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THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE FOR SUPPORT STAFF Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 February 2009 Present: Professor K Cox PVC (Chair) Mrs C Alcock IS Mr D Holt Physics & Astronomy Mr R Howard UNITE Mrs J Kaur Director of HR Mr S Pinfield Chief Information Officer Mr C Thompson CFO Ms E Watts Geography Mrs S J Willington UNITE In Attendance: Miss J M Delves (PA) Apologies: Dr P Greatrix, Professor E Burke, Miss P Campbell, Mrs J Humphrey and Mrs R Ramsden Minutes of the Previous Meeting 417 The minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2008 were approved as an accurate record. Matters Arising 418 There were no matters arising. Organisational Update Chris Thompson presented the Organisational Update. 419 The RAE results were published. The results were of great significance in recognising the endeavours from academic colleagues and it is hoped some financial adjustment would be seen in terms of the University’s funding. Research power was a combination of the “grade point average” and the number of individuals who were submitted in each category. The University’s figures had improved greatly since the last RAE in 2001. The University of Nottingham was 7th in the country, Nursing did particularly well, the Faculty of Engineering was 3 rd and the School of Pharmacy was assessed as the best School of Pharmacy in the country. The University would not know until March 2009 what the financial impact would be but it would definitely be seeing some improvement. Discussion had taken place at HEFCE regarding the funding that would follow. The additional funding was a good return for the investment that had been made. 420 Two Bio-energy Research Centres would be based in Nottingham. 421 BP would be investing £750,000 in scholarships. 422 The Sir Colin Campbell building had been formally launched and the University was actively marketing the building with small companies that may be interested in working with the university. The level of interest had been encouraging. The University would like to see some further investment on the site. 423 The University had received the admission statistics for next year. Undergraduate student applications had increased by 8% and International applications had increased by 6% as compared to the same point in the previous year. The accessible data in terms of applications across all Universities would suggest that applications for Undergraduates had increased by 6.1% and the University of Nottingham had seen an increase of 7.1%. The University’s competitors had only seen a 1% increase so Nottingham was well ahead of the direct competitors. This outcome reflects Nottingham’s profile and the success from the RAE. Considerable effort had also been seen regarding the National Student Survey. Postgraduate applications for taught positions had increased by 49% on last year. This figure may be driven by the state of the economy. Potential graduates were looking actively at possibilities for a 2nd Degree. Home Postgraduate research positions had increased by 2%. International and EU figures were down for taught and research but again, this could be due to the global economy. 424 With regard to the financial situation, Nottingham was starting to see an impact in terms of the companies it dealt with who were struggling and going out of business. Nottingham had also been badly hit by rising energy costs. A reduction in energy bills was now being seen but Nottingham remained £1.5m overspent. However, this would hopefully be recovered by the end of the financial year. 425 Student income was slightly lower than budgeted. Research income in net cash terms was positive as the margin was strong, reflecting the fact that Nottingham was benefiting from full economic costing. Research income headline figures were slightly low and schools are being encouraged to bring invoicing up to date as quickly as possible. 426 School costs and Central Service costs were in line with budget. The University was experiencing increases year on year but this was expected. The expenditure for the second half of the year would have to be under tight control. The latest forecast for the full year, produced after the first 5 months, indicated that the University was likely to achieve a result below the budgeted £8m surplus. The strategic objective of delivering a reasonable retained surplus was to deal with issues the University was encountering in the wider economy. The University needed to be able to manage its relationship with students, industry and Research Councils and the remainder of the year would be challenging. Whilst interest rates had fallen, there was still a high level of debt. There would still be significant capital expenditure this year (£53m over this year and the next two years from HEFCE subject to conditions). 427 Industry and Charity’s were suffering so the winning of new research contracts in these areas may become difficult over the coming months. The Secretary of State wrote his annual letter to the Chairman of HEFCE, giving confirmation that the Government would not be funding any additional student numbers. 428 Immediate impacts were due to the recession. The University was nervous about bad debts. The debt is mostly student debt but overseas Governments who were sponsoring students were taking longer to pay which impacted on the University’s cash flow. 429 East Midlands Conference Centre was slightly behind Budget. Companies were cutting back on conferences/event. 