Live! has heard from a number of concerned sources of further erosions to the freedoms ICU enjoys, with this year's executive committee selling out to College. Following the restructuring of commercial services at the start of the year, Live! has learnt that control of the finance department is to be handed to the College's finance division.
It appears that the executive has made the decision to secure the £3.2m funding required for the next phase of the Beit masterplan, which would have been withheld without extra financial controls in place. This comes despite College managing the building project, so having control of the money anyway. Union officers were tight lipped on the subject, as the decision was made in a closed-session meeting of the executive committee.
A potential shake up in finance seemed likely after successive scathing reports by the Union's auditors. The move may have implications for Union staff, so Live! is unable to comment on what the exact effect may be. It appears likely that financial systems will be migrated to those run by College, potentially bringing in a host of different forms and rendering some of this year's finance training redundant.
Officers not involved in the decision have been wondering if outsourcing to College is too high a price to pay for the redevelopment plan: the facilities may improve, but ICU's relative autonomy would be compromised. One anonymous Union source described John Collins as "spineless" for allowing the second capitulation to College demands in the space of a week.
Some supporters of the governance review have also been scratching their heads, wondering what it achieved. At the very start of the year the governance working group gave an emphatic "no" to becoming a College department, with the greater independence of a trustee board model the favoured approach. Since passing the trustee board proposal ICU has introduced greater controls for the media, made a decision to outsource the finance department and appointed a College lay governor as chair of the new board. This has been seen as a regressive step away from independence, the exact opposite of the result desired by the governance review working group.