Annexe: Proposed new structure

The following paper comprises:

1. A diagram of the proposed new organisational structure (7kb)

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

(a) 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;

(b) 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 of members at a meeting of Congregation required to vote in favour of a resolution for it to be binding: the working party supports these recommendations.

2.2 Council

a) the single overarching executive and policy-making body;

(b) 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 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 and of small units and interdisciplinary activities within the University:

  • 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, and making recommendations to Council in connection with these plans and statements and proposing an annual budget;
  • developing resource allocation methods, in consultation with all interested parties;
  • 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);
  • developing, in the light of the views of the divisions and their sub-units, the University's overall policy on research and its research strategy;
  • oversight of arrangements to deal with the implications of the settlement on college fees, in the light of detailed submissions from the collegiate sector and having regard to decisions taken on the report of the joint working party currently discussing issues in this area;
  • 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, and reporting annually to Council and Congregation on progress on these matters.

2.5 Educational Policy and Standards Committee

under Council, consideration and development of policy on broad educational matters relating to (i) undergraduate studies and (ii) graduate studies, such as the structure and organisation of degree courses, teaching methods, educational development of teaching staff, examination methods, equal opportunities in student matters, undergraduate and graduate admissions policy and access in general, 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 their sub-units 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 subcommittee with balanced college and university representation to deal with contractual and procedural matters involving liaison between the University and the colleges;
  • 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 recommended 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), one member elected by the Conference of Colleges, the Proctors and the Assessor, two external members (to be nominated by Council, and whose appointment would be subject to the approval of Congregation), three junior member observers, and 15 other members comprising heads of divisions and elected members, six from the arts, six from the sciences, and three from a non-divisional constituency: in respect of the arts and sciences, the six would be elected by Congregation from the relevant constituency, save that that number would be reduced by one in respect of each division, the head of which would serve ex officio. Council would have the power to co-opt up to three 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, and 10 other members, to include all heads of divisions as well as others appointed from the directly elected members of Council to secure an appropriate balance between the arts, the sciences, and the non-divisional constituency. The committee would have the power to co-opt a further member (with the approval of Council) to ensure that it adequately reflected the range of interests in the collegiate University. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) would be the vice-chairman of this committee.

3.4 Educational Policy and Standards Committee

The Vice-Chancellor or his nominee (Chairman), the Proctors and the Assessor, the Chairmen of the Senior Tutors' Committee and the Committee of Tutors for Graduates, four of the directly elected members of Council, and one member appointed by the Joint Undergraduate Admissions Committee. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) would chair this committee.

3.5 General Purposes Committee

The Vice-Chancellor (Chairman), the Chairman of the Conference of Colleges, the Proctors and the Assessor, and eight other members, to include all heads of divisions as well as others appointed from the directly elected members of Council to secure an appropriate balance between the arts, the sciences, and the non-divisional constituency.

3.6 Personnel Committee

Two members of Council (one of whom would chair the committee), all heads of divisions, one individual appointed by each divisional board, the Chairman of the Senior Tutors' Committee ex officio, the Proctors and the Assessor, and up to seven co-opted members to ensure that the committee reflects the range of interests and concerns in university departments and faculties, the colleges, 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 will or 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. Some, like the Health and Safety Committee, would report direct to Council; others, depending on their precise role, might become subcommittees 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 Committee on Statutes before the Privy Council) 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
  • Health and Safety Committee
  • International Committee
  • IT Committee/Administrative Information Services Committee
  • Libraries Committee
  • Committee on Statutes before the Privy Council
  • University Security Committee

