Fifty Seventh Meeting of Council

Fifty Seventh Meeting of Council

BRE Trust

Fifty seventh meeting of Council

held at

BRE Garston at 10:00 am on Thursday 27 July 2011


Present: / In attendance:
Sir Neville Simms (Chairman) / Mr D Szyamanski
Professor J Burland / Mr C Earnshaw
Professor L Clark / Dr M Wyatt
Mr H Ferguson / Mr R Heusch
Mr R Gillies / Ms C Bott
Mr RHaryott / Mr C Watson (secretary)
Mr P Lobban
Mr R Treen / Invited Guests (presentation)
Mr J Wates / Ms C Atkinson
  1. Welcome and apologies
Apologies have been received from John Carter, Mark Clare, Mark Farrar, Liz Goodwin, Richard Haryott and Sir Ken Knight.
  1. Minutes of the fifty sixth meeting of Council held on 5 May 2011
The minutes were agreed and signed
  1. Matters arising from the previous minutes
Matters arising were discussed within the agenda headings.
  1. BRE Trust’s Financial Statements 2010/2011
Chris Earnshaw advised that the Audit Committee had had a very positive meeting with KPMG, with no material adjustments and acknowledged improvement in processes. The audit committee met KPMG independently and there were no material matters raised.
Russell Heusch referred to BRETrustCouncil(11)13 and noted the new layout of the statement of activities on Page 20. The governance costs do not now include research management salaries which are now part of research costs. Unrestricted and restricted funds are now shown in separate columns.
Of significance to the Trust is the way charitable activities are reported. What could be disclosed previously on the Charity Commission website based on the accounts represented approximately £800K of circa £2.9m of research grant. Going forward the full £2.9m will be listed on the charity commission website. KPMG now accepts BRE Trust operates at arms length and can treat a BRE group subsidiary as a third party.
  1. Appointment of auditors for 2011/12
Chris Earnshaw advised that KPMG been the auditors for six years. It would be good practice to consider a change and the proposal is to interview KPMG along with other companies. This was agreed by the Trustees. The aim is to make an appointment by the end of 2011.
  1. BRE Group – BRE Group Chairman’s report
Martin Wyatt referred to BRETrustCouncil(11)15. The first quarter income and expenditure are below plan and the net profit is well ahead of plan. Cash in the bank has increased to £9M. Work in hand, which has been on a downward trend, has increased to 5.5 months work in hand.
Site development – the housing allocation has been reinstated in the Local Authority Plan. The public consultation on the plan is in the Autumn. Mark Clare has been very helpful in allowing his local office to provide strategic advice.
IHS – legal advice confirms that BRE is in a strong position to push for royalties on electronic downloads through subscription services. A meeting without lawyers will be held with IHS to begin discussions.
  1. Report on BRE Trust Research
Chris Watson referred to BRETrustCouncil(11)16.
John Burland reported that the new format for the BRE Trust Research Conference had been a step change; the conference had been very well attended and presentations were good. The discussion session had been lively. Informal feedback had been excellent. The young speakers were excellent. Plans are underway to select a venue for a joint BRE Trust Research Conference and BRE Annual Conference in 2012. The projectors did not cope with DVDs and this needs to be checked next time.
John Burland reported on the meeting to select Responsive Mode Research Proposals. Overall the standard of submissions is improving. A few do not deal with outcomes and outputs seriously and it is not clear which of the stated third party funding support has been confirmed. Proposals marked Beta are soon to be resubmitted to the Committee for review. Martin Wyatt thanked the committee for allowing a flexible approach to resubmissions.
Chris Watson reported that BRE had been awarded two EPSRC case awards.
John Burland has received a draft review of the benefits of the current Thematic Research programme – the final is due next week.
Chief Scientist – John Burland reported that attempts to find a suitable candidate (eminent in field with gravitas and FREng or FRS) had been unsuccessful. However he still would like to talk to two people. He suggested that an alternative was to identify someone on their way to reaching that status. He will go back to RAE and Deborah Pullen may have contacts through EPSRC.
A list of potential BRE Fellows had been sent to the Research Committee and will be distributed to the Trustees electronically for comment. The Trustees welcome the external support and vision that the Fellows would contribute. A small honorarium to be paid to the Fellows was suggested by the Trustees.
  1. Report on BRE Trust Publications
Chris Watson referred to BRETrustCouncil(11)17.
Hugh Ferguson supported BRE’s intention to pursue IHS for royalties on electronic downloads and accepted that the conclusion would probably be a compromise. He noted that while he does not know IHS very well he is impressed with the team on BRE site.
He noted the increase in numbers of publications over the last quarter but expressed concern at the rate that publications were being produced. The rate should be at least 4 publications a month.
The Publications committee wish to review a random but representative sample of BRE publications immediately before the next meeting of Council on 3rd November 2011. Chris Watson will collate a selection and issue shortly.
  1. Proposal for BRE Trust Awards
Martin Wyatt referred to BRETrustCouncil(11)18
The objective is to raise the profile BRE Trust and be seen as leaders in innovation in the built environment. The awards would be given out at a good quality dinner occasion possibly linked with the BRE Trust Research Conference.
The Trustees were very supportive noted the negative impacts if no quality innovations were submitted and also recommended professional advice to find a name other than ‘Eureka Awards’. They advised caution as award dinners are a crowded space and obtaining sponsorship is hard. BRE should not expect it to make profit first year and should find innovative ways to differentiate the event.
  1. Re-appointment of Trustees
Richard Haryott was re-appointed for a new three year term.
  1. Any other business
The Audit Committee has reviewed the first draft of the BRE Trust Risk Register and following an iteration will review this at their meeting in November and present it to the Trust. The Risk Register will be tabled annually for Trustees to review. / Action: Russell Heusch
Action: Secretary
Action: Secretary
Action: Secretary
Action: Martin Wyatt
Action: John Burland
Action: Secretary
Action: Secretary

There being no further business – the meeting was closed

Sir Neville Simms