Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6387

Thursday 21 May 2015

Vol cxlv No 31

pp. 538–586

Report of Discussion

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A Discussion was held in the Senate-House. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Lord Eatwell was presiding, with the Registrary, the Junior Proctor, the Deputy Junior Proctor, and eleven other persons present.

The following Reports were discussed:

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 20 April and 11 March 2015, on arrangements for the management and governance of scientific research using animals (Reporter, 6383, 2014–15, p. 492).

Professor S. J. Young (Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), Department of Engineering, and Emmanuel College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak today as Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Biofacilities Oversight Group. I have no direct experience of conducting research using animals but I have been engaged with the issues of providing such facilities for the entire duration of my tenure as Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

When I came to this office in 2009, I was advised that we had a large number of disparate animal facilities managed by three different management groups reporting via the University Biomedical Strategy Group to two different Schools. Several of these facilities were nearing the end of their useful life and continued Home Office compliance could not be guaranteed. As a consequence, and after much consultation and deliberation, the Planning and Resources Committee recommended that the University undertook a major building programme at a cost of £150m with the aim of consolidating animal housing into three specialized facilities, with the possibility of a fourth being incorporated in due course into the proposed Biocentrum.

The current programme of building works will provide the University with the state-of-the-art facilities that it clearly needs. Following the recommendations of the General Board Expert Review Panel in 2014, the new arrangements proposed in this Report for management and governance will ensure that these new facilities can be effectively and efficiently managed. Furthermore, they will put in place a framework that will ensure that the University is able to maintain, and be seen to maintain, a consistent and coherent animal management regime across its entire operation. Overall, the recommendations of this Report will further improve the very high standards the University aspires to in all aspects of its use of animals for scientific research. I therefore commend this Report to the Regent House.

Professor A. L. Fowden (Head-elect of the School of the Biological Sciences, Department of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience, and Girton College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as an academic who carries out research using animals in a number of the University’s biofacilities and has done for many years, and as past Chair of the University Biomedical Strategy Group (UBSG), I endorse this Report and see these changes as being fundamental to improving the support that academics receive from the University Biomedical Services. Formation of a single Division to manage our animal facilities was the primary recommendation of an external governance review of the biomedical services in the University, which consulted widely amongst the academic users. Formation of this Division was also endorsed by UBSG, the current senior management committee of the biofacilities. A single Division will improve the quality of service for all academic users, enhance training and career opportunities for the staff working in the different units, and provide more rational and effective management systems throughout our biofacilities. Placing this Division within the Unified Administrative Service (UAS) capitalizes on the administrative expertise of the UAS and in no way compromises academic input into the management of the biofacilities or their responsiveness to local academic need. The new Division would be unique within the UAS in being a service Division run to provide facilities for academics paid for by researchers’ grants with academic representation at every level from local user groups to executive and strategic decisions.

Professor S. E. Ozanne (Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Churchill College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, speaking as an academic research scientist, I see these changes as being fundamental to improving the support we receive from the University Biomedical Services. To ensure that the service remains focused on the scientific needs of the researchers, as well as the career development of the staff within the University facilities, the new governance structure has academic involvement at all levels. At the strategic level, this will be ensured through the creation of a Governance and Strategy Committee chaired by a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, and at the facility level, through continued academic representation on management and user committees. Currently, the service provided can be inconsistent across the University. By bringing the functions together into one Division, this issue will be resolved and the quality of biomedical service support for scientists and the career opportunities for staff will be improved. The centralized position of the Biomedical Services within a new Division of the Unified Administrative Service in no way jeopardizes the flexibility and adaptability of the local management systems already in place within facilities. However, it should make them more efficient in their role and purpose, improving governance and compliance, and creating more rationalized and effective management systems. The fundamental premise of the operation and role of this new Division is to provide first-class biomedical services for scientists who have to obtain research grants to carry out their work. For researchers to continue to obtain competitive research funding, this new Division will always have to demonstrate that it provides value for money within high quality, compliant, and efficiently run facilities.

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History), read by the Deputy Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, this Report has constitutional implications. The process which led to this Report was conducted quite differently. On 22 October 2014 the Reporter, with admirable transparency, carried a link1 to a Review of the governance of scientific research using animals which anyone may read.2 It does not require a Raven password (Cambridge’s single sign-on). That review pointed among its recommendations to the need for an operational tidy-up of the governance and ‘oversight’ of the management of the facilities:

‘The inefficiencies, inconsistencies, weaknesses, and residual risks within the current governance systems need to be addressed to make best provision for the success and sustainability of the University’s biomedical research-base, and to provide the facilities and services required to host animal research of the highest quality.’

