the possible conduits for the advance of knowledge, then surely this should be formally acknowledged in a more satisfactory way than the Report suggests. That, however, would involve the acknowledgement that the concept, and the label, of ‘teaching-only’ posts (as opposed, for example, to ‘teaching-intensive’ or to any other identifier that labelling ingenuity might come up with) is not the most adequate way of referring to the quality of the contribution that the University could and should expect from these members of staff. In any case, it seems essential that the General Board should thoroughly reconsider the practical implications of the wish it has expressed and that I imagine all relevant officers would naturally share. In doing so, the Board might consider not only the obvious fact that the teaching of the so called ‘teaching-only’ Lecturer and Senior Lecturer should be constantly informed by research – it would be very odd indeed to suggest otherwise in our University. But also that the teaching in itself, as distinct from publication for example, can also be seen to constitute one valuable means, amongst others, for the diffusions of research and scholarship.

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, old Statute D, II, 4, new Statute C I 4, taking its key wording from the Oxford and Cambridge Act 1877 s. 15, says that:

‘It shall be the duty of all holders of University offices specified in Schedule J/entitled to leave under a Special Ordinance made under Statute C I 1(a) to promote the interests of the University as a place of education, religion, learning, and research.’

This right and combined duty are expressly excluded in the Report before us, for these officers are not appointed to do research. Nor does it seem to be clear whether the holders of these offices will be entitled to membership of the Regent House. The Report does not say and the confusing information in new Statute A III 10(e) and the wrongly-numbered passage in the Ordinances to which the enquirer must refer, seems to exclude them, even though they would be included as unestablished academic staff.1

This is a Report whose potential importance is great. It may have been intended simply to tidy up some anomalies and potential injustices affecting a few academics. But it will surely open the floodgates, given the huge community of unestablished research staff in Cambridge. If ‘teaching- only’ University offices are to be introduced in Cambridge, will there not soon be a call for ‘research-only’ offices for unestablished research staff? To include Senior Research Associates, Principal Research Associates, Directors of Research?

Why is this so significant? Look at the Human Resources website (which I see has now more or less updated the numbering of Statutes though it had not done so when this Report was published). If you are an officer you have the protection of the Statutes and Ordinances under old Statute U, now Schedule to new Statute C ready for demotion to Special Ordinance when the Regent House and the Privy Council approve, and of Special Ordinance C (xii) if you have a grievance. These are ultimately subject to the principles of the Model Statute designed under Education Reform Act 1988 s. 202. So you are quite difficult to dismiss. But if you are not an officer, but unestablished academic and academic-related staff (including contract research staff) you will find the applicable procedures under the heading Disciplinary, Grievances, and Appeals with the warning that ‘The procedure described below may be reviewed from time to time and any changes will apply to all unestablished staff’.2 When they realize this, won’t all ‘contract research staff’ be shouting for transfer to the status of University officers too? Shan’t we need a further Report quite soon, to cover them?

And they are not few. They are many, very many. Oxford has been reviewing with some concern the consequences of the decision it took when the North Reforms were implemented, to allow academic staff of every stripe and a good number of academic-related staff to become members of Congregation if their Heads of Department agreed, and consequently to bestow on them the protection of Oxford’s counterpart of the Model Statute. (Oxford of course technically has only a handful of ‘University offices’ and cannot use that route to classification of eligibility for membership of Congregation.)

Oxford-watchers cannot have failed to notice the extensive and contentious consultations which have been going on from February 2014 and during the summer and those have only just begun a process likely to take years to conclude. If Cambridge now sets out down a similar road the numbers of members of the Regent House will rise and a balance is likely to emerge comparable with that which has now caused consternation in Oxford, where it is realized that traditional (not teaching-and-research) academic staff are now vastly outnumbered by the contract research staff and the academic-related. So I suggest a first question to be considered is whether this is the way Cambridge wishes to go.

The General Board Minutes for 4 June 2014 record a discussion,3 in the course of which it was suggested that the teaching-only offices will be few and should be created sparingly. I have suggested this may not be so for long. It was also thought that in this present Discussion of the Report ‘concerns might be raised that the proposals represented a significant departure from the traditional close linkage between research and teaching in academic appointments in the University’. I have also raised that concern.

But what of this? It was realized that it would be important to

‘clarify the respective roles of the Schools and the HR Division in assimilating posts to the new structure and the eligibility of holders of the new offices for consideration under the Senior Academic Promotions procedure’.

This seems to be tending in the Oxford direction, where Congregation first lost control of such matters to the General Board in the 1990s, and then when the General Board there was abolished, to what Oxford still calls Personnel.

A final topic of concern is the presumption that teaching-only Lecturers will necessarily be the best teachers. They are (among other things) to:

‘•contribute to the delivery of excellence in teaching by developing a cohort of leaders of educational provision;

make a major contribution to sustaining the excellence of the delivery of teaching;’

They are to have special responsibility for:

‘•design, quality control, and teaching courses at undergraduate and/or postgraduate level;

development of innovative approaches to teaching and learning;

initiating or co-ordinating roles in the department e.g. relating to assessment or admissions;

outreach- and access-related activities;

examining and other forms of assessment.’

Those holding Senior Lectureships in teaching only will:

‘•have substantial experience of senior responsibility for the management and development of teaching programmes;

have responsibility for enhancing the quality of teaching or other provision in the institution concerned.’

One can envisage a fair amount of indignation among the teaching-and-research academics who rightly pride themselves on doing all this already.

The General Board Minute tells us that

‘The Board agreed that these points should be considered further by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Institutional Affairs) and the officers with a view to an amended Report being signed by circulation.’4

So this was once more a case of a Report being signed not at a meeting but by circulation after its adjustment later?

Dr S. D. Guest (Deputy Head of Department (Teaching), Department of Engineering):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I fear that the establishment of the teaching-only posts described in this Report will be a strategic mistake, even if the short-term rationale is sound. While the Report suggests that teaching-only posts should be used sparingly, their establishment nonetheless gives official sanction to the creation of a new class of academic staff in the University, and I think it is inevitable that this class will come to be seen as second-class. I foresee a ‘them and us’ culture developing, where ‘them’ are employed to do teaching, and ‘us’ get on with the important matters that are more likely to see us promoted.

