Contents of this section:

[Note. An asterisk denotes a reference to a previously published or recurrent entry.]

Return to Contents Page of this issue


SEAN T. KEHOE (MB, B.CH., BAO, BA, MD Dublin), Senior Lecturer, Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Birmingham, and Honorary Consultant, City Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham, the Birmingham Women's Hospital and Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust, has been appointed to the professorship with effect from 1 September 2002.

Mr Kehoe will be a fellow of St Peter's College.

Return to List of Contents of this section


Chairmanship of Physics

On the recommendation of the Department of Physics, the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Board has assigned the Chairmanship of Physics to PROFESSOR K. BURNETT, FRS, MA, D.PHIL., Fellow of St John's College and Professor of Physics, for the period from 1 October 2002 to 30 September 2007.

Return to List of Contents of this section


Council has recently approved two new policies, covering risk management and value for money. The policies are set out below and are also available on the Web site at htttp:// or /vfmpol.shtml. Copies of these policies are being circulated to Heads of Divisions and Heads of Departments. Further information on implementation is set out below.

The Risk Management Policy has been drawn up by the University's Risk Management Committee. Full details of the membership of this committee can be found on the University's governance Web site at gov/risk.shtml. The committee has drawn up a detailed strategy for implementation of the policy and establishment of a risk register. Further information on the work of the Risk Management Committee may be obtained from its secretary, Miss Noon (telephone: (2)7002, e-mail:

The Value for Money Policy has been drawn up by the Value for Money Committee. Details of the membership of the Value for Money Committee may be obtained from the University's Web site reference The committee has drawn up a strategy for future work, and further details may be obtained from the secretary of the committee, Max Todd (telephone: (2)80299, e-mail:

Risk Management Policy

At its meeting on 11 March 2002, Council agreed the policy set out below in relation to risk management and assessment.

The University of Oxford follows and adopts best practice in the identification, evaluation and control of risks to ensure that, as far as is reasonably practical, risks are eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level. Although it is acknowledged that risks exist and can never be eliminated, it is important that all staff are aware of the nature of risk and the types of risks associated with their area of work. Senior staff accept responsibility for dealing with risks in their areas. Senior management provide support and assistance in the risk assessment and evaluation process.

The University's objectives in relation to risk management are:

—to integrate risk management into the culture of the University;

—to manage risk in accordance with best practice;

—to consider legal compliance as a minimum standard;\ p —to anticipate and respond, wherever possible, to changing social, environmental, and legislative requirements;

—to raise awareness of the need for risk management.

Achievement of these objectives requires:

—ongoing work by a Risk Management Committee which has an advisory role and is accessible to all staff;

—action to demonstrate the application of risk management principles;

—the provision of risk management and risk assessment awareness training;

—the codification of documented procedures for the control of risk and the provision of suitable information, training, and supervision. These will include appropriate incident reporting and recording systems, with investigatory procedures to establish cause and prevent recurrence, and contingency plans in areas where there is potential for an occurrence having a catastrophic effect on the activities of the University;

—effective communication with, and the active involvement of, all members of staff;

—the establishment of monitoring arrangements and appropriate review procedures.

A Risk Management Committee[1] has been established which is responsible to Council for identifying risks across the whole university range of activities, for prioritisation of those risks, for the development of a risk management strategy, and ensuring the implementation and operation of that strategy.

A subgroup of the committee has been established, under the chairmanship of the Registrar, to draw up risk registers and undertake further work on risk identification and risk assessment.

Return to List of Contents of this section

Value for Money Policy

1 Principles

The University is committed to the pursuit of economy, efficiency, and effectiveness as an integral part of its corporate and academic strategy. This is particularly important now that the University has to be able to operate with a long-term reduction in its levels of public funding. Whilst it has a specific responsibility to achieve Value for money (Vfm) from its use of public funds, this principle extends to all sources of funding. Similarly, the responsibility for pursuing Vfm lies with all staff, and not just those with financial duties.

