The University is a chartered corporation and is an exempt charity within the meaning of schedule 2 of the Charities Act 2011. Its structure of governance is laid down in the instruments of its incorporation (Charter and Statutes), which can only be amended by the Privy Council, and by its Ordinances and Regulations. The University's Charter states that the University Council is "responsible for the management and administration of the revenue and property of the University". The University Statutes state that a function of the Council is "to govern, manage and regulate the finances, accounts, investments, property, business and all affairs whatsoever of the University".
In order to perform its statutory duties in relation to finance, the University Council delegates detailed management of certain matters to Committees and Officers.
The Governance Structure shows the relationships between the Committees responsible for finance, and is followed by general notes on the responsibilities of these Committees.
Responsibility for Finance in the University
Council is the governing body of the University, and is responsible for, amongst other matters, the finances and resources of the University. The Council has reserved specific powers to itself and delegated others. There is a separate document “Scheme of Delegation” which outlines these obligations.
Council has delegated the approval of Financial Regulations to Finance Committee. Council maintains an overview of general financial policy through reporting structures which ensure that the agreed policies are being implemented.
The functions of the Council, as defined by the Statutes, are to:
- cause proper books of accounts to be kept for all sums of money received and expended by the University and financial statements to be prepared for each financial year.
- appoint bankers.
- invest any moneys belonging to or held by the University.
- sell, buy, exchange, lease and accept leases of real and personal property on behalf of the University.
- borrow money on behalf of the University.
- enter into, vary, carry out and cancel contracts on behalf of the University.
- determine all University fees.
- appoint the Treasurer and Auditor.
- Before determining any question of finance which affects the academic policy of the University, the Council must take into consideration any recommendation by the Senate.
All members of Council must be aware that, as members of Council, they have a responsibility for the University's finances and must ensure that they have sufficient information made available to them to enable them to fulfil these responsibilities.
The Treasurer is a member of Council and is responsible to Council for maintaining an overview of the University's financial policies. The Treasurer acts as the Chair of the Finance Committee.
Finance Committee is a Committee of Council. Its principal duties are to recommend each year a budget and forecasts, and to review the AR&A. The Committee also makes recommendations to Council on, or makes decisions on, a wide range of financial issues, including capital expenditure, investments, fees and expenses.
Investment Sub-Committee is a Committee of Finance Committee.
Its principal duties are to recommend investment policies, strategies and review and monitor investment performance. Investment Sub-Committee also makes recommendations to Finance Committee on new investments or disposals of up to £10.0m. Investments or disposals in excess of this sum are recommended to Council, via Finance Committee.
Audit and Risk Assuarance Committee (ARAC)
ARAC is a Committee of Council. It has wide-ranging terms of reference which include monitoring the performance of internal and external audit and satisfying itself that satisfactory arrangements are in place to promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness. ARAC should also provide assurance to Council on the adequacy of the University's risk management arrangements, governance and internal control environment.
The Committee must produce an annual report for Council and the Accountable Officer. This report should include the audit committee's opinion on the University's control systems and arrangements for promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
The Remuneration Committee is a Committee of Council. Its terms of reference are to determine, on behalf of Council, the remuneration of senior officers of the University as defined in its terms of reference. It also ensures that the performance of the named Officers is assessed.
Univerity Executive Board (UEB)
The University Executive Board chaired by the Vice-Chancellor is the executive management of the University. Reports summarising UEB business are presented at Senate and Council.
The Students' Union has its own constitution, approved by its student members and the University Council. Section 22 of the Education Act 1994 requires the Council to ensure the financial affairs of the Students’ Union are properly conducted through the monitoring and approval of its annual budget. Council also receives the audited annual accounts of the Students’ Union each year. Council delegates its functions in relation to the budget and accounts to its Finance Committee.
The Internal Audit Department is responsible for conducting an independent appraisal of all the University's activities, financial and otherwise. The department is responsible for giving assurance to Council, through ARAC and the Vice-Chancellor (as Accountable Officer) on all financial, risk and other control arrangements.
The department has no executive role, nor does it have any responsibility for the development, implementation or operating of procedures and systems. It may provide advice, however, on implementation, control and related matters, subject to the need to maintain objectivity, and to resource constraints.
The department has rights of access to all the University's records, information and assets which it considers necessary to fulfil its responsibilities. The head of internal audit has a right of direct access to the Chair of Council and the Chair of ARAC.
The External Auditor is appointed by the Council and must be a member of a body of accountants recognised by English law. No person may be appointed External Auditor who is, or any one of whose partners is, a member of the Court, the Council, or the staff of the University. The External Auditor's principal tasks are to certify that:
- the University AR&A give a true and fair view of the University's affairs and of its income and expenditure.
- grants and funds have been applied for the purposes for which they were received.
- expenditure Access and Participation (APP) activity has been incurred in line with the OfS regulations and objectives.
The External Auditor has the right of access, at all reasonable times, to the books, records, and vouchers of the University.
The External Auditor has the right to attend all meetings of ARAC and to meet with members at least once a year without University officers present, the External Auditor also has the right of direct access to the Chair ARAC.
Detailed comments made each year by the External Auditor are submitted to ARAC for approval and to Finance Committee for noting. This management letter should be received before the issuing an opinion on the Annual Report & Accounts.