I currently have a role helping to organize teaching, and have observed that the successful delivery of the Engineering Tripos depends on teaching being a shared enterprise among academic staff of all levels of seniority. I believe that teaching our excellent students is best done by academics who are themselves research active. I recognize that posts dedicated to teaching are required and important, but believe that such appointments should continue to be made either to specialist posts, or on an individual ad hoc basis.

The Report mentions broad support for the proposal from the Councils of the Schools. I note, however, that the proposal was not supported by the Council of the School of Technology.

I imagine that the General Board will respond that my concerns are alarmist, as very few teaching-only posts will be created. However, once these posts have been established, the General Board will have little control over how they are subsequently used. I suggest that we prevent the development of a teaching/research dichotomy by rejecting the proposals in this Report.

Dr N. Bampos (Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry, University Council, and General Board of the Faculties):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, my comments regarding the Discussion on teaching-only posts are informed by my experience as Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry, member of the University Council and General Board, my involvement in a number of committees dealing with teaching support across the Collegiate University, and the views of colleagues I have spoken to or been contacted by.

This Report outlines very welcome developments, and recognizes that the provisions for teaching our undergraduate and graduate communities have evolved over the years – especially at a time when students pay significant fees for the teaching we offer. Traditionally, established posts in the University have followed a well-structured path with clear expectations and promotion opportunities. For a small number of unestablished teaching-only posts, there seems to be no clear consistency in the terms under which these important individuals are expected to satisfy the academic aspirations of a world-class teaching and research university. We have for too long relied on the goodwill of outstanding teachers to carry heavy teaching loads in those Departments where the balance of expectations have sometimes been weighted towards research.

What is before us is not a mechanism for recruiting a new category of staff, but a set of proposals which aim to achieve a balanced and equitable way to recognize and address the need to formalize a small number of unestablished posts. Such individuals are currently on various contracts that are funded by Departments where the need for teaching-only posts has already been clearly identified.

Perhaps I am conflicted by the fact that unestablished ‘teaching-only’ lectureships are currently operating to great effect in my Department and other science Departments, but these are also the places where the courses cater for the largest number of students in the University. All this has an impact on our core responsibilities to educate the brilliant students we admit. In Departments where such unestablished positions are in place, there is also a significant burden on the established academic staff to offer lectures, practical classes, research projects, and cater for the examination of large cohorts of students. In addition to their duties during the academical year, teaching-only post-holders have been involved in outreach activities for which there is no recognition and which in turn help raise the profile of the University in the broader community. Without the proper structures in place (which might also offer some level of career progression and promotion), the University is in no position to exercise any level of quality control or to identify the best way in which such post-holders can serve their Department, the students, and the University.

The academic landscape in which we operate has changed since the terms of the established posts were formulated, and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs has already explained that established offices have been in place in those subjects for which the need has been previously identified. This Report responds to the handful of unestablished teaching-only posts which play a key role in the delivery of important teaching in Departments and subjects not covered in any previous developments.

Dr J. H. Keeler (Director of Undergraduate Teaching, Department of Chemistry, and Senior Tutor, Selwyn College), read by Dr N. Bampos:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, in our current model, a University Lecturer is expected to undertake teaching, research, and administration. The proportion of time to be devoted to each activity is not defined formally and it is common for this to vary over time as the priorities and interests of any particular officer change; this flexible approach surely serves us well. However, the research element of an officer’s duties has become more and more important in recent years, to the point now where it is perceived as being the dominant activity. For a University such as ours which aspires to maintain its position as a leader in research and scholarship it is not surprising, and probably not at all inappropriate, that research comes first and foremost.

This dominance of the research agenda is in tension with another important part of the University’s mission, which is to provide a top-rate education for the best and brightest students from our country and from around the world. Lecturers continue to make teaching a priority, but the reality is that in a very competitive research environment there are limits on the amount of time and energy that an officer can devote to teaching. All of this comes at a time when the expectations of students are higher than ever, and the University is under ever more scrutiny as to the quality of education it offers.

In the Department of Chemistry we have found that the creation of what are effectively teaching-only lectureships has been a very effective way of resolving this tension. Such appointments go against the traditional model, and it is fair to say that there was some nervousness as to how effective they might be and how they might be perceived by other staff. The experience has, however, been entirely positive: our appointees have quickly established themselves as valued members of the staff, and command the respect of both colleagues and students. Needless to say, they bring great energy and enthusiasm to their teaching, and also have the time to take on more strategic matters such as course development. I believe that there are a number of other Departments and Faculties who have used a similar model, to similar effect.

I am convinced, therefore, of the value of teaching-only lectureships, and that such appointments are a key way in which we can maintain teaching quality alongside a strong research focus. The difficulty is that the University has no office to which such people can be properly appointed, leaving them without status and recognition outside their own Departments. This is hardly a satisfactory situation, and it is for this reason that I welcome these timely and well thought-out proposals. They represent an important step forward in the evolution of the University’s offices to meet the changing times, and I hope that they will find favour with the Regent House.

Dr N. Holmes (Department of Pathology), read by Dr S. J. Cowley:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, many of the sentiments expressed in this Report are welcome. Improvement in the terms and conditions of colleagues who are not University Teaching Officers (UTOs) but nevertheless have primary responsibility for the delivery and organization of University teaching should be a ‘good thing’. In particular, the Report is correct to identify insecure, relatively short-term contracts, often renewed many times, as a matter of concern. However, it is not clear to me that those colleagues most needing better security of tenure and improved conditions of employment will in fact be the beneficiaries of the proposed new offices. Indeed, a careful reading of the Report (see for example, Paragraph 10(b)) suggests that those experiencing the greatest degree of casualization will not benefit at all.

