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University Council Minutes 17 May 2022

Last updated: 17 October 2022

Minutes of the meeting held on 17 May 2022 at 9.15 am via Microsoft Teams.

Ingrid Barker
Paul Crichard A
Nicola de Iongh (Chair)
Chris Fung
Steve Gardiner
Stephen Marston
Steve Mawson A
Stephen Maycock
Charlotte McFarland (from C.22.52)
Dr Andrew Misiura
Mehjabeen Patrick
Daniel Ramsay
Dr Adeela Shafi
Pamela Sissons
Elonka Soros
David Soutter
The Rt Revd Robert Springett
Asha Sutton
Julie Walkling
Dr Peter Warry

Board Apprentices:
Julia Hopkins X

In attendance:
Professor Jackie Labbe, Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Dr Alex Ryan (for C.22.61), Director of Sustainability
Camille Stallard, Chief Financial Officer
Rob Thompson (for C.22.65), Assistant Director of Estates
Dr Nigel Wichall (for C.22.64), Director of Estates
Dr Matthew Andrews (Officer), Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Governance and Student Affairs)
Penny Gravestock (Minutes), Assistant Secretary to Council

C.22.50          Prayer
The Rt Revd Robert Springett opened the meeting with a prayer.

C.22.51          CONFIDENTIAL: Student Membership of Council (C/29/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.52          Welcome and Apologies

                     Received: apologies for absence from Paul Crichard and Steve Mawson.

C.22.53          Business of the Agenda

Noted: that it had been requested that the Chaplaincy Report (agenda item C.22.70) should be unstarred and would therefore be discussed. All other starred items would be approved or noted as stated in the papers.  It was also noted that agenda items C.22.64 and 65 would be discussed immediately after the Vice-Chancellor’s Report.

C.22.54          Declarations of Interest

Received: a declaration of interest from Dr Andrew Misiura due to his role as Chair of the local branch of the University and College Union (UCU).

C.22.55          Minutes of the meeting held on 29 March 2022 

 Resolved: that the minutes were an accurate record of the meeting held on 29 March 2022.

C.22.56          Matters Arising

Noted: that there were no matters arising.

C.22.57          Chair’s Business


Received: a verbal update from the Chair, thanking Members for their engagement at the recent Governance Workshop and noting that proposals coming out of discussions would be considered at the next meeting of Governance and Nominations Committee and then by Council at its away day in June 2022.


Received: updates from each of the Committee Chairs on key discussions held at recent meetings:

  1. Finance and General Purposes Committee, 26 April 2022;
  2. Council, Foundation, and Chaplaincy Committee, 27 April 2022;
  3. Council Chairs’ Group, 4 May 2022.


Noted: that Lord Michael Bichard had accepted the invitation to become the University’s Chancellor and that further work was underway to investigate the potential for a second Pro Chancellor.


Noted: that since the last meeting, there had been:

C.22.58          Students’ Union Update (C/30/22)

 Received and noted: the Students’ Union (SU) update, noting in particular:

  1. the plans for handover to the new Officer team for 2022/23;
  2. the increased costs in participating in the British Universities Competitive Sport (BUCS) programme, and the subsequent decision to withdraw seven teams;
  3. the success in the Varsity sports series against University of Worcester;
  4. the level of engagement in the recent Student Awards.

C.22.59          CONFIDENTIAL: Vice-Chancellor’s Report (C/31/22)


Received: a paper updating Council on major developments affecting the University since the previous meeting, highlighting in particular:

  1. recent regulatory changes and proposals announced by the Office for Students (OfS) and the Department for Education (DfE) and their implications for the University;
  2. recent published guidance by the Government for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund introduced to replace the European Union Structural Funds, noting the implications for funding for the Growth Hub;
  3. the results from the Research Excellence Framework (REF), highlighting the University’s improved results but noting that the sector had also seen improvement;
  4. the outcome of the Ofsted review of Apprenticeships, noting the rating of ‘Good’ on all aspects;
  5. the University’s results for the Graduate Outcomes survey;
  6. the latest position on pay award negotiations and industrial action.

C.22.59.2       Considered:

  1. the factors that had enabled the improvement seen in the REF results, noting the University’s more considered and coordinated approach to identifying key staff and impactful research, whilst being mindful of the time pressures on staff and how much more they could be asked to focus on such activity;
  2. potential for future REF submissions in the area of Health and Social Care;
  3. whether there were opportunities to investigate corporate sponsorship to help support the Growth Hub;
  4. sector-wide financial constraints as pay costs rose whilst student fee levels stayed the same;
  5. the potential effect of the Graduate Outcomes results on future Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) ratings.

C.22.59.3       Noted: the various developments reported in the paper.

C.22.60          Strategy Delivery Plan 2022-27 (C/32/22)


Received: a paper setting out a proposed set of milestones for the first iteration of the rolling delivery plan and the template for report in order to track progress of the University’s Strategic Plan for 2022-27. The Director of Planning highlighted:

  1. the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which would be reported regularly to Council through the year;
  2. the Key Milestones for each goal for each year of the Plan;
  3. the Annual Cycle Activities, which outlined the core activities undertaken each year to establish whether a cycle was on track with progress being RAG rated.


Considered: some further suggestions for the progress report, including the inclusion of an additional comment column to explain why a specific item was rated as ‘red’, and an additional column for the KPIs next to the ‘year-to-date actuals’ figure to indicate the percentage of the target achieved.

C.22.60.3       Resolved: Council:

  1. approved the Delivery Plan framework and agreed the milestones identified;
  2. noted the KPIs and Lead indicators.

