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UEB Blog 21.05.24

Author: Shaun Williams, Executive Director Engagement and Advancement

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  • UEB were very pleased to hear that a recent review of our credit rating by Moody’s Ratings has led to an upgrade in our credit ratings, with the outlook changed from “stable” to “positive”. The Moody’s report said the upgrades reflected the University’s “consistently strong financial performance, steady growth, excellent liquidity and skilled and conservative management.” This is a very strong vote of confidence in our University, particularly in the current economic and higher education environment.
  • UEB also noted last week’s publication by the Office for Students (OfS) of its annual review of financial sustainability, which attracted considerable media attention. The OfS found a decline in financial performance in 2022-23, with declining surplus levels, cash flow and net liquidity. The report concluded that a significantly high number of providers expect to fall into deficit in the coming years, and warned that significant uncertainties about UK and international student recruitment means the financial challenges being faced by institutions could be greater than they are currently forecasting.
  • This is of course the context in which the much-anticipated Government decision about potential changes to international students’ visas will need to be considered. Last week saw publication of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report, commissioned by the Home Secretary, which recommended that the Graduate Route should remain in place in its current form, and found no evidence of widespread abuse. The report was considered positive for the sector, with the Graduate Route playing a crucial role in ensuring the UK is an attractive destination for global talent. The Government’s response is now awaited. To what extent the Government accepts its recommendations remains to be seen, and the implications for the sector could be profound.
  • UEB were pleased to hear that our University has received a Bronze Award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which recognises commitment and support from UK employers who support those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families. This follows on from our signing of the Armed Forces Covenant last October, a mark of our position as an armed forces friendly organisation.
  • UEB were advised that later that morning we would be announcing the appointment of Emily Fingland as our new Executive Director of Communications. She will succeed Shaun Williams, Executive Director, Engagement & Advancement, who retires from the University next month, and she will join us on 2 September.
  • Finally, UEB were reminded that the 2023-24 appraisal conversation window opens on 1 June, and all staff will have their appraisals in the same 15-week period between 1 June and 15 September, which will also be an important opportunity to complete the annual conflict of interest declaration; and there was the regular review of the University Risk Register.
  • The next scheduled UEB meeting is on 4 June.
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