To meet this commitment the University aims to:

—integrate Vfm principles within decision-making processes, particularly in regard to projects or activities with significant financial implications;

—undertake or commission Vfm studies into areas of activity identified as worthy of review;

—adopt recognised good practice where appropriate;

—benchmark the institution's activities against other similar activities and organisations where this is considered useful;

—demonstrate actively to both internal and external observers that the achievement of Vfm is sought in all activities undertaken; and

—ensure that all staff recognise their continuing obligation to seek Vfm as part of their routine activities.

To implement these aims the Vfm committee will:

—seek formal confirmation that Vfm has been taken into account in the planning of all major projects and activities,

—establish and oversee a programme of Vfm studies,

—receive reports on Vfm from divisions and the academic services and support sectors, including libraries, museums, central administration, etc. (referred to collectively hereafter as `the divisions and other equivalent units'),

—consider and approve divisional and other institutional responses to relevant Vfm studies conducted by Hefce and the National Audit Office,

—encourage the adoption of good practice throughout the University and review the reasons for not adopting recognised good practice in any area,

—promote more cost-effective purchasing arrangements, and

—prepare a three-year rolling plan of Vfm work and submit an annual report to Council through its General Purposes Committee.

2 Integration of Vfm principles into decision-making

Vfm must be a routine part of the decision-making process at all levels of management throughout the University. This is particularly important in planning or reviewing activities with significant financial implications. The Vfm committee will seek assurance that Vfm considerations are being given due weight in key areas of expenditure and will raise any concerns with the appropriate decision-making bodies.

As part of this integration of Vfm into routine decision-making, divisions and other equivalent units will be asked to submit a brief report on the application of Vfm principles annually within their five-year plans, detailing measures to improve economy, efficiency, and effectiveness, and quantifying any financial benefits. Reports should draw attention both to existing activities that demonstrate continuing Vfm and to new opportunities for improving Vfm. The Vfm committee will need to be satisfied that Vfm issues are being adequately addressed and that all major areas of expenditure, including staff costs, are being properly scrutinised.

Divisions and other units are well placed to identify opportunities for achieving greater Vfm within their areas of responsibility. They will know what measures are likely to be effective, having regard to their particular circumstances and needs, and how to enlist the support and co-operation of staff.

3 VFM studies

Vfm studies will be undertaken under the auspices of the Vfm committee to assess whether the objectives of a particular programme, project, or activity could be carried out in a more economic, efficient, or effective manner. Priority will be given to areas of significant expenditure which cut across the responsibilities of divisions and departments. Internal auditors have the knowledge, skills, and experience to carry out Vfm studies. The internal audit section will commit a certain number of days a year to Vfm studies, currently set at forty days in the strategic audit plan, as agreed by the Vfm and Audit committees. These studies will be carried out by the internal audit section working on its own or in conjunction with divisions, departments, or other relevant units. Use may also be made of external expertise.

Conducting a Vfm study does not, in itself, demonstrate Vfm: this will be dependent on the results of the study and on any action taken in response to its findings. A Vfm study will normally result in an action plan, agreed with the management of the area being reviewed, including recommendations on how greater Vfm could be achieved, an assessment of the risks involved in not taking action, a date by which agreed actions are to be implemented, and the name of the officer responsible for implementation.

The role of the Vfm committee will be to:

—identify areas for study,

—oversee progress,

—approve the outcome, and, where this affects university policies, make proposals for change to the appropriate authorities for approval,

—monitor the implementation of any recommendations agreed by the University, and

—assess the outcome of studies in terms of improved Vfm.

4 Vfm studies by Hefce and the National Audit Office

The Vfm committee will approve responses to Vfm studies conducted by Hefce and the National Audit Office (NAO) and monitor any follow-up action required.

Hefce carries out sector-wide Vfm studies. Topics examined to date include energy management, treasury management, buildings repairs and maintenance, and IT management. The NAO also investigates subjects relating to higher education. The Vfm committee will receive such reports, in addition to the division or department concerned, and will approve the University's response to the report. It will also seek to benchmark the University's performance against these reports.

The internal Vfm studies, Vfm reports in five-year plans, and external Vfm studies, will enable the Vfm committee to establish a comprehensive record of Vfm initiatives being pursued across the University and to monitor their progress. This will provide the evidence necessary to demonstrate to Hefce and other external observers that the University is committed to Vfm.

