Minutes of the Eighty Eighth Meeting of the Board of Corporation of the City of Sunderland College held on Tuesday 19 October 2010 at 6.00pm in the Room 427 at Shiney Row Centre. PRESENT:
Mrs D Butler, Mr R Edmonds, Mr I Forster (Chair), Mrs A Hodgson, Mrs A Inkson, Mrs A Lawson-McLean, Ms K Murray, Mr P Murray, Mr M Ridley, Cllr A Wilkinson.
Mr P Wyness, Ms S Duncan, Mr N Harrett, Mr D Howells, Ms R Wiles and Mrs J Ridley.
Mr C Crossman.
The meeting was preceded by a training session on interpreting management information presented by Suzanne Duncan. The Chair welcomed David Howells to the meeting. Bd/10/67 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE Apologies for absence were received from Prof P Fidler, Mr M Holmes, Mr J Lamb and Ms A O’Donoghue. The Board asked for their best wishes for a speedy recovery to be conveyed to the Principal. Bd/10/68 MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 18 MAY 2010 The minutes were accepted as an accurate record. Bd/10/69 MATTERS ARISING THEREFROM There were no matters arising not otherwise on the agenda. The following item was taken out of order. Bd/10/78 ANNUAL REPORT ON STUDENTS’ UNION ISSUES Rachel Wiles (Student Services Manager) introduced the annual report. It was noted that the Code of Practice had been amended to ensure that the timing of the report was more appropriate in bringing financial data and audit feedback to the Board.
In recognition of the financial pressures faced by the College, the Students’ Union had proposed a reduced allocation of £15,000 from the £20,000 mandated block grant for the current academic year. This may be reinstated next year dependant on the financial situation. The Board: a. endorsed the amendments to the Corporation Code of Practice with regard to the operation of the Students’ Union; b. approved the Students’ Union Financial Report; c. endorsed the view that financial compliance for the monitoring and operation of Students’ Union activity has been achieved. d. noted that the mandated block grant for the Students’ Union for 20102011 would reduce from £20,000 to £15,000 giving a saving of £5,000 to the College.
R Wiles left the meeting at 6.15pm Bd/10/70 GOVERNANCE AND SEARCH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS The Clerk presented the report outlining the recommendations of the Search Committee arising from its meeting on 14 June 2010. The Chair opened up to debate the issue of implementing the policy of not appointing beyond an 8 year term unless there are demonstrable special circumstances. He explained that the Search Committee had discussed this at length and that he wished to seek the views of the Board. During discussion the following points were raised: Whilst Ofsted’s recommendation that governors should, special circumstances apart, serve for no longer than 8 years was accepted, it was important that governors with specialist knowledge should be retained until a replacement with similar expertise can be found it was a good idea to bring in new people with new ideas and fresh thinking however it could take up to two years to fully understand the role of a Governor As new governors value the experience and knowledge of the longer serving members it was important to keep a balance The Board agreed to accept the recommendation of the Governance and Search Committee not to offer re-appointment to M Holmes and P Murray following expiry of their current term. The Clerk advised that Ann Hodgson had resigned from the Sunderland North Joint Committee and that the Governance and Search Committee recommended that she be appointed as a Board member in her own right.
It was noted that the Sunderland North 16+ Joint Committee had identified a representative to replace Ann Hodgson at its last meeting. The Chair advised that he and two members of the Governance & Search Committee had interviewed David Cliff earlier that day and gave their feedback to the Board. It was agreed not to appoint Mr Cliff at this stage and to continue with the search for an individual with financial expertise. It was noted that progress was being made in identifying such a person. It was acknowledged that the Chairâ€™s meeting with governors would not take the form of a formal appraisal but would be a chance to raise any issues or training needs in an informal setting. Ann Hodgson suggested that it would be useful for Link Governors to meet to share ideas and offer guidance and support to one another. The Chair agreed to arrange this. In response to a question Suzanne Duncan confirmed that positive feedback had been received from staff that the Link Governors had taken the time to visit their areas. It was noted that the College had received good feedback from Ofsted following a recent Best Practice survey on Safeguarding. This feedback would be circulated to Board members for information. The Board: i.
approved the recommendations of the Search Committee as follows - to appoint Anthony Wilkinson for a further one year term - to appoint Ann Hodgson to the Board for a 4 year period in the context of her ceasing to be a Joint Committee nominee - not to offer reappointment to M Holmes and P Murray on expiry of their current term of office on 31 December 2010 but at the same time thanked them for their excellent service ii. noted the Governance developments outlined in the Governance & Search Committee minutes, namely that: - the Dashboard Scorecard would be extended to include finance and strategic objectives - a customer survey would be undertaken after Christmas to obtain feedback from Governors on the governance changes - the Chair would hold informal meetings with individual governors to give them the opportunity to raise any problems outside of the meeting setting - the Chair would organise an opportunity for Link Governors to meet
Bd/10/71 BUDGETARY OUTTURN The Vice Principal Corporate Services introduced the report which set out the pre-audited estimated outturn for 2009/10. He drew Governors’ attention to the followings points:
There was a non-pay underspend of £911,000 resulting from the moratorium imposed on non essential spending. The budgetary control statements for September would reveal whether this was likely to be a recurring feature or whether departments had held back spending in 2009/10, only to resume in the new financial year. Train to Gain funding would diminish this year as contracts end and it was not yet clear what would replace it. The College managed to make a surplus despite the costs incurred on redundancies; this would put it in a good position to respond to funding cuts. The College’s income and expenditure account would show a surplus arising from the FRS 17 pension adjustment of over £3m due to a reduction in liabilities. The ‘real’ underlying position however was an operating surplus of £760,000. There had been no breach of the banking covenant.
