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No 6541

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Vol cxlix No 23

pp. 438–446



15 March, Friday. Full Term ends.

20 March, Wednesday. Last ordinary issue of the Reporter in the Lent Term.

23 March, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 11 a.m.

25 March, Monday. Lent Term ends.

30 March, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 11 a.m.

17 April, Wednesday. Easter Term begins. First ordinary issue of the Reporter in the Easter Term.

21 April, Sunday. Easter day. Scarlet day.

23 April, Tuesday. Full Term begins. Mere's Commemoration. Sermon in St Benedict's Church at 11.45 a.m. Preacher, Professor Janet Soskice, Emerita Fellow of Jesus College and Emerita Professor of Philosophical Theology.

Annual Reports of the Council and of the General Board for the academic year 2017–18, and the Reports and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2018: Notice in response to Discussion remarks

11 March 2019

The Council has received the remarks made at the Discussion on 22 January 2019 (Reporter, 6535, 2018–19, p. 372) concerning the above Reports (Reporter, 6530, 2018–19, p. 179).

The Council notes the helpful reminder to members of the Regent House about the role of the Board of Scrutiny from its Chair, Mr Goode.

Professor Anderson and Professor Gay draw attention to their reasons for signing a note of dissent to the Council's Annual Report and Mr Caddick comments further on this. The Council received information at its meeting on 18 February 2019 about progress made against the recommendations of the Divestment Working Group as endorsed by the Council (see Reporter, 6511, 2017–18, p. 702). As noted by the Chief Financial Officer in his remarks at the Discussion on 5 February 2019 (Reporter, 6537, 2018–19, p. 398), sector data on the holdings in the Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF) will shortly be made available publicly for the first time together with more information on the operation of the Investment Office. The Working Group's report, as Mr Caddick notes, put forward a number of proposals in support of 'considered divestment' to enhance the University's role in tackling climate change. These proposals focus on the part that the University can play through academic leadership and research to work towards a carbon neutral future. The members of the Council, in weighing up decisions that affect the University's finances in their capacity as trustees, must consider all factors, with paramount importance given to the University's continued ability to carry out its mission, to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

Professor Gay suggests that there is an error in the Council's Annual Report concerning the level of the cumulative monetary outperformance of the CUEF to the agreed benchmark. The figure is correctly stated in the Report as compound outperformance of £300m over the CUEF's ten-year existence, or on average £30m per annum, when compared to the agreed composite passive benchmark (the CUEF also continues to be ahead of its long-term objective of achieving returns of RPI + 5.25%). This composite benchmark has been set by the Investment Board as an appropriate measure against which to assess the CUEF's performance.1 However, the Council recognises that the benchmark applied is only one of a range against which the CUEF's performance could reasonably be measured.

The Council refers Dr Thomas and Professor Anderson to the Council's previous response to similar comments concerning the finances and the objectives of the North West Cambridge development (Reporter, 6505, 2017–18, p. 551). Eddington is now an attractive location offering affordable key worker housing for rent to University and College staff; over 98% of the key worker housing for Phase 1 is now let to tenants. The high specification to which the accommodation has been built, combined with a rental model that deliberately keeps rents affordable, have resulted in the downward revaluation of the Phase 1 holdings, as reported in the Financial Statements. This is a consequence of developing a site with aims that are broader than the purely commercial. The external interest paid annually is expected to exceed rental income after current-year operating costs for an extended period of time. Indeed, current forecasts suggest that the development will only start to produce an annual surplus towards the end of the original loan term (2052). Therefore, while Phase 1 should ultimately generate sufficient net surplus to cover bond interest and principal, this will not be achieved by 2052 and the University will consider disposal or refinancing options at that stage. It could take 20 to 30 years beyond that date for Phase 1 to achieve a cumulative cash-flow-positive position

The Council notes the comments made by Mr Goode and Dr Thomas on the remuneration of senior staff including the Vice-Chancellor in comparison to that of other staff. It welcomes the introduction of a pay ratio to compare the salary of the Vice-Chancellor with the median of all staff as a means of gauging the balance of pay between them and enabling comparison with other institutions. It notes that the remuneration of the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge is in line with that of other UK leaders of higher education institutions and is significantly less than that of its global peers. The Council observes that, as a member of the New Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (N-JNCHES), the University is bound by the national pay awards agreed under the N-JNCHES process. However, the Council acknowledges the need to improve the total reward package offered to staff and tackle pay inequalities. Details of initiatives which aim to close the gender pay gap are set out in the report (see Reporter, 6536, 2018–19, p. 386).

The Council recognises the importance of staff and student wellbeing, noted in the remarks of Professor Evans, to the wellbeing of the University as a whole. As noted in the General Board's Annual Report, an application for additional resources to cover University staff requirements is being put forward in the current planning round, and a Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy has been devised to identify and promote sources of support. One of the major pillars of the Student Support Initiative is to provide additional resource to sustain student wellbeing.

Professor Evans asks whether the report that the General Board is to receive on the lessons learned from the programme of Strategic Research Reviews will be published as a Report to the University for Discussion. The General Board will be asked to consider this point when it receives the report in the Easter Term 2019.

Finally, the Council notes that a number of remarks on these Reports make comments about individuals and reminds members of the standards of courtesy and restraint that are expected to be observed in making remarks at a Discussion.

The Council is submitting a Grace (Grace 1, p. 445) for the approval of its Annual Report (which includes the General Board's Report).


  • 1The 65:35 Composite Benchmark is composed of 65% MSCI AC World Index, 15% Barclays Capital Global Aggregate Bond Index (hedged to GBP), 10% FTSE British Government Index-Linked All Stocks and 10% UK IPD (Property) Total Return.

Report of the Council on the governance of the remuneration of the Vice-Chancellor and senior post-holders and other pay-related matters: Notice in response to Discussion remarks

11 March 2019

The Council has received the remarks made at the Discussion on 22 January 2019 (Reporter, 6535, 2018–19, p. 380) concerning the above Report (Reporter, 6532, 2018–19, p. 297).

It has passed the remarks to its Remuneration Committee, which is taking the remarks very seriously and is considering what might be done to mitigate at least some of the concerns. The Remuneration Committee will report to the Council in the Easter Term 2019.

Research Excellence Framework 2021: Consultation on the Code of Practice

On behalf of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and as part of a wider consultation on the Code of Practice governing the University's submission to REF2021, the REF Office invites responses to the online consultation on the Code of Practice from all members of staff with an interest in REF2021. The online consultation is open until 25 March 2019 and further information, including links to the survey, can be found on the REF website (raven required) at:

Annual Reports

The following Annual Reports have been received by the Council and/or the General Board and are available as indicated:

Botanic Garden Annual Report 2017–18

Cambridge Asssessment Annual Report for year ended 31 July 2018

Careers Service Annual Report 2017–18

Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences Annual Report 2017–18

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Annual Report 2016–17

West and North-West Cambridge Estates Board Annual Report for year ended 31 July 2018

Details of further Annual Reports published will appear in the Reporter of 17 July 2019.