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UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER RESOURCE COMMITTEE Minutes of a meeting of the Resources Committee held at the Magee Campus on Monday 02 April 2012. PRESENT Dr J Harbison (Chairman), Professor RR Barnett (Vice-Chancellor), Mrs R Peters-Gallagher, Mr G Mallon APOLOGIES Ms C Flanagan (Students’ Union), Professor J Gillespie, Mrs R Laird, Mrs A Rankin IN ATTENDANCE Professor A Adair, Mr P Donnelly, Mr P Hope, Professor D McAlister (minute 12.20), Professor Hugh McKenna (minute 12.28), Mr R Magee, Mr E Mullan The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 January 2012 were approved. 12.18 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING Higher Education Pay Determination (minute 12.14) The Vice-Chancellor advised that the pay offer would be 0.5%. ii. Department of Corporate Planning and Governance (minute 12.16) The Vice-Chancellor informed the Committee of his proposals for replacing Mrs Aston’s post. 12.20 DRAFT ACADEMIC PLAN 2012/13 – 2016/17 (RC/12/11) Professor McAlister presented a paper setting out indicative students numbers for both MaSN and non-MaSN activity for the five year period 2012/13 to 2016/17. She also provided an overview of ongoing issues within the Academic planning operational environment. Professor McAlister informed the Committee that the plan would be finalised following further internal discussions. She went on to comment that this was the first attempt at a five year plan and outlining the impact factors in the Northern Ireland context as: the decision not to increase tuition fees for NI students beyond inflation; the allocation of additional numbers by DEL; the removal of GB students from the MaSN count; the consequent loss of associated block grant; and a reduced budget allocation. Professor McAlister continued by saying that the full MaSN distribution had been distributed to faculties with only the allowable margin retained as a contingency against unexpected fluctuations in conversion rates. Members thanked Professor McAlister for her comprehensive report, commenting that it appeared challenging and ambitious, carrying a high degree of risk. Professor McAlister commented that whilst the plan was ambitious, if somewhat distorted by QABS, the University recognised the risk, but considered the plan to be challenging but realistic. It was also a key tenet that there would be no diminution of quality. The Vice-Chancellor commented that the overall plan reflected the focus on STEM. He also said that senior Management recognised that the Magee campus needed to develop more non-MaSN activity. In respect of the GB market Professor Barnett commented that the impact of pricing decisions was still unclear. He went on to say that QA Business School and the University shared many values and he considered the relationship to be of strategic significance. The Chairman of the Council commented that the speed of the development of the relationship with QA had been unexpected and that he felt that the Council needed to focus on that relationship in order to ensure that the University appropriately managed the risks. In response to specific questions the Vice-Chancellor and Professor McAlister confirmed that: the end of the Citibank contract was as set out in the contract; that the income from DHSSPS would be relatively stable for the period; that the growth in computing and engineering was significant in the context of STEM; and that there would be focus on developing non-MaSN activity at Magee. Subject to a number of presentational issues being addressed the draft plan was endorsed. 12.21 FINANCIAL TARGETS AND RESTRUCTURING (RC/12/12) Mr Magee and Mr Hope presented a paper providing the Committee with an update on progress against the financial targets previously agreed and the required reduction in staff numbers. In particular the Committee was asked to note that:  The Faculty of Art, Design & Built Environment have made good progress and are currently engaged in meeting staff to seek voluntary redundancies in the first instance.  The Faculty of Arts have held group meetings with a plan to reduce resources by 15.5 fte’s. 2 staff have accepted voluntary redundancy/early retirement and 10 staff have requested figures.  In Teaching and Learning, the Employability and Marketing section has implemented its restructuring with 1 voluntary redundancy.  Sports Centre affected staff have been met with volunteers for voluntary redundancy being sought by 31st March 2012, with a need to reduce staff by 3. To-date 2 people have volunteered and 1 person is considering voluntary redundancy.  Finance and Information has completed their restructuring with 1 early  Human Resources has completed their restructuring with 7 staff departing under the voluntary arrangements and 2 posts re-graded.  Access and Distributed Learning and Student Services divisions of Professor Moran’s portfolio have held group meetings in February and the voluntary redundancy required has been completed. In response to a query the Vice-Chancellor said that, whilst compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out, the University was still trying to avoid that situation. The Committee noted the current position. 12.22 GREATER BELFAST DEVELOPMENT (RC/12/13) Mr Donnelly presented a report providing an update on progress on the Greater Belfast Development. He informed the Committee that the planning application had been lodged last week according to programme. The key issues noted by the planning service in the PAD closing letter were related to the scale and height of the proposed design; the materials proposed; impact on and any necessary improvements to the public realm; the need for an appropriate travel plan and car parking facilities. Although not a relevant issue for the planning application comment was also passed on “how student accommodation issues will be addressed in the longer term”. In response to a query Mr Donnelly commented that all of these issues were being addressed and that a planning decision was expected within a circa six month period. He went on to say that in the meantime the procurement of contracting services for the phase one building works had commenced. In respect of change management Professor Adair commented that cultural change management was a key area and a sub-group was considering a number of emerging issues. Professor Adair also commented that significant progress has been made in respect of fundraising. In response to a query on the Buchanan Report the Vice-Chancellor commented that the University would work with others to address the student housing issue. The Vice-Chancellor provided the Committee with an update, confirming that the new student numbers would be accommodated within existing buildings. He also commented that there was room for one more building on the existing campus. The Vice-Chancellor also informed the Committee that it was unlikely that Foyle College would be moving in the near future. The Committee noted the progress. 