The present Report notes that:

‘The panel’s principal recommendation was that all the animal facilities should in future be part of a single organization which would be responsible for operations, staffing, and management together with the associated ethical and regulatory provisions,’

but that ‘the facilities are currently organized into three functional management groups’ reporting to the Councils of two Schools.

Tidying all this up looks, on the face of it, uncontroversially the right way forward. But there is an underlying constitutional question. The Report’s recommendation is for ‘the formation of a new Division within the Unified Administrative Service’ [emphasis added] to which operational responsibility would be transferred, under the supervision of a new committee, to be called the Biomedical Services Governance and Strategy Committee. A new Division would appear in the UAS list, the ‘Health, Safety, and Regulated Facilities Division’.

A proposal of this kind in relation to the University’s Sports facilities prompted energetic Discussion and a ballot. Put succinctly in one of the Flysheets was an objection to:

‘the creation of a so-called ‘Sports Service’ under the centralized control of the Unified Administrative Service (UAS) and the Registrary. The proposal is in keeping with a long-term strategy of placing all but purely academic activities under the control of the UAS … hope you will share our concern about this increasing centralization of control in our federal and collegiate University and vote non placet.’ 3

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 20 April and 17 April 2015, on proposed amendments to the process for appeal under the Schedule to Statute C in the case of non-confirmation of appointment (Reporter, 6383, 2014–15, p. 493).

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History), read by the Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, this Report concerns the right of appeal against dismissal for academic and academic-related staff holding University offices, with reference to a particular category, those who have been on probation as new members of staff.

Before I get into the wrestling match which has been going on, let me flag up a key constitutional point. The ‘Technical Review’ of Cambridge’s Statutes went beyond rearranging the deckchairs. It moved the Cambridge counterpart of Statute XII, formerly Statute U, into a Schedule to the new Statute C. Statute C I 8(b), which had to be approved by the Privy Council like all Cambridge’s Statutes, now allows ‘the whole or any part’ of this Schedule ‘to be rescinded by Grace’. There will it seems no longer be any requirement to get Privy Council approval. So in effect this is no longer a Statute. Of course the Regent House gets to discuss a Report and has an opportunity to call a ballot on the ensuing Grace, but a step required for changing this former Statute has been removed.

What is now proposed could therefore lead to a Report removing the former Statute’s provision for appeals by academic staff and enacting a replacement which would merely be a Special Ordinance. That possibility is set out in so many words.1 This would mean that every academic, not only the rare probationer faced with dismissal instead of appointment to retiring age, could find the provisions for appeal radically changed. For given a title like the one the present Report bears, how many University officers will realize that it could affect them too?

To the specific situation with which this Report is concerned. It was pointed out by Professor Sir John Baker, after an appeal against dismissal went as far as the Septemviri in a recent case, that in Cambridge, a probationer appointed to a University office (academic or academic-related) faces what is technically a dismissal if it is decided not to confirm the appointment to the retirement age. In a letter to the Registrary, which may be read on the Council website, he said:

‘The availability of such an appeal was the consequence of changes made in the manner of appointing University Lecturers in 2004. Prior to that change probation was dealt with by means of fixed-term appointments as Assistant Lecturer or Demonstrator. Now all University Lecturers are appointed in the first instance to the retiring age, subject to a probationary period… This has the consequence that a decision not to confirm an appointment after the probationary period amounts to a dismissal, and this opens up an appeal to the Septemviri.’ 2

He also noted that Cambridge’s Septemviri was set up in 1926 because

‘if a major issue of academic freedom were to be at stake, it would be important not to have sudden last-minute tinkering with membership [of standing electoral boards for professorships] whereby the University authorities might improperly influence the outcome’.

But its responsibilities have grown. The Septemviri (Statute D II 5) now hears appeals from the findings of the University Tribunal (Statute D II 1–3). This jurisdiction seems to have been added to its earlier one simply for convenience since it avoided having to set up another court. The Septemviri also hears student appeals against the findings of the Court of Discipline, most commonly involving alleged plagiarism or cheating in University examinations.