Paragraph 10 could also be said to be somewhat loosely worded; ‘posts at Grade 9 (or above) with substantive duties concerned with teaching’ might be taken to refer to many existing established University officers. No doubt that is not the intention, at least not at present. However, the creation of a parallel career track, with such similar titles and duties seems to me to present a serious danger of establishing a two-tier system of UTOs. A system in which one tier enjoys the privilege of undertaking research, the freedom to choose its direction, and the right to expect the time to do so, while the other does not. The phrase ‘second-class citizens’ comes most clearly to mind. Furthermore, although Paragraph 2 assures us that the present academic offices ‘are expected to continue to provide the main career structure for permanent academic posts’, it does not preclude a drift over time to an increasing reliance of teaching-only staff and a diminishing involvement of many of our world-class researchers in teaching. I am confident that the Regent House in general will think this a bad thing were it to occur. I am equally confident that it will occur if this Report is approved, maybe not at once, but certainly gradually over time. Such a trend is already prevalent among other UK universities, including some Russell Group institutions. At least some of those involved locally in organizing teaching and examining have encountered such problems already.

It does not seem to me that the establishment of these new offices is in fact necessary to achieve the desirable objectives I referred to earlier. Indeed, quite a few unestablished staff are already on open-ended contracts, and the terms and conditions of those staff employed only to deliver University teaching could easily be improved, and harmonized, without the establishment of these new offices, including appointing them to the retiring age.

Finally, the Report draws attention to the current variation in terms and conditions to which the holders of some of the posts under consideration are now subject. While some may pooh-pooh the idea, it is just possible that some post-holders may prefer their current terms and conditions to those offered with the new offices. Paragraph 10 makes reference to the HR Division, Councils of the Schools, and institutions agreeing a transfer to a new appointment, but says nothing about the consent of the individual. While I clearly think that these offices should not be approved, will the General Board give an assurance that, should they be established, no member of staff will be pressurized into transferring to the new offices proposed, now or at any time in the future?

Dr S. J. Cowley (Chair of the Faculty of Mathematics and University Council):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am not convinced that the establishment of the University offices of Lecturer (teaching) and Senior Lecturer (teaching) is a wise move.

University Teaching Officers (UTOs) are expected to participate in teaching, research, and administration (although one might hope, not too much in the latter case), and all three aspects are assessed for promotion. Indeed the University has for many years prided itself on the fact that all UTOs participate in teaching, and the current Report explicitly notes ‘the close linkage between teaching and research’. I share Dr Holmes’s concerns that if these offices are established then Heads of Departments might see short-term gains in appointing such officers (say, to appease ‘stars’ unwilling to teach), with long-term consequences (will other than the exceptional have the motivation after 30, 40, or more years as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer just doing teaching and performing administration?). Having observed the approval process for new appointments, I am also not convinced that either the relevant School, or the Resource Management Committee will act as effective checks and balances in order to save a Department from itself in the case of an inappropriate proposal with 40-year consequences.

Secondly, in recent years, the University has not been over-endowed with funds for established academic appointments. The number of academics has all but flat-lined over the last 10–15 years, while the number of research staff, support staff, and administrative staff have increased, in some cases very significantly (e.g. see last academical year’s Report of the Council on the financial position and budget of the University, recommending allocations from the Chest for 2014–15). When the University has funds for academic appointments, I believe that the University should be aiming to make standard UTO appointments, because of the ‘critical dependence on maintaining high quality research and the associated HEFCE QR income and external grant funding’ (as the Report itself points out). It may be that the appointment of a Lecturer (teaching) will release the time of other staff to pull in more HEFCE QR income and external grant funding, in order to cover the costs of such a post. However, I am somewhat sceptical (particularly since the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources has noted that the University loses money on research, as well as teaching). It should also be borne in mind that not all UTO appointments turn out to be research stars.

Thirdly, I think that we need to take a longer view. Pensions are up for debate, and even George Osborne has recognized that most of us are going to have to work for twice as long as we retire, if we are to have an adequate pension. That means more of us are going to be working into our late 60s and early 70s. For some, the research insight will still be there at that age; however, experience suggests that for others, it will diminish (the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs, one of the protagonists of this Report, has expressed similar views to me). The University will then face a dilemma. Does it introduce performance management and ease out, or sack, UTOs who are not performing on the research front (as some Russell Group universities already do), or does it change their job mix? If there are already sufficient Lecturers (teaching) and Senior Lecturers (teaching) to do the teaching, does the University generate administrative posts (which admittedly it has been rather good at in recent years), or what? This is an even more acute problem than in the past where, in its wisdom, the Collegiate University used to provide sideways moves for those with the best days of research behind them, to senior posts in Colleges and the University’s administration. With the professionalization of such posts, such moves are far rarer.

The proposals in this Report are somewhat short-sighted. The University does not need the University offices of Lecturer (teaching) and Senior Lecturer (teaching); instead it needs to think more clearly about the job mix of current staff in future years. Similarly, current staff need to be realistic and realize that the current typical career trajectory of research, then teaching and research, and finally teaching, research, and administration, may be followed in future (if one is to build up an adequate retirement pension) by a period of teaching and administration (possibly even for once ‘star’ research professors).

What is proposed is a short-term fix, which may bring long-term pain. We need a re-think and a broader view. In this context I would recommend a re-read of the Board of Scrutiny’s Sixth Report, where David Howarth (before his sojourn as an MP) attempted to grapple with related issues in the section on Academic Careers and University Governance.

Finally, notwithstanding all the above, I wish to make clear to those 180 unestablished appointments in the University whose primary duties are the delivery of teaching, or other instruction, that the University has a responsibility to treat you fairly and justly. The University has conventionally been seen as a ‘good’ employer, and it should continue to be so. One way may be through this Report, but there may be better ways to protect the interests of current staff with a solution that does not have unwanted long-term consequences.

Might I also comment on Professor Sanders’s earlier speech, where he suggested career progression for academics was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor. When Senior Lecturer was introduced, promotion from Lecturer to Reader was the anticipated career progression for most. I conclude that assurances in Reports are not all they are billed to be.

Report of the General Board, dated 2 July 2014, on the establishment or re-establishment of two Professorships in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Reporter, 6355, 2013–14, p. 747).

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 2 July 2014, on the re-establishment of a Professorship of Surgical Oncology (Reporter, 6355, 2013–14, p. 748).

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 2 July 2014, on certain University offices in the School of Clinical Medicine (Reporter, 6355, 2013–14, p. 748).