4.2 The business of the following committees would relate principally to the major 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 - Educational Policy and Standards 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 - General Purposes 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 - General Purposes Committee/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 - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Estates Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Equal Opportunities Committee - General Purposes 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
  • Higher Appointments Committee - Personnel Committee
  • Investment Committee - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee
  • Joint Committee for the Regulation of University/College Appointments - Planning and Resource Allocation Committee/Personnel Committee
  • Joint Committee of Council with Junior Members - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Joint Committee of the General Board with Junior Members about Graduate Affairs - Educational Policy and Standards Committee
  • Joint Committee of the General Board 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
  • Telecommunications Committee - IT 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 (and, in the case of the financial responsibilities of the Research and Equipment Committee, to the academic services committees as well), 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 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. The working party is aware that in some areas (e.g. Archaeology, and area studies in general) the academic interests of teachers and researchers, and the subjects studied by students, will relate to more than one division. The allocations below are for the formal purpose of indicating to which division such areas would primarily relate (and usually reflect the academic discipline of the (very few) academic staff in the particular unit). This would not affect the ability of those teaching in such areas to contribute to the work of faculties and sub-faculties in other divisions, or, crucially, the ability of interdisciplinary activities to organise themselves across divisional boundaries and to relate to, to collaborate with, and to be allocated resources by, more than one division. Interdivisional contacts in particular areas of common interest would be encouraged, for example between relevant parts of Chemistry and Life and Environmental Sciences and Medical Sciences. Interdivisional links in the arts would be required, not least to deal with certain joint schools, if there are to be separate Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions: the formal terms of reference of the divisions and the composition of the divisional boards make specific provision to safeguard the interests of interdisciplinary activities and, in the arts, of area studies. The working party would also support any step the existing area studies inter-faculty committees might take for their chairmen to meet regularly to promote their common interests.

5.1 Humanities

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

5.2 Social Sciences

  • Applied Social Studies
  • African Studies
  • Brazilian Studies
  • Economics
  • Educational Studies
  • Japanese Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Law
  • Management Studies
  • Politics
  • Queen Elizabeth House
  • Slavonic and East European Studies
  • Sociology
  • South Asian Studies

5.3 Arts

If the arts are not divided into Humanities and Social Sciences, all of the units covered by sections 5.1 and 5.2 above would be covered by an Arts Division.

5.4 Life and Environmental Sciences

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Biochemistry
  • Geography
  • Plant Sciences
  • Zoology

5.5 Mathematical and Physical Sciences

  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences
  • Engineering Science
  • Materials
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics

5.6 Medical Sciences

  • Clinical Medicine
  • Human Anatomy
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Psychology

5.7 Continuing Education

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

6. Relative sizes of the proposed new divisions

7. Roles of the proposed new divisions

  • oversight of the organisation, development, and delivery of curricula (with a particular focus on graduate as well as undergraduate studies), in collaboration with the colleges, and oversight and development of the general context for research, in the broad subject area, in close consultation with sub-units and subject to plans, policies, and guidelines set by Council and its committees;
  • development and proposal, in collaboration with the colleges, sub-units, and the academic services sector, of comprehensive and detailed strategic five-year plans and one-year operating statements covering academic, financial, information technology, physical resource, and staffing issues, bearing in mind the particular needs of small units and interdisciplinary activities;
  • within the context of approved plans and statements, and of overall university policies, overall oversight of and responsibility for all matters concerning budgets, space, syllabus, and staffing, across the sub-units of the division, in consultation with the colleges as appropriate; divisions will however devolve to the sub-units day-to-day operational responsibility for these matters, in the context of local plans and budgets delegated for that purpose, and will monitor the work of the sub-units against those plans and budgets;
  • annual report to Council on the past year, measured against the agreed operating statement;
  • periodic strategic reviews of particular sub-units;
  • approval of appointments and reappointments of academic staff made by sub-units (i.e. not including statutory posts), and of appointment of heads of department, consideration of proposals from sub-units on the salaries of lecturers within the incremental scale, and keeping under review the general terms and conditions of employment of academic staff in the broad subject area;
  • settling college associations for new and vacant academic posts, on the recommendation of sub-units following liaison with colleges;
  • ensuring the maintenance of educational quality and standards in the broad subject area;
  • considering reports of examiners, including external examiners, on the advice of the relevant sub-unit(s);
  • oversight of relationships between sub-units, and consideration (for detailed and balanced recommendation to Council) of any proposals to reorganise sub-units;
  • relations with the colleges at the strategic and the broad subject level, and in cases where individual problems cannot be resolved between colleges and the University at the sub-unit level;
  • relations with other divisions on matters of common interest;
  • relations with the Committee on Continuing Education (and the Committee for Educational Studies where appropriate) on matters of common interest and in all cases where planned developments relate to part-time provision, outreach, or other continuing education activities;
  • relations with the academic services sector at the broad subject level;
  • relations with external funding agencies, bearing in mind overall university policies and practice;
  • oversight of fund raising in the broad subject area, strictly within overall university policy and practice;
  • regular review of the scope for the further delegation of authority from the centre to the divisions and from the divisions to the sub-units.