The problem is, as the Report points out, that the Septemviri turns out to be an ‘inappropriate forum’ for an employment dispute. ‘The scale of the proceedings’ is enormous (and can be very costly if both the appellant and the University instruct counsel and it all goes on for days); five of the seven Septemviri must be present for the whole process; and in any case the Septemviri can only ‘remit the matter to the Appointments Committee’ which had decided not to confirm the probationer. It could not substitute its own decision and confirm the probationer.

In the record of the Council’s business which includes this letter, it is stated that a Working Group was appointed by the Council and the General Board to review the matter. I made a Freedom of Information request for the report of this Working Party and was refused. A s. 36 exemption was claimed. This is the clause of the Freedom of Information Act which allows a public body to withhold information on the ground of ‘prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs’. The argument was that the Council and General Board would not be able freely to discuss what to do if the Working Party’s thoughts were more widely known, including of course by members of the Regent House who would have to approve any resulting recommendation. I appealed. After some correspondence it was suggested that disclosure might be allowed after the publication of the present Report, which was then expected about March. In March I made a further request and was refused again, and appealed once more. The day after the publication of the present Report, I was finally sent the Working Party’s report (GB Paper No.14.B.12). Presumably there is now no reason why it should not be published for wider reading before the Regent House is asked to approve a Grace.

This manner of proceeding, with enforced secrecy until a Report appears in the Reporter, seems to raise questions of some constitutional importance for the Regent House, but let that pass for the moment.

What did this Working Party have to say and why the secrecy? Among the proposals before it was that ‘It would be more appropriate for such appeals to be heard by a committee of the kind already in place to deal with appeals from Promotions Committees’. That option was not pursued. That seems wise. And ‘the quorum for the Septemviri for appeals from the Court of Discipline should be reduced, or the pool of members increased’. The Court of Discipline is the student court, so this seems a drafting error. The substantive suggestion of the Working Group was ‘that the process of appeal against failure of probation should be made simpler, more proportionate and hopefully (sic) quicker.’ It recommended that ‘appeals by probationers against non-confirmation of appointment should be heard by a panel of three members of the Septemviri, convened and chaired by the Chair of the Septemviri’.

There was, however, an additional proposal which proved contentious when this came to the Council because it appeared that legal advice would be given to the panel but not made available to the appellant:

‘The panel should be supported by a specialist lawyer practising in employment law. This would provide the specialist knowledge and experience necessary to enable the appeal body to understand how the circumstances put forward by the appellant might be viewed in a subsequent Employment Tribunal hearing.’

The Council Minutes of 16 February note that:

‘A question was raised about the way in which the panel would inform itself about the merits of a particular case. It was agreed that the Report should be referred back for consideration on this specific point.’

At the Council meeting of 20 April a ‘slightly revised Report’ was approved for publication and this is what appeared in the Reporter on 22 April for us to discuss today. On this point it now says that:

‘The panel should have access, where appropriate, to the support of a specialist lawyer practising in employment law. This will provide the specialist knowledge and experience necessary to enable the appeal body to understand how the circumstances put forward by the appellant might be viewed in a subsequent Employment Tribunal hearing. Consideration was given by the Council as to whether the legal advice given to the panel should also be made available to the appellant; it was felt however that this process would compromise the panel’s ability to take advice freely and the adviser’s ability to advise openly and frankly as necessary to enable the panel to make a properly informed decision on the strengths and weaknesses of the appeal.’

The appellant has the right to be legally represented (Special Ordinance D (ii) 4(a)), but that will not come cheap for the employee concerned and the employee pays these costs.

The concession which persuaded the Council to allow the Report to be published is this:

‘Where, however, the Septemviri receives advice which is potentially material to its decision, the substance of that advice should be disclosed to the parties before any decision is made and the opportunity given to make representations on that advice.’

This could potentially affect all employee appellants in future. So before the Regent House agrees to it, I would be happier if the wording was clearer. The distinction to be drawn is surely between advice on procedure, designed to ensure that the decision-making body follows the rules and is fair, and advice on the merits of the case, which is where the appellant must be allowed to know what has been said to the decision-makers behind the scenes by this new figure on the process, this ‘specialist lawyer’.

