F and GP Minutes 28th Jun 2010

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F and GP Minutes 28th Jun 2010 Powered By Docstoc
                     MEETING HELD ON 28TH JUNE 2010

Present:             Diana Burton           External (Chair)
                     Alan Bennett           External
                     Peter O’Donnell        External
                     Michael Sheehan        Principal.

In Attendance:       Julie Holland          Deputy Principal (Finance & Resources)
                     Julia Martin           College Director (Human Resources) – minutes
                                            118 to 145
                     Lesley Venables        Clerk to the Governors
                     Lee Walls              College Director (Estates & Facilities) – minutes
                                            118 to 145


118    Apologies for absence were received and accepted from Pearce Darnell (Student).


119    No declarations of interests were received.


120    Resolved -    That the minutes of the meeting held on 9th March 2010 be approved
                     as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


121    Governors noted that all matters arising had either been completed or were featured
on the agenda.


122     Governors were advised that following discussions at the March Board meeting, a
range of work had commenced to support the enhancement of the curriculum. This included
the refurbishment of the Learning Resource Centre, Maths & Science and sporting facilities
at the Cronton Campus, together with improvements to accommodation for NEET learners
and skills provision.

123     A total of £500,000 had been allocated for these projects and a further £500,000
would be left in reserve to deal with contingencies. As agreed at the March Board meeting,
the £1m will be funded through a bank loan and it was anticipated that a facility letter from
Barclays Bank would be presented for approval on 12th July. A further £188k may be
available from the Local Authority to support the development of facilities for the NEET

124     The Committee had previously requested that management should compile a
business case for the continued maintenance of the Kingsway Campus, particularly in view
of the age of the building and its infrastructure, which could pose a potential health and
safety risk. Concern had been expressed that significant maintenance issues could arise at
the Kingsway building due to the decision to withdraw from the LSC capital programme.
Management gave an assurance that the planned maintenance schedules for the Kingsway
site were adequate, given the age of the building.

125     The College Director (Estates & Facilities) reported that the existing ten year
condition surveys conducted in 2004 for Kingsway and Runcorn and in 2007 for Cronton had
been reviewed. This 10 year planned maintenance schedule for all College sites would be
updated in the 2010/2011 academic year.

126    Following an assessment of room utilisation and the College’s immediate needs, the
Senior Management Team was currently deciding whether to ‘mothball’ the higher floors of
the Skills & Enterprise building at the Runcorn Campus. This position would be reviewed
once the future of schemes such as the 6 Months Unemployed and the Worklessness
Programme had been determined by the Government.

127     At the Runcorn Campus, management was examining options for the cost-effective
provision on sports facilities.

128   The College was still awaiting the outcome of its appeal against the rateable value
assessments of all its sites.

129    An initial review of environmental sustainability had been undertaken by the Carbon
Trust. Proposals for the implementation of various eco-friendly measures would be
presented shortly to the Senior Management Team.

130      The lease on the Astmoor Construction Skills Centre was due to expire in November
2010 and investigations had commenced of options for a renewal and of other potential
sites, the outcome of which would be reported to the November meeting.


131   The Committee received for information a report on health and safety issues since
March 2010.

132     It was noted that the total number of minor injuries was 49, compared to 73 for the
same period in 2008/2009. Management felt that this was attributable to improved
awareness of safety issues for students and staff (via the induction process) and the high
level of staff training undertaken.

133     There had been four ‘near miss’ reported incidents, which had involved staff and had
both been fully investigated with remedial actions implemented where necessary. An on-line
reporting tool had been introduced to enable quicker and easier reporting of such

134    There had been no RIDDOR reportable incidents.

135     The College Director (Estates & Facilities) reported that free healthchecks had
recently been offered by the local health authority to staff and students on all campuses.
The Health & Safety Officer continued to actively promote health and safety at curriculum
level, which appeared to have resulted in fewer accidents during the year.

136    Governors were assured that the College’s offsite provision was subject to the same
rigorous health and safety procedures and that this formed part of the pre-contract checking


137      Governors received statistics on key indicators relating to human resources including
staff sickness absences, other absences and staff turnover in the current academic year to

138     The overall sickness absence level for 2009/2010 was currently 4.33%, compared to
a figure of 4.54% for 2008/2009. The level of short-term absence had decreased
significantly due to the new procedure for dealing with sickness absence. However, the full
year sector average for all colleges was only 4.04% and work would continue to reduce the
sickness absence rates even further (particularly those in excess of 5 days).

139    The level of long-term absence had increased. It was reported that some longer term
absences had been caused by more robust performance management, with such instances
would be followed up by Occupational Health.

140     A total of 22.56 staff had left the College in 2009/2010 (compared to 33.46 for the
same period in 2008/2009), 12.06 of whom had resigned, 5 of whom had opted for voluntary
severance, 1 of whom had not had their contract renewed, 1 of whom had been dismissed,
with a further 3.5 who had retired.