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the Council, dated 22 September 2014, seeking authority to extend Phase 1 of the North West Cambridge development (Reporter, 6357, 2014–15, p. 11).

Mr M. V. Lucas-Smith (Department of Geography):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, transport and congestion are together two of the biggest issues facing Cambridge at the moment. A development such as the North West Cambridge development has considerable effects on these matters.

I and others are most concerned at aspects of the transport planning for the North West Cambridge development, particularly in terms of cycling.

The new housing plots proposed need to be facilitated by good access to the development by bicycle. Without this, the reassurances given about the ability to access the development safely and conveniently will be meaningless.

The road network in Cambridge is already close to gridlock. Getting a large number of cars out of the development in one go only ensures worse problems along the same roads closer to the city centre. The roads around the development are bringing in people from outside the city who may not have a cycling alternative. Commuters are hardly likely to be pleased if their journey is made more congested by people who could have had a good alternative to car use.

Those driving into work yesterday, when the rain meant that many people who cycle took to their cars instead, will have seen the effect of congestion caused when people do not cycle. One can extrapolate this effect to consider the addition of thousands of new houses and vehicles on the road, making this problem far worse in the future.

Those promoting new developments in Cambridge love to talk about cycling. They make much of how cycling will reduce or negate the transport impact of their development on existing roads. The reality of their designs rarely matches this rhetoric, and the North West Cambridge development is no exception.

Most important of all is junction design and major roads. Residential roads are not usually a barrier to cycling. If you want to encourage people to cycle you don’t help them get to the end of their street: you help them get out of the development to the rest of the city.

Developers always say that impact on the network will be minimal. It is rarer to claim that a development will actually reduce traffic. But that is what, incredibly, the North West Cambridge development is claiming.

The exhibition content stated:

‘The suite of measures proposed will ensure a reduction in vehicles on the network. As a consequence they will more than offset any increases attributable to the development.’

Key to this is discouraging car use. The development has a number of ‘Quality of Life’ pledges, of which Pledge 4 is ‘Low car use will be the norm’.

However, the junctions that connect the development to the existing road network are being designed for high capacity car movements.

The junctions have been designed as if someone sitting in a London office has taken a standard design off the shelf, and plonked it on Madingley Road. No consideration for the fact this is Cambridge has been taken into account. In Cambridge, we have lots of people cycling. Some 29% of people cycle to work in Cambridge, with University staff and students probably a far greater proportion.

Yet even that 29% is far below what could be achieved. Cities in the Netherlands, Denmark, and others, achieve cycling levels of 40% or 50% of journeys. Such levels of cycling are essential if the new developments around Cambridge, especially the University’s developments, are not to cause gridlock of the kind we saw yesterday.

Accordingly, the University should not be taking off-the-shelf, standard, old-fashioned designs. They should instead be looking abroad to the best standards of street design, and design for a development that will be suitable for the next 100 years, not one suitable for the 1980s.

In terms of the specific issues, while cars can exit the development in one traffic light phase, all the pedestrian and cycle connections to the road network are two-stage crossings. This means that cycling off-carriage-way or walking you have to wait twice to cross a single road, or four times if you need to make a diagonal movement.

A second motor traffic lane increases the capacity of the junction on every arm, for traffic which it is oddly claimed will not exist.

The central islands for the crossings are offset, requiring a 90° turn in a small space on a bicycle. This is particularly hard for anyone with a trike, or trailer: i.e. those people likely to be most vulnerable or carrying children. There is little waiting space in the middle, which is in any case only necessary because the crossings are two-stage. So for all these reasons, while car capacity is generous, the walking and cycling access has not been made for mass movement.

The toucan crossings connect up to shared-use paths. Shared-use alongside roads is now highly discredited and should have no place in a new development.

The junctions are large, and open, and any person on a bike who ventures to use the road as the more convenient option will find it deeply unpleasant. Your journey can feel safe, or be convenient, but not both at the same time. This is not a design philosophy for widespread cycle use, and it certainly doesn’t encourage it.

I met with Professor Jeremy Sanders, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, recently to discuss this issue. Accepting some of the concerns I am raising, he stated that improving the junctions would not now be possible because this would delay the development’s implementation. Yet the University has had years to get this right.

Organizations such as Cambridge Cycling Campaign and Sustrans objected to the planning application on these grounds when it was first made, citing ‘inappropriately large junctions’ as the basis for their objection. These concerns have been continually ignored.

I call upon the University to take the concerns of these bodies seriously and make efforts to submit better designs, both for the already-approved parts of the development, and future phases. They should meet the standards set out in the recently-published ‘Making Space for Cycling’ design guide, which I co-authored and which has been backed by every national cycling organization, Cambridge’s Member of Parliament, and others.

I ask the Council firstly to ask those involved in planning North West Cambridge and other developments to consider this document and report back on the feasibility of ensuring that its consultants are instructed to follow its recommendations.

Secondly, I also ask the Council to consider the creation of a formal Cycling Officer post within EMBS (or whichever Department is now in control), so that the issues are properly considered in all new developments.

Without addressing the above concerns, the new housing plots currently proposed under this Report will be substantially undermined by poor access to the development. The congestion will make it harder for the University to gain future planning permissions, as opposition to poor road designs and congestion rises.

Lastly, several Regent House members have been in contact with me to propose that a Topic of Concern be raised on this subject. I invite others to make contact with me if you share these concerns.

Mr M. G. Sargeant (University Information Services):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Report of the Council says ‘The development will also provide housing and facilities for the City more generally.’

I have previously spoken on the lack of affordable and social rented housing in the development for the City at large. I want to turn my attention today to the houses for sale, the only ones that will be available to the general public. We heard recently that Cambridge has the lowest level of houses for sale at any one time in the country, so there will be little difficulty selling these houses.

The University says ‘homes will be sold on the open market and are likely to include a variety of family-sized homes.’ The term open market, however, gives the connotation of maximizing profit – I am not clear if this is solely for the developers or whether the University will get a cut. Can you please advise us how this will work and whether it will be a Royal Mail type sell-off with the investors/developers making the most money out of the deal.

