This communication complements the information available about the meetings of the University’s executive governing body on the Council website (behind SSO). The information available includes the meeting agendas, papers, decision notes and minutes (please note that the minutes are posted after approval at the following meeting).
Items discussed at Council on Monday 2 December included:
Annual Report from the Audit and Scrutiny Committee: 2018/19
Council received the annual report of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee for 2018/19. This report forms part of the annual accountability return which the University is required to make to the Office for Students. Council approved the letter of representation, which is required to be sent from Council to the University’s external auditors. A summary will be published on the Audit and Scrutiny Committee Report pages shortly.
Financial Statements of the University: year ending 31 July 2019
On the recommendation of the Finance Committee, Council approved the Financial Statements and Financial Forecasts for the year ending 31 July 2019. The Financial Statements are now published in full on the University’s Finance and Funding pages.
Report from the Finance Committee meeting: 13 November 2019
On the recommendation of Finance Committee, Council:
approved the Full Business Case for the Parks College (Radcliffe Science Library and Inorganic Chemistry Teaching Laboratory Redevelopment) project
approved the progress of the Parks College (Radcliffe Science Library and Inorganic Chemistry Teaching Laboratory Redevelopment) project through Gateway 2
approved the release of funding from the programme contingency.
Parks College was officially established on 7 May 2019 as a graduate society at the University of Oxford, similar to Kellogg College and St Cross College. The college is currently preparing to open for postgraduate applications in September 2020, for admission in the 2021-22 academic year.
Known as Parks College in reference to its location on Parks Road, in the heart of the University Science Area, the college will share its building with the historic Radcliffe Science Library and a new Museums Collections Teaching and Research Centre. The building is currently undergoing an extensive programme of refurbishment, which will create exceptional new spaces and facilities for teaching, study, research, public engagement and social interactions.
Find out more on the Parks College website
University response to the County Council’s Connecting Oxford proposals
Council approved submission to Oxfordshire County Council of the proposed University response to the Connecting Oxford proposals.
Connecting Oxford is a joint City Council and Oxfordshire County Council initiative aiming to improve connectivity, reduce congestion and tackle pollution in Oxford. The University welcomes the proposals but wants to support the councils to go even further with their plans.
Our response to Connecting Oxford is available in issue 5258 of Gazette on page 129. Please visit https://gazette.web.ox.ac.uk/weekly-issues to view.
Report of the General Purposes Committee meeting: 18 November 2019
Legislative proposal to amend the College Contributions Scheme
Council approved the Legislative Proposal to amend Statute XV (College Contributions Scheme, Oxford College Contributions Fund and College Accounts) and to replace the associated Council Regulations for the College Contributions Scheme. The Legislative Proposal has been put on Congregation’s agenda for 28 January 2020. If it is approved by Congregation, it will be submitted to her Majesty in Council. The Legislative Proposal is published in issue 5261 of the Gazette on pp.164-169. Please visit https://gazette.web.ox.ac.uk/weekly-issues to view.
The practice of colleges making financial contributions to priority areas for the collegiate University dates back to the late nineteenth century, when an 1877 Act of Parliament gave both Oxford and Cambridge the power to tax the colleges for University purposes. There have been various schemes adopted for a variety of purposes since then, as priority areas for investment have changed over the years in response to the evolving needs of the University.
The taxation under scheme 6, the most recent scheme, ran for ten years from 2008, ending in Hilary term 2018. The Oxford College Contributions Fund (OCCF), created under scheme 6, currently stands at £70m and is an endowment to be held in perpetuity. The ongoing purpose of the OCCF is to provide grants and loans to colleges in need of additional resource, for needs such as improving IT facilities, investment in student accommodation and enhanced library facilities.
In June 2019, Conference of Colleges produced a proposal for scheme 7, which was endorsed by Council at their meeting on 15 July 2019. Scheme 7, running from 2018/19 to 2028/29, will generate a fixed annual income as defined in the regulations. The first year’s contributions, of £3m income from the scheme matched by funding from University sources will be used to improve graduate access in colleges and PPHs. £3m of the income in each of the subsequent years will be used to make grants to build endowment in the poorest colleges, and the balance will be used to improve undergraduate access in colleges and Permanent Private Halls by supporting University-wide, evidence-based, evaluated access projects, prioritising the Opportunity Oxford and Foundation Oxford programmes.