Is Nelson library being sold?

QUESTION:
We have heard a rumour that Staffordshire Police Headquarters have put in a bid to purchase Nelson Library from the University and that it’s been accepted.
Can Executive make any comment to confirm or deny this?
And if true, what are the plans to relocate the books and resources currently housed there?

 

ANSWER:
As you are aware we are currently undertaking a broad review of our Estate – assessing occupancy, space utilisation, location and future development – with the outcomes of the consultation due in January 2014.

As we develop this new Estates Strategy, if opportunities arise that will benefit the University, we will consider those options. We would not disclose information on discussions that may be commercially sensitive but we can assure all staff and students that student experience and the impact on staff will be our prime concern and no actions would be agreed that had a material impact on the options being considered as part of the Estates review.

Why must we completely spend our budget each year?

QUESTION:
Why is there an impetus at the end of the budget year to spend the remainder of any such budget? Why can’t budget holders just give back, or get the difference added to next year’s budget, or get a bonus on next year’s budget for coming in under budget? Perhaps the way in which we spend budgetary money should come under a review?

 

ANSWER:
Departments should manage their expenditure in accordance with operational needs and budgetary constraints. This is monitored through the monthly finance returns and also quarterly business reviews.
They are expected to surrender budgets where they are surplus to needs and make a case for expenditure in excess of budget where necessary. Savings can then be used to fund additional expenditure where justified.
Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to generate income and manage our costs to create sufficient surpluses to enable the University to invest for the future.

*This is a question that unfortunately we did not have time for during the last Executive Question Time Event.

Can our facilities be open 24/7?

QUESTION:

Dear Vice Chancellor,

I would like to request and provide some rationale about why the university should be open 24 hours a day to allow access to the labs, TV Studio and Music Studios. Flexible learning being open for 24 hours would be great for marketing.

Currently the students use the library to do work after 9pm in Stafford because the labs shut. The 5-9 opening is not very successful because students feedback that they often work in the evenings and return to uni work at 10pm to the library to continue studies. The library has only a couple of computers running the software our students use. Opening up the labs would stop the need for the purchasing of more hardware and software for the library because the reality is we need a large lab in the library especially near assessment times.

Music studios are under pressure to be open longer and are full for the majority of term from 9-7 daily.

The TV Studio currently opens till 9 on a Wednesday for the very successful society called Staffs TV. The students want it open every night till 9 or even 24hours a day and weekends. The student say we pay to come so why can’t we use the finite resources more. I do agree with them.

Staffs TV have a university wide membership from students studying many different courses and not just Film Technology from Stafford and Stoke. Here are some of the projects that Staffs TV have completed recently and some to come.

Pass Projects:
– Staffs TV Outside Documentary Projects, multi corporate projects for the university, ECB and international events CDUT welcoming Chinese students.
– Eurogamer 2012 Expo
– ENVY Studio Tour, London
– Raw Cut TV Interviews and Tour
– Maverick TV Interview with Simone Haywood Executive Producer
– BBC Television Centre Special Tour
– Red Bull Music Studios Tour and interview from Studio Manager
– Stafford University Football Club Society Match

Future Projects:
– AutoSports 2013 largest motorsports event in the UK
– Filming test tracks days with the JWA motorsports team
– Media City Special Tour
– Nasta Vision

Nasta Vision is a huge multi-university event at the end of January. It involves the live streaming of 12 or more universities taking part in Eurovision, well Nastavision. Solent and our TV studio are the national key hubs for mixing and distribution of the streams. To do this the students would really benefit from being able to sue the TV Studio more night of the week which is currently not allowed. We are not sure why though because a precedence has been set to open on till 9 on a Wednesday.

This society is something we have encouraged students to run for 10 years now, its now up and running and providing so much Staffordshire Graduate type activities its vital to develop and grow it and anyway we can facilitate this we should. Opening up for longer or 24 hours would be fantastic.

I believe we should aim to improve security through card entry into labs, develop students to operate as health and safety reps if using studios late and then open up 24 hours a day.

Regards and Merry Christmas!

 

ANSWER:

This is an interesting request that we will investigate very thoroughly. Where there have been clear needs for a 24/7 response, we have made it, e.g. In relation to the opening of the libraries.

On a separate note, I have had the pleasure of meeting with students from StaffsTV. It was a very interesting meeting and we are looking for ways to ensure greater support for the activity of this student society/club. The Nasta Vision project is of particular significance and we are already exploring ways of supporting it through availability of the TV studio.

Professor Michael Gunn

Why is the Carol Service not held on a Wednesday afternoon?

QUESTION:

I’d like to enquire as to why the carol service was advertised so late, just a week before the event on the 6th. Was it not going to take place? I’d also like to ask why it can’t be fixed much earlier in the calendar on a Wednesday afternoon (perhaps fixing the date as the last Wednesday afternoon of the teaching term), so that people like me, who would otherwise be teaching, can actually attend.

ANSWER:

The traditional Christmas Carol Service is a corporate event and while we do our best to hold it at the convenience of all staff and students, consideration must be given to the availability of the Vice-Chancellor, Students’ Union President, University Chaplains, together with the availability of Stoke Minster.

We realise that not everyone can attend the service and therefore will consider your suggestions when planning next year’s carol service.

As in previous years, both Christmas carol services have been advertised around campus with a poster campaign and information has been sent out to Deans and Directors of Service in which to filter down to members of staff. This year with our additional electronic communication tools, such as the RSS channels, IS icon on staff PCs and plasma information screens around campus, we hope to have reached as many staff and students as possible at this seasonal time.

Paying guest speakers

Question:

I’ve just been introduced to the universities process for making an application for payments to guest speakers and I feel the system is worthy of comment. I have to say that the request for the declaration for personal information, (national insurance number and date of birth in particular) are unnecessary, intrusive and far beyond the actual needs for the task that is being fulfilled.  Should they not be treated like any other service provided by professionals?  I think I’m right in assuming that other external services supplied by businesses do not have to go through the same procedure.  Is there not a straight forward invoice for services provided that could be used instead?
 
Answer:

Guest speakers are deemed as employees of the University at the time they are providing their lecture.  There are certain tests in employment law that determine whether an individual is an employee or not. In these circumstances, individuals fit the test that they should be classed as an employee.  The HMRC rules and regulations also have certain tests which indicate that these individuals should be classed as employees.  Therefore we require the information stated to pay them through the payroll. We appreciate that this may seem burdensome by the individual, however the University has no scope to step away from this requirement and indeed we are regularly audited to ensure compliance.

There is a separate process for supplying a service through a business, again determined by HMRC, which is dependent on the business satisfying certain criteria. Payments in these circumstances are not paid through the payroll but by invoice through Finance.  If anyone is in any doubt on the appropriate method to pay a guest lecturer, then Spencer Clarke, Personnel Services would be happy to advise on extension 2739.

Is it possible to set up a blood bank on campus?

Question

I give blood regularly and thought it would be a good idea to have a blood bank on each site to promote blood donation, especially on the Blackheath lane campus in the Faculty of Health.
Could this be facilitated at all?
It is a quick process that donors can do in their lunch breaks once every 16 weeks.

Answer

We regularly explore any health-related initiatives that we may introduce within the University and, as a result , have contacted the Blood Service to make some enquiries about whether blood donation could be carried here at the University.  We will certainly consider this matter further once we have received further details from the Blood Service and hope to work with them on supporting this great idea.

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