Over the past two years, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on financial transparency, promotion of openness and making complex issues understandable to a wider audience. All relevant documents are available on www.uva.nl/financien, input is gathered at several stages of the process and a new allocation model has been drawn up.
In March 2018, the Joint Meeting agreed to the proposed new allocation model. This agreement was preceded by an almost two-year process, as part of which the entire academic community had the opportunity to contribute their ideas about the allocation of funding within the university.
Around 150 staff and students in total made suggestions through various meetings and online. A task force of technical experts assessed the submitted ideas and formulated a proposal from all of these suggestions. In addition, a sounding board group comprising representatives from the faculties and the representative advisory bodies was set up as a sparring partner for the task force.
Between 5 and 19 December 2017, the academic community had the opportunity to respond to the task force's proposal at denkmee.uva.nl. Subsequently, the task force's proposal was discussed at length with the deans and the representative advisory bodies, which granted their approval in March 2018. The model will be introduced at the same time as the framework letter and the budget for 2019.
Since January 2017, the UvA has made information about research and teaching, personnel as well as finance available to staff and students online. The data can be found in a series of UvAdata Monitors. These monitors provide information on all kinds of developments, such as student enrolment levels, study progress, research results and the gender balance. The monitors also provide an insight into the UvA's income and expenses.
Since 2016, the formulation process of the framework letter and the budget has included time for discussion of the finances. These documents are made available for questions and comments before being presented to the representative advisory bodies. This gives employees and students the right to reply to the draft framework letter and preliminary budgets, and discussion is conducted between the Executive Board and the representative advisory bodies.
Faculties and units can also ask their Student Councils and Works Councils for extensive advice. The responses and results from these consultations are then implemented into the definitive documents. Finally, the Executive Board will ask the representative advisory bodies– following consultation – to approve the general outline of the budget.
On Friday, 4 December 2015, the UvA's Finance and Accommodation Research Committee presented its draft action plan. The committee's research, facilitated by the Executive Board, was led by Hendrik van Moorsel and took six months. Its final report, entitled 'Building on Science' (Bouwen aan Wetenschap) was published on 24 June 2016. A quote from the overall conclusions: 'The current financial position could be summarised as "healthy, with some key points for attention". The university charted a responsible course over the period under assessment, making significant strides in increasing the professionalism of operational management while simultaneously developing a highly ambitious accommodation plan. What’s still often lacking, however, is effective communication.'
In the period prior to this, attention had already been paid to improving communication about finances; for example, by making all documentation publicly available, organising meetings (such as during the process of reviewing the allocation model), and making information easier to understand via infographics and animations. The most important documents are now easily accessible at www.uva.nl/financien. These efforts will be stepped up in the coming period, e.g. by publishing an interactive PDF with a clear explanation of the planning and control cycle steps as well as links to up-to-date documents.