University Executive Board minutes - 13 July 2021

On

Date:

13 July 2021

Present:

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

In attendance:

Dr T Strike (TS), Mr E Smith (ES), Ms T Wray (TW), Mr I Wright (IW), Mr A Carlile (AC)(item 2)

Apologies:

Professor K Lamberts (KL), Professor C Newman (CN)

Secretary:

Mr D T Swinn (DTS)


  1. Minutes of UEB held on 22 June

  • ​​​​​​​The Minutes were approved as an accurate record.

2. Planning Cycle Update

(AC in attendance for this item)

  • UEB considered and approved the approach and timeline for the planning cycle, as set out in the related paper, and agreed that the P&DVC could approve text changes to the Strategic Framework before the next academic year. It was noted that the focus for 2021-22 would be the development of five year departmental plans, with reference to the four Strategic Delivery Plans, which had been approved by Council on 12 July. Members also noted updates in relation to ensuring that associated workloads remained manageable and that further work would be undertaken in conjunction with Finance to evaluate the resource implications of the five year plans and inform the financial forecasting and budget setting process. 
  • Actions:
    • The annual update to Council in 2021 would necessarily include summative and narrative information and an overview of progress towards agreed actions, pending further consideration of the institutional KPIs and content of future reports to Council.
    • Further discussions with the respective UEB Pillar leads would seek to identify the key priorities for departments to address under each of those themes, thereby ensuring that plans were integrated and aligned with institutional objectives.
    • GV would be writing to cross-cutting VPs to identify key priorities to inform planning and FVP objectives for 2021-22.
    • Guidance for departments would be developed that sought to balance encouraging ambition with the need to plan according to present levels of resource, pending further work to generate additional funding for strategic investment. This guidance would also include examples of good practice to drive consistency.
    • A more detailed timeline, including key dates and deadlines, would be shared in due course.
    • Department and Faculty planning templates would be discussed with Pillar leads and FVPs to ensure that they were complementary.

3. Report of UEB Strategic Advisory Group Student Numbers and Fees

  • UEB received and approved the reports of two meetings, in particular:
    • Study Abroad programme fees for 2022/23.
    • English Language Teaching Centre tuition fees for 2022/23.
    • Updates to the Scheme of Delegation relating to tuition fee setting.

4. Report of UEB Information Management and Security Group

  • UEB received and approved the report, including proposed updates to the Group’s terms of reference and membership. Members also noted potential future changes to the mandatory training compliance process, which would be presented to UEB for approval following further development. UEB also noted proposed changes to the University’s policy on acceptable use of University email and computer accounts, which would also be presented to UEB in due course.
  • Attention was also drawn to the impact of the HESA Data Futures project and the planned commencement of data collection from 2023/24, which was relevant to the Student Lifecycle Programme and was likely to have resource implications given that institutional compliance was mandatory.

5. Report of UEB Sexual Violence and Harassment Group

  • UEB approved the report. Attention was drawn to the success of the Sexual Violence Liaison team in having been nominated for a Limelight Award recognising excellent practice in sexual violence support and disclosure. UEB also noted updates on progress on the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan, and a review of existing practice and initiatives following the publication of an OfS’ Statement of Expectations and guidance, and a subsequent letter to all HE providers from the Universities Minister. Clarification was also provided about amendments to the existing governance processes in response to the OfS Statement, whereby an additional reporting line had been created to Council from the Sub-Group through the Council Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee in order to ensure that the necessary matters and assurances could be reported to Council alongside EDIC’s routine annual report.

6. Report of UEB Student Mental Health Sub-Group

  • UEB approved the report, noting that GV would assume the chair of this Group from 2021-22 as part of leading the One University Pillar of the Vision. It was also noted that the remit of the group was expected to be revised to encompass both students and staff to ensure the alignment of activity in support of a mentally healthy University overall. Proposed changes would be presented to UEB for approval in the autumn.

7. Closed Minute and Paper

8. Coronavirus Update

General update

  • UEB discussed the University’s response to the lifting of national legal restrictions on 19 July and the implications for institutional activities. UEB affirmed its support for an approach whereby learning and teaching would be planned on the basis that no restrictions would be required, subject to issues including any estates constraints and the health and safety of staff and students. In line with government guidance, contingency planning was also underway in the event that the intended approach was not possible, i.e. if any restrictions were re-imposed and/or sector guidance changed. It was noted that the extent of work required in a relatively short was achievable but challenging. Consequently, there was a need for clear and consistent communications to relevant colleagues as a matter of priority.  

Update from the Major Incident Team

  • UEB received and noted the report from the Major Incident Team. In particular, the Group was assessing the DfE guidance for the periods from 19 July with reference to any ongoing institutional advice in relation to social distancing and mask-wearing, with a planned update to staff via the weekly newsletter. Clarification was provided that the latest government guidance did not necessitate revisions to existing risk assessments, although these would be reviewed in any event as a precaution. Furthermore, there was no legal basis to insist that staff or students wear masks or observe social distancing from 19 July, unless this was needed to mitigate specific identified risks. Colleagues would be encouraged to make decisions taking into account the physical and mental wellbeing of those around them. It was also noted that the University and Students’ Union remained in close liaison over their respective approaches.

FVP Updates

  • Updates were provided as part of item 8.2, above.

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