Pictured: top left to right: Sarah Pook, Professor Iain Cameron, Professor Paul Whittaker, Janice Donaldson, Professor Bashir M Al-Hashimi, Professor Rachel Mills, Professor William Powrie, Professor Mandy Fader, Professor Anne Curry. Seated left to right: Professor Mark Spearing, Professor Alex Neill, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Ian Dunn, Professor Colin Grant. Professor Jane Falkingham is also a member of the UEB but was unavailable on the day this picture was taken.
At the monthly formal UEB meetings there are updates on Management Accounts and Health and Safety. These are usually followed by a review of admission numbers. These updates allow the UEB to have a clear picture of the University finances, reassurance that we are compliant and provide vital information to continue forward planning. In February and March, a number of important items came to the UEB for approval.
Accommodation fees (February)
Every year at this time, a proposal is put forward for the following academic year’s accommodation fees. A benchmarking exercise was undertaken to ensure that we remain competitive and that we continue to offer a diverse range of halls and prices. A general increase of three per cent was proposed and agreed.
Level 7 Appraisal Moderations outcomes (February)
The UEB was asked to review the Appraisal Moderation outcomes for all Level 7 staff and either approve the final appraisal outcomes or agree a further round of moderations by faculties/professional services if required.
Moderation exercises take place in order to ensure individuals have been appraised fairly against the University’s definitions of excellence and according to faculty and directorate performance.
Salary Sacrifice (March)
Due to changes imposed by the government, the University’s salary sacrifice scheme will lose its tax breaks for car parking and Sport and Wellbeing memberships starting from April 2017 for new employees. Existing participants in the two schemes will have their current sacrifice savings protected until April 2018, but after this date staff will lose the saving made. This development will effectively increase the cost of parking and the sports memberships for staff and it will increase the amount the University pays in National Insurance.
The legislation changes do, however, present an opportunity for the University to review its car parking structure, sustainable travel agenda and sports membership fee structure. The UEB endorsed recommendations to look further into an emissions-based charging system for parking and a re-working of the Sports and Wellbeing memberships, with the focus on reducing, where appropriate and if possible, the future financial impact on staff. This is a government-led change, not one driven by the University.
National Student Survey (NSS) (March)
The results of the yearly NSS have a significant contribution to the league table rankings and following the results of the 2016 survey a number of activities were put in place to support improvements to universities.
A report presented to the UEB highlighted the activities undertaken to improve staff engagement with the NSS, increase student completion rates of the survey and support subject areas which have been identified with low performance on key NSS metrics.
The UEB was asked to note the impact of these activities and was encouraged to see the improved response rates for 2017. Responses in the first week of the survey have risen from 11 per cent last year to 33 per cent this year.
What is the UEB?
The UEB sets the strategic direction and has oversight of how the University is managed. It brings together the President and Vice-Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer, Deans, Vice-Presidents and the Executive Directors of Human Resources and Strategy, and Finance and Planning
The Board meets formally once a month for briefings, updates and decision-making. It also meets informally every week to address emerging topics and formulate policy on a wide range of subjects, which are taken forward to the formal monthly meetings for approval.