Although different procedures are applicable to different categories of staff in the University, they must all be entitled to an equivalent level of basic procedural fairness or an Employment Tribunal is likely to want to know the reason why. So I would like to take the opportunity to point out that this is also a question of urgent importance to those appellants against dismissal, including dismissal by reason of redundancy, who do not hold a University office but fall into the category of unestablished academic staff. These, predominantly scientists, work alongside University officers in the labs, but they cannot appeal to the Septemviri, only to an Appeal Committee set up by the ‘competent authority’.

Unestablished academic and academic–related staff will find under ‘G’ for ‘grievance’ an all-purpose appeal procedure ‘against a disciplinary or grievance decision, or against dismissal (for example following disciplinary proceedings or redundancy of the post including ending of a fixed-term contract)’.3 Unlike the Septemviri provisions, this does not require a legally qualified person to preside, allow the possibility of a public hearing, allow the appellant to be legally represented, make it clear who the parties are, allow an Appeal Committee to send the decision back to the body which took it, so that it may review it, or (except ‘when necessary for the maintenance of order’) prevent evidence being heard in the absence of the appellant or ensure that the appellant or representative has an opportunity to question witnesses.

Directly relevant to the present proposal to allow the Septemviri to take advice which is not shared with the appellant is a practice observable in appeals under this unestablished academic and academic-related staff procedure. In a recent case, according to the letter of invitation, two HR representatives were allocated, respectively, the secretarial task of taking ‘a note of the meeting’, and the task of ‘adviser’ to the Appeal Committee. This as it turned out at the hearing meant that more than once the HR ‘adviser’ spoke in secret with the Appeal Committee in the course of a hearing in which the Appeal Committee chose to question what were described as the ‘respondents’ in the absence of the appellant and to refuse to allow an adjournment to allow the appellant to read and consider a statement by the ‘respondents’ which was tabled at the beginning of the hearing. And I understand that when the appellant suggested that what was happening might be queried by an Employment Tribunal, the Committee’s response was ‘are you threatening us?’.

To allow such a kangaroo court appeal system for unestablished academics to continue in Cambridge, while seeking to improve the already much more robust procedure available to those who are University officers, surely cannot be acceptable. I shall hope to read in a Notice that the Council and General Board intend to put this right and speedily.


Mr D. J. Goode (Junior Pro-Proctor, Faculty of Divinity, and Wolfson College), read by the Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I must preface my remarks today with the important caveat that I am speaking in a personal capacity.

On the Report before us today for Discussion, ­the proposed amendments to the process for appeal under the Schedule to Statute C in the case of non-­confirmation of appointment, I feel I can speak with some authority, as the only person ever to have accompanied a member of the academic staff at the Court of the Septemviri in such an appeal.

As well as being the probationer’s union representative throughout the case, I appeared at this hearing before the Septemviri as a witness for the probationer and against the University, and was cross-examined by both counsel for the probationer and counsel for the University.

In addition to my spell on the witness stand, I sat through both days of the hearing, at which, in case it was not already blindingly obvious to everyone in the room, it very quickly became obvious that the Court of the Septemviri really is not an appropriate forum for what is, at the end of the day, an employment dispute.

Indeed, the Septemviri had had to sit some time before the main case was to be heard in a separate pre-hearing session in order to determine upon what it was, and was not, competent to decide, and the extent of any potential remedy.

The Report notes ‘the scale of the proceedings’, but this does not really do justice (pun intended) to the whole shebang, which must have cost an arm and a leg in financial terms, as well as a very great deal of stress for the probationer and the probationer’s witnesses.

Upon deliberation, the Septemviri decided not to allow the appeal, the probationer was dismissed, and the matter was taken to an Employment Tribunal. During the course of the Tribunal, and despite the fact that the Septemviri had determined the exact opposite, the University conceded that the probationer had indeed been unfairly dismissed. Remedy will be determined in October.

That, though, is another story. The point here is that I agree that the Septemviri in its current form is an inappropriate forum for an employment dispute of this kind, and I support the proposals of the Report for a reformed Septemviri for those occasions when it hears an appeal under the Schedule to Statute C in the case of non-confirmation of appointment.

Professor Evans contrasts this proposed improvement to the appeal procedure for established staff, i.e., for University officers, with the unsatisfactory procedure for unestablished academic, academic-related, and research staff facing dismissal. For the former, appeal is to the Septemviri; for the latter, to an ad hoc Appeal Committee. Both, however, are equally entitled to be taken on to an Employment Tribunal, whose Chair might well wonder why academic A enjoys the extra protection of Statutes and Ordinances, while academic B does not.

