Annexe: Proposed new structure

Contents

The following paper comprises:

1. Proposed new organisational structure (5kb).

2. Notes on the roles of the major central bodies in that structure.

3. The proposed composition of the major central bodies.

4. Notes on other committees, mapping existing bodies on to the proposed new structure.

5. The proposed allocation of existing academic units to new divisions.

6. Bar-charts representing the relative sizes of the proposed new divisions.

7. Notes on the roles of the proposed divisions.

8. Notes on proposed divisional structures, including appointment of heads of divisions and composition of divisional boards.

9. Notes on how existing faculty board business might in practice be dealt with under the new structure.

10. Roles of the academic services.

11. A general note on committees and their officers.

2. Notes on the roles of the major central bodies in the proposed new organisational structure

The roles of the central bodies would be as follows.

2.1 Congregation

  • the sovereign body, approving statutes, considering and voting on resolutions (proposed either by Council or by numbers of individuals), holding discussions without the need for a vote (at the instigation of Council or of numbers of individuals), considering the annual report from Council, electing representatives
  • Congregation should be invited to take a straightforward vote on the Commission's recommendations relating to it, which include raising from 12 to 20 the number of members required to propose a resolution, setting at 20 the number required to instigate a discussion, and raising from 75 to 125 the number required to vote in favour of a resolution for it to be binding: the working party supports these recommendations.

2.2 Council

  • the single overarching executive and policy-making body
  • responsible to Congregation for the oversight of the academic policy, direction, and work of the University, and its administration and financial management, bearing in mind the needs of the colleges
    • considering broad strategic issues
    • considering broad questions relating to the University's relationship with the colleges, and external relations (including general relations with funding bodies)
    • overseeing planning and resource allocation, educational policy and standards, personnel matters, and other key issues, on the advice of its committees (which would however operate with a considerable degree of delegated authority)
    • making an annual report to Congregation on its work

2.3 Planning and Resource Allocation Committee

  • under Council, responsible for strategic planning and for determining the future academic development of the University and the balance of its academic activity, including overall policy on research, and the control and allocation of the budget of the central University (and of its other resources, including space), bearing in mind the needs of the colleges
  • overseeing an annual planning and resource allocation cycle, comprising consideration of five-year plans and one-year operating statements proposed by the divisions and the academic services sector, development of resource allocation methods, and making recommendations to Council in connection with these plans and allocation methods and proposing an annual budget
  • preparing an overall strategic plan in the light of the plans of the divisions and the academic services sector (and of the requirements of HEFCE)
  • oversight of arrangements to deal with the implications of the settlement on college fees, in the light of detailed submissions from the collegiate sector
  • oversight of the work of the Development Programme
  • dealing with major ad hoc issues affecting planning and resource allocation which are not covered by existing approved plans
  • monitoring the work of the divisions and the academic services sector against approved plans and budgets

2.4 General Purposes Committee

  • under Council, and bearing in mind the needs of the colleges
  • responsible for major strategic thinking on issues outside the remit of the other committees
  • taking executive decisions on behalf of Council on important ad hoc questions outside the remit of the other committees
  • reporting to Council on major ongoing developments
  • advising the Vice-Chancellor on major matters of current importance
  • recommending appointments to be made by Council to other university committees, bearing in mind the gender balance on such committees and in general having regard to the appropriate representation of the various interests within the collegiate University.

2.5 Educational Policy and Standards Committee

  • under Council, consideration and development of policy on broad educational matters relating to undergraduate and graduate studies, such as the structure and organisation of degree courses, teaching methods, examination methods, equal opportunities in student matters, undergraduate and graduate admissions policy and access in general, and student welfare, having regard to external developments in these areas and to the functions and responsibilities of colleges
  • monitoring the implementation of set policies by divisions and their sub-units
  • monitoring academic standards, and quality assurance and quality assessment, in collaboration with the divisions and the colleges

2.6 Personnel Committee

  • under Council, and in the light of employment legislation and other relevant requirements, responsibility for the development and review of comprehensive policies on the employment of all university staff, including policies on recruitment and selection, staff development and training, equality of opportunity, salaries and other conditions of service, and staff relations, and liaison with colleges on these issues as appropriate
  • overseeing any centrally-organised exercises relating to personnel matters, such as ad hominem promotions, distinction awards for professors, appointments to statutory posts
  • broad policy development in respect of joint appointments with colleges, through a sub-committee to replace the Joint Committee for the Regulation of University/College Appointments, which would also arbitrate on differences of opinion between divisions and colleges in individual cases
  • monitoring the practical implementation of central policies and guidelines by appointing bodies
  • overseeing appropriate employee relations systems with recognised staff representatives

3. Proposed composition of the major central bodies

3.1 Congregation

The report of the Commission of Inquiry recommends that membership of Congregation be extended to all academic-related staff occupying non-established posts in grades RSII or ALC3 and above. The working party supports this proposal.

