Thursday 13 January 2011

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

Minutes of the Planning Meeting held at Imperial College London

Present: Beth Adams, Angus Brown, Julie Brittain, Vicky Falconer, John Gilby, Sandy Leitch, Julie Howell, Caroline Lloyd, Rosemary Lynch, Ann Murphy, Mary Nixon, Pete Ryan, John Tuck.

1. Apologies for absence:

Nick Bevan.
2. Introduction and Context:

John Tuck (JT) welcomed the Steering Group (SG), and extended thanks to Angus Brown (AB) for providing meeting facilities at Imperial.

JT drew the SG’s attention to the documents that had been circulated prior to the meeting: updated Risk Register, M25 Strategic Plan, and the workshop outcomes from last year’s planning day. The SG agreed that these would provide a context and framework for establishing the priorities for this Planning Meeting (PM). The SG agreed that the PM was an opportunity to evaluate progress on achieving the 2010-11 strategic objectives, as detailed at the end of the M25 Strategic Plan, and that by the end of the PM the priorities for the next Strategic Plan (to approve at the AGM in April) should have been identified. It was also agreed that the PM should establish greater clarity on how to take agenda forward through to Task and Finish Group (T&FG) system that has already been agreed. JT reminded the SG of the constraints that will be facing us this year: space charging and the loss of Web Project’s Officer post will have an impact on our activities and the delivery and maintenance of our services. However, the need to provide value for money for our members remains imperative.

The SG agreed, therefore, that the priority areas for this PM were value for money, and how to demonstrate this to the membership; how to promote Consortium benefits and services; and how to implement T&FWG system. The group agreed the PM agenda reflected these priorities.
3. M25 Strategic Plan and Risk Register review:

These documents were circulated prior to the meeting so as to assist the SG in ensuring all relevant points were covered in PM agenda – and this was covered above in intro/context.

The SG agreed, however, that it would beneficial to go through the Key Projects 2010-11 (detailed at end of Strategic Plan) and detail progress so far. Discussion as follows:

  • KP1: Launch of Staff Room
    Covered in later agenda, item 5
  • KP2: Review and develop repository of resources on website
    There could be different strands to this, and needs more clarity. The SG agreed to revisit this at a later date.
  • KP3: Utilise T&FGs model of operation

Covered in later agenda

  • KP4: Implement recommendations of InforM25 review.

Covered in later agenda

  • KP5: Complete and implement review of M25 marketing activities
    Covered in later agenda
  • KP6: Run a series of marketing events to promote M25 services
    Mary Nixon (MN) advised that Goldsmiths ran a session on M25 as part of staff development session.
    The group agreed that this would be a good project for a T&FWG to implement (noted in summary of T&FGs, agenda item 5.1)
  • KP7: Respond to SCONUL report on shared services
    It was noted that four M25 member universities were involved in this project.
  • KP8: Arrange meeting with other Library Consortia
    M25 met with North West Academic Libraries (NOWAL) in November, and this was very informative and very useful.
  • KP9: Take forward WAM25 project
    JT advised that there may still be an opportunity for money from Jisc to be used, provided that it is on a project with a specifically Walk in Access theme. The matter had been referred to the SCONUL Task Force on Access led by Philip Payne and of which MN was a member. It was suggested that the money might be used in connection with the Task Force’s plan for a survey of services offering walk in access, followed by exchange of experience seminar for whom such a scheme is working well. Action 3.1: MN to raise these matters at the next Task Force meeting  and report back.
  • KP10: Review and update governance documents
    It was agreed that the governance documents should be updated to reflect new organisation of working groups, the change in number of business meetings, etc. This should be done in time for March meeting, to post on website in advance of AGM. Action 3.2: Vicky Falconer (VF) and John Gilby (JG) go through governance documents, and discuss with Sandy Leitch (SL). Action 3.2: SL to distribute updated governance documents.
  • KP11: Review the Consortium’s reserves policy
    Caroline Lloyd (CL) advised that she has started to look into reserves with respect to Risk Management Grid. CL estimated that some more work needs to be done in this area but it was her recommendation that the Consortium needs circa £100,000 in reserves. Currently, we are on course to achieve this, but there is not much room for manoeuvre.
  • KP12: Explore potential for fund-raising arising from charitable status
    Some attempts were itemised in last SG meeting to join/support bids etc., but nothing has been done so far linking any bid, or potential bid, to the Consortium’s charitable status. CL mentioned that Nick Bevan (NB) was going to be researching this to ascertain which opportunities exist for charities. As it would really be a task too large for one person to complete, the SG agreed that, again, this could be a  task for a T&FWG to work on (noted in summary of T&FGs, item 5). Action 3.4: CL to get in touch with NB regarding any work he may have done on fund-raising and charitable status.

