THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM
CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE FOR SUPPORT STAFF
Unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting held on 2 June 2008
Present: Professor D Birch PVC (Chair)
Mr M Dale Civil Engineering
Mr R Howard UNITE
Mrs J Humphrey Nursing
Mrs J Kaur Director of HR
Mr C Pressler IS (on behalf of Stephen Pinfield)
Ms R J Ramsden Civil Engineering
Mr Chris Thompson CFO
Ms E Watts Geography
Professor B Webb Biosciences
Mrs S J Willington UNITE
In attendance: Miss J M Delves (minute taker)
Apologies: Dr P Greatrix, Mrs E J Stevenson, Ms P Campbell
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
379 The minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2008 were approved as an accurate
380 Minute 363 Jaspal Kaur confirmed that information concerning consistency checks
had been sent to Paula Campbell.
Minute 364 (330) Jaspal Kaur reported that it had been agreed at the Joint Union
Working Group that a working group would be formed to discuss a wide range of
issues. Dates were in the process of being finalised with the first meeting at the end
of June which would agree the terms of reference for the group.
Minute 367 Ray Howard asked if any more detail was available concerning the
savings of £500m required in the sector. Chris Thompson stated that there was no
indication at this point in time. It was thought that there may be initiatives
surrounding better purchasing which we would be able to achieve via the SciQuest
rollout. This should generate some of the savings but the rest was still unknown.
Minute 369 Jaspal Kaur reported that Professor Dodson had submitted the Strand 3
Core Systems Review report to Management Board. The content and actions were
published on the portal. The key issues were that there was opportunity to
undertake certain activities differently, changes in staffing levels would be achieved
by natural wastage and realignment of staff at Faculty level would be taken forward
by the Deans
Minute 374 Chris Thompson had discussed with Martin Wynne-Jones the issue of
statements not being received and the breakdown of information into 3 elements.
Martin Wynne-Jones was discussing with the actuaries concerning how this could be
improved in the future.
381 The budget was formally approved by the University Council on Tuesday 6 May 2008
for next year and the subsequent 2 years.
382 The New Director of Marketing, Rob Dixon, had started employment on 1 April 2008.
Rob presented to MB the current situation with regard to marketing and a greater
consistency on branding.
383 Admissions were positive for Autumn. There were variances but this was to be
expected. Overall, the University was on track which was encouraging.
384 The University was opening the Sustainable Energy Building in Ningbo. The building
would be a landmark building for the University in years to come.
385 The National Student Survey had been underway for the past 8 weeks. Voting had
closed. Students had been actively encouraged to participate and the response rate
had risen from 58% in 2007 to 68%.
386 Two league tables were published recently. The University was 16 th in the
Independent Good University Guide and 19 in The Guardian.
387 Before the next meeting, Aspire will be built on the Jubilee Campus. The Registrar
reported that it would be good for the University and the City of Nottingham.
Completion day was 23 June 2008.
388 Chris Thompson reported that in 06/07, the University was under the budget so
there was an expectation that this year would be an improvement also. Council
were keen for the University to be at a stable level of surplus and also meet the
HEFCE level of 3%. Council were also keen to see the reduction of debt at £5m per
year, subject to investments in land.
In terms of the position this year, the University is ahead of the budget until 31
March. The pattern was consistent. Tuition fees were running slightly lower than
budget. To offset that, Research was ahead of budget and margins were remaining
strong (25% on average). On a positive note, school costs were 3% below budget
and Central Service costs were 1.5% below budget. There would be some reversal
as recruitment may have been delayed and spend of maintenance had been delayed
also so this will be noticeable during the 2nd half of the financial year. An overall
good result was expected for the full year.
The debt level should have fallen this year. Next year the University would be
having a keener focus on debt. Given that surpluses and deficits feed through to
cash, a reduction should be visible.
The budget had been approved by Council. For the 08/09 budget the target surplus
was £8m. Within next year’s budget there would be increased strategic funds to
accommodate for a 20% increase of gas costs, for example. There would be a
significant investment of infrastructure. HECFE had announced £53m would be
allocated for infrastructure support over the next three years (£17m Teaching/£36m
Research) which was an increase of 13% over the last 2 years.
The impact of pay awards was significant as the total impact on the pay bill is 8.2%.
