Reporter 407, 6 October 1997


Letters

Tax dodge

Dr Vic Rogers
School of Textile Industries

Human nature being what it is, I fear certain members of staff may be tempted to pose as students in order to receive zero-rated VAT lunches in the refectory.

Since it is often difficult to distinguish staff from students purely on the basis of physical appearance or dress sense, the catering ‘scrutineers’ should be aware of a few ‘dead giveaway’ signs – a tendency to talk about ‘restructuring’, university funding or early retirement, anyone in a suit that actually fits, especially if with tie, or alternatively wearing a suit so old that it is in fashion again; anyone in ‘sensible’ shoes and any female not wearing faded jeans and big boots.

The humiliation of possibly having one’s jam roly-poly and custard confiscated, pending additional VAT payment, should be enough to deter all but the most determined.

As to the University requiring staff to remove their food purchases from coffee bars before consumption, this will set a new trend in eating in corridors, which I believe are currently exempt from Customs and Excise regulations (probably pending review).

Dearing on-line

Lynne Brindley
University Librarian and Dean of Information Strategy

With reference to the article on the Dearing Report in the last issue of the Reporter, readers may like to know that a Leeds University Library database, Education-line, was appointed to be the report’s official internet archive.

In determining its dissemination strategy for the Report, the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education was keen to see its results indexed, archived, and visible on the internet, and Education-line suited its purposes very well. Education-line is an indexed World Wide Web database, established under the national Electronic Libraries Programme. It contains the full texts of education and training reports and conference papers.

Education-line is more than just a web site. All documents added to the database are indexed by staff in the Library’s British Education Index office, making the Dearing Report searchable alongside other significant research and policy papers. Whereas those wanting to read the 1963 Robbins Report will need to refer to Library shelves, Education-line acts as an electronic archive providing free universal access to the Dearing Report’s contents into the future. It represents a radical shift in information dissemination and storage within the higher education community.

The indexed, archived text of the Dearing Report is available at http://www.leeds. ac.uk/educol/ncihe/. (Omitting “ncihe/” leads to the full range of Education-line’s facilities.) The National Committee is to be commended for its far-sightedness – and the University’s Library and Computing Service staff praised for their work – in making Education-line home to such an important document.

Data protection

Richard Bell
Civil Engineering

I recently had cause to find the owner of a car that was damaged in the car park and so rang Security with the details to report the incident to the owner. The security office told me that they could not give out this information due to the Data Protection Act. If this is true, could the renewal form contain a clause that will allow this in future? This has also happened in the past when we have required legally parked cars to move to allow large trucks to gain entry to loading bays.

In incidents such as these, we are happy to put members of staff in touch with vehicle owners, with their permission. We are sorry this does not appear to have happened on this occasion – Security.

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