27th August 2014
New TRAC guidance published
The TRAC Development Group (TDG) has launched a new edition of the TRAC guidance. The new guidance has been revised and improved, and will apply for reporting from the academic year 2014-15 onwards. Details on how to use it can be found the HEFCE website. On the launch of the guidance, Steve Egan, HEFCE Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance, said:
“The TDG has done a good job in producing new guidance that is significantly streamlined and more accessible for users. This will help to reduce the administrative burden of operating and maintaining TRAC in higher education institutions. I encourage all institutions to use the new guidance to help improve the efficiency of their TRAC process and increase the utility they can derive from TRAC.”
The launch of the new guidance was accompanied by the latest version of the TDG Bulletin, with updates on TRAC development and the activities of the TRAC Development Group. The bulletin covers details of the TRAC Practitioners Conference, an update on the work of the FSSG, a summary of recent publications, and a round-up of TRAC Regional Groups.
Please e-mail the TRAC Helpdesk, or call it on 0115 935 3400 if you have any trouble accessing the new documentation, or have any questions about the content.
In related news, The TDG has also announced that its conference for TRAC practitioners will take place on Tuesday the 30th September and will be held at Imperial College London. The event bookings are being managed through BUFDG, and you can now book your place, and find further information, by clicking here. The delegate fee is £195.
New discussion board functionality
You may have noticed that the website looked a little different when you visited today, and that is because we have made a few design changes. To maximise the room available for content, we have removed the fixed page size on some of the longer pages and made the left hand menu slightly narrower. On the home page we have moved the login boxes to the top menu, so that we can fit our news and our tweets on the home page.
What we think will be really useful are two changes to the discussion boards. You can now ‘like’ a discussion board post (we are not copying Facebook, but it sort of works in the same way!) Previously you would have needed to post a comment to say that you liked a post or agreed with it – now you just need to click the ‘thumbs up’ icon.
You can also see who else has liked the post (again, not copying Facebook you understand).
The second change to the discussion board, is that you can now add attachments to a post. Previously you would have needed to upload the document to the resource library, then find the link, then paste the link into the discussion board. Now when you add a post, there is a DOCUMENTS tab where you can attach the files you want – takes a matter of seconds and the big benefit is that the discussion remains online so that everyone can see it. If someone puts their email address and says ‘I’ll email you a copy’, then the rest of the readership miss out.
More changes are coming in the next couple of weeks – the biggest changes are the new resource pages which will be divided up into topic areas and a global search tool.
If you have any suggestions or feedback on the webiste, then please let Dominic know.
MFS correction and FRG newsletter
Last week we wrote that, in response to recent queries, the 2007 Model Financial Statements had been added back onto the website. Unfortunately there were two errors found in the tables on page 35 - these have now been corrected. Click to download the correct version.
In related news, the FRG published the Summer edition of their newsletter last week. This is now available to download from the BUFDG website. The newsletter is divided into SORP 2007 and SORP 2015 issues, and cover pension disclosures, high pay disclosures, updates to the Model Financial Statements, and more.
There is also further detail of the proposed SORP implementation help to be available from BUFDG over the next few years. If you have any thoughts about this, or wish to volunteer yourself to join the BUFDG Audit Liaison group for the next 2 years to help steer auditor interpretations, let Andrew Connolly of Exeter know.
HEPA training - enhancing the procurement service
The 2014/15 HEPA training has now been confirmed, with 10 courses across 5 locations. Details of the dates and locations are below.
04/11/14, Effective Use of Competitive Negotiation, Birmingham
21/11/14, Introduction to EU Procurement, Reading
26-27/11/14, Advanced Negotiation, Leeds
28/11/14, Introduction to EU Procurement, Leeds
04/12/14, Advanced EU Procurement, London
05/12/14, Effective Use of Competitive Negotiation, London
09/12/14, Specification Writing, Manchester
12/12/14, Advanced EU Procurement, Manchester
20-21/01/15, Advanced Negotiation, Reading
10/02/15, Specification Writing, London
Places are limited to between 12 (for Advanced Negotiation) and 18 for each event and the closing dates are 3 weeks prior. Some of these events are very popular, so please book promptly to avoid disappointment. The events cost £160 for a one-day course and £320 for two days. A full description of course content can be found on the Eventbrite booking page (see above for the links) and bookings can either be made using the links above or through the HEPA calendar.
If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact Gill.
Consultation on USS benefit changes...
UUK has recently launched a consultation on the proposed Employers Pensions Forum (EPF) reforms to USS benefits – specifically the introduction of career-revalued benefits for all scheme members. The consultation is open for responses by HEIs, and runs until 15 September. The supporting consultation document, as well as details of the USS integrated approach to scheme funding, can be downloaded from the BUFDG website.
Following further discussions with UCU and a decision by the USS Joint Negotiating Committee in November, proposals for benefit reform will be the subject of a consultation by employers with affected employees early in 2015. In the meantime, the EPF has prepared an FAQ and a briefing for employers to use in communication with their own staff.