Possible new CoSector logo reported...
The new CoSector logo may have leaked…

We just wanted to provide as much of an update as we could on CoSector developments. As you will see from the email exchange below, non-CoSector staff were effectively barred from Thursday’s meeting, but we circulated a set of questions to all affected staff in the hope of getting them raised.

Initial reports suggest that the picture still remains vague. Two pieces of further information were that:

  • The UoL would be the sole shareholder in CoSector, but there might be sub-companies set up later which were jointly owned with externals where there expertise was needed to develop specific products or services.
  • Apart from the new CoSector management team, for the moment new staff being recruited would still join UoL, but that the situation going forward would be reviewed when the business plan is being approved (it’s thought this will be December or January).

Please do get in touch with more info (uol@iwgb.org.uk) – we’ll be discussing with members and various others what next steps to take.

Below is the email we send out on Thursaday am, with a Kafkaesque interchange with CoSector HR beneath it:

Sorry to bother you again – as I’m sure you know, there’s a staff meeting regarding CoSector taking place at 10 this morning.

I and other University colleagues were planning to attend – we’re concerned about these developments, and we think they will affect all of us (and as the CoSector slot was largely cut from the 16 July ASM, we haven’t had a chance to ask questions).

However, as you will see from the email exchange below, we have been strongly discouraged from doing so!

There were a bunch of questions that we were hoping to raise, and I thought it might useful to send these round. You may already know the answers but if not it would be great if some of these could be asked.

Do let me know how it goes

Cheers

Danny

1. The ‘Building a new tomorrow’ document has plans which are predicated on expanding turnover from £15m to £30m in the next 5 years, and generating a 10% profit. What evidence is there that these projections are realistic?
2. One of the main justifications for these plans is that it will be possible to attract investment. How will the new company attract investment, and in what form? Where will investment come from if the UoL retains 100% ownership of shares?
3. UoL staff are apparently to be seconded to CoSector. How long will ‘secondments’ be for? Is it possible that staff could eventually be forced across to CS employment?
4. UoL presumably wants CoSector to succeed, therefore it cannot be UoL’s intention to return staff to their UoL posts. Given that, can they explain why staff are being ‘seconded’, not TUPEd?
5. What is the exit strategy if the CoSector project goes wrong? (Both for staff’s jobs, and for the University more generally as the principal owner/investor)
6. If CS were to go wrong, and UoL staff were to return to UoL, what would happen to CS staff?
7. Who would pay the redundancy payouts if the company fails – UoL or CoSector?
8. What pension schemes are being considered for new hires in CoSector?
9. Much of the feedback by staff in earlier consultations centred around their desire to work for the University, rather than for a private company, and also stressed that the fact that these services were being provided by a University department was a selling point for prospective clients. How can these findings be reconciled with the Co-Sector proposals?
10. Has the University of London taken legal advice to ensure that its covenant of use of Senate House will not be infringed by the establishment of the proposed company? What about in future, should more shares be transferred to private ownership?
11. Has it been ascertained that CoSector fits with the JANET eligibility criteria?
12. Is CoSector eligible to purchase educational software licences? If not, have the costs of new licences been calculated, and factored into financial projections?
13. Many staff are concerned that their current relationships with the colleges could be damaged by the establishment of CoSector, potentially leading to a loss of business? Has this risk been factored in?
14. CoSector already has its own human resources department, rather than being able to use the UoL HR department. What other duplications of this sort are likely to occur? Have these costs been factored in?

From: Matthew Thorne
Sent: 29 July 2015 15:15
To: Danny Millum
Cc: Anthony Kemp
Subject: Re: CoSector meeting tomorrow

Thanks Danny

Kind regards
Matt

________________________________________
From: Danny Millum
Sent: 29 July 2015 15:08
To: Matthew Thorne
Cc: Anthony Kemp
Subject: RE: CoSector meeting tomorrow

Dear Matthew

Sorry – I’m not trying to be pedantic, and I know you are only trying to do your job.

I’m still not sure you’ve quite answered my last question – but I can take a hint, and I’ve no wish to cause awkwardness for other members of staff by gate-crashing.

Let’s continue this discussion in another forum soon.

Best wishes

Danny

From: Matthew Thorne
Sent: 29 July 2015 14:27
To: Danny Millum <Danny.Millum@sas.ac.uk>
Cc: Anthony Kemp <Anthony.Kemp@london.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: CoSector meeting tomorrow

Dear Danny,

The CoSector ASM is for those staff that directly related to CoSector i.e. Housing, ULCC and The Careers Group and you are therefore not required to attend the meeting.

As previously mentioned further information about CoSector and the opportunity to raise further questions by the UoL staff will take place in due course.

Kind regards
Matt

________________________________________
From: Danny Millum
Sent: 29 July 2015 13:57
To: Matthew Thorne
Cc: Anthony Kemp
Subject: RE: CoSector meeting tomorrow

Dear Matt

Many thanks for getting back to me. I’m afraid that the next ASM is not even scheduled yet, and is likely not to take place until November.

Last September I was assured by Chris Cobb that there would not be a new private company, but rather simply a department. Between then and now all manner of decisions have been made, and I would imagine that a similar thing will happen between now and this November.

The implications of CoSector – on our pension schemes going forward, on potential ‘CoSector-esque’ developments for other departments, on relations within the University Of London, on the UoL’s relationship with the colleges etc – are extremely significant, and will affect us all.

As I’m sure you know, consultation over new proposals is a two-way process – staff need to be informed of, but also wish to contribute to and have an impact on, these developments. As such any opportunity to answer questions from any source ought to be beneficial.

Taking the above into account, can I just clarify that I am NOT permitted to attend tomorrow’s meeting?

Best wishes

Danny

From: Matthew Thorne
Sent: 29 July 2015 12:33
To: Danny Millum <Danny.Millum@sas.ac.uk>; Anthony Kemp <Anthony.Kemp@london.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: CoSector meeting tomorrow

Dear Danny

The ASM tomorrow is for CoSector related staff only rather than the wider UoL. There will be information about CoSector coming out as things develop which will be shared with all UoL staff and further opportunity to raise questions in the University all staff meetings going forward.

Kind regards
Matt

________________________________________
From: Danny Millum
Sent: 29 July 2015 11:56
To: Anthony Kemp
Cc: Matthew Thorne
Subject: CoSector meeting tomorrow

Dear Anthony

Sorry to bother you – I’ve just seen the message on the intranet re tomorrow’s CoSector meeting.

I and other colleagues from the wider University had been planning to attend the meeting – we’d hoped to hear more about CoSector at the ASM on the 16th, and had the impression that tomorrow would be an opportunity for all of us to ask questions, as these developments will have long-term consequences for everyone at the UoL.

Could I confirm with you that while all UoL staff are not required to attend, they may do so if they wish?

Best wishes

Danny

Advertisements