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					                                     UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN

                       JOINT PLANNING, FINANCE & ESTATES COMMITTEE

                           MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 3 MAY 2005

Present:      Mr M Lockhead (Convener), Principal, Professor IR Booth, Professor N Haites,
              Ms A Harper, Professor BD MacGregor, Dr M Mackie, Dr A Mair, Mr P Richards,
              Professor AA Rodger; with Ms I Bews, Mr S Cannon, Mr A Donaldson, Professor
              C Gane, Professor DF Houlihan, Dr PJ Murray and Ms K Atkinson (Clerk).

Apologies for absence were received from Professor SD Logan, Dr JG Roberts and
           Professor W Cairns Smith

           DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

           With regard to minute 75.2, Dr Mair, Mr Cannon and Ms Bews declared an interest as
           Trustees of the University’s Superannuation and Life Assurance Scheme.

71         MINUTES

           The minutes of meeting held on 8 March 2005 were approved.

72         MATTERS ARISING

72.1       RESIDENCES BUDGET ASSUMPTIONS AND FEES 2005/06

           The Committee noted that the Court had approved residences fees for 2005/06.

72.2       TUITION AND MISCELLANEOUS FEES 2005/06

           The Committee noted that the Court had approved tuition and miscellaneous fees for
           2005/06.

72.3       INCREASE IN GOING RATES FOR ENTRY TO LAW IN 2007

           The Committee noted that the Court had approved increased going rates for entry to LLB
           programmes in 2007.

72.4       CENTRAL HEATING STATION

           It was noted that the Court had considered the alternatives for the Central Heating Station
           following receipt of tenders which had been significantly higher than the anticipated cost
           approved in May 2004.

           The Court had noted that the procedures followed in appointing the specialist consultants
           had been reviewed, and that the appropriate due diligence had been undertaken. It had
           been noted that legal advice had been taken with respect to pursuing financial
           compensation.

           The Committee noted that Court had approved additional expenditure of £2.48 million for the
           preferred option of a Combined Heat and Power system.

73         STRATEGY AND PLANNING

73.1       SUMMARY OF MAIN GRANTS IN SUPPORT OF TEACHING AND RESEARCH 2005-06

           The Committee received a Summary of Main Grants in Support of Teaching and Research
           2005-06 (JPFE04-05:77).

73.2       ANALYSIS OF SHEFC LETTER HE/08/05

           The Committee received and considered an analysis of SHEFC Circular Letter HE/08/05
           (JPFE04-05:78) and noted that the University’s allocation of grant had increased by 3.9%
           since 2004/05, 0.5% above the average increase across the sector. However, it was noted
       that without the 74% increase in Knowledge Transfer Grant funding to £1.534million, the
       University’s total funding increase would have been below the sector average.

       The Committee noted that Universities were required, as a condition of grant, to devise and
       implement strategies to address the Scottish Executive’s priorities for: (i) equality of
       opportunity and fair access, (ii) continuous improvement of learning and teaching, (iii)
       research and knowledge transfer, and (iv) human resources policies and management.

73.3   DRAFT UPDATE OF STRATEGIC PLAN 2004-2009

       The Committee received and considered a Draft Update of the Institutional Strategic Plan
       2004-2009 (JPFE04-05:79).

       A number of amendments were suggested for incorporation. The revised draft would be
       considered by Court before being brought back for formal approval in June 2005.

73.4   CROSS-BORDER STUDENT FLOWS: HIGHER EDUCATION TUITION FEE LEVELS

       The Committee received a consultation paper on Cross-Border Student Flows: Higher
       Education Tuition Fee Levels, together with a summary of the main issues (JPFE04-05:80).
       The Scottish Executive was inviting comments on the introduction of higher general rates of
       tuition fees in Scotland. The Committee noted that this issue had arisen due to the
       introduction, from 2006, of “top-up” tuition fees in England when HEIs would be able to
       charge UK/EU students up to £3000 per year for their programmes of study. The paper noted
       a concern that opportunity for Scottish-domiciled students could be reduced if no change
       were made to the fee arrangements in Scotland.

       The Committee discussed the potential consequences for Scottish-domiciled students,
       Scottish Universities and, more specifically, the University of Aberdeen of (i) the introduction
       of higher tuition fees in England, and (ii) the Scottish Executive’s subsequent reaction.

       The Committee noted that the University’s recruitment and admissions strategy would be
       responsive to changes in the market.

       The Committee noted that an institutional response was under preparation for submission to
       the Executive by 30 May 2005 and would be made available to the Committee at its June
       meeting.

74     RESEARCH AND COLLABORATION

       The Committee received an update on collaboration (JPFE04-05:81):

       Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES)

       The Committee noted that a revised Strategic Research Development Grant bid had been
       submitted to the Funding Council for ACES. The first stage of the project would be to
       strengthen collaboration between the three partners; with the second stage possibly involving
       the relocation of staff to an ACES facility at the Macaulay Institute, depending upon NERC’s
       future decisions.

