Minutes of the Sixty-fourth Meeting of the General Assembly held on 20 March 2002.
Present: 63 members signed the attendance list. Apologies were received from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar and the Bursar.
The Minutes of the sixty-third meeting of the General Assembly held on 10 October 2001 were confirmed as a true record.
The Vice-Chancellor reported that it was noted at the recent meeting of Council that work in Departments in structural deficit was proceeding according to plan. The two proposed redundancies in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering had been halted by Council in the light of discussions with individuals.
The Vice-Chancellor’s report concentrated mainly on the 2002/03 grant allocation received from HEFCE, compared with the 2001/02 allocation:
In summary, the Vice-Chancellor reported a fairly good settlement for the whole sector, with Loughborough being broadly average. This was encouraging for the University, but there was no room for complacency.
Patrick Cole introduced the proposed Performance Review Scheme developed by the Human Resources Working Group. It was generally felt that the existing appraisal scheme was not working as well as it should – it was accepted that it was too complex and that a two year gap between appraisals was too long. HEFCE had identified six priority areas for HEIs, one of which was annual performance reviews for all staff, with rewards given where appropriate. The University had been granted £3.9m over three years subject to receipt of a satisfactory Strategy in June 2002. The proposed Performance Review Scheme was a central part of this Strategy.
The Scheme would involve the identification of targets and training needs for all staff. Ratings would be used to inform the process of accelerated increments and/or lump sum payments, as well as performance-related pay for Professorial and ALC6 staff. The three campus Unions were currently being consulted about the Scheme, following which it would be discussed by the Human Resources Committee, for final approval by Council on 19th April. The first set of reviews needed to commence as quickly as possible, so targets can be set ready for review in May/June 2003.
A detailed discussion took place. Points raised included:
The Vice-Chancellor thanked those present for their comments, and reported that they would be taken into account in the finalisation of the scheme. It was agreed that the timetable was tight, and that implementation would only be partial this year, with achievement against objectives being evaluated for most staff for the first time in 2003.
Research Management (ga02-p2)
Professor Neil Halliwell outlined the proposed Personal Research Planning process. Twenty two per cent of the University’s staff were not returned in the 2001 RAE, which resulted in a loss of approximately £2m for the University. Key competitors did not return around 7-10% of staff. Loughborough therefore needed to find a way of raising its research profile with a minimum of bureaucracy. The proposed Research Performance Monitoring Group was a method of reviewing research performance on a more consistent basis, rather than just before the next RAE.
A question was asked whether two cycles of meetings were planned – Research Review and Performance Review. Professor Halliwell reassured the meeting that the Personal Research Planning Review was designed to complement and feed into the Performance Review Scheme, not be additional to it. A single form for Personal Research Plans was under discussion with the Deans for use from next year.
Bob Hinds spoke about the University’s financial position. At 31 July 2001 the University had a surplus of £3m, against a target of £1.6m. On the basis of recent HEFCE performance indicators, the University was financially strong compared to many others in the sector. The Finance Office could supply detailed information on all the HEFCE performance indicators on request.
The University was on course to meet the financial strategy for 2001/02 agreed by Council. The 2002/03 grant from HEFCE was average for the sector, and because of pressures of inflation and other areas, the next budget round could be as tough as usual, however, it was anticipated that the University would see increased income from international students. The Budgetary Review Group had held an initial meeting to set priorities.
A member enquired about progress with establishing a development fund for research. The Vice-Chancellor reported that discussions were still ongoing but he hoped that Council would consider spending against the HEFCE 3% target surplus for purposes of strategic restructuring.
There was no other business.
To be confirmed.
Author: JC Nutkins/WJ Ferguson
Date: 28 March 2002
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