Memorandum submitted by the Natural Environment
Research Council (RCUK 04)
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL: ANNUAL
REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2008-09
Following your letter dated 20 October regarding
our latest annual report please find our responses to your queries:
1. The Committee requests a note on the review
of strategy referred to on page 47
The NERC Strategy Next Generation Science for
Planet Earth is intended to be dynamic, so that NERC is able
to identify and respond readily to changing user needs and opportunities.
The concept of a dynamic, rolling strategy also allows NERC to
look beyond a fixed point in time (here 2012, five years after
the current strategy was launched) so that, in effect, the planning
horizon is always at least five years ahead.
NERC is currently piloting a process for refreshing
the strategy annually, and this first refresh cycle will be completed
March 2010. The Council will decide any changes to its strategic
objectives or priorities (science and organisational) based on:
(a) evidence of current performance in delivering the strategy;
and (b) new external and internal drivers identified through ongoing
stakeholder engagement and horizon-scanning.
2. What is the level of increase for international
subscriptions and support for overseas projects in 2008-09 caused
by the depreciation in the value of sterling. What is the change
in the first six months of 2009-10? How will the need for any
increased resources be financed? Has NERC been compensated for
variances from a base position by the Government?
Additional costs as a result of weaker exchange
rates for 2008-09:
||NERC has covered the first £1 million out of its science budget, the remaining sum has been compensated by BIS.
||Covered in full by NERC out of its science budget.
Additional costs as a result of weaker exchange rates for
first six months of 2009-10:
||NERC will cover the first £1 million exchange rate loss for 2009-10 out of its science budget, the remaining sum will be compensated by BIS.
|IODP||Covered in full by NERC out of its science budget.
3. What problems have Programme Assurance Visits identified
in 2008-09 and 2009-10?
Programme Assurance Visits are a cross-council activity,
led by BBSRC. In order not to duplicate information, BBSRC will
provide a response to this question on behalf of all the research
4. What is the Council's view of the quality of services
received from the Shared Services Centre?
(a) NERC began receiving a limited range of operational services
from the SSC ltd from May 2008 onwards covering IT support for
Swindon Office, Recruitment support and Procurement support for
(b) The services provided by the SSC ltd are delivered, in
the main, using existing processes and resources prior to NERC
going live on the full Enterprise Resource Programme and are satisfactory
in terms of quality during this transitional period.
5. The Committee requests a note setting out the level
of End Year Flexibility the Council could call upon at the start
of the year 2008-09, the amount drawn down during the year and
| Revised EYF 1 April 2008||5.349
|2008-09 adjusted published allocations
|2008-09 provisional outturn||416.980
|Non-cash EYF allocation adjustment||5.000
|EYF 1 April 2009||(0.239)
6. How much did the shares listed at note 21 to the accounts
The shareholdings listed in note 21 of our annual accounts
are the results of our commercialisation of science projects (spin-off
companies) and have no cost.
7. What proportion of invoices in September was paid within
NERC received 4,564 invoices dated September 2009. Of these 40%
were paid within 10 days and 87% were paid within 30 days.
Director of Finance and Operations