3.2 Council

The Vice-Chancellor (chairman), the chairman of the Conference of Colleges (ex officio), the Proctors and the Assessor, the four academic heads of divisions, two external members, 12 members directly elected by Congregation from amongst its own membership (divided into three constituencies (arts, sciences, and non-divisional)), and three junior member observers. Council would have the power to co-opt up to two additional members.

3.3 Planning and Resource Allocation Committee

The Vice-Chancellor (chairman), the Proctors and the Assessor, the Chairman of the Estates Bursars’’ Committee (ex officio), one of the external members of Council, the four academic heads of divisions, and six of the members of Council directly elected by Congregation.

3.4 Educational Policy and Standards Committee

The Vice-Chancellor, the Proctors and the Assessor, the chairmen of the Senior Tutors’ Committee and the Committee for Tutors for Graduates, and four of the directly elected members of Council (one of whom would act as chairman).

3.5 General Purposes Committee

The Vice-Chancellor (chairman), the Chairman of the Conference of Colleges, the four heads of divisions, the Proctors and the Assessor, and four of the directly elected members of Council.

3.6 Personnel Committee

Two members of Council (one of whom would chair the committee), the four heads of divisions, four individuals appointed by the divisional boards, the Chairman of the Senior Tutors' Committee ex officio, the Proctors and the Assessor, and up to five co-opted members to ensure that the committee reflects the range of interests and concerns in university departments and faculties and the academic services.

4. Other Committees

For reasons of familiarity this section takes as its starting-point existing committees, but what is really at stake is the general structure for the consideration of issues in the particular functional areas in which existing committees operate. Within the new structure there should be far fewer committees, with much more routine administration delegated to officers.

4.1 The following committees of Council might still be required: they would certainly not be populated solely or even mainly by members of Council - at most some of them might be chaired by a member of Council. Depending on their precise role, a number of them might become sub-committees of (or at least relate mainly to) the General Purposes Committee. Some of them (for example the International Committee) may need to be refocused and to become more active: some which have overlapping areas of interest may need to be rationalised. Others (for example the Statutes Before the Privy Council Committee) would meet very rarely, with most of the business conducted by the officers, and in general the operation of these committees would be reviewed in line with the general principles for committees and their officers set out at the end of this report.

  • Advisory Committee on Degrees by Diploma and Encaenia Honorary
  • Degrees/Honorary Degrees Committee
  • Audit Committee/Value for Money Committee
  • City Questions Committee
  • Committee for the Environment
  • Committee for the Museums and Scientific Collections
  • Committee on Animal Care
  • International Committee
  • IT Committee/Administrative Information Services Committee
  • Libraries Committee
  • Statutes Before the Privy Council Committee
  • Telecommunications Committee
  • University Security Committee

4.2 The business of the following committees would relate principally to the major Council committees as suggested below. The new structure would rapidly force reflection on the way in which large functional areas would be best administered in the future, under the aegis of the main committees of Council, and although this would evolve it is unlikely to involve a large network of formal subcommittees. Attention would need to be given to the extent to which day-to-day decisions in these functional areas would be devolved to the local level.

