13th September 2017

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Integrated Reporting in HE takes another step Matt Sisson

Over the last year BUFDG has undertaken two different projects to introduce and develop the Integrated Reporting (IR) framework in Higher Education. At a time when Higher Education Institutions need to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, BUFDG and many of its members feel that IR offers a structure that can help. Using the International IR Framework and looking at the six capitals – financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and relationship, and natural – can help university managers, academics and governors approach “the value question” in a more holistic way.

For phase one, BUFDG used an abridged framework to assess the 2014/15 annual reports of six universities, and published the findings alongside the developed framework. In phase two, BUFDG and four universities agreed to join the IR Network, and a Specialist Panel, convened by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), reviewed universities’ 2015/16 annual reports and financial statements. You can download and read the above reports using the embedded links.

The baton has now been passed to the Leadership Foundation (LFHE), which is building on BUFDG’s work and running a new IR project over the next year. The LFHE project will bring together university leaders from a range of backgrounds and professions to further develop the ideas and implementation of integrated reporting and thinking in HE, and how it can be used across institutions to enhance and communicate value. There’s more about the project on the LFHE website. If you’d like to find out more, or if your institution would like to get involved, contact project coordinator Kim Ansell.

HMRC Personal Tax Accounts Amanda Darley

For anyone who missed the information on our website over the summer, HMRC has provided us with some information and documents regarding how the new Personal Tax Accounts can not only help employees pay the right tax at the right time, but can also help employers by reducing queries directed to university payroll departments. The information and posters and flyers you can use to promote the benefits of Personal Tax Accounts to your employees are available on our website here..

HEFCE change VfM reporting for 16/17 data Matt Sisson

From HEFCE - "In a change to previous years, HEFCE will not be asking publicly funded higher education institutions (HEIs) to submit ‘value for money’ reports in December as part of the annual accountability returns process. Instead, HEFCE will require all HEFCE-funded HEIs (not further education colleges) to submit an annual efficiency return – a more targeted collection of data on efficiencies realised in the 2016-17 academic year – by 31 January 2018.

HEFCE will still expect each HEI to consider internal reporting on value for money as part of management and governance processes and appropriate to each HEI’s circumstances. We will shortly publish the findings of a review of the value for money reports submitted for 2015-16, which HEIs may find helpful for their internal reporting. However, it will not be necessary to submit full value for money reports to HEFCE. Further guidance on the new annual efficiency return, including the return template, will be issued in October. For further information contact Matthew Davey."

BUFDG and HEPA are currently working with HEFCE to smooth out any potential wrinkles with the new report. We'll keep updating the sector as and when we have more information.

Jisc Blog posts – Information security Emma Keenan

As part of its work towards gaining ISO 27001, JISC have had to explore, review, understand and improve how they deal with information security issues in products and services they obtain from suppliers. They have created a series of blog posts telling the story of how they are doing this and have kindly shared these in order that others can benefit from their experiences. The issues and lessons learned are applicable to all universities and many other sector organisations. 

Information Security Management - suppliers and policy

Information Security Management by Suppliers

Suppliers and Encryption

Suppliers and Vulnerability Management

If you have any questions please do contact the author of the articles James Davies, Information Security Manager at Jisc. 

Future Professional Directors Programme Rachel McLone

Applications for the 2018 Future Professional Directors programme (run by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education) are now open. This programme has been designed in partnership with sector bodies to create a unique programme for aspiring leaders of professional services from all areas of a university. The programme is suitable for those that have demonstrated strong leadership potential in their current role and for those aspiring to director roles or equivalent. 

To find out more about the programme and to apply, click here. The application deadline is Friday 23rd February 2018. For any queries, please contact Rachel

Import preference procedures Amanda Darley

Since the introduction of the Union Customs Code in May 2016, HMRC has introduced annual limits to the number of times certain import preference procedures (notably Inward Processing Relief - IPR) can be used. However, we understand that these new limits are not part of the UCC itself but are imposed by HMRC (and can therefore be amended by HMRC). While many universities may not use these procedures, some do, and find them very helpful and the limits on using them are already proving difficult in a couple of universities.

We want to find out how well used these procedures are within the HE sector and how difficult the new limits are going to be for universities to see if it is worth approaching HMRC regarding this. We would therefore be grateful if you could complete our short survey here. For more information, please see our full article.

Its not just about writing a statement… Emma Keenan

At the recent Conference on University Purchasing (COUP), Angus Warren, APUC and Andy Davies, LUPC presented some hard-hitting information on the subject of Modern Slavery. Revealing that the number of victims is now estimated to be up to 21,000,000 (double the total number of African people who were direct victims of the Atlantic slave trade in the period 1650 – 1900), they showed a ten minute long factual but hard to watch video from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority. I strongly recommend you watch this and share it with colleagues and friends to highlight the need for vigilance in your professional and personal lives.

Andy gave some simple questions any of us can consider to try and highlight if risk may be present:

  1. Consider the service you are procuring; Construction, Security and Cleaning providers are all high-risk areas. 
  2. Ask, are security workers for example, registered with the Security Industry Authority?
  3. How do your contractors recruit their workers, especially when large numbers of people are required to support a contract?
  4. Do groups of workers live at the same address?
  5. Do workers have sequential bank account numbers
  6. Do employers withhold debt payments or passports?

The full presentation is available here.  Additionally a really useful, sector and CIPS collaborative paper entitled “Protecting Human rights in the supply chain” is available here.

If you have any questions Andy Davies or Angus Warren would be pleased to hear from you.

Revised Criminal Finances Act 2017 Guidance Amanda Darley

HMRC has reviewed the BUFDG and KPMG guidance on the new Criminal Finances Act 2017 (which affects all corporates, and therefore all universities, and comes into force on 30 September, by which date you need to have taken some action to review your risk areas etc.). At HMRC's request we have made a couple of minor amendments and HMRC is now happy with the new version. The BUFDG guidance is available hereKPMG's example risks are here, and sample process is here.

Legal services agreement launch event 8th November 2017. Emma Keenan

LUPC has produced a new agreement for Legal Services. The tender process was a collaborative exercise between all the English and Welsh higher education procurement consortia, with the participation and support of HE Shared Legal, the British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG), Association of University Legal Practitioners (AULP), Universities HR (UHR), and Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE). 

The agreement is split into six specialist lots and the day will include an exhibition from suppliers on the framework, as well as informative presentation sessions on a range of topics.

For further information and how to book, please click here.

Job of the Week Matt Sisson

Our Job of the Week is for a Head of Finance and Planning at Oxford Brookes University. The institution requires “a confident and highly experienced CCAB qualified Head of Finance and Planning for the University's central directorates which include IT, Finance, Academic and Student Services, Marketing and Communications, Strategic Planning and Project Management services to the University”. The deadline for applications is the 25th September.

It's a busy time for recruitment, with lots of other finance jobs listed on the BUFDG jobs page.