I share Professor Evans’s hope that this situation will be rectified soon.

Report of the Council, dated 20 April 2015, on human resources and remuneration arrangements for the Investment Office (Reporter, 6383, 2014–15, p. 496).

Professor S. J. Young (Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), Department of Engineering, and Emmanuel College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak today as Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor responsible for planning and resources. Cambridge University is one of the leading universities in the world and it is essential that it remains so. One of our key strengths, and one which sets us apart from all in the UK apart from Oxford, is the substantial income that we receive from the Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF). For example, in 2014, income from this source amounted to £90m on a total return basis. Without this income, much of our teaching and research would become simply unaffordable.

With £2.5bn under management in the CUEF, it is essential that our Investment Office is staffed by professionals of the very highest calibre. We simply cannot afford the reduction of income that would follow from under-performance, nor can we afford the negative signals that poor management of our endowment would send to potential donors.

Whether we like it or not, the levels of remuneration expected within the investment management community are very different to those enjoyed by the majority of academics. To recruit staff into the Investment Office of the required calibre within the current pay regime requires a degree of contortion which complicates the hiring process and stretches our ability to ensure adherence to our agreed policies and procedures.

This Report proposes the creation of a new class of University employee and corresponding pay regime which reflect the commercial reality of the market for investment professionals. It also proposes a new Employment and Remuneration Committee which will ensure appropriate governance and oversight. In my view this is a sensible way forward and I fully support it. I therefore commend this Report to the Regent House.

Professor I. H. White (University Council, Department of Engineering, and Master of Jesus College), read by the Deputy Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am speaking as a member of the Council and a member of its Remuneration Committee. The performance of the University’s Investment Office is vital to the endowments entrusted to the University by generous donors and through its commercial activities. The Endowment Fund supports many academic posts and funds for the support of students. The Endowment Fund now has £2.3bn under management. The esteem in which the Investment Office is held can be gauged by its attraction of other funds for investment from within Collegiate Cambridge, including those from the Gates Cambridge Trust and several Colleges. The expertise of the Office is evident in the annual returns on the invested funds, which are meeting or exceeding the target of RPI + 5.25%. The cost of the Office is also contained within the target of 25 basis points agreed when it was established in 2007. The Office is admirably efficient. But the expertise and skills in the Office can only be secured by recruitment and retention in a highly competitive market. In recent years the Remuneration Committee of the Council has given oversight and scrutiny to the current arrangements for remuneration and bonuses within the Office, which have been within the arrangements approved by the Regent House for all University employees other than those in the Press or Cambridge Assessment. Lately however it has become increasingly evident that the University’s salary spine and associated arrangements for stipends are no longer appropriate for this small class of employees and have created a significant risk that the recruitment and retention of the necessary talent to maintain performance is no longer possible without some change.

The Report before the Regent House proposes that staff in the Investment Office form a new class of employees whose future employment will be within grades, salary structures, and conditions guided strongly by the University’s policies but adaptable to the distinct nature of the Investment Office’s activities and the market in which it operates. The Report draws an analogy with staff in the Press and Cambridge Assessment and this is apt.

The Council is aware of the need for governance and oversight for these new arrangements. The Report therefore proposes the establishment of an Investment Office Employment and Remuneration Committee, which will report to the Council’s Remuneration Committee. A person appointed by the Council will sit on the Investment Office’s Employment and Remuneration Committee. I believe that these arrangements will provide the necessary oversight and safeguards for the new arrangements. The first task of the new Committee will be to bring forward its recommendations for the structure and policies of employment and remuneration in the Investment Office, which will be for the Council to approve on the advice of its Remuneration Committee.

The two members of the Council who have signed a note of dissent to this Report are concerned about possible moral hazard. The arrangements described in the Report and to which I refer are designed to ensure that the Chief Investment Officer and his staff are not setting their own salaries and conditions of service and exposing the University to the consequences of perverse incentives. The Council will ultimately have oversight of these arrangements. The Note of Dissent also refers to the breaking of the social compact implicit in the single pay and grading scale. It has been a point of principle from the inception of the Investment Office that it should be part of the University and not embodied in a company structure. The University derives great benefit from the staff in the Office being members of the community they serve. The staff subscribe wholly to the mission and values of the University. The current proposal retains this crucial relationship while recognizing the compelling argument for permitting variation from the University’s human resources policies to ensure that the Office has the best opportunity of performing at levels from which the whole Cambridge community will continue to benefit.

