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07th August 2019

Weekly Digest
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The last post... Matt Sisson

After 12 years, 650 Weekly Digests, and approx. 1.3 million words, this is the last ever Weekly Digest. We’ve decided to change things a little bit in the world of BUFDG communications and so, among other changes, the Weekly Digest will become the Monthly Digest, with the first edition reaching your inboxes on the 4th September, and thereafter the first Wednesday of the month.

As part of other changes, we’ll be sending out more direct emails containing important news in specific interest areas, so please log in to your BUFDG account and update your interests and preferences if you’ve not done so recently. And if you have any questions about any of the above, drop Matt an email.

BUFDG Pro e-learning is here! Matt Sisson

We’ve been talking to lots of members over the last few months via meetings, conferences and working groups about BUFDG Pro, and we’re excited to say that it is now here! Most member HEIs have so far signed up which means that, if you’re a staff member in a UK HEIs the chances are you’ll have access. BUFDG Pro gives you 12, HE-specific e-learning modules via the PHES e-learning platform, on top of the 11 free ones. Full details are on the e-learning pages here.

If you’d like to know more, or find out how we can help you with other things such as automatic access to completion stats for your HEI, please contact Rachel.

Discount rates update as at 31 July 2019 Matt Sisson

The updated guidance for discount rates based on market conditions as at 31 July 2019 has now been issued and can be downloaded here.

The actual discount rates as at 31 July 2019 are lower than those derived as at 29 February 2019.  This together with the fact that the liability as at 31 July 2019 is based on the 2017 deficit recovery plan (deficit contributions of 5% salary from 2020 to 2034, scheme deficit £7.5bn) whereas the liability as at 31 July 2018 was based on the 2014 deficit recovery plan (deficit contributions of 2.1% salary to 2032, total scheme deficit £5.3bn) will result in a vast increase in liabilities for 2018-19.

In related news, USS has sent the annual disclosure letter, based on the 2017 valuation, to FDs (and Official Contacts) via an I Letter earlier this week.  It has also be added to the I Letter section of the USS Employer Portal, and can be downloaded from the BUFDG website using the links halfway down this discussion.

Let's talk value... Matt Sisson

After the success of last year’s event, Advance HE is hosting a second Let's Talk Value conference, which looks at the idea of Value in universities through the lens of integrated thinking and reporting - a strategic approach to communicating how an organisation uses resources to create value for its stakeholders beyond their financial inputs. “This one-day symposium will discuss new developments, challenges and progress in how institutions communicate and report the value created through all their activities education and research.”  Booking is now open, and there’s a 10% discount if you book before 15th September.

If you'd like to find out more about Integrated Reporting, there's a dedicated section on the BUFDG website, which brings together news and our reports and guides.

International working discussion group Caroline Jones

We are going to trial working with PwC to host an international networking event locally to you. As with the PEG sessions, we will collate suggested topics upfront, which will give you the opportunity to network and to discuss areas that are relevant to you. Our suggested locations for these will be London, Bristol, Birmingham, and the north. (We are currently checking which office would be the favoured venue). The sessions are aimed at anyone who is involved in compliance requirements with regards the people issues created by international working; HR, finance, and tax.

The aim will be to have a session at 10:30am for approximately 2 hours, to include a light lunch and networking. Please look for save the dates to follow and do get in touch if you have any suggestions for content or format.

UUK - no-deal consequences for HE Matt Sisson

There’s very little in the news this last week to calm the nerves of a university sector desperate to avoid no deal. The EU won’t substantially re-negotiate the existing deal, and its red line on the backstop agreement is the one thing the new Conservative PM has said must be removed before it will come back to the table. Bleak.

Here’s the UUK briefing on the immediate consequences for universities, and here’s what UUK International Director Vivienne Stern had to say last week. You might be reassured by what the UK government is doing to prepare.

Permanent Establishment - recent decision by Denmark Caroline Jones

The Danish Tax Agency recently published its binding ruling regarding the tax residence and permanent establishment status of a UK company in Denmark, in relation to a home office used by its Danish General Manager. The company is based and headquartered in London.  The ruling concluded that even though the UK company should not be considered a Danish tax resident, the General Manager’s home office in Denmark creates a permanent establishment for the UK company. The reasoning given for the decision was:

  • it is a place of business where regular work for the company is performed;
  • it is a fixed business location due to it being the General Manager’s primary work location; and
  • the company carried on its business there through the General Manager, who is considered to undertake a senior role making significant decisions and completing work that is not purely preparatory or auxiliary in nature.

This ruling could have an impact for UK universities where they have employees based in Denmark.

Helping understand the real cost of Fraud Matt Sisson

We first mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, but the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Counter-Fraud Studies has recently begun research on the Real Cost of External Fraud to organisations. As well as interviews, the research involves an online survey, and the Centre has asked for input from the Higher Education sector.

If you have ever had a case of external fraud in your HEI - however small - where you have a very rough idea of the costs of dealing with it, then your contribution would be very welcome. Here’s the link to the survey.

The University would also like to conduct some interviews relating to this research. If you are prepared to volunteer for that then please contact The findings will help counter-fraud practitioners with putting together business cases for investment in counter-fraud solutions, among other things.

Job(s) of the week Jemma Ladkin

We have two jobs of the week this week, the first is for a Finance Manager at Durham University. "The Finance Manager will manage professional service staff across two or more departments, ensuring the provision of an efficient administrative service; supporting a wide range of teaching, learning and research activities; in support of all staff, students and external stakeholders as required; ensuring the end-user experience is at the forefront of delivery. Some of the activities will involve work of a highly confidential nature and so a professional work ethic is a pre-requisite". The closing date for this vacancy is 16th August 2019.

The second job of the week is for a Director of Finance at SOAS. "We are now seeking to appoint a Director of Finance who will be responsible for the development and delivery of a financial strategy that ensures the sustainability of the School and, as a member of the Professional Services Leadership team, will contribute to our strategic planning and decision-making". The closing date for this vacancy is 2nd September 2019.

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


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