  • Academic Salaries Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Academic Staff Development Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Access Funds Committee - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Accommodation Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Allocation of Professorships and Appointment of Electors Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Applications Committee - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Appointments Committee of the General Board - Personnel Committee
  • Buildings Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Central Administration Estimates Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Childcare Committee - Personnel Committee (through an Equal Opportunities Committee)
  • College Accounts Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • College Contributions Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Committee for Disabled People - Personnel Committee (through an Equal Opportunities Committee)
  • Committee for the Council Departments - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Committee on Distinction Awards for Non-Clinical Professors - Personnel Committee
  • Curators of the Chest - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Distinctions Committee of the General Board - Personnel Committee
  • Development Programme Management Group - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Dispensation from the Residence Limit Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Estates Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Equal Opportunities Committee - Personnel Committee/Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Fee Remissions Committee - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Finance and General Purposes Committee of the General Board - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • General Purposes Committee of Council - General Purposes Committee
  • Graduate Studies Committee - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Health and Safety Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Higher Appointments Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Investment Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Joint Committee for the Regulation of University/College Appointments - Personnel Committee
  • Joint Committee with Junior Members - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Joint Committee with Junior Members about Graduate Affairs - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Joint Committee with Junior Members about Undergraduate Affairs - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Joint Undergraduate Admissions Committee - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Planning and Development Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Press Accounts Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Professorial Housing Panel - Personnel Committee
  • Resources Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Salary of Senior University Officers Review Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Staff Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Standing Committee on Standing Committees - General Purposes Committee
  • Undergraduate Studies Committee - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • University Sites Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee

4.3 The functions of the following committees might be devolved to divisional boards, in the light of central guidelines.

  • Europaeum Committee
  • European Studies Committee
  • Research and Equipment Committee

[Note. This section covers the existing committees of Council and the General Board. The majority of the other committees in the University - e.g. those listed on pp. 24-67 of the 1997-8 Calendar - would relate fairly obviously to the proposed divisions, which would need to examine how best to administer the functions involved.]

5. Proposed new Divisional Structures

Existing academic units would be grouped as follows. Sub-groupings within divisions, and interdivisional contacts in particular areas of common interest, would be encouraged. For example, under Biological and Medical Sciences there would be natural sub-groupings of Clinical Studies; Pre-Clinical Studies; and Biochemistry, Plant Sciences, and Zoology; and contacts would link relevant parts of e.g. Biochemistry with Physical Sciences, Modern History with Politics, and Law with Philosophy. Rather looser groupings are envisaged in the humanities and the social sciences.

5.1 Biological and Medical Sciences

Biochemistry
Biological Anthropology
Clinical Medicine
Human Anatomy
Pathology
Pharmacology
Physiology
Plant Sciences
Psychology
Zoology

5.2 Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Chemistry
Earth Sciences
Engineering Science
Materials
Mathematical Sciences
Physics

5.3 Humanities

Ancient History
Chinese Studies
Classical Languages
Comparative Philology and General Linguistics
English
Japanese Studies
Medieval and Modern Languages
Modern History
Music
Oriental Studies
Philosophy
Ruskin School
Theology

5.4 Social Sciences

Applied Social Studies
Archaeology
Brazilian Studies
Economics
Educational Studies
Geography
Latin-American Studies
Law
Management Studies
Modern Middle Eastern Studies
Politics
Queen Elizabeth House
Slavonic and East European Studies
Social and Cultural Anthropology
Sociology

5.5 Continuing Education

Continuing Education would be administered, as at present, by a body separate from the divisional boards and which would, like them, report direct to the major central bodies.

6. Relative sizes of the proposed new divisions

7. Roles of the proposed new divisions

  • organisation, development, and delivery of curricula, in collaboration with the colleges, and oversight and development of the general context for research, in the broad subject area, subject to policies and guidelines set by Council, and in close consultation with sub-units
  • development and proposal, in collaboration with the colleges, sub-units, and the academic services sector, of comprehensive and detailed five-year plans and one-year operating statements
  • oversight of the implementation of those plans and statements in the light of decisions taken on them by Council and of overall university policies, involving appropriately devolved operational responsibility for all matters concerning budgets, space allocated to the sub-units of the division, syllabus, and staffing, in consultation with the colleges as appropriate: such consultation with colleges should be undertaken at the local level in respect of specific issues, e.g. in relation to the syllabus and to particular posts, but reference to the central bodies will be necessary if broader policy issues are at stake or if differences of opinion need to be resolved
  • allocation to sub-units of the division’s approved ‘block grant’ from Council
  • annual report on the past year, measured against the agreed operating statement
  • ensuring the maintenance of educational quality and standards in the subject area
  • oversight of relationships between sub-units, and consideration (for detailed and balanced recommendation to Council) of any proposals to reorganise sub-units
  • relations with other divisions, and the Committee on Continuing Education, on matters of common interest
  • relations with external funding agencies, bearing in mind overall university policies and practice
  • involvement in fundraising, strictly within overall university policy and practice

Divisions would be run by divisional boards, chaired by heads of divisions: the boards would have committees or other sub-structures as they deemed appropriate for drawing together at the broad divisional level issues such as planning, finance, fundraising, research, staffing, undergraduate studies, graduate studies, and general purposes, in the light of the needs and views of the sub-units. Divisions might have other officers as well as the heads of divisions, including deputy heads and directors of graduate studies. Careful thought needs to be given by the Registrar to the question of administrative support for the divisional boards: it seems likely that in addition to a dedicated divisional board secretary, each board will require advice and support from a single person in each of the areas of academic planning, financial, personnel, and space planning, to be provided from within functional teams in the central administration.

