Monday 18 January 2010

Steering Group Minutes

Note: The following minutes are unapproved and will be formally agreed at the next meeting of the Steering Group.

Minutes of the Meeting Held at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Present: Julie Brittain, Vicky Falconer, John Gilby, Sandy Leitch, Julie Howell, Caroline Lloyd, Rosemary Lynch, Ann Murphy, Pete Ryan, John Tuck. Nick Bevan and Mary Nixon arrived late.

1. Apologies for absence:


2. Minutes of the last meeting, and review of actions:

The minutes from the October 2009 meeting were accepted as an accurate record of proceedings. The group updated on the summary of actions; most were completed, with the exception of:

Under 11.1 Steering and Working Group vacancies, SL/VF to liaise: ongoing

Under 12.1 VF to finalise venue for M25 conference: ongoing

Under 13.1.1.VF/MN to chase outstanding cpd25 invoices: ongoing

Under 13.3.1 Support Team to send CL revised claim form: ongoing

Under 15.1 MN to arrange replacement TG5 Chair: ongoing

Under 19.1 SL to arrange visit to Lambeth Palace: ongoing

3. Marketing Group review:

PR reported good attendance at the meeting of the Marketing and Communications Working Group (M&C WG) at LSE in December ‘09. The SG noted that members of the M&C WG requested more direction from the Steering Group (SG), and a review of the remit and terms of reference. The M&C WG also recommended that membership be opened up, or that sub-groups be formed to take on specific projects.

The SG discussed the possibility of seeking temporary professional external marketing expertise. PR felt that notwithstanding lack of M25 funds to do this, the remaining enthusiasm of current members should be capitalised on; there are several projects which the M&C WG could usefully work on in the shorter term.

PR was happy to remain interim Chair of the M&C WG in the short to medium term, but the SG agreed that this should be reviewed at a later date.

CL queried the decision to distribute the Annual Report by email only. It was agreed that saving print costs was a good way of recouping some reserves, but it was felt that the various options for Annual Report production, and their relative impact, should be reassessed before a final decision is made.

Action 3.1: PR to take the issue of the Annual Report back to the M&C WG.

4. Quality Group Review:

JH reported that since taking over as Chair of the Quality Working Group (QWG), the Group has worked on several projects and considered potential directions for future work. JH also identified the need for a reassessment of the way that Working Groups are structured/organised, and the way in which work is directed from the SG. JH also highlighted her own time constraints. The SG discussed the possibility of using a Task and Finish format for most of the Working Groups; the idea of instating ‘operational chairs’ was also raised. The SG agreed to discuss these issues further at the next meeting.

JH recommended that the QWG be disbanded, and consideration be given to alternative ways in which the Group expertise could be drawn upon.

The SG thanked JH for her input on the Working Group.

Action 4.1: JH to advise QWG members of cessation of group, but encourage them to look out for upcoming opportunities in other groups.

Action 4.2: Convene a subgroup to review the governance of working / task and Finish groups. SL JH CL JG

5. Risk Management Grid:

SL went through the Risk Management Grid that had been drawn up by NB. The SG agreed that it was a helpful document. It was noted that some areas required additional clarification.

Action 5.1: NB/SL to update draft Risk Management Grid.

6. Review of Action Plan:

In the light of the earlier discussion, the SG felt that the action plan would require revision to reflect a new approach to managing working and task and finish groups. The SG surmised that these issues would be raised in the Planning Afternoon, and agreed to come back to the Action Plan then.

7. New Members:

SL reported that visits to Lambeth Palace and the Royal Society had to be rearranged. The SG agreed that M25 is not actively seeking to increase membership, but that if organisations wish to approach the Consortium then the M25 Officers would be very interested to hear from them.


8. Annual Conference:

SL reported to the SG that there were now two speakers confirmed for the event. The SG concurred, however, that at least one more speaker should be sought; a few suggestions were made.

Action 8.1: SL to follow up suggestions for speakers.

The SG agreed that a theme to link the speakers together successfully still needed to be found. Various ideas were offered around the areas of: E-Learning; emerging technologies and user experience; shared services. A provisional title was suggested.

Action 8.2: VF to look up themes of SCONUL and JISC conferences for 2010.

The SG agreed that the day would include a question and answer session with the keynote speaker. It was suggested that possible questions could be gathered via the Director’s Room. Action 8.3: SL to create thread on DR.

Other possible activities for the day were suggested; the idea of collection showcases was particularly popular with the SG. It was agreed that there would be a short AGM to take place at the end of the lunch break, allowing a longer break for non-Directors to exchange ideas: an informal networking activity could also be planned for this time.

VF reported that a venue, Cass Business School, had been booked provisionally; the capacity is 180. CL advised the SG that there is money in the budget to cover some of the costs, but not all – especially if the Consortium is aiming to attract a large audience to the event. Different methods of charging were discussed; the SG agreed on one free place per institution, with an unlimited number of additional places per institution at a nominal charge. Action 8.4: VF to look at costs and work out charge.

A subgroup was set up with the task of taking the conference forward: SL, VF, RL, AM. Action 8.5: Conference sub-group to finalise theme and work on programme. The conference will be advertised in February; a detailed programme was agreed to be available by March.

