University Executive Board minutes - 14 June 2021

On

UEB/2020/2004/02

Date:

14 June 2021

Present:

Professor K Lamberts (KL) (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 C Newman (CN), 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 T Wray (TW)

Apologies:

Professor M Hounslow (MJH), Professor D Petley (DNP)

Secretary:

Dr E Smith (ES)/Mr N Button (NB)


  1. Minutes of UEB on 11 May

    • The Minutes were approved as an accurate record.
  2. Archaeology Review

    • Following the UEB discussion on 25 May 2021 and subject to consideration by Council on 15 June, UEB considered matters preparatory to the Senate's discussion about the Archaeology Review. Following UEB’s recommendation, the University Secretary was liaising with the Chairs of Council and Senate about the subsequent steps in the governance process. This included the Senate's provision of advice on the UEB proposal to Council. Council would be asked to agree to consider the UEB proposal at its meeting in July and therefore to solicit Senate’s advice, in particular on the academic aspects of the proposal, prior to making a decision.
    • UEB noted the intended running order of the Senate discussion, and that the Head of the Department of Archaeology had been invited to speak to UEB’s proposal and the Students’ Union (SU) President would be asked to speak to students’ views and concerns ahead of Senate’s general consideration of the matter.
    • During discussion, UEB noted the following points:
      • Senate:

        • On 15 June, Council would be asked to consider and agree to receive a recommendation from UEB at its meeting on 12 July, and to consider what it would like to receive from a consultation with the Senate to inform its consideration of the recommendation. This could include seeking advice in particular on the academic matters in the proposal, and appropriate directions from Council to Senate.
        • During the Senate and Council meetings, members would be reminded of their need to act in the best interests of the University, in pursuit of its charitable objectives, performing the role of the statutory body to which they belonged, rather than as representatives. Subject to the advice of the Secretary and agreement with the Chair the accompanying notes to the Senate papers could communicate the expectation that members should not record the meeting or attribute individual member’s comments outside the meeting.
      • Senate Papers:

        • The appendices to the Institutional Review Report considered on 25 May had been revised to incorporate some minor corrections to financial information. The Chief Financial Officer explained the differences. UEB confirmed that these changes were not material, but had been made for the sake of accuracy, and did not affect the recommendation UEB had agreed to make to Council on 25 May.
        • The proposed redactions to the revised Review Report, following an external law firm’s consideration of its lawful sharing, were appropriate and had been minimised as far as possible with regard to the FoI Act. UEB recognised that the financial information in the Report about the Department could lawfully be redacted given commercial interests, but decided on balance it was in the public interest to disclose this information. UEB advised that the financial information about the impact on the University position should remain redacted as this was less relevant to the review findings and was covered by the commercial interest exemption.
        • It was intended subject to the Chair of Senate’s agreement that an additional paper provided by a group of Senate Members would be included in the Senate papers for circulation.
        • With respect to the request that at least one member of staff and one student from the Department of Archaeology be present and have the opportunity to speak at the Senate meeting, it was noted that the University Secretary would confirm that the Head of Archaeology had been invited for this purpose and, within Senate’s existing membership, the SU President would communicate the student perspective.
      • Communications:

        • To ensure that due process was observed, the USO would be circulating the Senate papers in the usual course of business on the 16 June. UEB asked that, once the papers had been circulated to members of the Senate, the documents concerning the Archaeology Review be further shared with Department of Archaeology staff and with the Joint Unions Campus Committee (JUCC), by the relevant UEB leads.
        • Subject to Council’s agreement on 15 June to further consider the matter in July, Senate papers would be circulated on the 16 June, including the item. Heads of Department would then be updated about the Review and the UEB proposal at the UEB-HoDs meeting on 18 June.
    • UEB noted:
      • The Archaeology Review documents proposed for inclusion in the Senate papers. In relation to the redacted Institutional Review Report, this included UEB’s affirmation that:
        • It had been presented with the information that it was allowed to redact for commercial confidentiality and interest purposes, and had decided to minimise the level of redaction in the interests of sharing the most complete Report possible.
        • It understood the minor corrections that had been made to the financial information in the Appendices for the sake of accuracy, and confirmed that these revisions did not have a material bearing on its recommendation to Council.
      • No communications to Senate Members about the Trade Union meeting with Department of Archaeology staff, to which Senate Members had been invited, were required.
      • The communications plan detailed in Minute 2.3, above.
  3. Report of UEB Estates and Capital Sub-Group

    • UEB approved a proposal set out in the related paper and accompanying business case, subject to Finance Committee and/or Council approval where relevant in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation:
  4. Coronavirus Update

    • Update from the Major Incident Team
      • UEB received and noted the update, which presented the continuing low case numbers among staff and students and detailed the plans in place for the ongoing operation of the Testing and Vaccination Centres and the Contact Tracing Service. With regard to quarantine arrangements for overseas students, it was recognised that UEB had made a commitment to fund the quarantine costs of students from red list countries, which could be reconfirmed once the potential costs in a worst case scenario were established. For students from amber list countries, Catalyst had committed to offering two free weeks’ accommodation to students who booked with them for 2021/22, and it was probable that private student accommodation providers in Sheffield would replicate this practice.
      • During discussion, clarification was provided that the University’s commitment to fund the quarantine costs of students from red list countries applied to both new and returning students.
  5. Round Table

    • External Recognition: CN informed UEB that a member of academic staff in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, and Health had been awarded an MBE for their contribution to the national COVID-19 response. UEB noted its congratulations to the member of staff concerned, which would be formally communicated in due course.

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