Team Briefing Core Briefing

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					Team Briefing – Core Briefing
Team: Estates Office SMT                     Prepared by: Julia Pidgeon

Date of Briefing: 17/02/2010                 Time:

Team Members Absent:

Underlined items to be included in briefing unchanged – any other information
may be reworded or left out at the manager’s discretion.

Briefing Item 1: Registrar’s Meeting for Non-Academic Staff: Summary

The Registrar held an open meeting for all non-academic staff on Tuesday 26 January
2010 in the Butterworth Hall in the Arts Centre. The Registrar holds termly meetings,
open to all non academic staff, enabling him to update colleagues on current
developments and priorities for the University and complementing the meetings that
the Vice-Chancellor holds with academic departments. This meeting included an
update on key University activity, on the current operating context for universities and
an overview of the work of the Constitutional Advisory Group.

If you were unable to attend, please find a synopsis of the meeting below.

School of Life Sciences
The Registrar gave an update on the process and progress to date. Two distinct
strands for the School are now running in parallel: the amalgamation of the
Department of Biological Sciences and Warwick HRI and the Strategy to progress the
longer-term vision for Life Sciences at Warwick. More information can be found on the
Life Sciences Initiative site at

Campus Development
The Registrar highlighted development on campus, including the recently completed
Students’ Union and Butterworth Hall, as well as the Clinical Trials Unit, new
Interdisciplinary Science Building and plans for new student residences. He also
highlighted that capital development had been scaled down in response to the
economic climate.

Research Excellence Framework
Work is due to begin in February with the PVCs for Research and Faculty Chairs
starting to consider each department’s preparations and readiness for the REF. This
could be delayed depending upon a change of Government.

Core International Partnerships
Key partnerships with Monash and Boston are continuing to strengthen. More
information on core partnerships can be found at

Negotiations and consultation around both the UPS and USS pension schemes are
ongoing. In addition the 09/10 pay negotiations have now concluded and the process
for 10/11 is due to begin shortly.

The Registrar then drew attention to the well rehearsed discussions and views about
the current economic climate. He made reference to Lord Mandelson’s letter outlining
cuts to University funding and HEFCE consultations on the Financial Memorandum
agreement with universities and the role of HEFCE as regulator of universities as
charities and the response from the sector, including his own response in the THE and
the Vice-Chancellor’s appearance on the Politics Show (West Midlands). He
highlighted that there did not yet appear to be a clear sense of how universities might
steer their way through these current challenges.

This led into the area of the University’s Constitutional Review, which concluded with
the production of the Harris Report to be initially considered at Senate on 27 January

In brief, the Constitutional Review was intended to be a broad, reflective review of the
University’s structures ensuring that they are fit for the future and able to pursue future
opportunities within the challenging economic and political environment. It involved
considering the current configuration of departments and the potential future role of,
for example, Schools, Faculties, Colleges.

Through a 'call for evidence' the Group sought views from colleagues across the
University. Between July 2009 and January 2010, the Group considered a large
number of submissions from individual academics, departments, senior managers and
representatives of the three review groups considering Senate committees and
decision making, financial arrangements for devolved departments and research
centre constitutions.

The fundamental outcome of the Group's considerations is the development of two
structural models to propose to the University to determine which would be most
supportive of the University’s strategy in the future. Both have benefits and risks but
are considered superior options to the alternative of doing nothing. It was also noted
that the Group found that much works, much of the Warwick culture is supported by
members of the University and seen as an exemplar to many of our peers. You can
read the full report from the Group – the Harris Report – and the proposed steps for its
consideration at

In open discussion at the end of the meeting, questions and comments were raised on
the impact a change of government might have for HE, ongoing work on refreshing the
University Strategy, the progress of Life Sciences and questions on the Harris Report
including examples of good practice at other universities and the importance of
administrative input in any future implementation group.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the topics for discussion at
subsequent Registrar’s Meetings, you can email them to

Future events:

      Warwick Prize for Writing: nominations now open
      AUA Conference: 29-31 March 2010
      Campus Catch Up: 25 March and 25 May, 10.30am
      Warwick Network: 12 April 2010
      Open Meeting: 1 June 2010
Briefing Item 2: Pulse Staff Survey Launches Monday 22 February

The next Pulse staff survey launches on Monday 22 February. This is your opportunity
to have your say on the issues that really matter to you and to make a difference to
your working life at Warwick.