       Rowett Research Institute

       The Committee noted that discussions were continuing at a number of levels between the
       University and the Rowett Institute with a view to developing a number of possible models of
       collaboration.

       Fisheries Research Services

       The Committee noted that discussions were continuing with the Fisheries Research Services.
       A Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions was under preparation.
75       FINANCE AND RESOURCES

75.1     REVENUE BUDGETS 2005/06 TO 2007/08

         The Committee received a progress update on Revenue Budgets 2005/06 to 2007/08
         (JPFE04-05:82) and noted that detailed budgets would be brought forward in June 2005 for
         approval.

75.2     UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN SUPERANNUATION & LIFE ASSURANCE SCHEME UPDATE

         The Committee received an paper on the current status of the UASLAS pension scheme
         (JPFE04-05:83).

         The Committee, for its part, approved recommendations: (i) that the overall contribution rate
         of UASLAS be increased to 23.1% from 1 August 2005; (ii) that the University contribution
         rate be increased from 13.5% to 17.1% from 1 August 2005; (iii) that Human Resources, in
         taking forward the Scheme rule amendment with the members, consider an increase to the
         employee contribution rate along with the introduction of a salary sacrifice scheme; and (iv)
         that a full option appraisal be taken forward in considering the future of UASLAS. Options
         under consideration would range from maintaining the current scheme to the possibility of
         merging with USS. Any increase in salary should be considered against the impact it might
         have on pension funding, in particular where the increase is ahead of the pension scheme
         assumptions. A report would be brought back to the Committee in June 2005.

75.3     MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTS FOR THE EIGHT MONTHS ENDING 31 MARCH 2005

         The Committee received copies of the Monthly Management Accounts for the eight months
         ending 31 March 2005.

         It was noted that the accounts for the period currently showed an historical cost surplus of
         £3.701 million against a budgeted surplus of £1.312 million, a favourable variance of £2.389
         million.

76       ESTATES AND CAPITAL

76.1     INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND CASH FLOW PLANNING

         The Committee received and considered a paper setting out the 10-year infrastructure
         investment plan for the University and the strategy for financing this investment (JPFE04-
         05:84). (see Minute 76.2.1 below)

         It was noted that projects would continue to be considered via the current approval process,
         subject to satisfactory business case and risk assessment. Further consideration would be
         given to planning for the replacement of capital equipment.

         The Committee, for its part, approved, in principle, the recommendations set out in the paper.

76.2     CAPITAL EXPENDITURE SUB-COMMITTEE

         The Committee received a report from the Capital Expenditure Sub-Committee meeting, held
         on 14 April 2005 (JPFE04-05:85), as under:

76.2.1   Infrastructure Investment and Cashflow Planning

         The Committee noted that the Sub-Committee had, for its part, approved a paper on
         infrastructure investment and cashflow planning. (see Minute 76.1 above)

         The institutional infrastructure plan, which had been developed in consultation with the
         Colleges, identified projects totalling an estimated £217 million over the ten-year period from
         2004/05.

         The paper identified which projects would be funded by SHEFC under the Science Research
         Infrastructure Fund (SRIF) 3 in 2006/07 – 2007/08 and the Learning and Teaching
         Infrastructure Fund (LTIF) in 2005/06. The Sub-Committee had agreed that the Central
         Heating Station would be submitted as a reserve project.

         The plan proposed the arrangement of additional loan facilities of up to £20 million, to
         minimise borrowing costs through consolidation with current loans. The proposed level of
         borrowing would be relatively low for a University of this size, and would allow flexibility to be
         retained.

         The Sub-Committee had noted the assumptions on which the plan had been based and
         recognised that any change in these would be likely to result in either (a) projects being
         postponed or (b) an increased borrowing requirement.

76.2.2   Capital Programme 2004/05

         The Committee noted that the Sub-Committee had received a report on capital expenditure
         for the period ending 31 March 2005 and had noted that, although the timing of som e
         projects had changed, there were no major issues.

         The Sub-Committee had also received a summary report showing funding sources against
         budgets and actual expenditure to date in order to highlight any potential variances.

76.2.3   SHEFC Further Allocation of Additional Capital Funds

         The Committee noted that SHEFC had recently allocated the University additional funds of
         £418,500 to support the modernisation of its teaching infrastructure. The funding would be
         used for works in the William Guild Building.

76.2.4   Health Sciences Enterprise Unit

         The Committee noted that discussions with Scottish Enterprise Grampian were ongoing
         regarding the proposed Health Services Enterprise Unit at the Foresterhill Site.

76.2.5   Project Board Reports

         The Committee was informed that the Sub-Committee had received Project Board Reports
         and noted that the Student Centred Facility, Marischal College, Cruickshank Building and
         Institute of Applied Health Sciences (IAHS) were all progressing, some ahead of programme
         and budget.