9. Treasurer’s Report:

9.1 Review of accounts:

CL reported that this had gone well overall. However, this year’s ‘trial’ review raised the need for awareness next time of how long the process takes from start to finish. This will need to be factored carefully into the Consortium workload for Summer/Autumn 2010, see 9.3. NB signed, on behalf of the SG, the review document sent by Kingston Smith; the SG were advised that copies of the document need to be submitted to all members 21 clear days before the AGM. Action 9.1.1: VF to prepare and distribute the relevant paperwork.

9.2 2009/10:

CL ran through the M25 projected budget for 2009/10; this was approved by the SG. CL advised that there may be some money saved if the distribution of the Annual Report by email only goes ahead. However, given that the Consortium is currently operating inside of its reserves, due caution must nevertheless be taken with spending. Action 9.2.1: JG to liaise with design unit re timetable and prices for design of Annual Report.

The SG agreed to the closure of the old cpd25 NatWest account, and for monies to be transferred to the new HSBC account. Action 9.2.2: CL, MN, VF to liaise.

9.3 Review of 2009/10:

CL ran through the timetable for the accounts review of 2009/10 and outlined key dates. Action 9.3.1: VF to liaise with SL re the planning of meeting agendas with respect to 2009/10 annual review timetable.

10. cpd25 report:

MN reported that 10 events have already run, 20 more are advertised and there are several more in planning. There is additional emphasis in this year’s programme on events for more senior staff. cpd25 will also be applying for the renewal of its CILIP Seal of Approval this year.

11. Reports from Working Groups:

11.1 Digital Developments:

JT gave a précis of his DDWG report. He informed the SG that the M25 Staff Room project is being taken forward, with a view to it being up and running in time for the Annual General Meeting. The suggestion was also raised by JT that M25 may be in need of a general website review; the SG agreed to look at this later in the day, as part of the Planning Afternoon.

JT presented to the SG his report on the review of Inform25; the Group agreed the workpackages that JT had recommended in this document. The issue was raised that in addition we may need to ascertain some of the reasons why usage levels may be lower than hoped. It was suggested that M&C WG can assist with the promotion of InforM25 and in getting feedback on the reasons for usage/non usage. Action 11.1.1: PR to liaise with M&C WG re InforM25.

11.2 Director Services:

RL fed back to the SG on the results  of the Directors’ Room usage survey. Most of the respondents cited lack of time, use of other mailing lists, or just not having incorporated it into their routine, as reasons for non-usage. Many respondents were keen to point out that they thought that it was an excellent idea, and something they are sure they could make use of in future. RL suggested therefore that  perhaps the aim of 100% take-up is overly ambitious; the fact that there are some people making good use of it is a sign of success. The SG agreed that there may be a cumulative effect with time; they will continue to promote the service by continuing to send out weekly emails and directing SG activities through it.

RL reported that some members of the Director Services Working Group (DSWG) were wishing to stand down, since it was set up as a Task and Finish group. The SG agreed that there may be some potential for crossover with cpd25. Action: 11.2.1: RL to liaise with MN, then get back to the DSWG members and find out who wishes to remain on group. The next step will be decided from there.

11.3 Strategic Partnerships:

AM reported that the London Inspire Meeting in January had been postponed. Members of the London Inspire Steering Group are investigating previous actions by LLDA in relation to the web site and available financial support. LLDA has become subsumed into London Libraries since earlier attempts to get Inspire off the ground. (There has also been a delay with LLDA moving to London Libraries).

Part of this year’s activities for the Strategic Partnerships Group is to investigate the requirements of non HE members.. AM reported that the relationship with NHS is ongoing, but that there may be others worthy of exploration. JG still to contact regional consortia to find out about the possibility of a sharing of experience workshop. The issue of what proportion of expenses could be met by M25 for this event was raised.

12. Support Team Update:

JG reported that the (physical) server that hosts the content managed websites ( & is coming up for its annual warranty renewal in mid February 2010. It is planned to replace this hardware with a virtual machine but this will not be feasible until later in 2010.  It was recommended that the warranty be renewed for a further year.

A virtual server for InforM25 had been set up by LSE ITS, and draft SLA and estimated cost received. JG recommended that the team proceed with the virtual hosting of InforM25 to reduce the risk of failure with the current live InforM25 server.

The SG agreed to both these proposals.

With regards to the WAM25 project, JG reported that he had received an email from HEFCE, pending a decision. JG and JT raised the suggestion to the SG of doing something productive with the money already guaranteed from other funding sources. Action 12.1: JT and JG to liaise with new Director of Library Services at LSE.

Summary of Actions

3.1: PR to take the issue of the Annual Report back to the M&C WG.

4.1: JH to advise QWG members of cessation of group.

5.1: NB/SL to update draft Risk Management Grid.

8.1: SL to follow up these suggestions for speakers.

8.2: VF to look up themes of SCONUL and JISC conferences.

8.3: SL to create thread on DR re questions for Annual Conference Q&A session.

8.4: VF to look at costs and work out charge.

8.5: Conference sub-group to finalise theme and work on programme.

9.1.1: VF to prepare and distribute the relevant paperwork.

9.2.1: JG to liaise with design unit re timetable and cost for Annual Report design.

9.3.1: VF to liaise with SL on the planning of meeting agendas with respect to 2009/10 annual review.

11.1.1: PR to liaise with M&C Group re InforM25.

11.2.1: RL to liaise with MN, then get back to the DSWG members and find out who wishes to remain on group.

12.1: JT and JG to liaise with new Director of Library Services at LSE.