Divisions would have sub-units which would vary from area to area, comprising departments, faculty boards, sub-faculties, and faculties, as appropriate and as locally determined (subject to central approval of changes).

8. Divisional structures

Heads of divisions would be appointed by Council following a selection process carried out on the basis of formal applications to be considered by a committee chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and with representation from the central and the local level, against clear selection criteria. Appointment would be on a full-time basis (with perhaps a notional or actual afternoon per week available for the continuation of some academic work) and would be for three years with the possibility of reappointment for a further and final two years. Heads of sub-units would be appointed in a similar way by the divisional board. Attention would be given to preparing potential candidates for headships of divisions and sub-units, and to arrangements for their re-entry into academic work after they demit office.

The heads of divisions would chair divisional boards, membership of which would broadly comprise the head of division, one member appointed by the Conference of Colleges, one member of or appointed by Council, and the heads of the major sub-units and an equivalent number of members directly elected from constituencies generally reflecting major groupings of the sub-units.

Council would be able to remove a head of division from that office after due process.

9. Differences in operation between Divisional Boards and Faculty Boards

This section suggests how existing items of the business of faculty boards would be handled under the new divisional structures, and the issues that the new structures would need to cover in more depth than faculty boards do under existing arrangements.

9.1 Divisions would deal on their own authority, within central guidelines and policies, with the following items in respect of which faculty boards currently either merely make recommendations or make decisions subject to the approval of the central bodies. No doubt in some cases decisions (e.g. detailed changes to regulations for the syllabus, routine financial decisions, individual graduate student matters) would in turn be delegated to sub-units and beyond.

  • refilling of academic as well as other posts within agreed plans
  • college associations for new and vacant posts
  • appointments of academic staff to all but statutory posts
  • starting salaries for lecturers (though some rethinking might be required here if much greater flexibility was to be introduced)
  • conferment of the title of university research lecturer
  • conferment of the title of visiting professor
  • reappointments of academic staff, to the retiring age or for a further fixed term
  • exemption under the ULNTF scheme
  • applications for sabbatical leave
  • arrangements for staff appraisal
  • budget and arrangements for schemes to relieve burdens on academic staff
  • applications from academic staff for personal research awards
  • applications from academic staff to hold any outside appointment
  • arrangements for degree courses, including changes to decrees and regulations both for individual degrees and for matters of more general relevance, such as numbers of examiners, etc.
  • consideration of examiners’ reports on public examinations (including external examiners’ reports)
  • matters of local relevance which however currently require reference to Council, often through the General Board and its committees, since changes in decrees are required

9.2 Divisions would need to deal, within the framework of central guidelines, policies, and decisions, with the following areas which faculty boards do not currently cover in the same depth

  • development of five-year strategic plans and one-year operating statements, including academic, financial, and physical plans
  • implementation of approved or revised plans and operating statements, including handling a greatly increased budget and dealing with grants to sub-units (recurrent and non-recurrent)
  • oversight of the activities of the sub-units, especially perhaps on the financial side and in terms of regular reviews of specific subject areas
  • relations with funding bodies
  • relations with other divisions, with the academic services sector, and with Continuing Education
  • relations with colleges
  • practice on contractual arrangements for academic staff
  • quality assurance
  • appointing heads of departments
  • general question of delegation of authority to sub-units
  • annual reports on the work of the division
  • use of financial reserves

9.3 Divisions would need to seek central approval (or to make recommendations or comments that might or might not be adopted) on the following issues

  • five-year strategic plans and one-year operating statements, including academic, financial, and physical plans non-renewal of prima facie permanent academic appointments
  • grant of special leave to academic staff
  • policy on contractual arrangements for academic staff
  • conferment of the title of professor and reader
  • discretionary payments to readers
  • arrangements for premature retirement
  • remuneration of examiners
  • use of financial reserves

