Management Response to 5% Cuts

Alan Reeve – Branch Co-Chair
22 March 2018
Members will have received an email a few days ago with the questions put to the management regarding the proposed 5% cut to spending. At the Joint Staff Committee on the 19th of March, they responded – see here.
In essence, they said that it was too early to give us more than a general indication of what the strategy will be, but they took the opportunity to elaborate on their understanding of why the institution is in the state it is in with regard to recruitment. The reasons are set out in the paper they presented which is also provided here. According the Brendan Casey, the Registrar, the main reasons for Brooke’s plight are that we are in a much more competitive market, that our ‘offer’ is not distinctive’ and that we have no real USP. Being in Oxford is no longer of itself a critical factor in persuading potential students to apply and to come here.
The Faculties and Directorate have been asked to ‘model’ what a response to the need to reduce expenditure by 5% might look like, but the analysis of this exercise is still going on. The intention is that there will be a clear strategy by May when our questions will have fuller answers.
They stressed two things at the JSC: first that there will not be an across the board 5% cut – that the savings will be made in a more nuanced way; second that the primary aim is not to make savings by cutting jobs, as far as possible.
They recognize – and volunteered – the fact that Brookes has been somewhat ‘complacent’ over the years in relying on Oxford as an attractor, and in terms of believing that the quality of the student experience is as good as it had liked to think. The context in which HE operates has changed – with the cap coming off student number in particular- and Brookes is now facing the consequences of this.
Finally, we suggested that once the strategy is clearer, we would like an open meeting with the management where the member’s questions and issues could be directly addressed and discussed.

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