4. Value for Money and Benefits of Membership

4.1 Space

In connection with the space charging requirement from August 2011, CL advised the SG that she had modelled the finances with a 2% and a 3% rise in subscriptions, factoring in both the re-instatement of Goldsmiths’ subscription, and the additional subscription for Lambeth. CL recommended a 2% rise this year, and an additional 1% the following year, and the SG agreed with this proposal. These subscription rises will be presented to members at the AGM in April. CL advised that she would normally take the draft budget to the March SG, so will need to have confirmation of the space charging particulars in time. Action 3.3: JT get in touch with LSE representative.

4.2 Benefits of membership

The SG agreed that it would be helpful to summarise the priority benefits for our library staff, library directors, students and academics.  Whilst the Consortium might wish to expand its membership in the future, the first priority is to promote the benefits of M25 to those who are already members. Key benefits as follows:

  • Networking
    Including networking for staff from all levels as well as directors. The SG agreed that networking and partnerships were becoming more crucial in the current financial climate.
  • Cpd25
    MN advised the SG that cpd25 now advertises all of its events more widely.
  • Access, and Resource Discovery
    The SG concurred that the Consortium does not do enough to promote the fantastic collections that are held within member libraries. It was suggested that the promotion of the collections could also be a T&FG task. (Noted in summary of T&FGs, item 5).

The SG concurred that the means by which we market these benefits is crucial.


5.    Engaging the membership

5.1. Task and Finish Groups

The SG discussed the following T&FGs, or potential T&FGs, that had been mentioned in the notes from the September SG meeting:

  • 5.1.1. Director Services Task and Finish Group
    This group was tasked with the setting up of the Directors’ Room (DR); as this has been achieved, the group will be disbanded. There is the potential, however, for a new T&FG to look at the development of the DR (as listed below on summary of T&FGs). There is also a need for a group to look at the development needs of directors and senior management level staff. RL will send out an email to DR, with a plan to undertake survey which will be  undertaken in February. The results will be presented to the SG in March. After the research/survey outlined above, RL will ask who would like to be  a member of might be an M25 T&FG, or it may be most appropriate for this group to sit within cpd25 as a fifth cpd25 Task Group. Action 5.1.1: RL disband Director Services Working Group. Action 5.1.2: send email to DR regarding development needs for Directors and senior management staff.
  • 5.1.2. Shared services/activity
    It was asked whether the SG still wants this group or something along these lines; the SG agreed that it does link up to research funding opportunities, and that having partnerships will become increasingly important. A task force would enable us to be prepared to respond to a call – which we were not able to do for the last JISC call. It was agreed that even for institutions working on their own bids, having M25 support would enhance their application. The SG agreed to come back to this idea to define priority.
  • 5.1.3. Access
    The Consortium has completed its work on this as far as it can, and SCONUL have taken it forward.

With regards to the remaining three current working groups, the SG agreed for all to be converted to T&FGs, provided that an appropriate structure for activities can be found:

  • 5.1.4. Digital Developments Working Group (DDWG)
    The InforM25 review needs to be completed; a T&FG will be created to undertake the remainder of the work. The technical work will be undertaken by JG and Andrew Amato (AA), and the T&FG will observe data and make recommendations to the M25 SG: A second T&FG would be set up later to implement these recommendations. It was noted, however that there is an ongoing maintenance requirement for InforM25, so this aspect of activities will not ‘finish’ and should be kept separate from a T&FG. It was agreed that an InforM25 advisory group should be a recommendation in the review. With regards to the Directors’ Room and Staff Room, it was noted that these services need somewhere to report to operationally, also on an ongoing basis. More work on roll out of Staff Room could be further T&FG. Action 5.1.4.1: BA to convert DDWG to T&FWG for completion of InforM25 review, including definition of remit and membership.
  • 5.1.5. Marketing and Communications Working Group (MCWG)
    Pete Ryan (PR) advised that when the original discussions had taken place about the future of MCWG, a series of tasks had been identified that members of the group could work on. However, individuals had not been assigned to tasks, and that it been difficult therefore for the MCWG to progress with tasks. It was agreed that one or more T&FGs might need to be set up out of list of priority marketing/communication projects. PR will not Chair all the groups, but groups would report operationally to him. Action 5.1.5.1: PR to disband MCWG; define and send out remit for T&FGs, and allocate members to groups.
  • 5.1.6 Strategic Partnerships Working Group (SPWG)
    Ann Murphy (AM) advised the SG that SPWG was not moving forward and that she agreed with the suggestion to disband the group. AM advised that there were one or two discrete pieces of work that could potentially be taken forward under the direction of a T&FG; AM will give further consideration and come back to the SG in March with more detail. The SG discussed whether in the current climate moment ‘shared services’ may be a higher priority area to work on than strategic partnerships (as noted above in 5.1.2). AM to provide recommendation at next SG.