C.22.61          Sustainability Strategy 2022-2027 (C/33/22)


Received: the Strategy for 2022-2027 to deliver the Sustainability thematic ambition for the University’s Strategic Plan. The Director of Sustainability noted the challenge of balancing increased expectations and a diversifying range of stakeholder values with the need to avoid being seen as ‘greenwashing’. It was noted that the Strategy focussed on the impact of the best competitive practice and value for the University, with Carbon Net Zero and Education for Sustainability being the most substantial aspects of the programme, and then a number of other areas for further development. 

C.22.61.2       Considered:

  1. whether there had been a way to measure the value of this activity in terms of attracting students to the University. It was reported that it was difficult to establish the impact on recruitment, but that there had been increased partnership with the marketing team and that the University’s reputation in this area could be a sway factor for potential students. It was noted, however, that establishing how students chose courses and institutions was complex and that the Communications, Marketing, and Student Recruitment team were expert in identifying recruitment drivers and how sustainability fitted into the market;
  2. whether this could be quantified by the level of resource invested compared with other institutions, noting the University’s strong position in the sector and the depth of activity undertaken;
  3. increased student perception of greenwashing;
  4. sustainability as a unique selling point for the University and opportunities to promote it within existing financial constraints, noting that it was difficult to measure the return of investment for this type of activity;
  5. changes to the reporting of estates management statistics and the impact on initiatives such as the People and Planet Awards;
  6. the need to focus activity and resource to help develop the University’s reputation;
  7. the work of the Sustainability team with the Students’ Union to encourage student engagement. The potential to develop that partnership was noted as key, for example by extending engagement in the waste and recycling programme;
  8. the need to engage students in campaigns encouraging businesses and manufacturers to reduce waste and carbon emissions;
  9. the link with the Sustainability Strategy and others in development and whether that had affected the level of aspiration. It was noted that the previous Strategy had moderated the ambition for research, and that was an area for development which would help maintain the University’s position in the sector;
  10. potential practical projects that could be investigated, such as developments in food labelling, waterless urinals, etc.

C.22.61.3       Resolved: Council reviewed and approved the Strategy.

C.22.62          CONFIDENTIAL: University Finance Strategy 2022-26 (C/34/22)

                      This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.63          CONFIDENTIAL: 2022/23 Draft Budget (C/35/22)

                      This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.64          CONFIDENTIAL: City Campus Property Progress Report (C/36/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.65          Estates Strategy 2022-2027 (C/37/22)


Received: the new Estates Strategy for 2022-2027, written to outline the contribution to the Estates Pillar of the Strategic Plan and addressing key challenges related to the University’s property portfolio and the facilities services provided. The Assistant Director of Estates highlighted:

  1. the key theme of supporting growth and balancing estate usage;
  2. the quality of the campus experience;
  3. the focus on carbon saving projects to support the University’s reputation in environmental sustainability;
  4. the University’s civic role, shown in the development of the City Campus and links with the local community;
  5. the need to maximise efficiencies;
  6. the proposed stretching, but achievable, key performance indicators.

C.22.65.2       Considered:

  1. a hypothetical question about potential priorities if the City Campus development was not underway. It was noted that there would be a challenge to rebalance the space management of the existing campuses to accommodate areas of growth, and also to undertake further work on developing ‘sticky’ campuses to encourage students to stay on site;
  2. potential opportunities to ask students what would encourage them to stay on campus, noting that key themes and how they could be applied had been discussed with the Students’ Union;
  3. whether there were opportunities for local businesses to tender for catering contracts at the City Campus.

C.22.65.3       Resolved: Council reviewed and approved the Estates Strategy document.

C.22.66          CONFIDENTIAL: Student Retention (C/38/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.67          Council Away Day Programme 2022 (C/39/22)


Received and considered: the programme for the Council Away Day to be held on 27 and 28 June 2022 at the Oxstalls Campus in Gloucester.

C.22.67.2       Noted:

  1. the opportunity to discuss some of the new thematic reviews on the first day, prior to presentation at the business meeting for approval;
  2. the session on business engagement and the skills agenda;
  3. a separate meeting for External Members of Council to discuss effective governance behaviours;
  4. a session on the second day to consider the incorporation of the Advance HE Board Diversity Toolkit;
  5. the opportunity for Council Members to use the dinner to get to know each other better.  

C.22.68          Annual Sustainability Report 2020-2021* (C/40/22)

Received and noted: Council reviewed the Annual Sustainability Report for 2020-21, and noted that a separate briefing session would be arranged for further discussion.

C.22.69          CONFIDENTIAL: March Finance Report* (C/41/22)

This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.70          Chaplaincy Report* (C/42/22)

C.22.70.1       Received and noted: the Annual Chaplaincy Report.

C.22.70.2       Considered:

  1. the wisdom and maturity that Revd Simon Witcombe had brought to the Chaplaincy;
  2. the range of activities undertaken by the Chaplaincy team, noting particularly that work was not restricted to those who defined themselves as Christian, and the support around mental health and belonging;
  3. the level of trust that students often had in chaplains compared with other professionals;
  4. the need to acknowledge the importance of the work in the University’s marketing, particularly for the support of international students;
  5. the success in the recent International Student Barometer where the University’s Chaplaincy had come in first place;
  6. discussions at the Council, Foundation, and Chaplaincy Committee around the role of the Foundation Fellows.

C.22.71          Council Schedule of Business* (C/43/22)

                     Noted: the Schedule of Business.

C.22.72          Minutes from Council Committees*

                     Noted: that the minutes from the following meetings would be available from

  1. Finance and General Purposes Committee, 26 April 2022;
  2. Council, Foundation, and Chaplaincy Committee, 27 April 2022.

C.22.73          Any Other Business

                     No other business was raised.

C.22.74          Date of Next Meeting

Council away day: Monday, 27 June and Tuesday, 28 June 2022 at Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester.

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