My main concern today, however, is who will buy these houses. You claim that this will help the City, but this is against the background of:

the cost of buying a property in Cambridge, which is 12 times the salary of an average Cambridge resident;

up to 30 per cent of new-build housing in Cambridge is now sold to foreign investors, where we are told there are three buyer profiles: parents of students, nostalgic alumni who are buying to let, and investors; also

property in Cambridge is seen as a great investment as much as a good place to make your home. That’s what’s driven the market a lot locally – investors.

So when the University says this development will help the City can you tell me what plans there are:

(i)to ensure that Cambridge residents can afford to buy these houses;

(ii)to help first-time buyers with schemes such as shared equity; and

(iii)to make sure that houses are not just an investment which are ‘buy-to-let’ or even left empty.

Nineteenth Report of the Board of Scrutiny, dated 9 July 2014 (Reporter, 6357, 2014–15, p. 13).

Dr R. Charles (Chair of the Board of Scrutiny, University Information Services, and Newnham College), read by the Deputy Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak today as the outgoing Chair of the Board of Scrutiny. Last year the Board met regularly to examine many aspects of University business. As last year’s Chair, I was present at all the meetings which were recorded in Paragraph 3 of our Report. Throughout these meetings, our enquiries centred on aspects of finance and governance, and I am delighted by the willing co-operation and generous assistance the Board received from everyone involved.

The Board has received no formal communication drawing its attention to errors or omissions in its published Nineteenth Report, although informal feedback suggests that some of our recommendations may be contentious. Notwithstanding this, the Nineteenth Report follows the long-standing tradition of offering its comments and recommendations in the spirit of constructive dialogue. The Board’s purpose continues to be that of scrutinizing aspects of governance and administration of the University on behalf of the Regent House1 and the Regent House remains the ultimate judge of how well we have performed that task.

In 2007, the Council began its practice of publishing some preliminary comments in advance of the Discussion on the Board’s Report.2 Although the Council has not always published a preliminary response, and indeed has chosen not to do so this year, these have generally proved beneficial and it is my hope that the Council will resume this practice next year.

Turning to the contents of the Nineteenth Report, financial matters have, as always, been a major theme. The Board is delighted by the recent performance of the Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF) and of the current financial position of the Chest, but strikes notes of caution as the long-term return targets for the Fund remain ambitious and the future projections for the Chest are expected to be adjusted downwards as assumptions regarding pay are updated to reflect recent settlements.

Paragraph 15 highlights the unforeseen financial impact of the 2011–12 Voluntary Severance Scheme, and the effect this had on the budget of the Unified Administrative Service (UAS). We also note the scale of changes in both the Cambridge University Development and Alumni Relations office, and Cambridge in America. In Paragraph 43, the Board returns to the subject of philanthropy, noting the ever present need to perform thorough and careful due diligence.

However, in the Board’s opinion, the two greatest areas of potential financial risk are currently the development of North West Cambridge and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). North West Cambridge is among the most ambitious projects the University has undertaken. The University’s ability to pay the coupon on the public bond financing this project relies in part on projected rental income from this development; securing the necessary rental agreements to underpin this aspect remains a work in progress.

The sustainability of University pension schemes is a recurrent theme from past Reports. In introducing the Fourteenth Report, Professor Yates referred to the ‘pensions time bomb’ whilst discussing both the Cambridge University Assistants’ Contributory Pension Scheme and the USS.3 Since 2009, we have seen reforms made to both schemes that were implemented to make them sustainable in the long term. However, all the signs are that the triennial valuation of the USS will bring worrying news for both the University and the scheme’s members. Given the ‘last man standing’ nature of the scheme, which relies on the collective wealth of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to underpin it, the Board reiterates our recommendation made last year in our Eighteenth Report.

We also highlight in Paragraphs 31–35 the need to support the changing needs of Open Access publication as this area continues to evolve. Here the Board is clear that ensuring our researchers’ academic freedom must be our priority.

Turning to governance, we have highlighted concerns about the relationship between the Press Syndicate and the Press’s Operating Board. We also comment upon the speed with which new policy has been introduced by the Human Resources Division without prior consultation last year.

North West Cambridge has rightly occupied much attention and is a major focus for activity in the enhancement of the University’s Estate. Yet we must not forget the major developments and changes that are under way elsewhere across the University and the increasing complexity involved in managing the University’s Estate, on which we comment in Paragraphs 21–30.

I commend the Board’s Nineteenth Report to the Regent House.

Professor A. C. Minson (Department of Pathology and Wolfson College):

The Report in Paragraph 49 comments on the governance of the University Press and makes recommendations. I was the Chair of Cambridge University Press from 2009 to 2012, and I continue to serve as a co-opted member of the Syndicate. It appears to me that the Board of Scrutiny may have misunderstood the current governance structure of the Press and I would like to take this opportunity to describe that structure.

The Press Syndicate is (as defined by Statute J) responsible to the University for the operation of the University Press, and has the responsibilities and authority of the ‘board’ of a company. But the Syndicate has a wide range of responsibilities and is necessarily large – too large to meet frequently and act as the board of a commercial company would. To deal with this within the constraints of the Statute the following structure was adopted by the Syndicate in 2012:

The Syndicate in its entirety (which includes Syndics and co-optees) delegates tasks and authority to the following committees/boards:

1. The Operating Board. This approximates to the board of a commercial company given the constraints imposed by Statute. It reviews the overall operation, performance, and strategy of the Press on behalf of the Syndicate and meets eight times a year. The senior executives report to it. It is composed of the Chair of the Syndicate (Sir David Bell) plus eleven other non-executives and two executives (the Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer). It includes the chairs of committees 2–5 described below, who report the business of their committees. Of the twelve non-executives, only six are University employees (one of whom is the University Finance Director). The external members have broad business expertise including in finance, technology, publishing, and education. Meeting minutes and reports are sent to all members of the Syndicate, to which the Operating Board reports.

2. The Academic Publishing Committee is chaired by Professor David McKitterick and is composed of fourteen Cambridge academics plus four Press executives. Its job is to review all proposals for academic publications having considered the external peer-review reports, and to discuss academic publishing strategy. It meets eighteen times a year and deals with over 1,600 proposals. This is a key function of the Syndicate for maintaining the reputation of the Press and the University, and for ensuring that academic research publications of the Press meet the requirements of external peer review. It requires a membership that covers a broad range of academic disciplines. Meeting minutes are sent to all members of the Syndicate, to which the Committee reports through the Operating Board.