141    Staff turnover for the period 1st September 2009 to 31st May 2010 was 4.42% for all
leavers, with teaching staff at 5.25% and non-teaching staff at 4.15%. The sector average
whole year figure published by the Association of Colleges was 15.9% and Ofsted
considered a figure of about 15% to be acceptable.

142    Staff utilisation figures indicated a rate of 91.10% for directly-employed teaching staff.
This was currently being reviewed by management to identify areas where improvements
could be made. There had been some difficulties in the 2009/2010 academic year, due to
the realignment of learners from A Level to vocational programmes, resulting in lower than

anticipated levels of utilisation at the Cronton Campus. New software would be introduced
from September 2010 to enable efficiency to be more closely monitored.

143      Delivery by agency workers represented 11.49% of the total, against the 10% target
set in the strategic plan. This compared to 15% at the end of the 2008/2009 academic year.

144     The Committee was advised that it would be possible to increase class sizes
significantly in 2010/2011 without adding to the College’s fixed costs. This would improve
efficiency levels considerably and would enable the College to enrol a higher number of
learners from September 2010.

145     There had been 52 disclosures to the College’s Safeguarding Officers, 6 of which
had been referred to the relevant officer at the Local Authority. The new Vetting & Barring
Scheme that was to be operated by the Independent Safeguarding Authority was currently
on hold, pending a review by the Coalition Government. In the absence of further
guidelines, the College would continue to operate its existing procedures.

Lee Walls and Julia Martin left the meeting at this point.


146     Governors received an annual report on progress against the targets in the relevant
chapters of the 2009/2010 Strategic Plan, which charted progress against the actions. It
was noted that every action had either been achieved or was in progress. The data outputs
from this review would be reported to the Board’s October meeting.


147     The Deputy Principal (Finance & Resources) presented the non-curriculum sections
of the Strategic Plan for 2010/2011. The full Plan had been circulated to all staff and to other
key stakeholders, requesting feedback on the contents.

148     The previous HE strategy appeared to have been ad hoc and governors commented
that the section on Marketing did not address working with partner universities to deliver HE
programmes. The Principal responded that virtually all the College’s direct funding from
HEFCE was allocated to BAe Systems learners and that perhaps there should be a gradual
shift over 2 to 3 years, whereby these places were made available to individuals within the


149     The Deputy Principal (Finance & Resources) presented the Three Year Financial
Forecast and the draft budget for 2010/2011, which had been prepared following recent
discussions with the Skills Funding Agency. The information on which the Forecast had
been based was incomplete due to ongoing negotiations with the SFA over certain elements
of funding, but was based on current indicative allocations. Consequently, the draft
Financial Forecast may be subject to amendment prior to a final version being submitted to
the July Board meeting.

150     It was estimated that SFA income would be £12.78m for 2010/2011. This figure
represented 2212 FTEs in the 16-18 category and a further 900 FTEs for 19+ provision. A
small increase in apprenticeship programmes had been included for 2010/2011, however, as
funding levels for a number of employer responsive elements had not yet been finalised, an
assumption had been made in the Forecast.

151     The Financial Forecast included a growth rate of 1.5% for all non-SFA/YPLA funded
provision and it was highlighted that the outturn position would be highly dependent on the
achievement of the 2010/2011 targets.

152     Non-pay costs had been based on 2009/2010 levels and had been prepared from a
zero base. Budgets would be allocated to directorates according to the amount of activity
generated to allow for greater flexibility and innovation. A target had been set for 10%
efficiency savings across all departments.

153     A 2.75% contingency had been allocated in the budget, which would cover increases
in National Insurance and pension contributions together with incremental progression.
Efficiency savings of £1.164m had been achieved following the recent restructuring exercise.
The agency staffing budget had been reduced by £300kfrom £775k in 2009/2010 to £475k,
as a significant number of posts had now been consolidated into the College’s permanent
staffing complement.

154    Discussions were taking place nationally between the Association of Colleges and
the Coalition Government to determine whether the recently announced public sector pay
freeze would apply to colleges, which were independent corporations. Further information
on the outcome would be provided to governors as it became available.

155    There was an overall projected year end surplus of £201k. At £1.747m at the year
end, the College’s cash reserves would remain greater than the bank’s requirement of

156     Capital expenditure of £1m from the College’s own resources had been allocated in
the budget. A loan for £1m had been included in the budget to finance the refurbishment of
the Science Laboratories, Refectory and Sports facilities at the Cronton Campus, along with
minor works at the remaining sites. This money would only be drawn down when necessary
due to future cashflow projections.