It was noted that the move to T&FG working model should be implemented in time to inform members at AGM.

Summary of potential/agreed Task and Finish Groups (including those noted from item 3, and noted from this item)

  • Run a series of marketing events to promote M25 services
  • Other marketing tasks as defined by current MCWG
  • Development needs for senior level staff/directors
  • Explore potential for fund-raising arising from charitable status
  • Promotion of collections within the Consortium
  • Shared services  – e.g. digitisation projects
  • InforM25 review; implementation of recommendations
  • Development of Directors’ Room; development of Staff Room

5.2. Role of the websites

The InforM25 website is covered in the Inform25 review process. With regards to the M25 website, it was agreed that JG and VF will work with SL to identify outdated material; VF/JG will remove or update on site as appropriate. MN advised that Claire Hackshall (CH) will be updating the cpd25 website. The SG agreed that the resources to look at functionality and development of the M25 websites was not currently available, and that it was not a priority at the moment.

5.3. Staff Room

JG reported that an encouraging number of staff have signed up to the Staff Room service, and that two user groups have been created since the launch. However, more work needs to be done to promote the service to users who haven’t already signed up, and also to those who have already signed up to keep on using the service. The SG agreed that it would be beneficial for directors to promote to their staff. Action 5.3.1: all SG with staff on Staff Room encourage to post content. Action 5.3.2: RL to find email that was sent to staff that signed up at Networking Event; JT to reword for all Directors and distribute. The SG acknowledged that further clarification is required on administrative and maintenance issues.

6. Promoting success:

Already dealt with above
7. Strategic Partnerships:

Already dealt with above
8. Annual Conference:

SL advised that conference planning was underway – with themes of collaboration, collections and developing staff having been defined – but that more work was needed on the specifics of the programme. The SG agreed that a keynote speaker should be sought from an internal institution; several ideas were suggested for further speakers. A conference sub-group was set up: JH, SL, AB, VF. The SG agreed that this year it would be good to have a collections showcase. MN advised that Goldsmiths has a presentation which was made recently for another event which focuses on their special collections. MN also offered a contact a contact for potential sponsors. It was agreed that should Lambeth Palace confirm their membership, then a feature on Lambeth’s collections would also be a possibility.
Action 8.1: Conference sub-group members follow up suggestions for speakers/features. Action 8.2: VF to continue following up venues. Action 8.4: Mary contact potential sponsor. Once this is done VF contact last year’s potential shelving sponsor.

 

Summary of Actions

  • Action 3.1: MN to raise Walk in Access at working group meeting she’s involved in.
  • Action 3.2: VF and JG go through governance documents, and discuss with SL.
  • Action 3.2: SL to distribute updated governance documents.
  • Action 3.4: CL to get in touch with NB regarding any work he may have done on fund-raising and charitable status.
  • Action 5.1.1: RL disband Director Services Working Group.
  • Action 5.1.2: send email to DR regarding development needs for Directors and senior management staff.
  • Action 5.1.4.1: BA to convert DDWG to T&FWG for completion of InforM25 review.
  • Action 5.1.5.1: PR to disband MCWG; send out remit for T&FGs, and allocate members to groups.
  • Action 5.3.1: all SG with staff on Staff Room encourage to post content.
  • Action 5.3.2: RL to find email that was sent to staff that signed up at Networking Event; JT to reword for all Directors and distribute.
  • Action 8.1: Conference sub-group members follow up suggestions for speakers/features.
  • Action 8.2: VF to continue following up venues.
  • Action 8.4: MN contact potential sponsor. Once this is done VF contact last year’s potential shelving sponsor.