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Every three years Schools and all other University Institutions are required to produce Strategic Plans. These plans set the academic priorities and objectives for the Institution for the next five years and explain how they are to be implemented. The Strategic Plans are accompanied by detailed financial forecasts.

Although the Strategic Plans are generally only updated every three years, the financial forecasts are revisited annually in the Planning Round. The financial forecasts for Schools and all other Institutions are consolidated together to provide a University level financial forecast which forms part of the Budget Report (formerly called the Allocations Report). The second year of this forecast includes the Allocation of Chest Expenditure to Schools and Institutions. The first year is a revised estimate of activity in the current year.

To meet HEFCE's requirement that the University operates sustainably, the Budget Report is not just a consolidation of Schools' and other Institutions' financial forecast submissions. This is because financial forecasts at this level represent their Institution's aspirations. The Resource Management Committee (RMC) and Planning & Resources Committee (PRC) will consider the University's total expenditure plans in the context of its estimated future income and may cap or limit some (or all) Institutional plans. It is this iterative review process which generates the final numbers in the Budget Report.

The timetable below shows the main stages of the Planning Round.

Month/Year Activity
Jun/Jul Formal planning guidance issued by the Planning & Resource Allocation Office (PRAO).
Jul-Dec
  • Finance Managers prepare the financial forecasts for Schools and other Institutions i.e. they cost the Institution's Strategic Plans.
  • The involvement of departmental finance staff in this process is determined locally by the Institution.
  • The financial forecast is reviewed and approved by the appropriate authority, such as the Chair of the Council of the School; or the Head of the Institution.
  • The financial forecasts are submitted to PRAO.
Sep/Oct Actual income and expenditure for the last financial year is analysed by Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) into the same activity categories as used in planning.
1 Dec Submitted to PRAO
  • Financial forecasts
  • Annual reports
  • Student number forecasts
  • Every three years - Strategic Plans
Dec FP&A
  • Review financial forecasts submitted
  • Consolidate individual forecasts into a University level picture
  • Create University wide analyses of income and expenditure

PRAO

  • Review Strategic Plans
  • Review and consolidate forecast of non-financial data e.g. student numbers
Jan/Feb Strategic Plans are reviewed.
  • For Schools these meetings are chaired by PVC Planning and Resources
  • For other Institutions the meeting will be chaired by an appropriate person (e.g. the Fitzwilliam Strategic Plan review meeting is chaired by Chair of the School of Arts & Humanities)
Feb/Mar RMC/PRC
  • Considers Plans
  • Agrees provisional allocations to Schools, other Institutions and Administered Funds
Apr General Board and Finance Committee consider Plans and Allocations
May Council considers Plans and Allocations
May/Jun Budget Report published in The Reporter
Jun Budget Report graced
Jul/Aug Departmental budgets produced by Finance Managers and passed to FP&A
Aug Departmental budgets uploaded into UFS by FP&A

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