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Minutes of the One Hundredth and First Meeting of the Board of Corporation of Sunderland College held on Tuesday 11 December 2012 at 6.00pm in the Seminar Room at Usworth Sixth Form Centre. PRESENT:

Mr D Ambrose, Ms S Atkinson, Mr G Blyth, Mrs D Butler, Mr A Carter, Mr R Edmonds, Mr I Forster (Chair), Cllr C Gofton, Mr N Harrett, Mrs A Hodgson, Mr A Holmes, Ms J Johnson, Mr R Lawson, Mr S McKenzie, Mr R Saelzer, Mr A Young.

IN ATTENDANCE: Mr D Howells, Mrs J Ridley, Ms P Veitch (for Bd/12/101), Ms R Wiles (for Bd/12/103) Mrs M Earley (for items Bd/12/104 and Bd/12/105). CLERK: Bd/12/98

Ms R Ferguson (Dickinson Dees). APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST Apologies for absence were received from Mr B Campbell, Mrs A LawsonMcLean and Cllr T Wilkinson. Apologies for lateness were received from Mr A Young. J Johnson declared an interest in relation to Bd/12/114. She was not required to withdraw from the meeting during discussion of that item.


MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 23 OCTOBER 2012 The minutes were accepted as an accurate record.


Confidential The Board agreed to deem the report confidential from public scrutiny as it contains sensitive financial information. P Veitch left the meeting at 6.06pm Bd/12/102 BOARD MEMBERSHIP The Clerk presented the report outlining the recommendations of the Governance and Search Committee explaining that the Committee had gone through a search and recruitment process with the impending departure of 1

the Chair in mind. The Chair had since advised that he was willing to extend his term of office until May in order to ensure a smooth transition and to provide guidance and support to his replacement if needed. The Governance & Search Committee had identified a candidate who would be interested in taking up the role of Chair in the absence of any current member wishing to do so and recommended that Rob Lawson be invited to join the Board. It was noted that as a result of this appointment, there were no vacancies left on the Board, however there were two further candidates whom the Committee wished to recommend for appointment. It was proposed to coopt John Robson and Paul McEldon onto relevant Committees with a view to appointment to the full Board when vacancies arise. In response to a question, the Chair confirmed that the Board would continue to review Committee membership to take account of skills. It was noted that starting times of Committees had been adjusted to enable more governors to attend. The Board approved the recommendations of the Governance & Search Committee: i.

to extend Ian Forster’s term of office as a Board Member and Chair until May 2013; ii. to appoint Rob Lawson to the Board for a period of office of 4 years; iii. to co-opt John Reed Robson to the Curriculum and Quality Committee with a view to appointment to the Board in May; iv. to co-opt Paul McEldon to the Resources Committee with a view to appointment to the Board as soon as a further vacancy becomes available. R Lawson joined the meeting at 6.10pm Bd/12/103 BI-ANNUAL REPORT ON SAFEGUARDING MATTERS The Student Services Manager presented the report explaining that the Safeguarding Policy provided as an annex to the report had been revised following a recent recommendation from the Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board. The Board received a breakdown of referrals by Centre and category of safeguarding. It was noted that there had been 94 safeguarding referrals so far this academic year compared with 49 at the same point last year. The reason for this rise was not known however it may be due to the current social economic climate or a greater willingness to report following the recent highly publicised cases in the press. Governors discussed the receipt of safeguarding records from schools. It was noted that 16 of the 21 schools had responded to the College’s request to transfer safeguarding record and whilst this was an improvement on last year Governors felt that a more robust approach should be taken with the 2

schools. The Board requested the Acting Principal to follow this up with the Head Teachers of the 5 schools which had not complied with the College’s request. The Link Governor for Safeguarding advised that while she was in a meeting with the Student Services Manager at the College, she had received unsolicited comments from a member of staff, praising the Student Services Team for the invaluable help and support received whenever they had an issue to deal with or needed advice and guidance. The Student Services Manager raised the issue of succession planning for the Safeguarding Link Governor. The Chair confirmed that this would be considered by the Governance and Search Committee. In response to a question from the Student Governor, the Student Services manager advised that students obtain information regarding Safeguarding arrangements at Induction, from the Student Handbook and from Tutors. There are also designated members of staff at all centres. The Board: a. approved the revised Safeguarding Policy and associated annexes; b. noted the safeguarding cases and general safeguarding activity to date during 2012-2013; c. approved the developments planned during 2012-2013; d. requested the Acting Principal to follow up with the Head Teachers of the 5 schools who have yet to comply with the request for the transfer of safeguarding records. R Wiles left the meeting at 6.30pm Bd/12/104 GOVERNANCE SELF-ASSESSMENT REPORT 2011-12 The Director of Quality and Standards presented the report explaining that a Governors’ Working Party had met on 27 November to consider the proposed Governance 2011-12 self-assessment Report. The areas identified for improvement or further developments were included in the Improvement Plan for 2012-13. During discussion, it was noted that reference to the Link Governor for International was missing from the list of Link Governors within the self-assessment report. The Board: accepted the recommendation of the Governor Working Party and approved the Governance 2011-12 Self-Assessment Report and 2012-13 Improvement Plan.