3. The English Language Teaching (ELT) and Education Publishing Committee has five non-executive members (three external to Cambridge, one of whom chairs it – Professor Ron Carter of the University of Nottingham) with expertise in education and language learning, plus five Press executives. It meets four times a year and reviews proposals for publication and strategy in ELT and Education. Meeting minutes are sent to all members of the Syndicate, to which the Committee reports through the Operating Board.

4. The Audit Committee is chaired by Professor Sarah Worthington and has three additional members (none of whom are University employees) with expertise in finance, risk management, and audit (including former partners at Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers). It scrutinizes financial statements and all aspects of risk management in collaboration with external auditors and sets the internal audit agenda. Minutes are sent to all members of the Syndicate, and the Committee also reports to the University Audit Committee (of which Professor Worthington is a member). The Audit Committee meets at least five times a year.

5. The Remuneration Committee. This has three members – the Syndicate Chair plus two members, neither of whom is a University employee. It agrees remuneration of the Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer, and the overall remuneration strategy of the Press. It reports to the Syndicate through the Operating Board.

The Syndicate in its entirety meets at least twice a year (Plenary meetings) to receive and discuss reports from the Chairs of committees 1–5 above.

Note that this structure attempts to achieve the ‘best practise’ recommended by the Board of Scrutiny Report: namely that (a) governance is dominated by non-executives and (b) expert non-executives external to Cambridge are very much in evidence except on the Academic Publishing Committee where the appropriate expertise lies within the University.

The Report comments that ‘the board’ of the Press is composed entirely of executives. This is the management board. It is not part of the governance structure. It is the senior management team and is accountable to the Syndicate in exactly the same way that the senior management of a company is accountable to the company board.

Dr S. J. Cowley (Chair of the Faculty of Mathematics and University Council):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Recommendation 9. The Board recommends that the Council must know the identity of the principals behind every donation, and assure itself that every donation complies with current money laundering legislation.

Yes, that would be a good idea. However, if the University finances are to be increasingly dependent on charitable gifts and donations, the University needs to be clear, possibly clearer, as to whom are acceptable donors (and also have slightly more foresight as to whom might be indicted). Further, the Council, if for a change it is to know the identity of all donors, then needs to cast a more critical eye over proposals.

There has been a palpable change in the nature of the Council over the nearly eight years that I have been a member. In the past, some of us were possibly too questioning, even confrontational, and over time maybe there have been beneficial changes to the style in which Council is run. However, recently my feeling is that too much is being rubber stamped. There is a need for more critical friends to stand for election to the Council, where the emphasis needs to be on both critical and friend, otherwise this recommendation will have little or no effect.

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History), read by Dr de Lacey:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I confess to a twinge of disappointment when I read this Report. Last year’s Eighteenth Report made a promise (at para. 47) that ‘the Board intends next year to monitor human resource issues very closely’. If it has, it has failed to comment on its findings except for a brief mention (in para. 52) that

‘a new University HR policy on sickness absence has been introduced without sufficient notice for comment from the Regent House and affected staff’.

This was ‘announced in a letter to University staff dated 21 March 2014 with the Policy being published and coming into effect simultaneously on 1 April 2014’.1 This brief touch-down on HR matters comes in the context of a note that

‘the primacy of the Regent House must be maintained, and this requires that there be adequate consultation between the Regent House and those exercising powers on its behalf’

and a mention of ‘the revision of the then Statute U’ (at para. 51). So may I take this opportunity of formally ‘drawing to the attention of the Board’ one or two HR-related concerns, in the context of worries about the consequential amendments needed after the tidy-up of the Statutes which has also been a repeated Board of Scrutiny recommendation.

The University has had its reorganized and renumbered Statutes in force since the Privy Council’s approval on 11 February 2014, but many online documents still cite the old numbering. Does this send a warning signal about the frequency with which the University’s domestic legislation is actually referred to in its day-to-day running?2 The problem goes further. The need for clarity about the University’s domestic legislation affects all students and staff if they run into difficulties but it is a brave soul who sets out to master what is where, and who authorized it, in a legislative structure which stretches far below the hierarchy of Statutes, the new Special Ordinances, and the Ordinances.

You are a student with a complaint? You will find a page of general information by Googling ‘student complaints’ and that will take you to a procedure ‘approved by Council’. If you are very assiduous you may find where this is located in the legislative hierarchy. It is in the Ordinances, tucked in below material on Student Discipline and the University Courts and a note on the rescinding of provisions for Grievance committees for academic staff. But if it has merely been approved by Council it is not an Ordinance.3

You are a member of staff with a grievance? You will need to find the Human Resources pages and there you’ll see that if you are not a University officer there are procedures ‘© Human Resources Division’ dated 2013.4 If you are an officer, you are subject to Statutes and Ordinances, though the link provided took you until a few days ago to an archived and now superseded Statute U, and not to the new Grievance procedure now applicable at a different level of the legislative hierarchy (Special Ordinance C (xii)). I wrote to the Registrary suggesting some updating, so I hope he is to be thanked for this, although an acknowledgement of my email would have been reassuring. (And I note in passing, that what I feared has come to pass. Academic staff may no longer be accompanied by a ‘friend’ of their choice, only a ‘colleague or trade union representative’ and that has now been tested.)

Where to place in the legislative hierarchy any new rules which may be created is an important question. Only Statutes and Ordinances come before the Regent House by Report for Discussion and eventual approval. Under old Statute C, Ordinances could be created directly by the General Board, but it can create only Regulations, under Statute A V 1(d), so long as they are not ‘inconsistent with the provisions of any Statute, Ordinance, or Order’, and are ‘published’. ‘Regulations’ may apparently form part of an Ordinance or proliferate at a tertiary level, with this proviso.