The Board: received the report acknowledging that it was good news in the circumstances given the difficulties faced throughout the year.
A Inkson left the meeting at 7.00pm Bd/10/72 INTERNAL AUDIT ANNUAL REPORT The Vice Principal Corporate Services presented the report drawing Governors’ attention to the Internal Audit opinion set out in the annual statement of assurance in section 2 of the report. The Vice Principal Curriculum & Student Support said that the College had held discussions with Grant Thornton about the terminology used in Internal Audit reports. It was agreed to add “clarity and understandability of Internal Audit reports” to the list of KPIs to be used when next considering re-appointment. The Board: accepted the recommendation of the Audit Committee to approve the Internal Audit Annual Report for 2009-2010.
Bd/10/73 REAPPOINTMENT AND REMUNERATION OF INTERNAL AUDIT The Board: i.
accepted the recommendation of the Audit Committee to approve the reappointment of Grant Thornton as the Internal Auditors to the College for the year to 31 July 2011; ii. approved the level of remuneration of £33,200 excluding VAT plus expenses capped at £2,000 per annum i.e. at the same level as in 2009/2010. Bd/10/74 RISK WORKSHOP OUTPUT REPORT The Vice Principal Corporate Services presented the report which set out the key risks identified during discussion at the Grant Thornton Risk Workshop for Governors held on 15 September. The Board: received the Risk Workshop Output report noting that it would be used to inform the development of the Strategic Plan.
Bd/10/75 INITIAL EXAMINATION RESULTS The Vice Principal Curriculum and Student Support presented the report explaining that the figures were subject to change as results were still being entered into the MIS system. It was expected that the final outcomes would be broadly in line with those set out in the report. During discussion the following points were noted: Applied A Level ITC (Fast Track) was not being repeated as problems had been experienced with this programme AS Chemistry, Maths and Philosophy all had a pass rate of less than 75%. These subjects were the focus of curriculum managers and strategies were in place to bring about improvement Mrs Hodgson said that the report outlined positive outcomes for many learners and whilst happy that the issues were being addressed there was a need to be aware that a number of A level students had attained pass rates at grade C and below. The Vice Principal Curriculum and Student Support said that the issue of getting more learners to pass was at the forefront of curriculum improvement plans. He also mentioned a Training Award which College staff had obtained. The Chair commented that against a background of change and financial uncertainty, the College’s achievements in gaining a good Ofsted report
with outstanding features together with a number of national awards was down to the excellent leadership of the College. These achievements should be communicated to the wider college community. The Board: received the report and congratulated staff on achieving the Award.
Bd/10/76 EARLY INDICATIONS OF ENROLMENT, SEPTEMBER 2010 The Vice Principal Curriculum and Student Support explained that the report provided an early indication of the ability of the College to meet its YPLA and SFA funding and student number targets. It was however subject to change. It was noted in summary that: the 16-18 YPLA target was on course to be met but it was a stretching target the SFA Adult Responsiveness target was usually met but it would prove more difficult this year given the limited funds available the HE target is likely to be reached however retention rates would need to be carefully monitored the SFA targets for Employer Responsiveness and Apprenticeships are profiled on a monthly basis; it was anticipated that both targets would be met. The Board: received the report noting the recorded position as at 8 October 2010.
Bd/10/77 ANNUAL REVIEW OF QUALITY STRATEGY The Vice Principal Quality & Business Support presented the report explaining that the Quality Strategy and Quality Policy had been reviewed in light of the College’s performance and in terms of managing the risks associated with increased international and sub-contracted work. It was noted that the College’s quality assurance arrangements had been amended to reflect these risks. It was recognised that following staffing reductions, there was a need to “work smarter” to maintain quality. The Board: approved the Quality Strategy and Quality Policy.
Bd/10/79 PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE PROCEDURE ANNUAL REPORT The Vice Principal Quality & Business Support presented the report explaining that the procedure had been amended to reflect the recent changes in the structure. The Board: i. approved the changes to the procedure; ii. noted that there were no disclosures under the procedure in the last academic year and therefore no reason to implement the procedure.
Bd/10/80 GIFTS AND HOSPITALITY The Clerk presented the annual report outlining the declarations of gifts and hospitality received between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010. In response to a question it was noted that gifts were not centrally allocated. The Board: noted the contents of the report.
Bd/10/81 APPROVED MINUTES FROM COMMITTEES The Board: received the minutes.
Bd/10/82 ANY OTHER BUSINESS None. Bd/10/83 DATE, TIME AND VENUE OF NEXT MEETING The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 14 December 2010 at 6.00pm in Room 614 at the Shiney Row Centre. Bd/10/84 CHANGE ISSUES The Board: noted that there were no change issues for discussion.
The Meeting closed at 8.00pm