Pulse provides an important opportunity for staff to play a part in shaping Warwick’s
future. The results will be used to plan further improvements for the wider University,
as well as specific departmental work. As in previous years, the findings of the survey
will be shared widely with all staff, as will subsequent steps taken to address any
areas of concern.

Improvements have been made in a range of areas since the last Pulse survey - you
can read more on work undertaken since Pulse 2009 in issue 330 of CommUnicate or
you can view this issue online at

Staff will receive an email on the 22nd from ORC International, the independent
research consultancy who have again been commissioned to run the survey on the
University’s behalf. This email will contain a unique email link for you, which will take
you directly through to the survey online. No password is required. The email will also
provide details of how to complete the survey.

Completed surveys will be held by ORC under randomly generated numbers, not
against individuals’ names. This ensures that the survey responses will not be
traceable to any individual, and ORC will not know who has or has not responded.

Staff who do not have access to a computer will receive paper copies of the
questionnaire from their manager at team meetings or briefing sessions during the
period of the survey. FREEPOST envelopes will be provided so responses can be
returned directly to ORC.

This year, to support the survey, a number of departmental Pulse Champions have
been recruited. They will be on hand to answer any questions staff may have during
the survey period, such as practical queries on how to fill it in or more general
concerns regarding the data and how the University uses it.

You can read more about the Pulse Champions, plus details of how to contact your department’s
Champion, at

Briefing Item 3: UPS Consultation Extended

The University has been formally consulting since the end of November 2009 about
proposed changes to the University of Warwick Pension Scheme and has been
engaging with the Trade Unions through the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC).

Five briefing sessions for staff chaired by the Registrar have been held where the UPS
pension proposals could be clarified and feedback received. The formal consultation
period was due to end last Friday 5 February. A request has been received from
UNITE to extend the consultation period to allow for further discussions and
consultation about the proposals.

In order to allow for further consultation with UNITE and other Trade Unions, the
University has formally extended the consultation period on the UPS pension
proposals for the entire JCC until the end of February 2010.

A further meeting is planned with UNITE along with a further JCC with all Trade
Unions. At the end of the extended consultation period, the University will consider the
feedback received through the JCC and also from staff on the proposals.

Following further engagement with the UPS Trustee, the University plans to
communicate any changes to the scheme during March 2010. The HR Pensions
webpage provides details of the proposals at Staff can
also email the pensions email address directly with any feedback or queries on

Briefing Item 4: New Halls of Residence

Construction work for the new Halls of Residence started on site on Monday 15
February and is due for completion in summer 2011.

The work will involve the construction of 505 student bedrooms arranged in four
blocks across the site between Rootes Residences and Tocil Ponds. The following
arrangements will be in place during the construction period:

       Contractors will access the site from the bottom of Health Centre Road and
        through Car Park 2 where the barrier position will be modified and the number
        of parking spaces reduced. (The issue of car park 2 usage was addressed by
        the Transport Strategy Group, amongst other transport related issues. The final
        report will be available shortly and will be followed by an implementation
       The bottom of Health Centre Road, beyond carpark 6, will be cordoned off to
        enable the contractors to access the site. Please note, there will be no parking
        in this area and the site will be cordoned off from Sunday 14 February.
       A traffic management system will be in place from Monday 15 to Wednesday
        17 February on University Road. Further details here -
       There will be footpath diversions in the immediate area. These will affect the
        footpath from Health Centre Road to Tocil Ponds and the footpaths which
        currently serve Car Park 2. Please follow the signposted diversions.
       The primary footpath and cycle path linking central campus with Gibbet Hill will
        remain in use for the duration of the project.

Any questions should be addressed to Robert Gamble, Senior Project Manager, Estates at

Briefing Item 5: Network Replacement Project

The current hardware that provides the data network for campus and residences is
approaching end of life and ITS have been working with its suppliers to redesign and
replace the hardware. In order to migrate from the old network to the new network, an
outage to IT services will be required, however this will only affect specific buildings on
specific dates and times. It will still be possible to use IT services from other buildings.