Below those floats a collection of guidelines and assorted procedures of varied importance and bindingness and authority, whose authors may or may not be clear about their status. Among the densest thickets of assorted ‘procedures’ seems to be the one on the Human Resources web pages. It said there until a week or so ago that HR ‘devises HR policies, procedures and initiatives to promote the University’s objectives of being a good employer’. Now it speaks of ‘the effective HR policies, procedures and guidelines being in place throughout the full life-cycle of employment’.5 There is no distinction of Statute from Ordinance and Regulation and ‘guideline’ in the immensely lengthy alphabetical list given online by HR.6 Even a long-term employee of the University might be foxed as to the authority behind a ‘procedure’ under which he finds his job security threatened. For instance, in the Raven-only list of quasi-legislative ‘work in progress’ (Latest news on policy development)7 may be found a ‘capability policy’ (May 2013). This is now on the main list as a procedure to be followed for non-officer staff. But its only appearance in the Reporter appears to be a passing mention in the Annual Report of the Health and Safety Executive Committee 2012 that that Committee had made a contribution to the deliberations of the HR working party.8

Even quasi-legislation surely ought to be published, with a clear statement of its date of enactment and its authority. The fact that many procedures on that list simply say ‘© Human Resources Division’ while others say ‘© University of Cambridge’, and some are published only behind the Raven barrier suggests a lack of consistency in the treatment of the University’s domestic legislation.

But by whom and on what authority would it have been approved in any case? Just by HR/UAS staff? How do they organize that? The Minutes of the academic-led HR Committee do not suggest that they approve new procedures, or even see them. Yet new Statute C II 2 requires that:

‘The competent authorities shall establish committees and processes for the management of employment by the University. Regulations for the establishment of such committees may be made by Ordinance.’

Now the only ‘competent authorities’ according to the Statutes and Ordinances are the Council and the General Board. Can whoever drafted this have intended that only the establishment of the Human Resources Committee should be under their control and not the making of authoritative ‘procedures’ affecting employees at every turn?

For reasons I will not go into here I have recently become interested in the powers and duties of Heads of Department (HoDs) and their accountability if they do not fulfil those duties or misuse those powers. So let me take this tale of legislative confusion into that area.

The first question of course is what rules govern the appointment of HoDs. In a number of Departments the holder of an established Chair is automatically made Head of Department. This is governed by an old General Board Ordinance (not a Special Ordinance) under Chapter IX, Section 4(2).9 The reference to ‘Regulation 3’ in (2) is the only indication that (2) is also a Regulation. Under Regulation 3 is a list of Departments. In a number of cases there is a proviso that:

‘the General Board may, on the recommendation of the Faculty Board of X, require the Head of the Department to resign the Headship with effect from the date on which a newly-elected holder of the Professorship of Y takes up the duties of the office, so that the latter may be appointed Head of the Department.’

This means that the holders of a number of established named Chairs automatically take over as Heads of Department regardless of their fitness or inclination to discharge the responsibilities involved.

In 2010, the General Board had an item on its agenda relating to the accompanying GB Paper No. 14 C 10. This concerned Appointment of Heads of Institutions. The content was approved subject to some adjustments and it has been in force since, with revisions on 2 August 2013, 22 January 2014, and 30 January 2014, though it has still not updated the Statute numbering to the new system. It has not, however, been published in the Reporter and its legislative status remains undefined. I should be interested to know how many members of the Council could put their hands on a copy or knew about its existence at all. It is respectful of the autonomy of Faculty Boards. It puts a high value on subsidiarity. But a consequence of that is that in practice Faculty Boards have a wide discretion about the method of appointment they use, with the politics and the stated procedure forming a complex mesh from which Heads pop up one way or another to be approved by the General Board.

In recognition that this is not a job for the reluctant, these days the HoD receives an additional pensionable sum as a reward for taking the job on. Information on that point may be found in the Ordinances under University Officers, Payments additional to stipend, currently located in Regulations 2 and 5, p. 684, as amended by Grace 2 of 22 May 2013, so that was not a General Board but a Regent House-approved change of Ordinance, following a Report and a Discussion.

What is the job? That is defined in various places and at various levels of the legislative hierarchy and the quasi-legislation of the University. Statute C V 3 defines the duties of a Head of Department. The Financial Regulations under which the University is answerable to HEFCE have much more to say and (4.2) may be consulted online.10

The unpublished General Board paper from 2010 gives some information about the way Heads of Department are to be ‘prepared’ to shoulder these responsibilities. They are expected to ‘participate in’ a programme which explores the challenges and which is ‘supported’ by ‘a series of one hour lunchtime briefing sessions’. The Cambridge Leadership Attributes Framework was designed by the Judge Business School commissioned by HR, and may be downloaded.11 It contains many pages of aspirational language. A friend to whom I showed it in search of translations kindly offered some. Our Head of Department as a Leader ‘Manages in an environment of uncertainty’ (‘hasn’t got a clue what’s going on’); ‘Creates a clear, compelling vision of organizational excellence for the future, within the context of multiple future scenarios.’ (‘Tells a lot of fairy stories, making them up as he goes along’); ‘Creates a culture where it is normal to exceed performance through the full engagement and empowerment of all of its internal and external stakeholders’ (‘Gets other people to do his work’); ‘Operates within the context of the University governance structure and aligned to its culture and values’ (‘Does what he’s told by the Registrary’). Chuckle. I did. But what possible use is this kind of language to a conscientious academic reluctantly taking on the responsibilities of a Head of Department out of a sense of duty (or obliged to when he or she is appointed to an established Chair)?

