Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6555

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Vol cxlix No 37

pp. 795–815



19 July, Friday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m.

20 July, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m.

1 October, Tuesday. Michaelmas Term begins. Congregation of the Regent House at 9.30 a.m.: Vice-Chancellor's address and the election and admission of the Proctors.

8 October, Tuesday. Full Term begins. Discussion in the Senate-House at 2 p.m. (see below).

Ordinary issues of the Reporter for the remainder of the 2018–19 academic year will be published on 17 and 24 July. The first ordinary issue of the 2019–20 academic year will be published on 25 September 2019.

Discussion on Tuesday, 8 October 2019

The Vice-Chancellor invites those qualified under the regulations for Discussions (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 105) to attend a Discussion in the Senate-House on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 at 2 p.m., for the discussion of:

1. Topic of concern: The University response to the climate crisis beyond divestment (Reporter, 6552, 2018–19, p. 694).

2. Second-stage Report of the Council, dated 12 June 2019, on the construction of a new Heart and Lung Research Institute on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (p. 806).

Further information on Discussions, including details on format and attendance, is provided at

Amending Statute for Newnham College

8 July 2019

The Vice-Chancellor begs leave to refer to his Notice of 5 June 2019 (Reporter, 6552, 2018–19, p. 694), concerning the text of a Special Statute to amend the Charter of Newnham College. He hereby gives notice that in the opinion of the Council the proposed Statute makes no alteration of the Charter or any Statute which affects the University, and does not require the consent of the University; that the interests of the University are not prejudiced by it, and that the Council has resolved to take no action upon it, provided that the Council will wish to reconsider the proposed Statute if it has not been submitted to the Privy Council by 8 July 2020.

Report of the General Board on Senior Academic Promotions: Notice in response to Discussion remarks

8 July 2019

The Council has received the remarks made at the Discussion on 2 July 2019 (p. 812) on the above Report (Reporter, 6551, 2018–19, p. 686). The Council has consulted with the General Board in preparing this response.

The Council and the General Board note Dr du Bois-Pedain's support for the increase to the budget for the Senior Academic Promotions (SAP) exercise. The true cost of the exercise this year exceeds the estimate by 4.3%.

Dr du Bois-Pedain suggests that there is insufficient information in the Report to enable readers to determine whether the exercise has been reasonably conducted. The General Board notes that decisions on where the line is drawn are based on academic judgment taking into account all of the criteria, including but not limited to research. As the 2019 guidance1 notes in paragraph 5.17, the bandings and scores are used to summarise the description of achievement in relation to the criteria. The Board will reflect on whether any further contextual information can be provided in the Report as part of the next exercise; however, it does not consider information about reapplications to be material because each year's scheme is a stand-alone process.

The General Board has agreed to postpone the implementation of the Academic Career Pathways (ACP) Scheme, which will now replace the SAP Scheme from 2020–21 (Reporter, 6551, 2018–19, p. 668). The Board notes Dr du Bois-Pedain's suggestion and agrees that the longer lead-in time will enable the committees involved in the process to become more familiar with the ACP Scheme and to compare it with the SAP Scheme.

The Council is submitting a Grace (Grace 2, p. 808) for the approval of the recommendations of this Report.

Report of the Council on the financial position and budget of the University, recommending allocations from the Chest for 2019–20: Notice in response to Discussion remarks

8 July 2019

The Council has received the remarks made at the Discussion on 2 July 2019 (p. 812) on the above Report (Reporter, 6552, 2018–19, p. 699).

The Council notes Dr James' concern that the ambition to improve the financial sustainability of the University will encourage an approach to strategic decision-making which takes insufficient account of academic excellence, or of the role and values of a university. The Council welcomes the opportunity to reiterate that the University's budget and planning work is driven by a commitment to fulfil the University's mission 'to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international standards of excellence'.

As the Vice-Chancellor has highlighted previously, one of the University's great strengths is its ability to seek out and develop new areas of academic endeavour. These areas of new endeavour are rarely fully funded, and the University needs a clear-sighted view on what activities to prioritise as it expands into new areas, and to ensure so far as possible that the costs of new activities are fully covered. This is reflected in the ambition to provide better and clearer financial information – through our finance systems, and through a revised approach to resource distribution and cost allocation – which informs decision-making at all levels of the University, and supports the priority to define and deliver the University's academic vision within a financially sustainable framework.