The roll-out schedule will happen on a month by month basis and each department
will be given at least a month’s notice detailing when IT Services will be unavailable in
their department. To minimise disruption, work will be scheduled for the end of the day
or at weekends.

A series of departmental contacts have been nominated and will be responsible for
cascading information to colleagues within their department on the dates and times
when the network outage will affect them.

You can view the full list of departmental contacts via the insite news article at

The five phases of the project are as follows:

  * Phase 1 Westwood Campus including residential

  * Phase 2 Gibbet Hill

  * Phase 3 Science Park & HRI

  * Phase 4 Main Campus including residential

  * Phase 5 Wireless overlay.

The Westwood campus will be the first to be moved over to the new network in March.
You can view full details for the Westwood campus in the insite article at

If you think your department is not listed, please contact Neil Hunt at or on ext. 50195.

The aim of the project is to build a 1st class data network that will allow current and
new technologies to operate effectively and efficiently and to grow with the ever
increasing demands to transport large quantities of data.

Briefing Item 6: Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Surgeries

Dates for the Vice-Chancellor's Staff Surgeries in 2010 are now available. The
surgeries are an opportunity for staff to raise their ideas or areas of concern about the
University with the Vice-Chancellor on a one-to-one basis.

Appointments are made in allocations of fifteen minutes each. If you’d like to meet with
the Vice Chancellor, email Ros Roke on to set up an
appointment during one of the surgeries. Please include details of what you would like
to discuss in the email.

The Dates of upcoming surgeries are as follows:

Tuesday 9 March 2010 - 12.00 - 1.30pm
Tuesday 27 April 2010 - 12.00 - 1.30pm
Monday 17 May 2010 - 1.00 - 2.00pm
Tuesday 22 June 2010 - 12.00 - 1.30 pm

Briefing Item 7: Charter Avenue Closed from 15 March

Charter Avenue, the road outside Canley Crematorium, will be closed for up to three
weeks from Monday 15 March for re-surfacing, though this start date may be subject
to change.

This re-surfacing project aims to address the issue of cracks and potholes in the road,
which have worsened a great deal since January's cold snap.

The road will be dug up to a depth of 40mm and renewed with a bituminous macadam
surface, rather than just filling in the potholes as they appear.

Detailed information is not available from Coventry City Council yet. Further
information will be posted on insite as it is made available.

Briefing Item 8: Warwick Network Staff Conference

The next Warwick Network staff conference will take place on Monday 12 April 2010.
The day is open to all staff and will give attendees the chance to hear from the Vice-
Chancellor and the Registrar on current developments within the University and to
spend some time considering issues of University-wide and HE sector wide
importance. It will also include a keynote address from Les Ebdon, Vice-Chancellor at
the University of Bedfordshire and Chairman of HE think tank million +, particularly
topical given the current debate about the role and place of the HE mission groups.

The day will include a number of breakout sessions on a variety of topics as well as
lunchtime campus tours and a lunchtime marketplace with representation from a
range of University departments and services.

Registration for the Network in 2010 will open on 22 February and regular updates will
be posted on insite and in CommUnicate.

More information is available at If you have any queries about the
Network, for example, around attendance, please contact your line manager in the first instance.

Briefing Item 9: Ideas Cafe

The theme of the next Ideas Cafe, "What is Colour?" was picked to coincide with the
opening of nominations for the 2011 Warwick Prize for Writing. Come along for a bite
to eat and to hear speakers from across the University talk on areas including the
perception of colour, race and colour in literature and the colour of stars.

The event takes place on Thursday 11 March from 5.30pm in University House Café.

More information is available at

Briefing Item 10: Save the Dates

Details of forthcoming University-wide events and meetings:
    Strategy Bites, PGR Numbers and the Graduate School – 5 March, 12.30-
       1.30pm, Warwick Digi Lab
    Ideas Café: What is Colour – 11 March 2010, 5.30pm-7.30pm, University
       House cafe
    Campus Catch Up – 25 March 2010, 10.30am-11.30am, Students’ Union
    Warwick Network annual staff conference – 12 April 2010, all day, Science
       Lecture Theatre 3 and breakout rooms
    Campus Catch Up – 25 May 2010, 10.30am-11.30am, Creative Space,
       Warwick Arts Centre
    Registrar’s Meeting for non-academic staff– 1 June 2010, 2-3pm, venue tbc

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