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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 10:33 GMT
Management shake-up at Cambridge
Senate House
The aim is to make Cambridge more "democratic"
Cambridge University is planning a major shake-up of its management structures in a move which would allow "outsiders" onto one of its key decision-making bodies, the University Council.

The "major package of reform" would also see thousands of academics given the right to vote on the university's legislative body, Regent House.

The proposed changes are partly in response to a damning report last year into the introduction of a 9m computerised accounting system - Capsa - which was an "unmitigated failure".

The university recognises that it is time for a fundamental change to its culture of decision-making

Professor Grant, pro-vice-chancellor
The report said better qualified finance staff, such as accountants, were urgently needed.

The vice-chancellor, currently Professor Sir Alec Broers, would cease to chair the University Council, focusing on being the principal academic and administrative officer.

It is proposed that there should be three external members of the council, serving for three years. One of them would chair it.

This move would bring Cambridge further in line with other UK universities, where lay managers have been involved for some time.

The proposals would also give voting rights to some 2,000 academics on "unestablished contracts" - those who were not fellows of colleges - in a move that would make the university more "democratic".

The reforms are being put to the university's academics, who will have seven weeks to express their views.

If approved, the new system could be in place by 2003.


Sir Alec said the reforms were "quite revolutionary and quite exciting".

"Not only are they much needed, but I believe they will be welcomed by the vast majority of our staff who recognise that such change is overdue," he said.

Pro-vice-chancellor Professor Malcolm Grant, who is leading the consultation, said feedback from university staff would be listened to carefully.

"However, the university recognises that it is time for a fundamental change to its culture of decision-making," said Professor Grant.

"Effective academic self-governance call for greater transparency and better internal communication and dialogue."

See also:

02 Nov 01 | Education
System failures cost Cambridge 9m
30 Jan 01 | Education
Cambridge's 'macho' culture
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