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
The Council is the governing body of the University, as defined in the Financial Memorandum between the University and the Funding Council. It is responsible for the management and administration of the revenue and property of the University and has general control over the conduct of the University's affairs.
The Council organises the discharge of its financial responsibilities by arranging for the detailed consideration of issues by Committees - particularly the Finance Committee and the Estates Committee - and some powers are also delegated to senior Officers. 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 Court is the statutory body representing the interests of the University’s constituencies. It appoints the Chancellor and Pro-Chancellors. The annual audited Statement of Accounts must be presented to the Court and members of Court are entitled to ask questions on the Accounts or any other financial matter.
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.
The Finance Committee is a Committee of Council. Its principal duties are to recommend each year a set of Estimates, and to review the Annual Accounts. 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.
The Audit Committee 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.
The Committee must produce an annual report for Council and the Designated Office Holder. This report should include the audit committee's opinion on the University's control systems and arrangements for promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness. A copy of the report must also be sent to the Chief Auditor of HEFCE.
The Remuneration Committee is a Committee of Council. Its terms of reference are to determine, on behalf of Council, the remuneration of the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Deans, the University Secretary, the Director of Finance, the Director of Marketing and Communications and the Director of Estates . It also ensures that the performance of the named Officers is assessed.
The Executive Committee advises the Vice-Chancellor on the executive management of the University. Regular reports are made to Senate and Council.
The Senate is the supreme academic authority in the University. It has no direct responsibility for finance but may make recommendations or reports to the Council on any financial implications of the academic policy of the University.
In addition, some members of Senate are elected to Council and Council Committees.
Boards of Studies
The Boards of Studies are mainly concerned with academic matters but they may advise and make recommendations to Senate on financial matters which affect the academic policy of the Faculties.
The Students' Union has its own constitution, approved by Council, and its affairs are governed by the University Ordinances. These require the Union to submit its budget to Council for approval and to report on its finances to Council for monitoring of its expenditure.
HEFCE - Code of Practice on Accountability and Audit
HEFCE has issued a Code of Practice to help to promote accountability and to meet the common goal of securing the best standards of management and reporting.
The Code is the Council's view on how effective audit coverage can be achieved, sets out the Council's minimum requirements for external and internal audit arrangements and also the broad framework in which they should operate.
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 and the Vice-Chancellor (as Designated Office-Holder) on all financial and other control arrangements.
The department has no executive role, nor does it have any responsibility for the development, implementation or operating of 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 the Audit Committee.
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 Auditor who is, or any one of whose partners is, a member of the Court, the Council, or the staff of the University. The Auditor's principal tasks are to certify that:
the University Accounts give a true and fair view of the University's affairs and of its income and expenditure. specific grants and funds, (including funds from the Teaching and Development Agency for Schools), have been applied for the purposes for which they were received. income has been applied in accordance with the University's Statutes, and where appropriate with the Financial Memorandum. The External Auditor has the right of access, at all reasonable times, to the books, records, accounts and vouchers of the University.
The External Auditor meets with the Audit Committee once a year and also has the right of direct access to the Chair of the Audit Committee.
Detailed comments made each year by the External Auditor are submitted to the Vice-Chancellor in the form of a management letter. This management letter should be received within two months of issuing an opinion on the financial statements and, following consideration by the Audit Committee, a copy is sent to the HEFCE Chief Auditor.