Whilst the University was looking at a positive improvement it would be a tough
year ahead. We were looking at some increase in student numbers (assumptions
based on what had come from the schools).
Diane Birch raised the recent events of terrorist arrests on main campus.
Management Board was confident that the action taken was correct. It had now
come to light that the Police were not taking immediate action with regard to these
matters. The individual concerned would not be deported. Diane Birch wanted to
reassure staff and provide an opportunity for any questions or comment.
Ray Howard raised the question of how big and diverse the organisation could
become. Chris Thompson reported the specific area for expansion if land were to
become available was the Jubilee Campus. The initial objectives for expanding on
Jubilee Campus would be the Innovation Park. Land had already been identified but
it was reasonably limited. If interest from outside companies continued, the current
space would be full to capacity within 2/3 years.
Ray Howard highlighted that numerous other Universities and the NHS had
innovation parks. Chris Thompson stated that The University of Nottingham and
Nottingham Trent University both had involvement in Bio City. The Innovation Park
on Jubilee Campus would not be in competition with Bio City and there had been a
vast amount of interest.
Ray Howard raised the teaching:research ratio and the rate at which teaching was
likely to expand. Diane Birch reported a modest increase. There were ambitions to
increase Postgraduate numbers and this provided a worthwhile income.
Bob Webb stated the need to be conscious of research and outside companies and
this was an area that the University of Nottingham wished to follow. In addition to
this there was a need to build on the resources that supported the research areas.
Research impacted on Undergraduate Teaching in a positive way. There would be
some growth in research students and this would fit with the importance of research
for Nottingham and the UK. This depended on the amount of funding available and
how good the University of Nottingham becomes at attracting it. The University
needed a balanced portfolio.
Terms & Conditions Review Update
389 All 3 unions had confirmed that members had voted to accept the proposals. A
general communication to staff was planned in the week commencing 9 June 2008,
which would inform staff of the outcome of the ballot and projected timelines for the
implementation. A meeting with the unions to discuss implementation issues was
Workplace Parking Levy
390 On 12 May Nottingham City Council approved moving forward with the proposed
Workplace Parking Levy scheme. The next stage of the process was for the City
Council to submit the legal order to the Secretary for Transport in the summer, which
if confirmed, would give it the powers to produce a WPL in Nottingham in April 2010.
The University would be consulting staff, students and unions about charging
mechanisms and rates. In the meantime questions or concerns should be directed to
Gavin Scott in Estates. Further updates would be posted on the web and exchange.
Jenny Humphrey stated that many people were concerned that they were not in a
Union and would not be able to submit their view. Jaspal Kaur reported that staff
would be consulted and given the opportunity to share views.
391 Concern was expressed to Jenny Humphrey that on a number of occasions some
jobs advertised were advertised on a level that was not equitable with other posts.
Jaspal Kaur reported that Technical & APM posts were job matched and in terms of
new posts, these were dealt with by a virtual panel. All panels included
management, union reps and HR. Jaspal Kaur suggested that concerns be raised
when identified. The process should give comfort that jobs are being assessed
properly. The “sore thumbing” process was to ensure a quality measure for the
Mark Dale asked if there was a cross check for replacing a post that was considered
to be “like for like”. Jaspal Kaur reported that no re-evaluation would be undertaken
for a role if the replacement was “like for like”. Mark Dale asked whether there
would be any cross-checking within the school to ensure a post really was “like for
like”. Jaspal Kaur stated that HR would accept the word of the School in these
The question was raised why notification following performance review was not
received until the second week of August. Jaspal Kaur stated that producing the
notification was an enormous job and this reflected the timescales. The circulation
date would always be as early as possible. The Schools circulated the letters so this
would sometimes delay the process further. Jaspal Kaur reported that Schools had
been given the option of signing their own letters or HR signing on their behalf. The
split was 50/50. This year HR would speak to Schools to ensure the distribution of
letters as soon as they were received, even if the first point of contact was away.
Any Other Business
392 Constituency Representatives
The Chair thanked the following members for their contribution to the Committee.
Bob Webb would no longer be the Dean of Science representative.
Liz Stephenson & Andrew Whitfield’s representation period was due to end on 30
September 2008. The election process would follow shortly.
Diane Birch reported it would be her last meeting as Chair. The Committee thanked Diane
Birch for her role as Chair.
Date of Next Meeting – Tbc