Update from Michelle Nuttall, Faculty Director of Operations and Karen Longden, Head of Faculty Finance

You may have recently seen the annual update on the University’s Financial position from the Chief Financial Officer, Helen Dingle. At a more local level, here is an update on how the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health has performed. 

The Faculty as a whole started the 2018-19 financial year in a challenging financial position. Our expenditure as a Faculty was forecast to be £3.0m higher than the budget we had been allocated. 

We are pleased to say that by the end of the financial year, this position had improved considerably, and the Faculty as a whole ended the year with a £2.8m surplus. 

The main reasons for this improvement were: 

  • Overachievement against forecast for Research Net Contribution (RNC).
  • Exceeding recruitment targets for PGT and PGR students. 
  • Departments managing their budgets carefully, and collectively spending £1.1m less on staff costs than forecast, and £1.8m on non- staff costs than forecast. 

All departments ended the year in at least a balanced position, with the exception of Human Communication Sciences who had a very small deficit position of £11k. This is the first time since 2015 that the Faculty as a whole has finished the year with a surplus financial position based on core income alone.  

Whilst the last financial last year was very positive, our current 5 year forecasts for income and expenditure show that departments plan to increase their costs faster than growing their income.  This is primarily being driven by additional staffing costs associated with pension changes alongside general increases in staffing costs related to increments and inflationary increases. Increased space costs are also a major driver of increased costs for our Faculty, especially in departments based in NHS space. 

Our surplus in 2018-19 will help to offset these additional costs over the next three years, as the Faculty has retained 75% of the £2.8m surplus via the University’s financial model. The Faculty Executive Board plans to use this money to fund strategic priorities agreed across the Faculty. By doing this, we will try to strike a balance between investing in improvements and growth, whilst recognising the need to fund our day-to-day, core activity. 

All departments are currently planning for the next academic year, and will be completing their financial forecasts and student number targets before the end of February 2020. A key part of the process this year will be to try and forecast our student numbers, income and costs as accurately as possible, so that we have an accurate view from the beginning of the year.  We also want to plan more effectively between years, to enable us to think strategically about important, long-term investments, such as our estate.