Divisions would be run by divisional boards, chaired by heads of division: the boards would have committees or other sub-structures as they deemed appropriate for drawing together at the broad divisional level, in the light of the needs and views of the sub-units, issues such as planning, finance, fund raising, research strategy, staffing, graduate studies, undergraduate studies, and general purposes. Divisions might have other officers as well as the heads of division, including deputy heads and directors of graduate studies. Careful thought is being 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, budget and finance, personnel, and space planning, to be provided from within functional teams in the central administration.

8. Divisional structures

Heads of division would be appointed by a committee comprising (a) the Vice-Chancellor (Chairman); (b) two members appointed by Council; (c) two members appointed by the divisional board. Appointment would follow a selection process carried out on the basis of formal applications to be considered against clear selection criteria. Those considered would not be limited to those applying, but all of those under consideration would be treated consistently. Appointment would be on a full-time basis (though heads would be positively and practically encouraged to continue their academic work) and would be for five years. The heads of division would have support and office facilities both in the central administration and on divisional sites. Council would be able to remove a head of division from that office after due process. Heads of department would emerge from consultation within departments as at present, the appointment to be approved by the divisional board. Chairmen of faculty boards and faculties and sub-faculties would be elected by those bodies, as at present. Attention would be given to preparing potential candidates for headships of divisions and sub-units, and as appropriate to arrangements for their re-entry into academic work after they demit office.

The heads of divisions would chair divisional boards, membership of which might be as follows. (NB. The grouping of faculties below would have no other implication than the creation of constituencies for elections to these bodies. Moreover, references to current faculties, sub-faculties, and departments should not imply that these could not necessarily, in the short or long term, be replaced by more appropriate constituencies consequent upon possible changes in organisation at the subject level.)

8.1 Humanities

(a) Head of division (ex officio);

(b) three members elected by and from each of the following five constituencies:

  • Faculty of English Language and Literature;
  • Faculty of Literae Humaniores;
  • Faculty of Modern History;
  • Faculty of Modern Languages;
  • Faculty of Music, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Faculty of Theology;

(c) one member appointed by the Conference of Colleges from the members of the faculties and sub-faculties covered by the board;

(d) up to two members co-opted by the divisional board to ensure that the range of activities and concerns in the broad subject area (not least in area studies) is represented;

(e) two junior member observers (one undergraduate, one postgraduate).

8.2 Social Sciences

(a) Head of division (ex officio);

(b) three members elected by and from each of the following four constituencies:

  • Faculty of Law;
  • Faculty of Management Studies;
  • Sub-faculty of Economics;
  • Sub-faculty of Politics and Sub-faculty of Sociology;

(c) one member appointed or elected by and from each of the following two departments:

  • Educational Studies;
  • Queen Elizabeth House;

(d) one member appointed by the Conference of Colleges from among the members of the faculties, sub-faculties, and departments covered by the board;

(e) up to two members co-opted by the divisional board to ensure that the range of activities and concerns in the broad subject area (not least in area studies) is represented;

(f) two junior member observers (one undergraduate, one postgraduate).

8.3 Arts

(a) Head of division (ex officio);

(b) two members elected by and from each of the following seven constituencies:

  • Faculty of English Language and Literature;
  • Faculty of Literae Humaniores;
  • Faculty of Law and Faculty of Management Studies;
  • Faculty of Modern History;
  • Faculty of Modern Languages;
  • Faculty of Music, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Faculty of Theology;
  • Faculty of Social Studies;

(c) one member appointed by the Conference of Colleges from among the members of the faculties and sub-faculties covered by the board;

(d) up to two members co-opted by the divisional board to ensure that the range of activities and concerns in the broad subject area (not least in area studies) is represented;

(e) two junior member observers (one undergraduate, one postgraduate).

8.4 Life and Environmental Sciences

(a) Head of division (ex officio);

(b) two members elected by and from each of the following five constituencies:

  • Sub-faculty of Anthropology;
  • Department of Biochemistry;
  • Sub-faculty of Geography;
  • Department of Plant Sciences;
  • Department of Zoology;

(c) one member appointed by the Conference of Colleges from among the members of the sub-faculties and departments covered by the board;

(d) up to two members co-opted by the divisional board to ensure that the range of activities and concerns in the broad subject area is represented;

(e) two junior member observers (one undergraduate, one postgraduate).

8.5 Mathematical and Physical Sciences

(a) Head of division (ex officio);

(b) three members elected by and from each of the following four constituencies:

  • Sub-faculty of Chemistry;
  • Sub-faculty of Engineering Science;
  • Faculty of Mathematical Sciences;
  • Sub-faculty of Physics;

(c) two members elected by and from each of the following two constituencies:

  • Sub-faculty of Earth Sciences;
  • Sub-faculty of Materials;

(d) one member appointed by the Conference of Colleges from among the members of the faculties and sub-faculties covered by the board;

(e) up to two members co-opted by the divisional board to ensure that the range of activities and concerns in the broad subject area is represented;

(f) two junior member observers (one undergraduate, one postgraduate).

8.6 Medical Sciences

(a) Head of division (ex officio);

(b) Regius Professor/Dean of Medicine;

(c) seven members elected by and from each of:

  • the Faculty of Clinical Medicine; and
  • the Faculties of Physiological Sciences and Psychological Studies;

(d) the Chief Executive of the major NHS trust;

(e) one member appointed by the Conference of Colleges from among the members of the faculties covered by the board;

(f) up to two members co-opted by the divisional board to ensure that the range of activities and concerns in the broad subject area is represented;

(g) two junior member observers (one undergraduate, one postgraduate).

8.7 General

The working party expects that very often those elected to divisional boards by faculties or groupings of faculties will include heads of departments and chairman of faculty boards: but it attaches importance to an open democratic process and would therefore not wish such individuals to be appointed ex officio.

The Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Library Services and Bodley's Librarian, the Vice-Chairman of the IT Committee, the Chairman of the Museums Committee, and the Director of the Department for Continuing Education would be sent all of the papers circulated to all boards, and any of them or their nominees could attend for the discussion of any item (but not vote).

9. Roles of 'sub-units' under the divisional boards

It will be for individual subject areas to determine the appropriate structures for the management and administration of academic matters at the local level, and the working party notes that these structures will in many cases continue broadly to comprise departments in the sciences and faculty boards in the arts, with a potentially important role too for faculties and sub-faculties, and for emerging departments in the arts and social sciences.

These sub-units will in general have regard to the traditional democratic approach to decision making in Oxford (and to the academic freedom of their staff); and will in general have delegated authority, and delegated resources, to take and implement decisions within the context of plans and operating statements approved by Council and its committees and by the divisional board, and subject to overall university policies and procedures.

Specifically they will

  • advise the divisional board on relevant elements of the proposed five-year plans and one-year operating statements by developing their own proposals, covering academic matters (with a particular focus on graduate as well as undergraduate studies), and financial, information technology, physical resource, and staffing issues;
  • have operational responsibility for academic, financial, information technology, physical resource, and staffing issues in their particular area;
  • organise teaching and research at the sub-unit level, including approved local variations of the detailed elements of academic staff contracts, in close consultation with the colleges;
  • develop their own research strategies and contribute to the development of divisional and university research policy;
  • elect their own academic officers (subject to approval by the divisional board of the appointment of heads of department);
  • propose college associations for new and vacant posts, in consultation with colleges;
  • make appointments and reappointments to academic posts (except statutory posts), subject to approval by or on behalf of the divisional board;
  • make appointments and reappointments to all other posts;
  • grant leave to academic staff, subject to approval by or on behalf of the divisional board;
  • grant leave to academic and other staff to hold outside appointments and to apply for external research awards;
  • liaise with other sub-units, colleges, the academic services, and the Committee on Continuing Education on day-to-day local (as opposed to ‘regional’) matters;
  • have operational responsibility for quality assurance at the level of the sub-unit;
  • be fully involved in fund raising at the level of the subject, strictly within overall university policy and practice;
  • make detailed changes to syllabus arrangements;
  • deal with all individual graduate student matters;
  • be responsible for the appraisal of academic staff;
  • make annual reports to the divisional board on the work of the sub-unit, measured against the agreed operating statement;
  • keep under regular review the extent to which greater power and authority might be delegated to them from the divisional level.

10. Roles of the Academic Services

In general, the role of each service 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 its approved budget 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 fund raising, 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 subcommittees, 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.