12.24 SIX MONTH OUTTURN REPORT FOR PERIOD ENDED 31 JANUARY 2012 (RC/12/14) Mr Hope presented a paper providing a summary and detailed financial report for the University group after the first six months of the current financial year. He commented that the overall performance at the end of the first six months is well ahead of budget with most academic and administrative departments significantly underspent against the profiled budget. The projected surplus for the year to-date is significantly higher than the Corporate Plan with University payroll expenditure being £1m below target and recurrent e xp end itu re £1.5m. He also stated that as part of the on-going r e s t r u c t u r i n g plans within the University there will be further in-year salary savings reductions in Finance, the Faculty of Arts & Built Environment and the Faculty of Arts over the next six months as they implement restructuring proposals. The profiled budget projected a surplus of £6.8m against a year- end target of £6.7m. The actual surplus at six months was £9m which has arisen from the following:- Core income - ↓£0.4m Core staff costs - ↓£1.2m Core expenditure - ↓£1.4m Contribution from other activity - maintained The Committee thanked Mr Hope for his report and noted the current financial position and that the University will exceed its Corporate Plan target for the current financial year. 12.25 PROCUREMENT HALF YEAR UPDATE (RC/12/15) Mr Hope presented and the Committee noted a report outlining procurement activity for the first six months of the financial year. 12.26 CASHFLOW SIX MONTH REPORT (RC/12/16) Mr Hope presented a cashflow forecast for the period 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012 and the actual cashflow for the period 1 August 2011 to 31 January 2012. He commented that as at 31 January 2012, the actual cash flow shows net cash balance of £31.72m. As at year-end, it is projected that this positive cash flow will increase to a closing cash balance of £39.69m. He stated that cash outflow includes annualised salary costs of £117.7m, and bursary payments of £5.6m, studentships and access awards, again based on best estimate. Capital works expenditure has been based on spend profile, produced in collaboration with colleagues in Physical Resources, and includes £3.17m in respect of the Greater Belfast Development and £2.16m in respect of other capital works. Mr Hope confirmed that the result is still in line with the financial strategy, ensuring borrowings do not exceed £25m and an increase in cash holdings of >1% per annum has been achieved. The projected bank balances at 31 July 2012 and actual at 31 January 2012 are £39.695m and £31.724m respectively. The Committee noted the current position.
12.27 ANNUAL TRAC RETURN YEAR ENDED 31 JULY 2011 (RC/12/17)
Mr Hope presented the annual TRAC return, commenting that this had been submitted to HEFCE on 31 January 2012. He informed the Committee that on a full economic cost basis the University is reporting a deficit of £12m compared to a £6m surplus on a historical cost basis. The Committee endorsed the annual TRAC return. Professor McKenna presented and the Committee noted a paper setting the financial performance of Innovation Ulster Limited for quarter 2 of 2011/12. b) Ulster Educational Partnerships (RC/12/18b) Mr Hope presented and the Committee endorsed the financial statements for Ulster Educational Partnerships for the six months ending 31 January 2012. He informed the Committee that, following a business decision, the company had now ceased to trade with the functions transferring to the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences and the International Office. c) University of Ulster Foundation (RC/12/18c) Professor Adair presented and the Committee noted the financial statements for the University of Ulster Foundation for six month period ended 31 January 2012. 12.29 PHYSICAL RESOURCES EFFICIENCY SAVINGS (RC/12/19) Mr Donnelly presented a paper outlining a proposal to outsource all facility services to an external contractor. He informed the Committee that the department had undertaken a process of continual review of departmental business processes. Over the last four years this policy had achieved savings of over £3m and ensured ongoing refocusing of resource to address changing business demands. Mr Donnelly continued by saying that in view of the failure of the in house service to meet targets and the success of the existing contract it is again recommended that in future all Facility Services are delivered through an external contractor. It is proposed that the contract would be subject to TUPE legislation and as staff would transfer on existing terms savings would be progressively achieved over a circa four to five year period. He said a market testing exercise had been undertaken and projections illustrate that variance between annual in house and projected contractor costs would grow to £1.6m per year by the end of a five year period. If the proposal is accepted the projected annual savings achieved by the end of the five year period would extend to £930k per annum. The target date for transfer would be summer of 2013. Following discussion during which members referred to issues on pensions the Committee endorsed the proposal in respect of Facilities services. Mr Donnelly continued by outlining a similar proposal in respect of catering services commenting that given the considerable efficiencies already achieved and the ongoing losses of £300k p.a. consideration and evaluation of the options to reduce catering costs has concluded that the only viable option is to extend the external contracting model used for the Zest service at Jordanstown to all remaining catering functions. A market testing exercise using the rental model used for Zest has concluded that an external contract let on a concession basis would deliver positive returns to the University. He informed the Committee that appropriate legal advice had been taken on time in respect of TUPE. The Committee endorsed the proposal in respect of catering services. Mr Donnelly concluded by providing the Committee with an update with progress in identifying efficiency savings in Sports Services and Estates. 12.30 REVIEW OF IT STRATEGY 6 MONTH REPORT (RC/12/20) Mr Hope presented and the Committee noted a report setting out progress in the implementation of the University’s IT Strategy. 12.31 ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY (RC/12/21) Mr Donnelly presented and the Committee noted a report providing a summary of the University’s sustainability performance for the period August 2010 to July 2011. Members commended all involved for the significant performance in this area 12.32 ANNUAL HEALTH AND SAFETY REPORT (RC/12/22) Mr Magee presented the annual Health and Safety report, commenting that the University’s accident rate was below the sectoral average. The Committee noted the report. Mr Magee presented, for members information a new secondment policy, which had been developed and approved by SMT. The Chairman commented that Mrs Laird had indicated that she had some comments and it was agreed that Mr Magee would contact her directly.

Source: http://www.ulster.ac.uk/secretary/secretariat/minutes/resources1112_apr.pdf

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