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05th December 2018

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Procurement Value Survey - Now Live Emma Keenan

We are pleased to confirm that the Procurement Value Survey (PVS) is now open.

The Procurement Value Survey replaces the historic Efficiency Measurement Model survey (EMM).  The system is used annually to gather institutional and sector-wide efficiency data from procurement teams in line with the sector benefits methodology. The survey is open for completion until 31st January 2019 and collects data from the 2017/18 financial year.

Heads of procurement can access the PVS simply by following the link and logging in.  If you are responsible for completion of the survey in your institution and are not in a head of procurement role, please contact me directly so that I can enable access for you. A reminder that we recorded our webinar explaining how to complete the survey and also have developed a help page both of which will support you if you have any questions.

Finance Business Partner Training Rachel McLone

Places are available on our upcoming Developing as a Finance Business Partner in Higher Education courses.  This course allows delegates to understand the role, realities, and competencies required of a HE Finance Business Partner, using real university examples. It will help you work more strategically, identify and practise ways to communicate with stakeholders and develop better relationships.  You will also work with a set of tools to develop and prioritise your activities, and will leave the session with a personal action plan to put into place on your return. Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of the role of finance business partner within a Higher Education institution, illustrated with HE examples.
  • Explore the role and realities of the finance business partner, mapping current activities and competencies.
  • Identify ways to operate more strategically.
  • Identify strategies and behaviours for working and communicating with non-finance professionals across a large organisation.
  • Identify what it means to add value as a finance business partner and how to demonstrate value.
  • Work with a set of tools to plan and prioritise activity as a finance business partner.
  • Practise some key partnering skills including communicating the role confidently.

Book your place on either 18th December 2018 or 1st March 2019.  For any queries, please contact Rachel.

Modern Slavery Act Statements due 31st January 2019 Emma Keenan

In accordance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act your annual Slavery and Human Trafficking statement will be due on 31st January 2019. A guide, written specifically for those in higher education, detailing the “Do’s and Don’t’s” of writing your statement is available to you and will prove a valuable resource.   The statement should be a living document, it will evolve, year on year and develop along with your knowledge, experience and expertise in this area. A reminder of the key points:

  • Any universities with a turnover of over £36m will be required to publish a statement
  • The statement must be approved and signed at the highest level of governance and published in a prominent place on your website
  • It must include information pertaining to the correct financial year
  • The statement must genuinely reflect your business practices

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority has made two excellent short videos which can be shared widely in order to raise awareness of this issue.   Whilst they are hard to watch they remind all of the reasons why we must all work together to fight this crime which affects so many.

Modern Slavery – Do the Right thing - 10 minutes

Horse Trading – The traffickers view - 7 minutes

If you have any questions, please do get in touch.

Updated MTD software comparison table Amanda Darley

After feedback from the suppliers, we have updated the Making Tax Digital software comparison table. The table concentrates solely on the software options which provide 'added value' functionality such as analysis, reporting and other functions, rather than basic API software.

VAT & Property courses Amanda Darley

We are delighted that Martin Scammell, the leading expert on VAT and property, will be running two days of VAT & Property courses for BUFDG members in March. The courses will run at Burleigh Court at Loughborough University on 13 and 14 March.

Day 1 will cover 'What you really need to know', including the key areas of property and construction VAT, identifying risks and opportunities, and where expert help is valuable and essential. This day is aimed at finance or estates staff with an existing working knowledge of VAT who would like to  learn more about land and property VAT.

Day 2 is 'What you need to know has changed (again)' and is a topical update around case law and HMRC policy affecting property and construction VAT, aimed at those with a good working knowledge of VAT and property. 

Each day course costs £360 (inc. VAT), and further information about course content and how to book is available here. Martin is very happy to provide his Property Update (Day 2) to subscribers to his online service, VAT on Construction, Land and Property, free of charge (you can find out more about the BUFDG 50% discount offer for Martin's online book here).

Do you have 'hidden data factories'? Matt Sisson

While we know our members have busy day jobs, it’s worth making time for a little bit of extra-curricular reading. You never know what dusty synapses might fire up; what useful connections or comparisons you might be able to make with your own work.

For this week I haven’t strayed too far from the HE Finance tree, but I particularly enjoyed an article on Wonkhe from an ‘Imp’ in the ‘Machine’ at Teeside University, Mariana Hilditch. It’s a brilliant medium read about the essential role of ‘data wranglers’ at UK universities. There are some great takeaways for finance managers: you need to know where your ‘Hidden Data Factories’ are; you probably need to know a lot more about Data Futures; and you might want to recruit more English / Arts graduates.

If you’ve read anything off-piste recently but found it surprisingly useful for your role, drop Matt an email and he’ll share it in a future Digest.

KPMG 'No-deal' Brexit webinar on Friday Matt Sisson

For those pondering the impact of Brexit on their HEI, KPMG is holding a specific university-focused webinar on the morning of the 7th December (this Friday). The session will help participants understand the impacts as well as advice on developing mitigation plans for a No Deal scenario.

“For Universities the potential high level impacts have been well rehearsed: impact on EU student numbers; mobility and Erasmus and the impact on wider staff mobility and reduced access to funding through Horizon 2020. In the intervening years since the vote, after initial activity, we have seen Brexit drop on risk registers. However, as we now approach a potential no deal scenario the implications for Universities are potentially more wide-reaching:

•  Political
•  Finance
•  People
•  Supply Chain & Tax
•  Legal/Contracts
•  Privacy

Click to listen to the recorded version of the webinar.

Future Professional Directors Programme 2019 Rachel McLone

Are you looking for personal development in order to become a Director? Have you already started to demonstrate strong leadership potential in your current role? If so, take a look at the Future Professional Directors (FPD) programme run by the Advance HE. The programme is designed for aspiring leaders of professional services from all areas within a University and delivers a range of learning opportunities within it. One of the unique aspects of FDP is the opportunity to work on a real HE case study.  Applications for the Future Professional Directors are now open, and close on 13th February 2018.

For any queries, please contact Rachel.  

Energy cost uncertainty Matt Sisson

Universities, as large consumers of electricity, could see a change in their energy costs in the future as the result of the government losing a case with the EU over State Aid rules. The case, which you can read about in more detail on the TEC website, has forced the UK government to scrap its Capacity Market mechanism – the system of subsidies for energy companies to ensure backup power stations are online and generating electricity to meet peaks in demand from the grid.

Universities will need to keep an eye on the appeals process, and also on their own particular supplier and energy framework to understand how it might affect them. If the government loses its appeal, universities on flexible frameworks may receive rebates from their energy companies. In the longer term however, the costs could be passed on in price rises for major consumers.

Procurement Policy Notes Emma Keenan

Following the publication today of PPN 04/18 taking account of a supplier’s approach to payment in the procurement of major contracts, I thought it would be useful to remind members of the cabinet office page which provides information on all Procurement Policy Notes and is a useful reference.

PPNs are guidance documents on best practice procurement for public sector organisations, together with supporting documentation.

Job of the week Jemma Ladkin

This week’s job is for Director of Finance at Birmingham City University. The university is looking for candidates "who can bring a real balance of the strategic and operational, someone who both can lead and inspire a large team and is equally comfortable translating complex financial data at Board level. We are keen to explore applications from across the regulated sectors, but candidates must be able to demonstrate a proven track record of relevant leadership in an equally complex environment with competing measures of organisational success”. The closing date for applications is 7th January.

Please visit the BUFDG website where you can find other vacancies listed on our jobs page.


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