Primary responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of Council are:

  • approving the mission and strategic vision of the institution, long-term business plans, key performance indicators (KPIs) and annual budgets, and ensuring these meet the interest of stakeholders
  • appointing the head of the institution as chief executive of the institution and putting in place suitable arrangements for monitoring his or her performance
  • ensuring the establishment and monitoring of systems of control and accountability, including financial and operational controls and risk assessment, and clear procedures for handling internal grievances and for managing conflict on interest
  • monitoring institutional performance against plans and approved KPIs, which should be, where possible and appropriate, benchmarked against other institutions

These were adopted by Council in May 2005.


To appoint a Chair not being a member of staff or student of the university who shall hold office for three years and shall be eligible for re-appointment. The Chair shall not hold office for more than three periods of three years, except in exceptional circumstances.

To appoint if the Council so wishes a Vice-Chair from those members of Council not being members of staff or students of the university who shall hold office for three years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for one or more further periods of three years.

To appoint members to the Joint Committees referred to in Section 3 and 5 of these Statutes.

To nominate to the Court persons for appointment as Pro-Chancellors.

To appoint a Treasurer.

To appoint members of the Court as provided for in these Statutes.

After consideration of such reports, recommendations or nominations as are required by these Statutes to appoint the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the University Secretary, Heads of Schools and the University Librarian.

To determine the method of appointment, conditions of appointment and service, and remuneration of all staff of the university, Academic or otherwise, and of all other persons employed or engaged by the university.

After consideration of a report from the Senate, to deprive persons of any Degrees or other distinctions or titles conferred on them, and to revoke any Diplomas or Certificates granted to them by the university, and withdraw all privileges connected therewith.

On the recommendation of the Senate to institute, combine or discontinue Schools, Departments, Institutes, or other academic sections of the university.

To bring from time to time before the Court and the Senate any matters which in its opinions should be dealt with by these bodies respectively.

In accordance with Article 29 of the Charter, jointly with the Senate to recommend Special Resolutions to the Court.

In accordance with Article 23 of the Charter to make Ordinances.

To govern, manage and regulate the finances, accounts, investments, property, business and all affairs whatsoever of the University, and for these purposes to appoint bankers, and any other officers or agents whom it may think fit to appoint, and to cause proper books of account to be kept for all sums of money received and expended by the University, and for the assets and liabilities of the University, so that such books give a true and fair view of the state of the University's affairs and explain its transactions; provided that, before determining any question of finance which affects the academic policy of the University, the Council shall take into consideration any recommendation or report thereon by the Senate.

To invest any moneys belonging to or held by the University in any manner as the Council shall from time to time think fit, in any part of the world, or in the purchase of freehold or leasehold hereditaments in the United Kingdom, including rents; provided that in the case of moneys held by the University as trustees the powers conferred by this paragraph shall be exercised subject to the provisions of the governing trust instrument.

To sell, buy, exchange, lease and accept leases of real and personal property on behalf of the University.

To borrow money on behalf of the University, and for that purpose, if the Council thinks fit, to mortgage, or charge all or any part of the property of the University, whether real or personal, unless the conditions of any Will, Deed or Gift or other similar instrument are thereby contravened, and to give such other security whether real or personal property or otherwise as the Council may think fit.

To provide the buildings, premises, furniture and equipment and other means required for carrying on the work of the University and maintaining its efficiency and well-being.

To provide at its discretion for the welfare of all persons in the employment of the University or formerly in the employment of the University or of the College and the spouses, widows, widowers, and dependents of such persons including the payment of money, pensions or other payments and to subscribe to benevolent and other funds for the benefit of such person.

To consider, adjudicate upon, and, if thought fit, redress any grievance of the Academic and other Staff of the University, the Graduates and the Students of the University who may for any reason feel aggrieved otherwise than by an act of the Court or by an act taken in accordance with the provisions of Sections 19 or 25 of these Statutes.

To enter into, vary, carry out and cancel contracts on behalf of the University, subject to the provisions of Section 25 of these Statutes in those cases where Section 25 applies.

To determine all University fees.

To accept, reject or refer back any recommendation made by the Senate; provided that no such recommendation may be rejected unless the Senate is informed of the reasons for such rejection and is given an opportunity to comment thereon to the Council.

To call for reports from the Senate and by receiving such reports to review the work of the University.

Subject to the powers of the Senate, to take such action as it may think fit to advance the teaching and research, the interests and general efficiency of the University, and to provide for the recreation and welfare of the Students and Staff of the University.

To establish Joint Committees of the Council and representatives of the Students' Union and to prescribe the method of appointment of such representatives and the functions of such committees.

To select a Seal and a Mace for the University and to have the sole custody and use of the Seal and under detailed provisions to be contained in the Ordinances to provide that the use of the Seal and its witnessing or the execution of deeds on behalf of the University by Officers of the University and those persons nominated by the Council for this purpose may be dealt with as if the University was a Company incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act 1985 or under any legislation in substitution therefor and in accordance with any resolution of the Council relating to the use of the Seal or the execution of deeds.

To exercise all such powers as are or may be conferred on the Council by the Charter, these Statutes and the Ordinances and to carry them into effect.

To appoint a Secretary to the Council in accordance with Section 10 of these Statutes.

To appoint the External Auditor.

On the recommendation of the Senate to make, amend, add to or repeal Statutes in accordance with Article 21 of the Charter.

To consider representations from the Court on any matter affecting the University.

To delegate, upon such conditions as it may determine, and to revoke the delegation of, any of its functions to committees of the Council, joint committees of the Council and the Senate, the Vice-Chancellor or other Officers of the University. Such delegation may include delegation of powers of appointment and powers of investment. Any delegation of function shall be explicit and a matter of record.

To delegate the management of investments to one or more fund managers who are authorised and exempted persons under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Procedural rules



Appointment of Chair and Vice-Chair

See section 17 of the Statutes.


There is no provision for co-option.


See Council Standing Order 2.


Governed by Section 28.1 (iv) of the Statutes, there shall be a quorum at meetings of Council when nine members are present, including at least five who are not members of staff at the University.

Rules for voting

See Council Standing Order 8.


Minutes are submitted to Senate.

Delegation for Council

See Scheme of Delegation

Version information

Owner: Council
Version number:
Approval Date: 1966, Revised in 2000
Approved By: Privy Council
Date of last review: 2009