HR staff have very helpfully answered some enquiries and I am told that ‘Personal and Professional Development offer a programme for new or recently appointed Heads of Department.’ This too seems heavily geared to modules on abstract notions of ‘leadership’ (including ‘acting strategically’ and ‘talent management’, for example). New HoDs are also ‘offered’ briefings on ‘financial issues’ and ‘legal and policy issues’ among other things (though apparently not required to attend nor examined afterwards to see what they have learned?). When HoDs are formally appointed by the General Board and receive a confirmation letter from the Vice-Chancellor they are reminded that ‘guidance’ on the University’s policies and procedures is to be had. They are provided with contact details so that they have someone to turn to when a problem arises. The HR Business Manager for the School briefs the new HoD on the role of HR and is available to answer any questions about HR policies, procedures, or processes. HoDs who will be dealing with grant applications for research funding are given further supportive information.12

So the UAS is doing its bit to equip HoDs to fulfil their gigantic responsibilities. But it is not made clear what happens if a Head of Department fails to do any or all of these things, whether in terms of mismanagement, maladministration, or just ‘capability’, or bullying and the other unpleasantnesses in breach of various University policies which have been known to occur in Departments. What happens when the rules for delegating become blurred? I understand that no central register of delegations of power is kept. No one junior can initiate a disciplinary procedure. And what Head of School is likely to have the stomach for that when the HoD is a colleague? The Bribery, Fraud, and Financial Irregularity Policy ‘accepted by Council on 23 April 2012’, requires ‘any member of staff’ to report ‘any suspicion’ to the Registrary and Director of Finance.13 The Policy on Misconduct in Research, in two places, online © Human Resources and dated 2011 but still referring to the ‘Personnel Committee’, could be relevant.14 And there is also the Public Interest Disclosure Policy which still refers to the CVCP, renamed Universities UK in 2000, and is confined to ‘employees’, though the CVCP thought universities ought to provide for students to raise concerns too.15 I wonder if these provide a sufficiently robust machinery for ensuring that the odd rogue Head of Department is rounded up and dealt with and any dispute affecting an individual considered against the background of systemic failings revealed?

So, Board of Scrutiny, could you huff and puff some more and ensure that the University of Cambridge now finishes putting its legislative house in order and gets the HR empire under better control?

Dr D. R. de Lacey (Faculty of Divinity):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, it is always good to read the Reports of the Board of Scrutiny and I congratulate its members on their work. I am however disappointed that in their study of the development of North West Cambridge they omitted one aspect, which could be described as ‘Naming of Parts’. In the Reporter No. 6350 of Wednesday, 4 June 2014, the principles of naming the parts of West and North West Cambridge were laid out:

‘The West and North West Cambridge Estates Syndicate will grant names on the West and North West Cambridge sites as follows:

‘(i) Some of the roads and neighbourhoods will be named after physical features of the site, drawing closely on the characteristics of their location and the existing natural landscape...’1

However in the Reporter No. 6353 of Wednesday, 25 June 2014, I was aghast to read:

‘In accordance with [those principles] ... the Council, on the recommendation of the West and North West Cambridge Estates Syndicate, has approved the following names for neighbourhoods on the North West Cambridge site, for allocation by the Syndicate:

   ‘Ridgeway Village ...’2

May I remind the Council through you, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, that a major ‘characteristic of the location’ of a village is a church, which in our case we have not got. Further, this part of the site lies within Girton Parish, and the civic representatives of Girton, that is the Parish Council, of which I am Chair, are much distressed that there was no consultation over this designation. They feel it appears to denigrate the actual location in which this part of the site sits. I hope it is not too late for the Board of Scrutiny to put pressure on the Council, or the Council simply to rectify this situation and adopt a name more appropriate to the location. The Parish Council would be only too happy to help.

Professor C. E. Rudd (Department of Pathology):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I notice that the Board of Scrutiny has made little reference to the management of employment in the University. I am a Canadian with some 17 years of experience at Harvard University in the US and another five years at Imperial College before coming to Cambridge. I am afraid that certain aspects of my experience at Cambridge have been surprising.

I would like to address briefly some concerns related to the training of Heads of Department (HoDs) and the apparent lack of regulations and standards to ensure accountability. Heads of Department have considerable powers that can have major, obvious, consequences for the careers and the productivity of members of their Departments. It is therefore essential that they are trained in a manner that is consistent with the laws of the country and in particular, employment law.

In some universities in the United States and Canada, the position of HoD is considered somewhat undesirable due to the administrative burden. In that context, the position is sometimes shared on a rotational basis, a system with certain merits that the University might consider for the sciences and other Departments. In the UK, and in particular in our University, the position of HoD is prestigious and as such is often simply sought because of the prestige factor, and not because the individual has a real interest or the necessary skills in management and administration. It nevertheless confers considerable personal power for which the holder in my experience is often unaccountable.

I have come to see that many HoDs can lack an understanding of the rudimentary aspects of employment law and good practice. My concern is that in Cambridge University there is a defect in the training that is offered new HoDs and the skills needed to manage a Department.

Some twelve years ago here, Professor David Dumville in a memorable speech said:

‘Some barons are no doubt cuddly and devoted to fairness and to the welfare of all their staff. But others are robber-barons who oppress their local peasantry. Bullying and other prejudicial behaviour by over-mighty managers cause stress and distress, suspensions, and loss of employment. … In other words, we know that in most instances when a local baron takes against a subordinate, the Administration will give full support to the Head of institution.’1

My view is that this blind support in the absence of proper training for Heads of Departments by the University should not be happening.

If a Head of Department has a problem in managing the basic rules of fair-play as guaranteed under employment law, one might ask how the individual will manage other aspects of the position which include ‘proper allocation of funds’, ‘sound financial control, authorizations, and separation of duties’, ‘that accounts are correctly maintained’, and ‘that funds available for spending are not exceeded’ as well as ‘that these Regulations are publicized and observed within their Department’; and ‘that all information and explanations required by the University’s internal or external auditors are provided promptly’.

It is my understanding that the Human Resources Division runs a programme for new Heads of Institutions that includes a module such as ‘Personal and Professional Development’ and ‘Leadership’; however, it is also my understanding that there is no requirement to attend these programmes. There also appears to be no training on issues of proper procedure when a Head of Department decides to take action against a fellow Faculty member. The University might be interested in the experience at the University of Toronto which requires Heads of Department to attend a retreat called, appropriately enough, a ‘Just-In-Time Workshop’ on the duties of the position. It is highly regarded and a successful programme.

I would therefore request that the Board of Scrutiny recommend that the University of Cambridge adopt proper programmes to ensure the in-depth training of Heads of Department and that HoDs are held to an accountable standard.

Second-stage Report of the Council, dated 1 October 2014, on the replacement and rationalization of facilities covered by the University’s Home Office Establishment Licence ( Reporter, 6358, 2014–15, p. 31).

No remarks were made on this Report.