Reporter 462, 26 February 2001


Summary of Report of the Committee on the Office of Registrar and Secretary

1. Introduction

The report of the Committee on the Office of Registrar and Secretary has now been agreed by the University's Senate and Council. This paper summarises the report.

2. Committee Membership

The Committee was comprised as follows:

Pro-Chancellor (ex-officio)
Vice-Chancellor (ex-officio)

Representing the Council

Mrs Linda Pollard
Mr Arthur Stone
Professor David Sugden

Representing the Senate

Dr David Parker
Dr Chris Hatton
Professor John Macklin

The Secretary to the Committee was Matthew Knight, Director of Human Resources

3. Remit

The remit of the Committee was to advise the Senate and the Council on the way in which the duties associated with the post of Registrar and Secretary might be configured and discharged in the future, following the retirement of Dr David Robinson.

The Committee took as its start point a report on the work of the University Administration Review Group (UARG) which provided much of the background the Committee needed for its deliberations The Review Group was set up, originally with Lynne Brindley as chair, to manage the projected deficits in the Central Administration Departments, to find ways of funding new activities that needed support, to ensure that the organisational implications of new computer systems e.g. SAP, SIMS, were anticipated and planned for and to review the effectiveness of current Central Administrative functions. Matthew Knight took over as Chair of the Group in October 2000.

4. Action taken in the last 12 months

The Committee noted the following actions that had been taken in the light of the UARG work and other initiatives over the last 12 months:

4.1. A Project Management Group had been set up to provide resources to Resource Centres and to the University centrally to enable projects which have a strategic priority to be actioned. New skills have been brought into the University and five Project Managers have currently been appointed with a sixth in the pipeline.

4.2. A structure for co-ordinating the management of Third Arm activities had been developed. A Third Arm Board had been established with a Sub-Group which is responsible for co-ordinating the activities of Business Development Managers. Professor David Hogg was taking the lead role on Third Arm co-ordination.

4.3. Budget responsibilities had been clarified. All Central budgets, including those previously held by the Registrar, were now the clear responsibility of a member of Strategy Group.

4.4. A clear organisational vision was being developed in parallel with SIMS implementation to create a co-ordinated and integrated set of student services.

4.5. As well as the Third Arm Board a number of other Management Boards had been established - including City and Regional Board, Development Board and International Board - with the aim of stimulating more focussed and co-ordinated strategic action.

5. Interim Measures

The Committee noted a number of interim measures that had been taken following the Registrar's decision to retire.

6. Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1. The Committee recommended that the Registrar and Secretary's post should be replaced as follows:

a) The establishment of a substantive post of "Secretary", building on the interim arrangements already in place and providing inter alia the basis for positive and co-ordinated management of the University's formal business agenda. Roger Gair will fill this post which combines his Secretariat role with Head of Department responsibilities for the Press, Publications and Legal Offices.

b) The establishment of the post of "Academic Registrar", combining management responsibility for the Student Offices together with a remodelled and refocussed Departmental Support Unit (retitled as "Academic Support Unit"). This will be a Grade 6 Administrative post and an Appointments Committee will be established to determine appropriate selection arrangements.

c) The inclusion of a responsibility for "student affairs", i.e. the development and management of the quality of the student experience, in the portfolio of a Pro-Vice-Chancellor. The Academic Registrar will report to this Pro-Vice-Chancellor, together with the senior officers responsible for Student Counselling, Disability Services, International Development and the European Office. The Committee felt that this organisational arrangement would obviate the need for a separate Dean of Students position.

6.2. The Committee took the view that in some circumstances longer PVC appointments might be appropriate and recommended that the Committee on PVCships should consider this possibility, in the interests of providing continuity and consistency of direction. Lengths of PVCships would, however, need to retain an element of flexibility to reflect changing needs and personal circumstances.

6.3. The Committee felt that it was very important that staff development for administrative staff, whether they work in Central Departments or Resource Centres, combined with opportunities for progression and mobility, should be prioritised and subject to regular review.

6.4. The Committee recommended that this was the right time to establish the Project Management Group as a separate unit reporting to the Director of Human Resources.

6.5. The Committee recommended that the University Administration Review Group should continue in existence with an expanded membership which included two Heads of Resource Centres. The UARG should have the specific remit of implementing and monitoring the decisions of the Committee on the Registrarship and Secretary as well as considering wider issues of effective University Administration.

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