University Executive Board minutes -19 January 2021



19 January 2021


Professor K Lamberts (KL) (in the Chair) Professor J Derrick (JD), Professor S Fitzmaurice (SF), Professor S Hartley (SH), Professor M Hounslow (MJH), Ms H Fraser-Krauss (HFK), Ms J Jones (JJ), Professor C Newman (CN), Professor D Petley (DNP), Mr R Sykes (RS), Professor G Valentine (GV), Professor M Vincent (MV), Professor C Watkins (CW)

In attendance:

Dr T Strike (TS), Mr I Wright (IW), Mrs V Jackson (VEJ) (Item 1), Ms A Morgan (AM) (Item 2)




Mr M Borland (MB)/Dr E Smith (ES)

  1. Closed Minute and Paper

  2. Closed Minute and Paper

  3. Annual Review of the Code of Ethics

    • UEB considered the outcomes of and recommendations arising from the 2020 review of the Code of Ethics. Attention was drawn to the process of the review, which followed a similar approach to the 2018 and 2019 reviews.
    • UEB endorsed the following recommendations:
      • To add a distinct new section to the Code of Ethics to cover Conflicts of Interest,
      • To add a new cross-cutting theme to the Code of Ethics to cover Data Ethics,
      • That the Code of Ethics should be brought to the attention of new members of staff as a mandatory element of induction, including raising awareness through the use of case study examples.
    • The Code of Ethics report as amended would be considered by the University Officer’s ahead of being submitted to the Council for approval. The Audit Committee would also receive the amended report for information and assurance.
  4. Preliminary Report on Compliance with the HE Code of Governance​​​

    • UEB considered a noted a paper which assessed the University’s compliance against the Committee of University Chairs’ (CUC) new Higher Education Code of Governance.
    • UEB agreed the following next steps:
      • Completion of the preliminary review as indicated in the paper, through consultation with relevant executive and professional services colleagues.
      • Council on 8 February 2020 to receive a brief report on the preliminary review focusing on the areas that are considered to require attention.
      • Any actions agreed will be included in the Action Plan resulting from the Council Effectiveness Review.
      • Subject to any supplementary guidance from OfS or the CUC, and the extent to which any remedial work remains to be completed, reference to any outstanding areas of non-compliance to be included in the Corporate Governance Statement that will form part of the University’s 2021 Annual Report.
      • An independent review of compliance with the Code to form part of the next Council Effectiveness Review in 2023.
  5. Council Effectiveness Review Action Plan

    • UEB received and noted a copy of the Council Effectiveness Review Action Plan which would go to Council on 8 February 2021.
    • Additional actions requested of Council: (a) an update report in November 2022; and (b) that the next Effectiveness Review take place in three years’ time (2023-24) were also noted.
  6. Report of the UEB Strategic Advisory Group: Student Numbers and Fees

    • (Meeting held on 10 December 2020)
    • UEB considered a report of the UEB Strategic Advisory Group: Student Numbers and Fees. It was highlighted in relation to the proposed changes to 2021/22 student intake target that a streamlined approach had been agreed to minimise the burden on colleagues during the ongoing pandemic. The proposed process for setting 2022-23 tuition fees was in view of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and the administrative requirements for academic departments would be reduced.
    • During discussion it was noted that whilst there was a significant amount of uncertainty in relation to recruitment the student numbers forecast were believed to be as accurate as they could be with faculties having had a role in reviewing them.
    • UEB approved the report and noted the contents. In particular, UEB:
      • Approved the changes to student number targets as set out in the SAGSNF paper at Appendix 1.
      • Approved a revised approach to the fee setting process, noting that this could inform the fee setting process in future years
  7. Report of UEB Sexual Violence and Harassment Steering Group

    • (Meeting held on 7 October 2020)
    • UEB received and noted the Report. Attention was drawn to the work on terminology, higher education best practice, an update on the action plan, and endorsement of a communication plan.
  8. Coronavirus Update

    • General Update
      • An update on national developments was provided, including on recent Ministerial social media statements.
      • Work was taking place regarding the request from the OfS that providers undertake a review of compliance with consumer law.
    • Update from the Major Incident Group
      • UEB received and noted an update. Attention was drawn to planned further communications to students regarding appropriate behaviour, with the support of the Students’ Union, and that the testing centre had experienced a slowdown in demand, with volumes decreasing.
    • FVP Update
      • Support from Professional Services for faculties regarding visas was welcomed.
  9. Round Table

    • Tax requirements: IW updated that there had been changes to off-payroll working rules, known as IR35, and individuals in departments would be contacted by a central support team regarding this.
    • Sheffield Leader: FVPs fed back to IW on the preferred approach in the current circumstances regarding departmental participation in Sheffield Leader.
    • Mid-term reviews: It was agreed that mid-term reviews could be undertaken on a more informal basis and they would have a role to play as part of staff wellbeing.

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