Dr James identifies the challenge faced by the University in balancing its investments in people and facilities. The Planning and Resources Committee has heavily rationalised its capital plan in light of the overall financial position, but investment in buildings cannot cease altogether, and there is need in particular to improve the University's facilities for education and learning, following significant investment in recent years in research-intensive buildings.

Dr James highlights the issue of senior post-holder pay. The Council will be asked at its meeting on 15 July to approve a response to the Discussion remarks on the Report of the Council on the governance of the remuneration of the Vice‑Chancellor and senior post-holders and other pay-related matters (Reporter, 2018–19; 6535, p. 380; 6532, p. 297).

Dr James also highlights the default assumption in the planning guidance for pay increases of 2%. The Budget Report makes provision, via a central contingency set aside for this purpose, to meet additional recurrent costs (for Chest-funded posts) in the event of higher national pay awards.

A number of speakers remarked on the financial provision for pay and reward initiatives under the People Strategy. A detailed explanation of these initiatives was not given in the Report to avoid duplication with information published elsewhere, in particular the Report on arrangements for implementation of the Academic Careers Pathways scheme published on 15 May 2019 (Reporter, 6547, 2018–19, p. 562).

The HR expenditure in centrally administered funds (a total of £2.9m as highlighted by Professor Evans) relates principally (£2.1m) to the estimated in-year costs of existing reward schemes – Senior Academic Promotions, the Professorial Pay Review and the contribution reward schemes for assistant and academic-related staff – recognising that these costs will not previously have been budgeted for in Schools and institutions. The remaining allocations are to support other activities or initiatives that do not form part of the core budget of the HR Division, including a budget for gender initiatives (such as the returning carers scheme)1 and a budget towards the costs of Professorial recruitment, which is managed centrally by HR Division.

The figures highlighted by Dr James (£2.7m rising to £11m) are the estimated recurrent costs resulting from the implementation of enhanced reward schemes, including the revised arrangements for Academic Career Pathways approved by Grace 1 of 12 June 2019. The breakdown provided to the Planning and Resources Committee at its meeting on 20 March 2019 is repeated below for the information of the Regent House. It is in this context that the Planning and Resources Committee has expressed its concern about the ability of Schools and institutions to absorb these costs, without significant increases in Chest allocations which can only be achieved by generating additional income overall or by achieving greater efficiencies elsewhere in the University. Allocations at the level highlighted by Dr James have not been included in the current Budget Report; the additional provision has been limited to the difference between the costs already being met by Schools and institutions within existing budgets, and the additional costs expected to result from the revised schemes. This is an additional allocation of just under £600k in 2019–20, rising to more than £4m by 2022–23.






Academic career paths





Professorial pay review





Contribution schemes





Total recurrent cost





Additional costs relative to the current schemes





Dr James also asks what total figure was forecast for bonus pay and for market pay supplements. The Council notes that the award of such pay is not forecast centrally; it is expected to be paid by the individual institutions concerned from the resources available to them. However, data is collected retrospectively and reported, for example in the staff statistical information (see Reporter, 6534, 2018–19, p. 323 for the most recently published data).

Responding to specific further queries from Dr Sliwa and Dr Cortijo, the Council can confirm that no provision has been made for increased parental leave at full pay, which remains under active consideration by the HR Committee, nor for an increase to the University's rates for examination and assessment work, pending the outcome of current discussions with Cambridge UCU. The Council understands that a proposal to increase the rates for examination and assessment will be made as part of the 2019 Planning Round, to take effect in the 2020–21 financial year. A sub-group of the Partnership Working Group has been established, and will meet approximately monthly throughout 2019, to address the other issues highlighted by Dr Cortijo.

The Council is submitting a Grace (Grace 1, p. 808) for the approval of the recommendations of this Report.

Election of a member of the Council's Finance Committee in class (b)

10 July 2019

A vacancy will arise on the Council's Finance Committee for a member of the Regent House, elected by representatives of the Colleges, to serve until 31 December 2020, following Lesley Thompson's decision to step down from 11 July 2019.

Nominations should be made in writing to the Head of the Registrary's Office, University Offices, The Old Schools, Cambridge, CB2 1TN, and must include a statement by the person nominated that he or she is willing to serve on the Finance Committee. Nominations and statements should be made by 12 noon on Friday, 19 July 2019. Nominations should be supported by the signatures of two members of the Regent House.

The election is conducted in accordance with the Single Transferable Vote regulations and voting is by postal ballot. If a ballot is necessary, papers will be dispatched by Tuesday, 30 July 2019, for return by 12 noon on Friday, 9 August 2019.