9.4 Divisions would not have a role in the following

  • distinction awards for professors
  • approval (as opposed to involvement in the making) of appointments to statutory posts

10. Roles of the Academic Services

In general, the role of each part of the sector would be

  • organisation, development, and delivery of the service, in collaboration with the colleges where appropriate, subject to policies and guidelines set by Council, and in close consultation with divisions
  • development and proposal, in collaboration with the divisions and, where appropriate, the colleges, of comprehensive and detailed five-year plans and one-year operating statements
  • oversight of the implementation of those plans and statements in the light of decisions taken on them by Council and of overall university policies, involving appropriately devolved operational responsibility for all matters concerning budgets, space allocated to various parts of the service, and staffing, in consultation with the colleges as appropriate
  • allocation to various parts of the service of the sector's approved 'block grant' from Council
  • annual report on the past year, measured against the agreed operating statement
  • oversight of relationships between the various parts of the service, and consideration (for detailed and balanced recommendation to Council) of any proposals for restructuring
  • involvement in fundraising, strictly within overall university policy and practice
  • ongoing collaboration with the divisions and with other services.

11. General note on Committees and their Officers

The operational approach to matters falling under the aegis of each administrative body (Council, its committees, divisional boards, and their committees) would be characterised by maximum appropriate delegation and transparency. Committees would set policy frameworks (and have an overall monitoring role), and their officers would be able to take decisions as appropriate within those frameworks.

On delegation, constant attention should be given to ensuring that decisions are taken at the appropriate level. This is as important at the current stage of planning the broad operation of the new structure as it will be once that structure is in place and the detailed implications become clearer. The driving force behind the continuous review of decision-making processes should be the Registrar, working through individual administrators whose particular approach would be subject to the approval of the relevant committee.

This will involve a regular analysis of the business of each body (covering both what the body is considering and what it should be considering but isn’t), with a view to determining what further decisions could be delegated from that body, as well as what further decisions could be delegated to it (in areas in which the body hitherto has only been empowered to make recommendations to another body).

The general principle should be that authority for taking decisions should be delegated to the lowest appropriate level. This principle should apply at the structural level: Council should maximise the authority delegated to its committees, they should maximise the authority delegated to their sub-committees, the central bodies should maximise the authority delegated to the divisional boards, and the boards should maximise the authority delegated to their committees and, crucially, to their sub-units. This principle should also apply at the operational level: bodies should maximise the authority delegated to their chairmen and to their administrative officers.

On transparency and accountability, all of those concerned should be clear which body or individual is responsible for taking decisions and implementing them. When individual decisions are taken under delegated authority, they should be reported as necessary to the body which has delegated the authority; appropriate annual reports should be made to senior bodies on the general and detailed work undertaken on delegated authority; and individuals throughout the organisation should be aware not only of the decision-making mechanisms and ways of contributing to discussions, the actual decisions taken and the reasons for them, and policies and plans adopted, but also of ways of making representations and complaints about decisions taken. Transparency of material before committees is also important: papers should be short and to the point, and relevant officers should attend meetings as appropriate to provide further background and advice.

It will be essential for there to be a unified and integrated administration, servicing the central structures and the divisions and ensuring appropriate liaison, and for there to be appropriate and coherent systems to deal with e.g. planning, finance, and personnel issues at both the central and the divisional levels. The administration will have to take a proactive role in the development of policy, the development of organisational structures, and detailed management. It will need to develop and maintain appropriate mechanisms to monitor and inform the operations of the divisions, with a high priority to be given to adequate management information systems, not least on the financial side.

One key objective in this process - in addition to streamlining administration for its own sake - is to enable academic staff to devote as much as possible of their time to their mainstream duties of teaching and research, while safeguarding the principle of academic self-government. That principle does not imply that academic staff have to have detailed involvement with all aspects of routine administration - indeed the current arrangements run a serious risk of so overwhelming academic staff with questions of detail that they are prevented from giving adequate attention to their academic duties or to important management issues.

Such an approach has clear implications for the way in which academics are involved in day-to-day administration. For the majority of academics, involvement in routine administration should be reduced.

Equally there will be important implications for the administrative structures which underpin committee organisation, but these are not straightforward. Fewer committees might require fewer administrators; more streamlined committees, which delegate more business, might require more. There may well be a need for a restructuring of the administration as a whole, with careful attention to the balance between senior, middle, and junior officers, and senior clerical staff.