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BUFDG Digest, Wednesday 21st September 2022

21 September 2022      Matt Sisson, Projects and Membership Manager


BUFDG – NEW STAFF!

There has obviously not been much political and HE news over the last fortnight, but we’ve been busy as usual at BUFDG towers. The first thing to report is that it was lovely to meet our newest member of staff, Joni, at our team meeting last Tuesday. Joni joins from the University of Portsmouth, as our new External Projects Manager. At Portsmouth she spent five years supporting the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries as a research and innovation officer. Prior to her H E experience, Joni acquired a wide range of skills including event planning, media production and involvement in sustainability projects. Joni will help us deliver projects, courses, and content, particularly in conjunction with other HE bodies and external partners, that further increase value for BUFDG members. If you’d like to get involved in one of our projects, get in touch with Joni.

UHR, one of our sister associations at PHES, is also recruiting. It’s looking for a part-time Activities and Events Officer (0.6 fte) to join the small team and perform this crucial member support role. The UHR membership base and volume of events and activities has grown a lot recently, so it is keen to make sure the organisation can deliver value to existing and new members. “This role will undertake all the administrative work around our continuing professional development and other events and activities , taking bookings, payments, materials, and post event evaluations and organising in person and virtual meetings for UHR, while supporting the wider PHES organisation where appropriate.” Click to find out more about the role and how to apply.

Well done to all those of you who upped your development game during June and July by completing our e-learning courses to put yourself in the running for our e-learning competition. Amanda has announced the prize-winners for the competition covering June and July in this article. Congratulations all! Your John Lewis vouchers will be winging their way to your in-boxes shortly.


CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

We've started planning in earnest for next year's Finance Festival - this is our 3-day extravaganza of all things HE Finance, taking place online over 3 days from the 13th-15th March 2023. The last two years have both seen over 1,000 colleagues take part across the week. The festival only works with the support and involvement of BUFDG members, and so we'd love for colleagues in the sector to submit a proposal for a session. This might be a case study of a challenge you've been through recently, or some insight that you've gleaned through undertaking your role, or it might be an example of work done with a supporting company, that has helped you become more efficient or effective. Or, if you're brave, it might be a horror story of something that has gone terribly wrong, and the lessons that you've learned for next time! The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 7th October, and you can submit your proposal by completing the survey via this link. If you have an idea for a session, or a topic that you think we need to cover, you can add your comment to this discussion post, or email either Matt or Ashley.

This is the last call for bookings for Tech Week, which takes place 3-7 October. As the name suggests, it’s a series of free events spread over a single week for BUFDG members to hear about trends and themes, issues and challenges, and new and existing products in the HE sector, all in or related to the technology / digital / software space. The week is made up of lots and lots of different sessions, all run as hour-long webinars via MS Teams. Members can choose to attend as many or as few sessions as you like - there are no restrictions on numbers! Each session runs for one hour.  There are four sessions running each day across the week - 9.30am, 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm, with the event ending with the 1pm session on Friday. To view the programme, synopses, and speakers in full, visit the programme pages on the website. And then click here to book onto this free event.

There also still time to book onto two further events. The TRAC Conference will take place on-line this year from 1pm Monday 26th – 1pm Tuesday 27th September. As usual, the conference will include a mixture of plenary and breakout sessions and give delegates a thorough overview on the work of the TDG, their activities and of course the latest guidance on TRAC. Tickets cost £75 (inclusive of VAT). 

Lastly, finance and procurement staff (across all levels) within any Scottish universities are welcome to take up a free place at the Scottish Universities Finance Conference, on Wednesday 16th November at the University of Edinburgh. It’s a full day event with a number of plenary sessions for all and additional breakout sessions which you can choose from. The event is free to attend and food and refreshments will be provided during the day. Click here for more information, and to book.


PROCUREMENT / ENERGY

Many readers will have noted the government announcement this morning of an energy support scheme for non-domestic users. As the announcement is very recent (and as universities are complex organisations), the extent to which universities are within scope, and the impact of the scheme on the sector, isn’t yet clear. We’re in touch with colleagues across the sector, and will circulate an explanatory briefing before the end of the week.

In related news, we were pleased to work with colleagues at AUDE And TEC to host two webinars looking at the current and future possible state of the energy market, share experiences and ask questions. The recordings of both events, and the accompanying slides, are now available to BUFDG members.

UKUPC has released a Responsible Procurement Strategy from 2022 onwards. The strategy picks up on UKUPC’s aim to "Embed responsible procurement across our services and support our members to embed it within their institutions, supporting the sector taking a major role in addressing climate change impacts related to our members’ collaborative supply chains”. The strategy includes UKUPC’s aim to influence their suppliers to comply with all relevant aspects of the Sustain Supply Chain Code of Conduct, alongside aims aligned to climate change, social value, and human rights. You can read the strategy in full here


FINANCIAL REPORTING

A final reminder of all the Financial Reporting updates over the last month, many of which were contained in this Summer’s Financial Reporting Group newsletter. The latest Model Financial Statements are available and, as usual, you will need to consider your own specific inputs to this and how they are consistent or different from those used last year. Documenting this for your internal approvals, audit and disclosures is key.

The USS Deficit Provision Modeller for 2021/22 is also available for download, along with the latest Discount Rate guidance from Mercer. The corresponding discussion on the BUFDG boards – should you have any questions of colleagues – is via this link. The final piece of the puzzle are the USS FRS102 Year end disclosure note and Annex, which is available in the side-bar on the Financial Reporting pages of the website, and the related discussion post for any follow-up comments.


TAXES

Vialto will be hosting three global mobility sessions focusing on US taxes - you can register your place and find out more details here, for the first of these sessions, taking place on Thursday, 22 September from 1pm to 2pm.  

A comprehensive review of the Making Education Digital Spreadsheet has been carried out as at 8 September 2022.  The latest version can be found here. Andrea would like to thank members who have contributed to this document. The spreadsheet should be used as a signpost for members to find additional information about a particular country and assist in their own research.  If a member has concerns about a particular country, it is recommended that professional advice is sought. For more information, take a look at this news article. And Andrea would welcome any suggestions, comments or feedback on the spreadsheet.


OTHER

In a non-announcement, Andrea Jenkyns has emerged as (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State) Minister for Skills, FE, and HE, at the Department for Education. An outline of her new brief is listed on the government website. Among her recent utterances in her new role, is a response on the student cost of living crisis, which has made a news splash this morning, and which the team at Wonkhe take a look at in more detail.

Eversheds has updated its Education training programme for the remainder of 2022. Of particular interest to HE finance colleagues might be the remaining courses looking at IP commercialisation, managing procurement law risk, and Transnational Agreements for HEIs.

We have two special jobs for you this time around. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is looking for a Senior Finance Business Partner. In what looks like a fascinating role, the post holder will act as a critical link between a number of different teams, including at a subsidiary company,  ensuring all financial and operational management aspects of the subsidiary are delivered to a high standard. The deadline for applications is the 25th September.

Secondly, the University of Law needs a Head of Student Finance. The successful candidate will “be a confident professional, with strong team management skills and experience in a high-pressured commercial environment”, who will “Lead and manage the Accounts Receivable team driving results through the Student Finance team (4 direct reports, 12 indirect reports). The deadline is the 26th.

As usual, there are lots of other vacancies listed on the BUFDG jobs page.





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