         The principal points reported in relation to other projects were noted as follows: -

         Marischal College

         The Committee noted that a revised planning application had been submitted for the
         redevelopment of Marischal College. It was anticipated that Aberdeen City Council would
         approve its accommodation strategy in June 2005.

         Education Relocation

         The Committee noted that the refurbishment of the MacRobert Building was behind
         programme but remained within budget. Plans were in place to commence the decant of the
         Hilton site in early July, for completion during August 2005.

         It was noted that, in January 2005, Aberdeen City Council Planning Committee had deferred
         consideration of the planning application for the Hilton Site. A revised scheme, which went
         some way to addressing their concerns, would be submitted by the developer. Negotiations
         regarding the sale financial settlement were ongoing.

         Sports Facilities

         The Committee noted that the University was pressing to formalise 30 June 2005 as the
         deadline date for the Stage 2 bid to Sportscotland. An external project manager had been
         appointed to take the project forward and manage the development stage.

         Institute of Applied Health Sciences 2
     The Committee noted that construction work on the Institute of Applied Health Sciences 2
     was scheduled to start on 3 May 2005.

     Student Accommodation

     The Committee noted that the missive had been completed on the Dunbar Site and the
     purchaser was required to lodge a planning application in May 2005. The feasibility study for
     Crombie Johnston was progressing.

     Old Aberdeen Town House

     The Committee noted that the Town House project was significantly behind programme, and
     that this would have budget implications. Investigations were underway with the City Council
     to ascertain the extent of the delay and to understand the reasons for it. Assurances would
     be sought that the completion date would not slip any further and that budget issues would
     be addressed.

     Zoology Building

     The Committee noted that, due to unforeseen asbestos-removal work, the project was four
     weeks behind schedule. It was not anticipated that the completion date of the project would
     be adversely affected.

77   RISK MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE REMIT AND COMPOSITION

     The Committee received and approved the updated remit and composition of the Risk
     Management Committee (JPFE04-05:86), following an internal audit recommendation to
     expand the remit to identify clearly the role of the Committee.

78   INVESTMENT COMMITTEE REPORT

     The Committee received, for information, a brief summary on the Investment Committee
     meeting held on 15 March 2005 (JPFE04-05:87).

79   OPERATIONAL PLAN 2005/06

     The Committee noted that the updated Operational Plan was now available at
     www.abdn.ac.uk/admin/operational-plan.shtml, or on request from the Court and Planning Office.

80   UNDERGRADUATE RECRUITMENT REPORT

     The Committee received, for information, a report on Undergraduate and Professional
     Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) admissions for 2005 entry as at 25 April 2005
     (JPFE04-05:88).

81   POSTGRADUATE ADMISSIONS REPORT

     The Committee received, for information, a report on Postgraduate admissions as at 1 April
     2005 (JPFE04-05:89).

82   FULL ECONOMIC COSTING

     The Committee received, for information, a paper on the allocation of additional funding
     under the full economic costing methodology for research (JPFE04-05:90). The University
     had been allocated £972,000 for the year April 2005 to March 2006, which would be
     accounted for as £324,000 in 2004/05 and £648,000 in 2005/06.

83   PAPERS FOR INFORMATION

     The Committee noted that the following papers were available on request from the Court &
     Planning Office (ext 2016)

     (i)   UCEA Health and Safety Seminars: UCEA Update 05/02 advertising two seminars on
           the health and safety responsibilities of Heads of Institution, Chairs of Governing
             Bodies and Senior Managers, to take place in Edinburgh on 5 May 2005 and in
             London on 13 May 2005.

     (ii)    SHEFC Corporate Plan 2003-06: Update: SHEFC Circular Letter FE/06/05 updating
             the Councils’ joint corporate plan.

     (iii)   Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment.

     (iv)    Scottish Executive’s Response to the Lambert Review: A summary of action points
             from the Scottish Executive’s response to the Lambert Review on Business –
             University Collaboration
             Note: The full report was available on request from Research & Innovation (ext
             3978/2266).

     (v)     UASLAS Trustees Annual Report,

     (vi)    SHEFC Corporate Plan Update: SHEFC Circular Letter HE/05/05.

84   DATE OF NEXT MEETING

     The Committee noted that its next meeting would be held on Tuesday, 14 June 2005 at
     11.00am.

85   SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS: SESSION 2005-06

     The Committee noted its schedule of meetings for session 2005-06, as follows:

              Tuesday, 4 October 2005
              Wednesday, 23 November 2005
              Wednesday, 25 January 2006
              Tuesday, 7 March 2006
              Tuesday, 9 May 2006
              Tuesday, 13 June 2006

     All meetings would be held from 11.00 am – 12.30 pm in the Court Room.

     Note by Clerk: The dates for the November and January meetings as identified above differ
     from those detailed in the main University Committee schedule.

				
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