Bd/12/105 WHOLE COLLEGE SELF-ASSESSMENT REPORT 2011-12 The Director of Quality and Standards presented the Whole College SelfAssessment Report 2011-12 and Improvement Plan 2012-13. She outlined the self-assessment process explaining that a validation panel comprising of governors (including the Chair), the senior management team and external peer review met to discuss the report in detail and agree the proposed grades on 19 November. Following this, the Governors’ Working Party considered the self-assessment report and improvement plan in order to make a recommendation to the Board. The Board discussed the report and in response to questions the following points were noted: • whilst the peer review suggested a higher grade, the College felt that the proposed grades were a fair assessment in terms of the new Common Inspection Framework. It was acknowledged that the whilst College had improved in general there were however still a few areas where further improvement was required; • the Curriculum & Quality Committee agendas were being designed to reflect the Teaching and Learning characteristics of the new common inspection framework; • the self-assessment report is the starting point for Inspection. It was noted that the College’s self-assessment processes were judged as outstanding at the last Ofsted inspection; • the Acting Principal would provide a fact sheet outlining the key achievements of the College for Governors to refer to; • a list of acronyms would be circulated to Governors. The Board thanked the Director of Quality and Standards for the work done throughout the year culminating in the self-assessment report.

The Board: accepted the recommendation of the Governor Working Party and approved the College’s 2011-12 Self-Assessment Report.

M Earley left the meeting at 6.51pm Bd/12/106 RISK REVIEW The Vice Principal Finance presented the report explaining that the College has complied with the recommendations of the Turnbull Committee regarding the designing and embedding of systems of internal control and a risk based approach. It was noted that no new risks have emerged since risk was last considered by the Board that need to be added to the risk register.


The Board: received and approved the report.

Bd/12/107 AUDIT COMMITTTEE ANNUAL REPORT The Vice Principal Finance presented the Audit Committee Annual Report which provides the Board with an account of the work of the Audit Committee between 1 August 2011 and 31 July 2012. The Board noted the conclusion of the Audit Committee in its annual report as follows: “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 adequate and effective and the Board may rely on them.“ The Vice Principal Finance drew the Board’s attention to the final paragraph in section k) 1. of the report explaining that this would be discussed in further detail later in the meeting. The Board acknowledged that the report evidenced the comprehensive programme of work undertaken by the Audit Committee and gave Members re-assurance that the systems of risk management were being thoroughly monitored. The Board: accepted the recommendation of the Audit Committee and approved the Audit Committee Annual report for 2011/12. Bd/12/108 AUDIT HIGHLIGHTS AND MANAGEMENT LETTER The Vice Principal Finance presented the report drawing the Committees attention to the key issues arising from the KPMG audit of the College’s financial statements and ILR funding audit which had been considered in detail by both the Audit and Resources Committees. Members noted the opinion of KPMG provided within the reports.


It was noted that KPMG had been complimentary about the low level of errors identified during the ILR audit which had been corrected throughout the year. The Audit Committee Chair commented that there were no adjustments to the accounts as a result of those corrections and that the reports represented a clean bill of health on both counts. The Board: noted the outcome of the financial statements audit, regularity audit and ILR audit. Bd/12/109 ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS The Vice Principal Finance presented the report outlining the key points detailed in sections 2 and 3 of the report. The Board’s attention was drawn to note 31 on page 44 of the financial statements relating to an enquiry raised by the SFA into the eligibility of some College learners for funding. The College had engaged professional advisors to conduct the enquiry which was still on-going and not expected to be completed until the 2012/13 financial year. It was noted that progress was being tracked by the Audit Committee. Governors discussed the report and in response to a question regarding the status of Blue Square Trading, it was noted that the College had made a decision to discontinue using Blue Square Trading Limited as a recruitment agency in 2011 however, it was felt a little premature to make a decision on the long term future of the Company at the present time.

