Minutes of the Eighty Ninth Meeting of the Board of Corporation of the City of Sunderland College held on Tuesday 14 December 2010 at 6.00pm in the Room 614 at Shiney Row Centre. PRESENT:
Mrs D Butler, Mr R Edmonds, Prof P Fidler, Mr I Forster (Chair), Cllr C Gofton, Miss C Gumbleton-Wood, Mrs A Hodgson, Mr A Holmes, Mrs A Inkson, Mrs A Lawson-McLean, Ms K Murray, Mr P Murray, Ms A O’Donoghue, Mr M Ridley.
Ms S Duncan, Mr N Harrett, Mr D Howells, Ms M Earley, Ms, S Gelder, Ms R Wiles and Mrs J Ridley.
Mr C Crossman.
The Chair opened the meeting by welcoming Christine Gumbleton-Wood to her first Board meeting as the newly elected Student Governor. It was agreed to take the agenda out of order to allow the College managers to leave the meeting. Bd/10/85
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE Apologies for absence were received from Mr M Holmes and Cllr T Wilkinson.
MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 19 OCTOBER 2010 The minutes were accepted as an accurate record subject to the following amendments: i. To note that Celia Gofton had tendered her apologies for absence. ii. Bd/10/70 – 5th paragraph should read “…that Ann Hodgson had resigned as the Sunderland Joint Committee representative on the Board...”.
MATTERS ARISING THEREFROM There were no matters arising not otherwise on the agenda.
APPOINTMENT OF STUDENT MEMBER Christine Gumbleton-Wood was introduced and welcomed to her first meeting. The Chair encouraged Christine to participate fully in the meeting explaining that the Board welcomes the contribution of its student members.
It was noted that there had been a large turnout for the Student Governor Elections this year and that Christine had received twice the total number of votes cast in the previous two elections. The Board: noted the appointment of Christine Gumbleton-Wood as the elected Student Member.
BI-ANNUAL REPORT ON SAFEGUARDING MATTERS The Student Services Manager presented the report explaining that, since the Board had approved revised Safeguarding Policies at its July meeting, it had been necessary to amend the policies to reflect the changes in personnel resulting from the restructure, however there were no changes to the actual content of the policies. It was noted that in addition to the Outstanding grade awarded following Inspection, Ofsted had conducted a best practice survey during October and had once again commended the College for its Outstanding practice for safeguarding. Following questions from Governors it was noted that: The College had produced a bespoke on-line training package for staff to access. It was felt that the software, which had been endorsed by the local Safeguarding Board, could be adapted and distributed to other colleges A new contact card providing details of designated safeguarding staff was being developed which would be disseminated to all staff and Governors in January. The College holds a comprehensive register showing that all members of staff have undertaken safeguarding training. Safeguarding training for new Governors would be included as part of the induction process. Governors commented on the letter from Ofsted included as Annex E to the report and congratulated the team on its achievement. The Board: a. received the report with thanks; b. approved the revised policies; c. noted the summary report on safeguarding cases together with achievements and developments during 2010; d. approved the developments planned for 2010-11.
CREATION OF A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE The Director of Employer Engagement presented the report proposing the formation of a Social Enterprise in the form of a Community Interest Company. The main aims were to provide jobs and help people into the job market who would find it difficult. It was noted that the enterprise would be used to track learners for external funding purposes for the College and it would be possible to bid for commercial work from other colleges and training providers. It was hoped that external grant funding could be secured to contribute to the start up costs. During discussion, Governors raised a number of questions and the following points were noted: the College had chosen a Contact Centre as the business form as telemarketing is a growth industry in the area the College already has a reputation for providing quality training in this field. It holds the Training Quality Standard and was recognised as providing the best contact centre training in the country the College would initially support the programme by providing central college services such as HR and payroll and once the business was operating at a profit it would contribute to the College overhead whilst the College already has an established trading company it was felt that to go down the route of a CIC would be in the best interests of the College to secure grant funding there would be 36 apprentices initially and whilst there was no guarantee that the apprentices would be placed into jobs, the College was confident that it would be able to secure jobs as the contact centres are currently recruiting in the area. Governors raised their concerns regarding the financial risk to the College. The Chair explained that Governors had discussed the proposal at length at the Resources Committee and that there were still a few issues to be ironed out. The Board noted Governors’ concerns and agreed: i.
in principle to the concept of forming a Social Enterprise aligned to the main college business subject to legal advice on whether the College has the legal power to enter into such an arrangement ii. to delegate the decision to the Chair, Vice Chair and A Holmes with the assurance that, if there were any issues which the group felt needed addressing, the matter would be referred back to the Resources Committee.
PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGING PARTNERSHIPS A Risk Workshop attended by Governors in September discussed the opportunity of the College becoming a Lead Partner to work with providers who fall below the proposed Minimum Contract Value. The Vice Principal Quality & Business Support outlined the proposed arrangements for entering into and managing the risks around partnership arrangements set out in section 2 of the report. In order for the College to respond quickly it was proposed that senior postholder approval would be sought and information on any partnership entered into would be provided to Governors on a monthly basis. Governors would be able to raise any issues on the agenda of the next meeting. An annual report on partnership activity would continue to be brought to the Board. The Board: i. approved the arrangements for entering into partnerships; ii. approved the arrangements for managing the risks in partnership working; iii. agreed to allow the College management team to enter into partnership arrangements without the need for prior Board approval. iv. Noted that the scale of an individual partnership or the aggregate value of all partnerships relative to the size of the College could pose risks and these matters should be drawn to the attention of the Board. v. Agreed that Governors receive a monthly update on partnerships.
A Inkson left the meeting at 7.00pm Bd/10/98
ANNUAL SELF ASSESSMENT REPORT AND IMPROVEMENT PLAN The Director of Quality and Standards presented the College self assessment report and improvement plan. Governors noted the exhaustive process of self assessment culminating in the report which had been endorsed by a Working Party of Governors. The Board: i.
accepted the recommendation of the Governor Working Group and approved the Collegeâ€™s 2009-2010 Self Assessment Report; ii. thanked the Director of Quality & Standards ,acknowledging the large amount of work involved in producing the report.
GOVERNANCE SELF ASSESSMENT REPORT AND IMPROVEMENT PLAN The Director of Quality and Standards reported that a Governors’ Working Party had met on 6 December to consider the 2009-10 Self Assessment Report and 2010-11 Improvement Plan. The Working Party felt that more work needed to be done on the improvement plan, therefore it was agreed that a group of governors would meet early in the new year to develop the 2010-11 Governance Improvement Plan bringing it back to the next Board. The improvement plan will take into account the Ofsted criteria set out in section 3.2 of the report. The Chair explained that the Working Party had discussed the Governance self assessment process and how it could be improved. He said that he would explore this further in his meetings with individual Governors. The Board: i.
accepted the recommendation of the Self Assessment Governor Working Party and approved the Governance 2009-10 Self Assessment Report; ii. noted that the 2010-11 Improvement Plan would be developed by Governors in the new year.
2007-10 STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN CLOSE OFF The Board received the report outlining the close of position for the College noting that: of the 33 Strategic Objectives, 24 had been fully achieved and 9 had been partially achieved of the 91 Strategic Targets, 80 had been fully achieved, 7 had been partially achieved and 4 had not been achieved. The outcomes of the 11 targets not fully achieved were noted. It was noted that targets such as those relating to the accommodation strategy and reducing worklessness were outwith management’s control due to the withdrawal of LSC capital funding and the recession. The Board: noted the final close off position for the 2007-2010 Strategic Plan Targets
REVISED CORPORATION CODE OF CONDUCT The Clerk presented the revised Code of Conduct produced by Eversheds. It was noted that the revisions reflect the changes in funding arrangements. The Board: adopted the revised Code of Conduct for Corporation Members.
FOURTEENTH AUDIT COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT The Vice Principal Corporate Services presented the report outlining the Committee’s activities during 2009-10 and its opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the College’s internal control systems. Following questions from Governors it was noted that the expenses paid to Internal Audit related to out of contract expenses such as car mileage. This was a question that had also been raised by the Audit Committee. The Clerk explained that the Board could take comfort from the fact that both Internal and External Audit were complimentary about the College’s processes for internal control arrangements. The Board noted that the Audit Committee concluded in its report: that the Committee had discharged all of its obligations under its terms of reference, and that the Audit Committee is of the opinion, based on all of its work during the year, taking account of the views and management letter of the external auditors and in particular on the assurance given in the Internal Audit Annual Report, that: i.
the Governing Body’s responsibilities, included in the financial statements, have been satisfactorily discharged ii. the College’s systems of internal control and its arrangements for risk management, control and governance processes and securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness are at least adequate and effective and, on balance are commendable and the Board may rely on them. The Board: accepted the recommendations of the Audit Committee and approved the report. S Duncan left the meeting at 7.15pm
AUDIT HIGHLIGHTS AND MANAGEMENT LETTER/ILR REPORT The Board received the Audit Highlights and Management Letter noting the unqualified audit opinion provided in Section 3 of the report. In response to questions from Governors it was noted that: there had been no breach of the loan covenant as the College had not made a deficit over two consecutive years the Vice Principal Finance would be attending a 157 Group seminar on the ACE diagnostic tool, hosted by KPMG in January. The Board: noted the outcome of the financial statements audit and the regularity audit.
ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS The Board received the report noting that the overall picture for 2009/10 was of a successful year in which the College had made a significant operating surplus even after accounting for the costs of a major restructuring exercise, and after accounting prudently for all other know circumstances. It was also noted that as the College had fallen short of its learner number and Standard Learner Number targets for 16-18 year olds, this might lead to a reduced allocation next year. In response to questions it was noted that the Vice Principal Finance would provide an explanation to Mr Alan Holmes’ question on the reasons behind the decline in income for Blue Square Trading Limited. The Principal advised the Board that the College had been awarded Beacon Status by LSIS and that there would be opportunities to bid for funding in supporting other colleges to improve by sharing best practice. The Board: i. ii.
noted the Annual Report of the Audit Committee and the outcome of the financial statements audit and the regularity audit; accepted the recommendation of the Resources Committee to approve the Report and Financial Statements for the financial year 2009/10; noted the financial position of Blue Square Trading Limited and City of Sunderland College Supplies Limited and agreed, in the general interests of the College, to provide financial and other support to enable them to continue to trade; agreed the terms of the letter to the financial statements auditors set out in Annex C to the report. 7
REVISED BUDGET 2010/11 Confidential: Governors deemed the report and its minute confidential from public scrutiny for reasons of commercial sensitivity.
ANNUAL REPORT ON TREASURY MANAGEMENT The Vice Principal Finance presented the report explaining that the Board could be reassured that the College adopts a prudent approach in terms of its loans and investments. The Board: received the report noting that it had been considered by the Resources Committee.
COLLEGE FEES POLICY The Vice Principal Finance presented the report outlining the key implications set out in section 3 of the report. Governors asked a number of questions and noted the following: International activity was continuing to grow with more students being recruited onto mainstream programmes at the College as well as delivering to international students’ in their home countries. There had been little impact on the number of students coming to the College following changes to the student visa rules It was agreed to change the wording in section 3.5 of the policy to read “The fee will be based on the Funding Body income for the programme but may be amended in order to remain competitive”. The Board agreed:
to set its tuition and related fees policy for 19+ FE and HE provision in line with the emerging national government and Funding Body policy for 2011/12 to delegate authority to the Resources Committee to agree the details resulting for Funding Body funded provision delegate authority to the Vice Principal (Curriculum and Student Support) to waive or amend fees where this is required due to market forces or in cases of hardship.
For international activity
to delegate authority to the Vice Principal (Curriculum and Student Support) to agree appropriate fees for international work, based on market rates. 8
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL EVALUATION The Board: approved the submission of a short FMCE return to the SFA for 2009/10, as recommended by the Audit Committee.
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY ACTION PLAN UPDATE The Principal presented the report on the close off of the Equality & Diversity Action Plan. It was noted that all but two actions had been completed, one had been delayed due to the restructure of Student Support and would be implemented in 2010-11 and one was no longer applicable and would not be progressed further.
The Board: i. signed off the Equality & Diversity Action Plan for 2009-10 ii. noted the actions not completed with no recommendation for any further action.
NEWCASTLE ROAD UPDATE
Confidential: Governors deemed the minute confidential from public scrutiny for reasons of commercial sensitivity.
APPROVED MINUTES FROM COMMITTEES The Board: received the minutes.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS Celia Gofton referred back to item Bd/10/106 and wished it to be recorded that Blue Square had indeed run at a loss and had been supported by the College during its early years of operation. It was noted that the term of office of both Patrick Murray and Malcolm Holmes had come to an end. The Chair on behalf of the Board thanked Patrick Murray for his valued contribution, advice and guidance during 9
his tenure. The Chair would write a letter to Patrick Murray and Malcolm Holmes to thank them for their contribution. The Principal informed the Board that there would be a chance for Governors to attend a celebration event for Peter Wyness following his retirement. This would be held in the Hyltons Restaurant in the New Year. Bd/10/107
DATE, TIME AND VENUE OF NEXT MEETING The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 8 February 2011 at 6.00pm in Room 614 at the Shiney Row Centre.
CHANGE ISSUES There were no change issues to report.
The Meeting closed at 8.15pm