University Executive Board minutes - 20 October 2020



20 October 2020


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)




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

  1. OfS Liquidity Reporting and Going Concern

    • UEB considered a report which provided: an update to the Office for Students liquidity reporting requirement and external audit going concern requirements; the basis of the financial forecasts to 2021-22 to demonstrate going concern and to measure liquidity against the OfS requirement and the resulting financial performance; details of the further work required to demonstrate going concern for the 2019-20 financial statements.
    • UEB noted the report, subject to a correction in section 4.
  2. OfS Interim Financial Data Collection

    • UEB considered a report which set out the financial information that the University was required to submit to the Office for Students (OfS) in the interim financial data collection return by 30 October 2020.
    • UEB noted:
      • The updated forecasts for 2020/21
      • The interim financial data return
  3. Report of UEB Strategic Advisory Group Student Numbers and Fees

    • (Meeting held on 26 September 2020)
    • UEB considered a report of the UEB Strategic Advisory Group: Student Numbers and Fees (SAG SNF). Attention was drawn to a subgroup of SAG SNF, including Faculty representatives, which would meet in November following confirmation of the PGT intake to review and confirm 2021/22 intake targets, with a paper brought to UEB in due course. SAGNSF approved proposals regarding IELTS admissions criteria for students registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Ad-hoc fee proposals.
    • UEB:
      • Approved the proposed terms of reference and membership for SAG SNF as outlined in Section 3 and Appendix 1 of the Report.
      • Noted existing work taking place within the AMRC regarding student numbers.
  4. Report of UEB Information Management & Security Group

    • (Meeting held on 1 October 2020)
    • UEB received the report. Attention was drawn to: an email retention and disposal policy pilot within the departments of Archaeology and Computer Science; the focus of GDPR compliance had now moved from policies and procedure to implementation; a paper would be brought to UEB regarding orphaned email accounts in due course.
    • During discussion, the need for a communications plan to ensure that staff and students understood IT security issues and their role and responsibilities.
    • UEB:
      • Noted the report, including that the Executive Director for Corporate Services would be replacing the Deputy Vice-Chancellor as Chair of the UEB Information Management & Security Group.
      • Agreed there should be further work on a communications plan.
  5. Coronavirus Update

    • General Update
      • It was reported that it appeared that the number of cases related to the University had passed a peak. The evidence at this stage appeared to suggest that in person teaching had not been a significant contributor to the rise in cases and that the formation of new households had been a more significant factor.
      • Following discussion at its October meeting, Council had noted that it had received extensive assurances about the appropriateness of the institutional response to managing the impact of the pandemic throughout the period and in light of that supported the approach taken to date by UEB. An update on industrial relations was provided to UEB.
    • Update from the Major Incident Group
      • UEB received and noted an update. It was highlighted that the latest data on case numbers showed the number of staff and student cases reducing. It had been determined by Sheffield City Council Public Health Team that a number of cases at The Edge in Endcliffe Student Village did not constitute an outbreak.
      • Comments made in discussion included:
        • The need to begin to consider arrangements if there were to be a full national lockdown which could be more stringent than Tier 4.
        • The University’s approach would be dependent on government guidance and the case numbers in the city region and in the country.
        • The University could move to DfE’s Tier 3 following discussions with Director of Public Health or if there was direct evidence of transmission linked to the University’s activities.
        • It had been helpful to have the student voice included in communications with staff.
        • Communications should address staff behaviour and staff anxiety.
    • Update from the On Campus Activity Group
      • UEB received and noted an update. During discussion it was noted that Government was considering a potential two week student lockdown ahead of students returning for Christmas to their place of permanent residence.
      • It was agreed to have a discussion at a future UEB meeting regarding the desire of many Departments to enable more staff to work on campus, particularly where access did not involve unnecessary contact between staff and students.
    • FVP Update
      • The Faculty Vice-Presidents and the Vice-President for Innovation provided verbal updates for each of the Faculties and the Advanced Manufacturing Group.
  6. Round Table

    • Academy of Social Sciences: CW reported that the Academy had announced new fellows, including three from the University of Sheffield.
    • Senate Task and Finish Group: CW provide an update on the work of the Group
    • Research: SH provided a brief update on research issues, including an update on a UKRI review of bureaucracy.
    • USS: KL provided UEB with an update.

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