The Board: i.

considered and discussed the report and financial statements for 2011/12; ii. approved the report and financial statements; iii. 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; iv. agreed to provide KPMG with a management representations letter confirming general and specific matters in line with International Standards on Auditing. Bd/12/110 BUDGETARY CONTROL STATEMENTS The Vice Principal Finance presented the budgetary control statements for the twelve months ended 30 September 2012. He explained that the income and expenditure account was showing an operating surplus of £503k for the two months to date after providing £60k for potential contingencies. 6

It was noted that all three areas of income, staff costs and non-staff costs were below budget however, as it was still early in the financial year, it was expected that they would catch up as the year progresses. In terms of enrolments it was noted that the number of 16-18 learners, currently at 4,600 was some 300 ahead of last year’s figure. It was noted that it was still relatively early in the recruitment stage for 19+ learners however the number was at the expected level for this time of year. The Vice Principal Finance explained that the College was expecting funding reductions in the region of £1.5m - £1.8m by 2015 and was currently looking at ways to mitigate the cuts. It was noted that a budget exercise was currently being undertaken and that an update would be brought to the Board in the New Year. The Board: noted and discussed the contents of the report. Bd/12/111 COLLEGE FEES POLICY The Vice Principal Finance presented the report outlining the key funding implications for the College detailed within the report. It was noted that there was a particular issue regarding the introduction of student loans for learners studying at level 3 or over and aged 24 or over in 2013/14. This will have an impact on the level of fees to be set therefore management will need to do modelling work around income levels and bring its proposals to the Resources Committee. The Board: • considered and commented on the report; • agreed to set its tuition and related fees policy for 19+ FE and HE provision in line with government and Funding Body policy for 2013/14; • delegated authority to the Resources Committee to agree the details resulting for Funding Body funded provision; • delegated authority to the Vice-Principal (Curriculum and Business Development) to waive or amend fees where this is required due to market forces or in cases of individual hardship; • delegated authority to the Vice Principal (Curriculum and Business development) to agree appropriate fees for international work, based on market rates. Bd/12/112 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. It was noted that there were no breaches to the 7

loan covenants in respect of the bank loans held by the College during 2011/12. The College has also attempted to mitigate risk by spreading its investments across a minimum of four financial institutions. It would continue to place deposits only with those institutions having a credit rating amongst those most healthy in the financial sector and would continue to keep those ratings under review. The College would not lodge more than £5m at a time with any institution and it would also take into account information used by other large local organisations in selecting preferred institutions and the methodology they use for assessing the relative amounts to be lodged with each. The Board: received and commented on the report; approved the report. Bd/12/113

PROPOSED PAY AWARD The Vice Principal Finance presented the report which had been previously considered by the Resources Committee. He explained that whilst UCU had not accepted the pay recommendation, they had indicated that there would be no industrial action taken therefore the College was proposing to implement the pay award to both Unison and UCU members. This was consistent with previous years where the award had been made when the union nationally had been in dispute over the pay award. The Vice Principal advised that this proposal had been discussed at a meeting with the Unions and UCU had confirmed that they were happy for their members to receive the pay award. The Board noted that the College was also proposing to adopt the Living Wage minimum for those members of staff who would fall below the threshold even after implementation of the pay recommendation. The Board agreed to: i. Implement the AOC recommended pay award of: •

An increase of 0.7% on all salaries above £15,000 per annum

An increase of £200 on all salaries below £15,000 per annum

ii. Implement the Living Wage hourly rate of £7.45 for all staff who will still fall below it after the implementation of the AoC recommended pay award



ESTATES UPDATE Confidential The Board agreed to deem the report confidential from public scrutiny as it contains sensitive financial information.


STUDENT MATTERS There was nothing to report in terms of student matters


LINK GOVERNOR FEEDBACK Ann Hodgson described her recent visit to the Hylton Skills Campus and said that she would write and circulate a report when she had received some further information that she had requested from the Head of Centre. Douglas Ambrose gave an account of a recent visit to St Peters. He also raised the issue of secondary schools forming their own sixth forms and the associated repercussions. The Chair confirmed that this matter was under consideration and a report would be brought to the Curriculum & Quality Committee and to the Board where necessary. The Board: received the Link Governor feedback with thanks.


APPROVED MINUTES FROM COMMITTEES The Board: received the minutes.


ANY OTHER BUSINESS There was none.


DATE, TIME AND VENUE OF NEXT MEETING The next scheduled meeting will take place on Tuesday 5 February 2013 at 6.00pm in the Seminar Room at Usworth Sixth Form Centre.

Following a resolution by the Board, the Staff and Student Governors along with all members of College staff except the Acting Principal left the meeting at 8.00pm. The Clerk left the meeting for the next item.



RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE REMUNERATION COMMITTEE i. Appointment of Clerk to the Corporation Confidential The Board agreed that the minute be deemed confidential from public scrutiny pursuant to Instrument 14(10) of the Instruments and Articles of Government.

N Harrett left the meeting and R Ferguson re-joined the meeting at 8.05pm ii. Proposed Re-Structure of Senior Management Team Confidential The Board agreed that the minute be deemed confidential from public scrutiny pursuant to Instrument 14(5) of the Instruments and Articles of Government. The Meeting closed at 8.50pm


11th December 2012 - 101st Board Conference Minutes  

Minutes from the 101st Board Conference on the 11th of December 2012