The University of Southampton
UEB Blog

UEB Blog 26.03.24

Author: Shaun Williams, Executive Director Engagement and Advancement

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  • UEB were pleased to hear that we have now successfully exchanged and completed on our purchase from the City Council of the freehold of the One Guildhall Square building (1GS) in the city centre, in support of the University’s size and shape ambitions and delivery of the Estates Transformation Plan. This acquisition, along with the Sir James Matthews building, the John Hansard Gallery, and the Mayflower halls of residence, gives us a substantial footprint in the city centre as part of what we are now calling our City Centre Campus, a classification which UEB heard has now also received formal Office for Students approval.
  • The Vice-Chancellor reported that he had taken great pleasure in formally opening the new home for the Southampton Business School in the former Lloyd’s Register building on the Boldrewood Innovation campus. He reported it has the feel of a top class international business school, and he hoped its staff and students would be very happy there. Future UEB and Council meetings will be held there to ensure wider awareness of its facilities.
  • The Vice-Chancellor reported that he would this week be concluding his round of more than 30 Town Halls across our schools and Professional Services to update colleagues on progress with delivery of the University Strategy. He said he was very grateful to those who had organised the events, and was greatly heartened by the significant attendance and positive engagement at the meetings. He hoped colleagues had found them useful and interesting. UEB noted that links to the slides used would be sent out mid-week in a summary email from the Vice-Chancellor
  • UEB received an update on the Reducing Casualisation Strategic Major Project and recommended its progression to the next phase of the project life cycle. This project, a major strand of our People Strategic Plan, has as its primary goal to reduce the use of casual contracts at the University and to ensure that, over a five-year period, the only staff who are employed on fixed-term contracts (FTCs) are those whose contract length is for less than four years (which will be re-examined once this has been achieved), or where a FTC can be fully justified using agreed criteria. In addition, it will look at how we appoint hourly paid lecturers and students, and it will seek to provide clear guidance on when casual workers should be used. This would thereby enhance job security, promote fair employment practices, and make the University an employer of choice. UEB thanked those working in support of a very complex project, and one we know is of great interest to members of our community.
  • UEB had a full discussion about a paper setting out initial proposals to reform and improve the effectiveness of the University’s planning processes. The current business planning process focusses largely on resource allocation, forecasting and budgeting with little focus on developing performance and strategy. An enhanced, centrally coordinated strategic planning process will be introduced which adopts a new approach which integrates a greater degree of performance development and scrutiny into the process. UEB supported the direction of travel. 
  • Finally, there was the regular review of the University Risk Register, which had seen no changes since its last review. 
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