University Executive Board minutes - 29 June 2021

On

UEB/2020/2004/02

Date:

29 June 2021

Present:

Professor K Lamberts (KL) (in the Chair); 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), Professor M Vincent (MV), Professor C Watkins (CW)

In attendance:

Mr I Wright (IW), Mr A Riggs (AR) (Item 1), Dr M Watson (MW) (Item 1)

Apologies:

Professor G Valentine (GV), Dr T Strike (TS), Mrs T Wray (TW)

Secretary:

Dr E Smith (ES)/Ms K Sullivan (KS)


  1. Business Travel Policy

    • (Andy Riggs and Matt Watson in attendance for this item)
    • UEB considered the revised Business Travel Policy and related papers, having discussed the draft Policy and recommended a series of amendments at its meeting on 4 May 2021. The updates were highlighted, including the provision of additional guidance about researchers’/early career researchers’ (ECRs) need for business travel for career development purposes, and the consolidation of a discrete section on equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) considerations. With respect to the proposal that the University engage the services of a travel management company (TMC) it was reported that an initial pilot stage would be run to test the validity of the offering from the preferred supplier. Attention was drawn to the longer-term intention for the TMC to support the University’s carbon emission and duty of care responsibilities by providing a means of capturing and monitoring the relevant data.
    • UEB noted additionally that the University was participating with sector peers on a pilot that would entail offsetting its carbon emissions for business travel from 2020/21 on Wellcome Trust-funded projects.
    • UEB:
      • Endorsed the principles of the Sustainable Business Travel Policy and the framework related to the booking of travel and accommodation in the SIA 1 Business Travel and Accommodation Regulations.
      • Noted that the Sustainable Business Travel and Accommodation Project Group would report on a quarterly basis.
      • Thanked the relevant members of staff who had been supporting implementation of the broader Sustainability Strategy.
  2. Closed Minute and Paper

  3. Strategic Delivery Plans for Approval

    • UEB considered for final approval the Strategic Delivery Plans for the Education, Innovation, Research, and One University strategic pillars that had been provisionally agreed on 22 June. For each pillar, attention was drawn to any modifications that had been made following UEB’s previous discussion.
    • Members noted that an accompanying communications plan would be required to ensure that colleagues in the Faculties and Departments were informed and kept abreast about the delivery plans. Potential forums that could be utilised for this purpose included UEB-HoDs meetings, Faculty Executive Boards, and Faculty Forums, recognising that each strategic pillar would need equal attention to stress their equivalent importance to the overall realisation of the University’s Vision and Strategy. The potential usefulness of running ‘town hall’ sessions for each pillar was also acknowledged. UEB noted the need for Departments/Schools to engage with the contents of the delivery plans within their planning frameworks and the corresponding work to align these frameworks with broader Faculty plans.
    • UEB approved the Strategic Delivery Plans, for onward recommendation to Council at its meeting on 12 July 2021.
  4. Closed Minute and Paper

  5. Report of the UEB Risk Review Group

    • (Meeting Held on 10 June)
    • UEB approved the report, including the recommendations for Council regarding the approach to the 2021/22 Corporate Risk Register, which proposed to:
      • Align the Register with the University’s Vision and to include cross references to relevant actions in the Strategic Delivery Plans (see Minute 3, above).
      • Reduce the number of risks and highlight in future reports to Council the most significant risks.
      • Develop ‘impact’ criteria to aid assessment of whether a risk would qualify for inclusion on the Corporate Risk Register.
      • Adjust the reporting cycle so that, following presentation of the Corporate Risk Register for approval to Council in November, the number of updates reported to UEB and Council would more meaningful.
    • Members also noted the most recent iteration of the 2020/21 Corporate Risk Register.
  6. Report of the UEB Health and Safety Committee

    • (Meeting Held on 27 May)
    • UEB approved the report, including the following:
      • UEB Health and Safety Committee’s updated Terms of Reference and Membership, noting that there would be possible further changes over the summer and that a further updated version would therefore be presented to UEB for approval after the Committee’s first meeting of 2021/22.
      • The draft Annual Health and Safety Report, noting that data updates would be made to the report over the summer and a final version would be recommended to Council in October 2021 and reported to UEB for note.
      • The Health and Safety Objectives, 2021-2024, noting the Plan through which these objectives would be delivered.
      • The four appended policy documents covering the University’s Health and Safety Policy Statement; Organisation Arrangements: Management of Health and Safety; Organisation Arrangements: Roles and Responsibilities; and Health and Safety Training Policy.
      • During discussion, UEB welcomed the positive relations between Health and Safety and the campus Trade Unions, which had been predicated on greater cooperation between the two parties.
  7. Closed Minute and Paper

  8. Coronavirus Update

    • General Update
      • UEB received and noted the update. Attention was drawn to indications that the UK Government would continue to wish for universities to undertake large-scale COVID-19 testing. It was also highlighted that some institutions in the sector had experienced recent outbreaks. 
    • Update from the Major Incident Team
      • UEB received and noted the update. It was reported that staff and student COVID-19 cases remained low, albeit with a slight upward trend. Members welcomed the continued success rate of the internal Contact Tracing Service and the take-up regarding the LFD Collect service. With respect to the testing centre, it was confirmed that the Department for Health and Social Centre had issued the University with a fresh contract, and that the current plan was to keep the centre open on a limited basis until the end of July.
      • UEB endorsed a broader proposal concerning the arrival of overseas students in the UK and the University’s ongoing provision of support to this cohort. UEB had previously agreed to refund the quarantine costs of students from red list countries; for those from amber list countries, Catalyst had agreed to waive residential costs for students’ self-isolating period, which the University would replicate for students in the same position in its residential accommodation. In line with comparable initiatives at peer institutions, the University would provide students from amber list countries with a food package and make a fixed-cost financial contribution to cover their COVID-19 testing requirements.

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