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Strategic Review of SOAS Language Centre Indicative Proposals All LC Staff Meeting: 10 June 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategic Review of SOAS Language Centre Indicative Proposals All LC Staff Meeting: 10 June 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategic Review of SOAS Language Centre Indicative Proposals All LC Staff Meeting: 10 June 2010

2 Objectives To provide initial feedback on the consultation process To outline the EB position and present indicative proposals To launch a Voluntary Severance scheme open to Language Centre staff To hear the initial thoughts of Language Centre Management on how to deliver the targets set by Executive Board

3 Background Trade unions were briefed and provided with a copy of the consultation document on 26 th March 2010 Consultation Period ran from 12 th April to 28 th May 2010 and an all-staff meeting took place on 28 th April comments on the Consultation document were received Change Project Sponsor (Nirmala Rao) also held a further 17 confidential meetings with Language Centre Staff

4 Comments Received LC was being subjected to new financial disciplines and account should be taken of the work that LC undertakes on which it is difficult to place a monetary value. RAM costs were confusing to many respondents and it was pointed out that, as part of the LC RAM costs, it was unfair to include library costs as the great majority of LC students do not use the Library. There was a measure of support for the view that administration and support costs were too high. In particular, there was support for changing the roles of the language co-ordinators and implementing on-line payment systems.

5 Comments Received Some respondents identified areas of activity where a streamlined LC could compete more effectively and generate more income (e.g. on-line courses and an expansion in off-campus teaching etc). Comments were made relating to how teaching could be more effectively timetabled and delivered, including relating programme structure more closely to demand and offering short, introductory courses to accommodate demand and maintain diversity of Language teaching offerings. Comments and suggestions were made about the more efficient use of LC teaching and other space, including more extensive use of new technology for teaching (computer based learning), and about the lack of adequate teaching space, including the condition of teaching rooms and the general environment.

6 Comments Received Many respondents were enthusiastic about the possibility (under option 2 of the consultation paper) of relocating the LCs activities within the Faculty of Language and Cultures. In particular, the introduction of UG Language Entitlement was seen as a very positive step but some staff expressed the view that Language teaching was not held in high regard by the academic staff in the Faculty. Some criticisms were also made of Language Centre management and the leadership of the Centre.

7 Indicative Proposals Of the three options presented at the start of the paper, EB have ruled out option 1 (Reconstitute the Language Centre as a SOAS- owned company) Option 3 (Maintain the centre and rationalise its provision) is EBs preferred option in the short term Option 2 (Relocate the Centres activities within the Faculty of Languages and Cultures) might still be an option in the medium to long term

8 Indicative Proposals As a result, EB require the Language Centre to move much closer to a RAM break-even position by 31 st July 2013 Staff cost reductions (£355k) will reduce staff costs to 70% of income by 31 st July 2013 Non-staff costs reductions will reduce non-staff costs to 5% of income by 31 st July 2013 By 31 st July 2013, Language Centre will be making an operating surplus (discounting RAM) of 25% of income

9 Indicative Proposals EB felt that the best way of achieving this would be to look at the structure of the Language Centre and possible staff cost reductions sooner rather than later The suggestion would be for around £220k of the staff savings to be made by 31 st July 2011 and in some ways, this would be best achieved, certainly for support functions, in time for the start of the 2010/11 session Income generating activities, it was recognised, might take longer to come to fruition

10 Indicative Proposals 2009/10 Language Centre deficit of £754k after the application of the RAM 2010/11 projected Language Centre deficit (if nothing changes) after the application of the RAM is c£860k Indicative proposals (including assumptions about income generation, shift of activities from low to high margin activities (£150k net), RAM cost reductions (£235k), staff cost reductions (£355k), non-staff cost reductions (£20k) and up to £100k per annum cross subsidy) would place the Centre in a post RAM break-even position.

11 Staff Cost Saving Proposals Offer Voluntary Severance Scheme to Language Centre staff (until 9 th July 2010) Restructuring of the Language Centre (and particularly the support functions) following VS in time for start of 2010/11 session Consider the viability of teaching particular courses/undertaking particular activities beyond 2010/11 Review Language Centre space needs Withdraw library access to evening class students

12 Income Generating Proposals Develop & grow non-beginner level evening courses with higher margins, through differentiated prices Develop a range of accredited language courses that can be taken as options within existing SOAS degree syllabuses Develop & grow PG Cert/diploma language teaching courses as feeder programmes for the Faculty MA in Language Teaching

13 Income Generating Proposals Develop special courses including those to be delivered over the summer and off-campus (to help reduce space costs) Explore & develop other income sources (e.g. SOAS Language Entitlement programmes, professional development for teachers of Asian and African languages, securing funding from external bodies etc) Achieve tighter control of, and a reduction in, the number of small evening classes

14 Indicative Proposals EB have recognised that there will always be some activities that are low-margin and may never break- even (after RAM), but which are nevertheless important These indicative proposals include up to £100k per annum cross subsidy. This is to be used to support high profile strategic activities (e.g. FCO teaching) and less widely taught languages that might otherwise cease to be provided by the Language Centre, based on a purely financial model These proposals are indicative: EB would like the Language Centre to come up with some concrete proposals about how these targets will be achieved

15 The Next Steps The paper that has been circulated will be presented to R&PC(15 th June), AB (16 th June) and GB (9 th July) In the meantime, VS scheme will be launched and the outcomes of this will help to inform any restructuring of the Language Centre proposals Following the end of the VS period, further consultation needs to take place between Language Centre management and staff about how to achieve the targets set by EB, both in terms of cost reductions and income increases

16 How do we progress this? Price/quorum change New programmes Use of technologies Other funding channels Discussions about changes and engaging with all concerned

17 How do we progress this? CHANGE is necessary It is OUR Language Centre Is our Mission Statement correct? Cost reduction/development Consult each role group/section – short/long term measures Feedback into LCMG/WG - mid July Proposal – end July

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