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Issue 468, 4 June 2001

Transparently so

Preparation of the 1999/2000 results of the transparency review is well under way for submission to the HEFCE by 31 July.

Since 1998, all UK HE institutions must provide detailed figures to government showing how they spend their funding based on the same costing method, known as the transparency review.

Financial accountability, in which the HE sector is considered a world leader, provides a competitive advantage over other countries. The transparency review, once successfully completed, is expected to allow for higher pricing and funding of university activities, only possible when supported by a robust and coherent costing process.

"The University has designed a method for gathering this information which is the least onerous for staff," said Fiona Dale of group financial planning. Each year, academic staff in a quarter of resource centres conduct a diary exercise over several weeks, filling in a standard spreadsheet to show their daily activities. Seven resource centres have begun this exercise for the current year.

The progress shown by the HE sector in this area has been welcomed by government, but more remains to be done to improve accountability.


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