Key points from the December 7 SURF Members' Council meeting

At the December 7 Council of Members meeting, discussions included the SURF 2023 Annual Plan, its budget and the new fee policy. You can read more about the main points in this post.
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The following topics were discussed with the Council of Members:

SURF annual plan and budget 2023

The SURF annual plan and budget for 2023 were presented to the Council of Members. Both were approved with many compliments. The plans described for next year are broken down in both documents by the three roles of SURF. For the annual plan, this broadly implies the following:

  • Association: we will continue activities in this area, here there are no major changes compared to 2022.
  • Service:in 2023, the establishment of portfolio management and modified tariffs with the members will receive much attention. The June 2023 Council of Members will decide on what in the portfolio by 2024.
  • Innovation: major programs will be launched in education and research, namely Digitalisation Impulse Education and the Regieorgaan Open Science. SURF's innovation agenda aligns with these. We are also working with members on various innovation zones and roadmaps.

With regard to the budget, the role division provides a better insight into the financial situation and how to (adjust) it. The most important progress since last year has been to bring the financial housekeeping to a healthy level. The biggest risks for 2023 are the energy costs for Snellius and the not yet awarded grant application for Digitalisation Impulse Education.

Project pricing policy

The established Members' Council Tariff Committee, which collaborated with the Board of Directors on the subject of tariff policy met for the last time on November 7. Their recommendations were incorporated into the "SOLL report" that was approved during the Members' Council. Now the Board of Directors can classify all SURF services in the new models and calculate the corresponding rates. In addition, all services are also evaluated in terms of content. The order of the evaluation of services and working method is discussed by the COO (Hans Louwhoff) with the SPA and CSC chairs. In this way we ensure a good portfolio together. Any redistribution effects on the member side that may arise from the recalibrated rates are discussed with the Member Council Rates Committee, with mitigating measures discussed if necessary. Implementation of the new rates will not take place until 2024 at the earliest.

VAT and Content Procurement

Last April, we informed the Council of Members about a reduction in the VAT rate that the government was implementing from 21% to 9% for digital content such as books and educational information as of 2020. This change leaves room for interpretation in some areas. For example, a low VAT rate applies to reading rights and a high VAT rate to publishing rights. The Tax and Customs Administration issued a ruling on this last point, to which SURF lodged an objection. SURF and UKB/SHB would like to ask the Tax and Customs Administration to rule on the objection. It is expected that the Tax and Customs Administration will declare the objection unfounded and will not change its position. The next step is then to appeal. This process is supported by the Council of Members. The further elaboration in a practical sense will be taken up with UKB and SHB (the libraries of the universities and colleges respectively).

Service agreement: transitional provision

The Council of Members approved the transition provision for the new framework agreement (ROK). This provision ensures that during the period when no new service level agreement (SLA) has yet been concluded for a service, service purchases can still be made and started on the old/existing contracts.

Requiring Membership

SURF recently received two new applications for membership, from mbo institution ROC ter AA and mbo institution SOMA College. SURF would like to welcome these institutions to the cooperative.

Reappointment SB members and WTR member

The Council of Members agreed to reappoint:

  • The Supervisory Board members Edwin van Huis and GabriĆ«l Zwart for a second four-year term.
  • WTR member Egon Berghout for a second three-year term.

Update Digitalisation Impulse Education

Recently, Lodewijk Asscher was appointed independent chairman of the steering committee; in addition, Berent Daan was appointed program director. There is discussion of extending the preparation phase (phase 0) to allow additional time for further elaboration of governance, further establishment of the program organization and preparation of further program activities. The goal is to submit a final grant application for phase 1 to Department of Institutional Grants in the first half of 2023. The agreements will also be discussed with members in the wo, hbo and mbo sectors through the industry associations.