I commend this Report to the Regent House.

Dr R. Padman (University Council, Department of Physics, and Newnham College), read by the Deputy Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak as a member of Council and of the Council’s Remuneration Committee. I apologize for not being able to present this speech in person.

I understand the reservations that many members of the Regent House have concerning employment outwith the standard University reward procedures. Indeed, as a University Lecturer, I have a good deal of sympathy with them. I am however persuaded of the need to vary these procedures in the case of the Investment Office.

Our standard pay and grading processes derive from HERA,1 which was designed specifically for UK Higher Education Institutions. Nearly all highly paid employees are academics, or academic administrators, whose employment is largely within the sector. For some classes of employment however there is a free flow of talent between the University and the commercial world. That is true for academics in the Business School and Clinical Medicine; for non-academics it is equally true for those managing the North West Cambridge development, where we compete with commercial property developers. The Investment Office is exactly comparable.

We are extraordinarily lucky in the commitment shown by the staff in the Investment Office, at senior levels often for total remuneration much less than they could command in the commercial sector. They have achieved outstanding returns on the endowment, even over the very difficult period since the 2008 financial crash. These staff are rewarded through a mix of market pay and ‘variable salary’ bonuses. However both mechanisms rely on there being a sufficiently high base salary, and the HERA process does not adequately recognize the skills or responsibility of more junior Investment Office staff. Our inability to offer competitive remuneration has caused the Director of the Investment Office real difficulties in recruitment and retention.

There are not many areas in which the University competes for top talent directly with the private sector. Nonetheless, if we commit to operating in these areas, we cannot afford to be amateurish about it. This Report, if approved, allows us to set competitive salaries for the Investment Office, but also provides safeguards in the form of an Investment Office Remuneration Committee, modelled on that already in place for North West Cambridge. Council’s Remuneration Committee will receive the papers and see the full details, and report in turn to the Council.

I commend the Report to the University.

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

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am one of the members of Council who signed the note of dissent in relation to this Report. The Regent House deserves to know why.

Between 2004 and 2006, the University consulted on, discussed, and then implemented a substantially revised pay and grading scheme based on HERA and the single salary spine. The issue was contentious, it required two consultative Reports, two Discussions, and culminated in a ballot. This is the scheme that continues to apply today.

Back then it was argued that it was

‘fundamental to the reforms proposed... that, for all groups of staff, there should be greater transparency of criteria, processes, and outcomes in the arrangements for pay and grading so that they are seen to be open and fair’.1

Indeed in recommending the proposals contained in the second Report to the Regent House during the Discussion of 21 June 2005, Professor Cliff assured us that

‘The proposals will provide the University with a highly flexible pay model which will equip it to reward all staff appropriately’.2

Whilst those principles continue to hold true for the vast majority of staff, there has been a gradual erosion behind the scenes. Intermittently it is suggested that this structure is no longer sufficiently flexible to reward all staff appropriately. The current Report is the latest example. Now the creation of a new class of University employee is proposed within the Investment Office. We are reassured that

‘Appointments will be in grades and remuneration scales and structures guided strongly by the University’s human resources policies and procedures but reflecting the distinct nature of the Investment Office’s activities and the market from which it recruits.’3

This will be facilitated by creating a separate remuneration committee for the Investment Office, but its very creation means that the approach used here will provide the mechanism to detatch these new arrangements from those applied across the rest of the University.

To be clear, I have no particular axe to grind over the suggestion that the appropriate level of remuneration for those managing the University’s investments may differ, perhaps significantly, from that felt appropriate for a Departmental Administrator or even a Professor. Indeed I want us to be able to recruit and retain excellent people to work in this area. My concern is instead one of transparency, very similar to those concerns raised in 2005 by the then Chairman of the Board of Scrutiny and others, and subsequently acknowledged by the Council.4 If it is necessary to adjust and extend the current salary scales and grading scheme to accommodate the needs of the Investment Office then we should do so, rather than separating the arrangements for one group of University employees from the others.