157     The Committee noted that the College’s projected financial health and performance
indicators for 2010/2011 continued to grade the College as ‘good’ in terms of financial

158     A £25k operating surplus was projected for the outturn for the 2009/2010 academic
year. The original budget had indicated a surplus of £102k and management explained that
the difference was due to restructuring costs, the non-delivery of full-cost programmes where
estimates had been unrealistic, a disappointing level of enrolments for courses commencing
in January and poor management of the College’s employer responsive provision.

159    Resolved -     That the Board be RECOMMENDED to approve the Three Year
                      Financial Forecast for 2010/2011 to 2012/2013


160    The Deputy Principal (Finance & Resources) presented the revised draft Financial
Regulations (copy attached to the signed minutes). These had been compiled to take
account of the latest guidance within the sector and recommendations made by Internal

161    Governors were advised that a policy on procurement had been added to the
Financial Regulations, in line with a recent review by Internal Audit. The majority of the
remaining amendments reflected the replacement of the LSC by the Skills Funding Agency
and the Young People’s Learning Agency and changes to titles within the College’s
organisational structure.

162    Resolved -     That the Board be RECOMMENDED to approve the Financial
                      Regulations for 2010/2011


163       The Deputy Principal (Finance & Resources) presented the schedule of insurance
premiums for the 2010/2011 academic year. All confirmed costs of the insurance schedule
were included in the schedule and it was noted that the main increase related to public
liability insurance cover.

164     Governors were informed that the maximum expenditure was likely to be £95,936.
However, it was not yet possible to provide a final figure to the Committee as the amount for
three elements of cover had not been provided by the College’s broker. It was noted that,
although the actual total was not yet available, the final sums should fall within a 2.5%

165     The Committee asked for confirmation of the value on which the assessment of the
buildings and contents insurance quotation had been based, to ensure that this provided
sufficient cover to replace all three campuses.

166    Resolved -     That the insurance renewal for 2009/2010 be approved at a maximum
                      cost of £98,334


167     The Deputy Principal (Finance & Resources) presented contracts for partnership
delivery in 2010/2011 for approval by the Board. It was noted that all contracts were in line
with the SFA’s current priorities and were subject to the same quality monitoring and lesson
observation processes as the College’s mainstream provision.

168    Resolved -            That contracts with the following providers be approved:
                             Widnes Vikings
                             David Campbell Event Management Limited
                             Farmer Ted’s
                             Halton Borough Council


169    The Deputy Principal (Finance & Resources) presented the management accounts to
30th April 2010.

170    Governors noted that the key risks associated with the management accounts were
the achievement of the full-time learner numbers target and the reduction of the proportion of
teaching delivered by agency staff, together with the current uncertainty of the economic

171    The College had recruited 2192 16-18 year olds and 661 19+ Level 2 and Level 3
students (against targets of 2194 and 555 respectively). On employer responsive courses
there had been 87 apprenticeship enrolments, 845 Train to Gain and 496 Personal
Community & Development Learning. Further enrolments were anticipated but had not yet
been included on the College’s Management Information System.

172    Vacancies continued to be closely monitored and the College’s current staffing
complement was 400.63 full-time equivalents compared to a target of 399.84 FTEs. Overall
pay expenditure for College staff indicated an adverse variance of £32k compared to the
agreed budget. Staff utilisation was 95.73% (against a sector average of 85%).

173     Non-pay expenditure was subject to strict controls and indicated an adverse variance
of £156k. It was anticipated that this situation would improve over the next few weeks and
align with the agreed budget profile.

174   Cash balances remained positive and at the end of April stood at £1.706m,
compared to March’s figure of £760k. Cash days in hand in April 2010 were 35 days.

175   There had been capital expenditure of £860k to date, for the refurbishment of the
Kingsway building and minor works at the Runcorn and Cronton campuses.

176    Under the LSC’s new financial health scoring mechanism in the Framework for
Excellence, on current results the College would be graded as ‘good’ or Category B.

177    Resolved -     That the management accounts to 30th April 2010 be accepted


178     At the previous meeting, governors had requested that the structure of safeguarding
arrangements be set into the overall context of health and safety. The Deputy Principal
(Finance & Resources) presented an updated chart indicating the links between health and
safety and safeguarding in the light of the College’s current processes.


179    Resolved -     That a policy on Environmental Sustainability be approved


180    The Chair summarised the outcomes of the meeting, which would be reported to the
Board on 12th July 2010:

   The Three Year Financial Forecast for 2010/2011 to 2012/2013, Financial Regulations
    for 2010/2011 and the relevant sub-sections of the Strategic Plan were recommended for

   Management accounts to 30th April 2010 had been reviewed

   The Committee had received information on risk management, financial benchmarking,
    staff sickness, staff turnover and safeguarding

   Further progress against the College’s property strategy would continue to be presented
    to the Committee and the Board as appropriate

181    For the next meeting, the Committee noted the following items:

   Appointment of Chair

   Financial Statements for 2009/2010

   Detailed staffing information

   Health & Safety report

   Property update


7th December 2010, 6.00 p.m.


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