5 Dissemination of good practice

Divisions and other units may not always be aware of opportunities to achieve greater Vfm or of the full extent of the potential benefits. The Vfm committee will take the lead in promoting the sharing of good practice throughout the University, where this has implications for Vfm. The adoption of good practice is one way of demonstrating that Vfm has been sought and achieved.

6 Promotion of more cost-effective purchasing arrangements

The Vfm committee will continue to oversee efforts to adopt more cost-effective purchasing arrangements. The implementation of the University's new financial system in 2003 will provide an opportunity to develop further such arrangements with centrally held purchasing information.

7 Implementation

The Vfm committee will prepare a three-year rolling plan to implement this policy. The plan will be updated each year and submitted to Council via the General Purposes Committee. [1] The Risk Management Committee currently comprises: the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Services and University Collections (Chairman); the Registrar; the Director of Finance; the Director of Legal Services; the Director of Health and Safety; the Director of the Occupational Health Service; the University Marshal; the Director of the University Library Services and Bodley's Librarian; the Director of the University Museum of Natural History; representatives from each of the five divisions; college representative; other officers as appropriate. (Web site reference:

Return to List of Contents of this section


The Board of the Faculty of Law announces that the Eldon Law Scholarship, value not less than £5,500 per annum, is awarded annually to be held for up to two years.

Candidates must be members of the University of Oxford who: (a) have passed the examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts or for the Degree of Bachelor of Civil Law or for the Degree of Magister Juris; and (b) have either been placed in the First Class or been awarded a distinction in one or other of these examinations or in Honour Moderations or have gained one of the Chancellor's Prizes; and (c) intend to follow the profession of the Law; and (d) have applied for one of the scholarships either before, or within two years next following, the date of their call to the Bar.

Candidates will be required to sign a declaration that they intend to practise at the Bar in the United Kingdom.

Until they have been called to the Bar, scholars must produce proof that they have regularly kept their terms, unless prevented by illness, at one of the Inns of Court.

In general the policy of the awarding committee is to give preference to a candidate who will, at the date of the interview, be completing the vocational stage of training prior to entry into pupillage.

Applications, accompanied by a CURRICULUM VITAE, must be sent to the Head Clerk (on a form obtainable from him), University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD, not later than Friday, 25 October 2002, in a sealed envelope marked `Eldon Scholarship Application'. The Eldon Law Scholarship Committee will summon those candidates they wish to interview in Oxford on Saturday, 15 February 2003.

Return to List of Contents of this section


Academic Computing Development Team: call for proposals, summer 2002

The Academic Computing Development Team invites proposals from Oxford University staff for the development of IT-based teaching or research projects. The ACDT is part of OUCS's Learning Technologies Group and is multidisciplinary. It grew out of the Humanities Computing Development Team which has been running projects for over three years. Proposals are invited from staff members within any division to be developed during the year 2003--4. The ACDT encourages applicants who wish to begin projects with a start date of February 2003 or November 2003.

Projects may be based in any subject area and can have either a teaching or research focus. Examples of the types of projects which might be considered appropriate are: Web-based teaching and learning materials; online dissemination of rare materials; and the design and development of databases or software. Projects may range in size from provision of advice on planning an IT project to the design and development of a whole system. Projects may involve more than one partner including academic, library, museum, and support staff.

The ACDT has already developed a number of successful projects, details of which can be found on the Web at The projects shown on the Web page are mainly in the Humanities area; this is only the second ACDT call for proposals open to all subject areas.

For further details on how to propose a project, and an application form, see Questions should be directed to Sophie Clarke, ACDT Project Manager, OUCS, 13 Banbury Road (telephone: Oxford (2)83428, e-mail:

The closing date for proposals is Wednesday, 17 July.

Note: if the project will involve the use of substantial amounts of material held in Oxford libraries, the organisers are strongly encouraged to contact the Oxford Digital Library/Development Fund (telephone: Oxford (2)84454, e-mail: The ACDT will be working collaboratively with ODL but chiefly on the development of interfaces and learning environments that utilise ODL materials.

Return to List of Contents of this section