430 Ray Howard stated that the comments surrounding Engineering in respect of the RAE results were interesting. The RAE was based on performance before the amalgamation took place so that questioned the thinking behind it. It had caused a lot of unrest within the area and some staff were still unsure about the future. Chris Thompson stated that it was a small faculty and there would be more opportunities if they were amalgamated. Clearly the RAE demonstrated that in research terms, the Faculty of Engineering had done a great job but the teaching issue was a major element that had not been addressed yet. Stephen Pinfield reiterated that RAE measured the quality of research but most Engineering faculties in the country were finding it difficult to recruit students and the restructuring is aimed to address the student recruitment issue. 431 Ray Howard asked for clarification concerning the East Midlands Conference Centre and plans for a hotel linked to the Conference Centre. Chris Thompson confirmed that the hotel was still very much on the agenda. Proposals had been put forward but these were not ready for sign off. No firm commitment had been given from the Strategy & Finance Committee. The ownership of a hotel would not be passed to a private company but it may well be managed by a third party. David Holt asked whether the Conference Centre made money for the University. Chris Thompson confirmed that it did make a positive impact. 432 Ray Howard stated the NHS Trust were developing a medical science area on the hospital site and would this be totally separate from the University. Chris Thompson confirmed that this was the case. The University’s Innovation Park would compliment the Medi Park but there would be no linkage. CPAS Pension 433 Jenny Humphries requested an update on CPAS in light of the economic climate. Chris Thompson confirmed that the Trustees along with Xafinity had been closely monitoring the market. In addition, a note was posted on the CPAS website to keep members informed. Benefit statements are sent to members on an annual basis. The turmoil in the market did not affect the value of a pension or the pay out on retirement. It did however mean that the University had a deficit to deal with but this should not raise any concern. The University was yet to see the outcome of the actuarial variation to see whether the actions implemented to cope with the deficit had worked. The CPAS pension scheme was a long term scheme and benefits will be payable. The University’s current intention was to continue to support the scheme and the membership. Ray Howard highlighted that the statement was not on the front page of the CPAS website and he had trouble finding it. A number of people did have difficulty with the site and the way in which it was presented. Chris Thompson mentioned that there was also the option of speaking to a member of the pension team but he would look at the site and ensure it was regularly updated. Action: Chris Thompson Workplace Parking Levy 434 Jenny Humphries requested this item with regard to the WPL being a tax on coming to work, hitting lower paid workers and having a guaranteed space available. Jaspal Kaur had circulated the recent update regarding the WPL prior to the meeting. The travel survey results would be taken into consideration when agreeing the implementation process of the WPL. The working group would include members from Unions and HR. The items that Jenny Humphries raised would be passed to Gavin Scott. Mark Dale mentioned a survey in the Nottingham Evening Post where 83% of companies were against the WPL. Jaspal Kaur stated that, whilst the University did not support the WPL, in recognising that there would be a charge, it was keen that any cost involved should be put back into the transport system. Chris Thompson added that the Council were keen to have the University’s support. Nottingham were neither strongly in favour or strongly against the Levy. The University had not given the whole hearted support that the Council were looking for but would accept the proposals. David Holt asked whether there was any part of the campus that was not part of the City boundary. Sutton Bonington was outside the city boundary but the working group may need to consider whether charges were applied to all parking spaces as Nottingham was one of the few University’s who did not currently charge for parking. Elaine Watts raised the issue of student parking which sometimes results in staff being unable to park. Karen Cox reiterated that such issues would be discussed at the Working Group but Security had been monitoring student parking more closely. David Holt mentioned that a higher number of permits were issued than spaces available. Stephen Pinfield highlighted at other Universities a set number of permits were issued and there was a queuing system to obtain a permit. This resulted in some staff having to pay visitors parking until a permit became available. Christine Alcock asked whether a charge would be added for the University to administer the system. Karen Cox stated that this was a possibility although unknown at this stage. Karen Cox encouraged everyone to fill in the travel survey. 435 Any Other Business No items of any other business were raised. 436 Date, Time & Place of Next Meeting 1 June 2009, 2.15pm in A19 (Trent Committee Room), Trent Building, UP
"THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM"