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University Council

University Council Minutes 29 November 2022

Last updated: 26 July 2023

Minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2022 at 9.15 am via Microsoft Teams.


In attendance:

C.22.135        Prayer
The Rt Revd Robert Springett opened the meeting with a prayer.

C.22.136        Welcome and Apologies


  1. that there were no apologies for absence;
  2. that it was the first meeting of Council for Dr Louise Livesey, Joe Sucksmith, and Prof Sarah Jones, and each of them were invited to introduce themselves.

C.22.137        Business of the Agenda

                     Noted: that there had been no requests to unstar any items on the agenda and that therefore papers C/96/22 to C/108/22 would be approved or noted as stated.

C.22.138        Declarations of Interest

                     Received: the following declared interests:

  1. from Dr Louise Livesey for the industrial relations section of the Vice-Chancellor’s Report under item C.22.143 due to her role as a representative for UCU at the University. It was also noted that Dr Livesey was Co-Chair of Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre;
  2. from Joe Sucksmith for the item related to industrial relations due to his role as Convenor of Unison at the University;
  3. from Steve Mawson due to his role at the City Council, and it was noted that he would step out of the meeting for any discussions where there would be a conflict of interests.

                     The Chair noted that both Dr Louise Livesey and Joe Sucksmith would stay for the industrial relations item, but would not participate in discussions due to the potential conflict of interests with their roles with the Trades Unions.

C.22.139        Minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2022

                     Resolved: that the minutes were an accurate record of the meeting held on 4 October 2022.

C.22.140        Matters Arising (C/61/22)


  1. the matters arising as outlined in the paper;
  2. that a briefing session would be arranged for Prof Susan Lea to present the findings from the recent Strategy Review prior to the final report being circulated to members of Council and the Executive.

C.22.141        Chair’s Business

C.22.141.1     Noted:

  1. the success of the recent Graduation Ceremonies. Council thanked all those involved;
  2. that, since the previous meeting, there had been one use of the Company Seal on 28 November 2022 for a deed of variation and supplemental agreement between the University and Gloucestershire County Council;
  3. that there had been no exercise of delegation nor any decision made via circulation since the previous meeting.

C.22.141.2     Received: updates from each of the Committee Chairs on key discussions held at the following  meetings:

  1. Council Chairs’ Group, 14 October and 9 November 2022;
  2. Finance and General Purposes Committee, 1 November 2022;
  3. Audit and Risk Committee, 4 November 2022;
  4. Council, Foundation, and Chaplaincy Committee, 28 November 2022.

C.22.142        Students’ Union Update (C/85/22)

C.22.142.1     Received: an update from the Students’ Union (SU) that summarised recent activity and updates on priority campaigns. The following were highlighted:

  1. the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and the type of support that students were seeking, noting the request to Council and the Executive to consider carefully where revenue was being raised from students;
  2. the success of the free breakfast stations set up in partnership with the University;
  3. the ‘Access All Areas’ campaign to improve international students’ access to their education, social and cultural experiences at the University, noting in particular the need for fee transparency;
  4. the ‘#NeverOK’ campaign with work reaching out to the night-time economy to survey practice on safety measures.

C.22.142.2     Considered:

  1. feedback received from students regarding financial issues, noting particular concerns regarding rents;
  2. work done through research and discussions held with the Trades Unions to ensure that a balanced view of the University’s financial situation and industrial action was achieved;
  3. the Students’ Union decision to not show World Cup games in its spaces on campus and the potential impact on revenue. It was noted that the Union did not normally show many sports matches unless particularly requested by a society.

C.22.142.3     Resolved: Council:

  1. reviewed and responded to current work undertaken by the Students’ Union;
  2. noted the opportunity to offer suggestion and support for ongoing work throughout the year, with particular attention to priority campaigns.

C.22.143        CONFIDENTIAL: Vice-Chancellor’s Report (C/86/22)

C.22.143.1     Received: a paper updating Council on major developments affecting the University since the previous meeting, highlighting in particular:

  1. higher education policy developments, noting media interest in international student recruitment;
  2. the Strategy Review underway and the need to consider outcomes alongside the financial forecasts and savings assumptions being considered by Council later in the meeting;
  3. the latest situation regarding pay and industrial action.

C.22.143.2     This item was discussed under Confidential Business.

C.22.143.3     Noted: the developments reported in the paper.

C.22.144        Annual Financial Statements for y/e 31 July 2022 (C/87/22)

C.22.144.1     Received: the financial statements that presented results for the year ended 31 July 2022. The Chief Financial Officer outlined the key financial highlights for the year, and reminded Council of its responsibilities as outlined in the corporate governance statement.

C.22.144.2     Considered: the statement in paragraph 5 of the Operating and Financial Review that growth was fully achievable. In light of current trends in student recruitment, it was suggested that the statement should be revised as follows: ‘We believe that growth of that order is challenging but should be achievable’.

C.22.144.3     Resolved: Council approved:

  1. the consolidated Financial Statements for the University of Gloucestershire for the year ended 31 July 2022 which had previously been considered by Audit and Risk and Finance and General Purposes Committees;
  2. the Letter of Representation to the auditors for the year ended 31 July 2022.

C.22.145        External Audit Findings Report (C/88/22)

C.22.145.1     Received: the External Auditors Findings report, produced to highlight key issues affecting the results of the University and the preparation of the Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2022.

C.22.145.2     Considered: the size of the financial team as mentioned in the report, noting that no concerns had been raised, but that there were not enough staff to segregate duties.

C.22.145.3     Resolved: Council received and noted the report and recommended its submission to the Office for Students. 

C.22.146        Internal Audit Report for 2021/22 (C/89/22)

C.22.146.1     Received: the Internal Audit Report setting out the opinion of Internal Audit on the ‘adequacy and effectiveness of the University’s framework of risk management, control, and governance, and value for money’.

C.22.146.2     Considered: the need to ensure investment in the infrastructure to support new areas of business. It was noted that in the case of apprenticeships, the University had built the infrastructure and associated costs in line with the growing income and that further development was ongoing.

C.22.146.3     Resolved: Council received and noted the Internal Audit Report for 2021/22. 

C.22.147        Audit and Risk Committee Annual Report 2021/22 (C/90/22)

C.22.147.1     Received: the report from the Audit and Risk Committee to provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of institutional arrangements for: risk management, control, and governance; and economy, efficiency, and effectiveness.

C.22.147.2     Resolved: Council received and approved the Annual Report and agreed that it should be forwarded to the Office for Students. 

C.22.148        CONFIDENTIAL: September Finance Report (C/91/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.149        CONFIDENTIAL: Financial Forecasts

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.149.1     OfS Long-term Forecast (C/92a/22)

C.22.149.2     Long-term Forecast and Scenarios (C/92b/22)

C.22.149.3     Internal Audit Review of Forecasts (C/92c/22)

C.22.150        CONFIDENTIAL: City Campus Property Progress Report (C/93/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.151        Annual Assurance Statement 2021/22 (C/94/22)

C.22.151.1     Received: a paper that provided Council with assurance of the academic quality and standards of the University’s awards. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Governance and Student Affairs) noted the revised format of the report compared with previous years and the assurance received from external sources.

C.22.151.2     Considered:

  1. the opportunity to present benchmarking data to compare the University against the sector;
  2. the need for supporting commentary where areas of activity were rated as red;
  3. that there was no reference to ‘value added’ in the report despite it being a key metric in some league tables and of interest in the Teaching Excellence Framework. It was noted that there was no single method for calculating value added agreed across the sector;
  4. a concern raised regarding the challenge for the University to fulfil its strategic aim to reduce and remove barriers and to provide continual support to all students. It was noted that those coming from different backgrounds may need more help to enable them to flourish which would be challenging in light of the financial situation;
  5. potential subjects for consideration at the joint meeting with Academic Board to be held on 7 February 2023.

C.22.151.3     Resolved: Council received and considered the report as assurance concerning the University’s quality and standards. Council recommended the following potential subjects for the joint meeting with Academic Board in February 2023:

  1. the University’s Growth Plan and financial viability;
  2. League Table positions and the University’s response.

C.22.152        CONFIDENTIAL: Annual Report: Apprenticeships (C/95/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.153        Re-appointment of External Auditors* (C/96/22)

                     Resolved: Council approved the reappointment of Grant Thornton UK LLP as the Company’s external auditors for 2022/23 and for remuneration to be agreed by the Audit and Risk Committee.

C.22.154        Modern Slavery Act 2015 – Annual Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement (C/97/22)

                     Resolved: Council considered and approved the Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement for publication and noted that it would be signed by the Chair of Council once approved.

C.22.155        Register of People with Significant Control* (C/98/22)

                     Resolved: Councilconfirmed that its Register of People with Significant Control as maintained with Companies House would remain the same as the University’s position had not changed since November 2021.

C.22.156        CONFIDENTIAL: City Campus Building Contract* (C/99/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.157        Value for Money Statement 2022* (C/100/22)

                     Noted: the Value for Money Statement.

C.22.158        Degree Outcomes Statement* (C/101/22)

                     Received and noted: the Degree Outcomes Statement. Council did not advise any suggested changes before publication.

C.22.159        CONFIDENTIAL: Annual Report of Academic Appeals, Student Complaints, Fitness to Practise, and Assessment Offences 2021/22* (C/102/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.160        CONFIDENTIAL: Annual Report: Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (C/103/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.161        Prevent Strategy/Duty: Annual Report 2021/22* (C/104/22)

                     Noted: the annual report which offered assurance regarding the Prevent Duty-related activity that had taken place through 2021/22. Council acknowledged the data outlined within the report, which would then enable the Vice-Chancellor to sign the annual accountability statement.

C.22.162        CONFIDENTIAL: Annual Insurance Report – 2021/22* (C/105/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.163        CONFIDENTIAL: Procurement Annual Report – 2021/22* (C/106/22)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.164        Health and Safety Annual Report 2021/22* (C/107/22)

                     Noted: the contents of the Annual Health & Safety Report for 2021-2022.

C.22.165        Council Schedule of Business* (C/108/22)

                     Noted: the Schedule of Business, and that Council had considered and advised on suggested topics for the joint meeting with Academic Board in February 2023 (C.22.151.3 refers).

C.22.166        Minutes from Council Committees*

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

  1. Remuneration and Human Resources Committee, 4 October 2022;
  2. Finance and General Purposes Committee, 1 November 2022;
  3. Audit and Risk Committee, 4 November 2022;
  4. Council, Foundation, and Chaplaincy Committee, 28 November 2022.

C.22.167        Any Other Business

                     Noted: the Chair thanked Elonka Soros for the recent workshop held at the University, and reminded members of the upcoming Carol Service being held on 7 December 2022.

C.22.168        Date of Next Meeting

                     Tuesday, 7 February 2023 at 9.15 am (in FW015, Fullwood House, Park Campus). It was noted that it would include the joint meeting with Academic Board.

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