University Executive Board minutes - 20 April 2021



20 April 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) (items 4-10), Mrs T Wray, Mr I Wright (IW) (items 1-7); Mrs V E Jackson (VEJ) (item 3); Mr D Barcroft (DB) and Mr A Carlile (AC) (item 4); Dr M Ferrar (MF), Ms B Abrams (BA) and Mr C Willis (CW) (item 6).




Mr D Swinn (DS)/Mr M Borland (MB)

  1. Minutes of UEB held on 9 March

    • The Minutes were approved as an accurate record.
  2. Minutes of UEB held on 16 March

    • The Minutes were approved as an accurate record.
  3. Financial Forecasts/Budget

    • (VEJ in attendance for this item)
    • UEB received a presentation by way of update on the preparation of the draft budget for 2021/22, which UEB would consider on 27 April. UEB noted the position in the 2021/22 forecast previously submitted to the OfS; a summary of in year decisions to advance strategic priorities and mitigate the impact of the pandemic; a summary of the first draft budget submissions; analysis of proposed core expenditure and income growth risk; and an overview of actions to achieve an acceptable and workable budget that would support the achievement of institutional objectives, address business need and mitigate risks within the parameters previously agreed through UEB, Finance Committee and Council.
  4. Student Recruitment and Marketing Service Design Project

    • (DB and AC in attendance for this item)
    • UEB considered a proposal and related business case for a project to review the effectiveness of student recruitment activity across the University. The project would consider service delivery at central, faculty and departmental level, identify opportunities to improve the level of service to prospective students and increase overall effectiveness. UEB noted the rationale for the project.
    • Clarification was provided about the extent of the project’s interactions with other relevant activities and the importance of stakeholder engagement and communications, including professional services and Faculty representatives, and the importance of effective and consistent underpinning processes. It was noted that the associated timescales were relatively long to facilitate the necessary engagement. Further clarification was provided about the measures of success and UEB recognised that success in student recruitment was foundational to wider institutional success.
    • UEB approved the business case and agreed that work on the Student Recruitment and Marketing Service Design Review project could commence.
    • Actions:
      • Further consideration would be given to communications and the development of a shared narrative that explained the interconnectivity of particular workstreams and projects and their implications.
      • A briefing would be given to JUCC to explain the nature and purpose of the project.
  5. Closed Minute and Paper

  6. Cyber Security Briefing

    • (MF, BA and CW in attendance for this item)

    • On behalf of UEB, KL thanked MF for agreeing to attend the meeting to deliver the briefing. UEB received a presentation about MF’s experiences of dealing with cyber security challenges, with reflections on lessons learned and areas of good practice.

    • It was recognised that the HE sector remained a high profile and attractive target for cyber attacks, and UEB noted the number of recent successful attacks, and their impact on affected institutions. It was also noted that preventative measures could only ever provide reasonable assurance and protection, given the extent of resources and the sophisticated technology available to hostile parties; the sector was experiencing increased levels of reconnaissance and phishing. Particular attention was drawn to the importance of robust advanced business continuity planning, which regarded cyber risk as a business risk, rather than an IT risk, as well as disaster recovery arrangements, and the importance of supporting affected colleagues and communications. Members also noted the range of potential costs that could be incurred as a result of a successful attack, and the associated reputational risks.

    • Actions:

      • UEB would receive a further update in due course, including around business continuity planning and ongoing technical work

  7. Hybrid Working – Principles & Parameters

    • UEB discussed an update on ways in which to adopt a more flexible institutional approach to work post-pandemic, following agreement at the December 2020 Away Day. UEB also considered draft Principles and Parameters that would inform staff consultation and engagement and form the basis of future guidance, training and support for managers and staff. These proposals were intended to inform how departments and teams responded to the lifting of Covid-restrictions over the summer whilst providing a structure within which to consider and agree flexible working arrangements in the new academic year, focusing on and subject to business need, service delivery, and the importance of maintaining a vibrant campus.
    • It was recognised that the gradual lifting of Covid restrictions and the possibility of increased opportunities for office-based work meant that colleagues and managers would welcome guidance and information about short-term planning. UEB noted the importance of discussions within teams and between individuals and managers to agree working arrangements, which took into account individual and collective responsibilities and commitments.
    • UEB approved the Principles and Parameters, subject to a small number of amendments.
  8. Study Abroad

    • This item was deferred.
  9. Coronavirus Update

    • General Update

      • There were no updates not otherwise covered in items 9.2 and 9.3.

    • Update from Major Incident Team

      • UEB received and noted the update. In particular, UEB approved the creation of a new Student Covid-19 Support Fund for 2021/22, with further consideration given to the size of the fund and related student communications, which may also include additional investment in areas of student support such as counselling and for student transitions.
    • FVP update
      • It was reported that there was significant appetite and enthusiasm amongst colleagues to resume as much campus-based activity as was possible under the prevailing national restrictions. It was reported that discussions had taken place to that end, including around the practical implications and staff guidance.
      • Actions:
        • Practical measures necessary to inform planning and timetabling would be considered with EFM colleagues, e.g. the extent of social distancing and room capacity.
        • IMT would consider the implications of a shift in the national guidance, from allowing practice-based elements to practice-based programmes.
  10. Round Table

    • Languages Change Programme: SF reported on planned meetings with student representatives and with SLC to clarify the purpose of the programme and the approach. It was noted that the terms of reference had been shared more widely and that there had been positive discussions with work-stream leads.

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