Banking Arrangements and Cheques
The University's banking arrangements shall be decided by Council on the recommendation of the Finance Committee from time to time.
All arrangements with the University's bankers concerning the University's bank accounts, the collection of monies, the issue of cheques or other transfer of funds, shall be made by the Director of Finance on behalf of the Finance Committee. No other employee shall under any circumstances open or operate a bank account in the name of the University or a University Company, or of one holding itself out to be.
No employee other than those mandated by Council may sign or endorse cheques or other similar instruments on behalf of the University.
No individual other than those mandated by Council shall be empowered to give instructions to the University's Bankers.
The University effects comprehensive insurance against "all risks", travel, employer's liability, public liability, professional negligence etc via an independent insurance broker; the Director of Finance co-ordinates the University's insurance arrangements.
Heads of Departments must ensure that any agreements negotiated within their Departments with external bodies cover any legal liabilities to which the institution may be exposed. The advice of the University Legal Advisor should be sought to ensure that this is the case.
All Heads of Departments shall bring to the notice of the Director of Finance, in writing, all insurable risks relating to their areas of responsibility and should inform the Director of Finance immediately of all events giving rise to a claim under an insurance policy and provide promptly all information required in connection with any such claim. This notice may be given orally initially but must be confirmed, in writing, within 24 hours.
All contracts to borrow for a period in excess of one month, for any purpose, will require the prior approval of the Director of Finance.
Contracts to borrow for a period over one year shall be considered by the Finance Committee, and subject to approval by Council.
The University must obtain the prior consent of the HEFCE to any borrowing which is to be secured on publicly funded assets.
The University may enter into borrowing agreements subject to the following conditions:
Long-term Borrowing - the University must obtain the prior consent of the HEFCE before it undertakes borrowing which would take the total annualised servicing costs of such borrowing above 4% of the University’s total annual income
Short-term Borrowing - the University must seek the prior consent of the HEFCE before its negative cash or cash equivalents exceeds 5% of the University's total annual income for more than 35 consecutive calendar days.
The Director of Finance will be responsible for short term borrowing at competitive rates, to cover day-to-day cash shortfalls.
Heads of Departments are responsible for the proper application of the funds allocated to them.
In exercising their responsibilities Heads of Departments must have regard to security measures to safeguard University funds and other assets under their control against misuse or misappropriation, in line with the relevant policies (see e.g. Policy UP4).
Gifts and Hospitality
No lay member of the governing bodies of the University, in his or her capacity as such, nor employee in the course of his or her employment, may accept any gift of more than nominal value (i.e. greater than £50) otherwise than in the name and for the benefit of the University. Gifts of money should always be refused.
The past, current and prospective suppliers of goods and services to the University and the purchasers of goods and services from the University may from time to time offer hospitality to employees of the University. Hospitality offered may include meals, accommodation, travel costs, entertainment. Hospitality must not be accepted by employees of the University in circumstances which may allow the employee to appear to be unduly influenced in favour of the provider of the hospitality. Every Department shall maintain a register of hospitality received by members of staff within the Department with an estimated value in excess of £50, which shall record the nature, name of provider and estimated value of the hospitality. A register shall be maintained by the University Secretary for members of the Executive Committee.
The regulations governing consulting or other work undertaken by a member of staff for a body other than the University are set out in Ordinance 18 (External Work) and amplified within [Procedure PR6] on academic consultancy.
Conflicts of Interest
No member of the University nor employee shall take an active part in any discussions, negotiations or transactions involving the University in which they or their spouse, partner or any family member has an existing or potential, financial or other beneficial interest. If any circumstances arise where this may be the case, the member of staff shall be obliged to report to their Head of Department. They may proceed only with the approval in writing of the Vice-Chancellor.
No employee of the University shall, without the express written approval of the Vice-Chancellor take or hold any financial or any other beneficial interest in any commercial entity, whether incorporated or unincorporated, with which the University has, or may reasonably be expected to enter into, a commercial relationship. For the purposes of this regulation the term "entity" shall include a commercial activity by an individual acting as a sole trader. The term "interest" shall include any right or entitlement to share in the commercial profit/losses of such entity, other than by way of a shareholding in a public limited company listed on a recognised Stock Exchange.
All members of Concil and of the University Executive and Heads of Department will be required annually to complete a register of interests.
Companies and Commercial Activities
No company may be set up to exploit any University activity without the specific approval of Council.
The Finance Committee approves procedures to encourage and assist staff to maximise the commercial exploitation of inventions and procedures resulting from research within the University.
The Finance Committee has a duty to monitor the University's investments in any trading activities or operations in which the University has a managing interest and to examine the basis and structure of any trading companies which the University might propose to set up.
University Carrying Out Work As Agent
Any work carried out by the University on behalf of others when acting as Agent, is also subject to these regulations. Where a principal wishes to impose requirements which would lead to a contravention of Financial Regulations, the approval of the Director of Finance must be obtained before any contract is signed. The Director of Finance shall, if it is deemed necessary, require the proposal to be reported to the Finance Committee for approval.
The Director of Finance shall be informed of any fund, not being an official fund of the University, which is controlled wholly or in part by a member of the University or by an employee in relation to that person's function in the University.
The accounts of any such fund shall be audited by an independent external person and shall be submitted with a certificate of audit to the appropriate body. The Director of Finance will be entitled to verify that this has been done.
Clubs and Societies
Any club or society consisting wholly or partly of members of the University may apply to the Director of Finance for registration as a University Society.
A club or society applying for registration shall submit a copy of the proposed constitution which shall provide:
- That there shall be a Treasurer and Auditor
- That the Treasurer shall be a member of the Academic Staff of the University, or a member of staff of equivalent status.
- That the Treasurer’s signature shall be required on all cheques drawn on the accounts of the club or society.
- That at least once in every year the club or society is to submit accounts to its Auditors in order that they may prepare a report.
No club or society may incorporate the name of the University in its title unless it is registered under this Financial Regulation.
A club or society registered under this Financial Regulation may hold meetings on the University premises and may reserve rooms for this purpose without charge.
Signing of Official Documents
In accordance with Section 30 of the Statutes of the University, a contract whether in oral or written form may be made on behalf of the University by any person acting under the express or implied authority of the University Council.
The following persons shall have implied authority to make contracts on behalf of the University and to delegate such authority to members of their staff:
- The Vice-Chancellor
- The University Secretary
- The Director of Finance
- The Director of Estates
The power to sign orders has been delegated to the Head of Purchasing Services by the Director of Finance.
Certain documents require execution by use of the University Seal (see Section G 13 below)
Article 12 of the University Charter states that Council "shall have the custody and use of the Common Seal". The University Secretary is responsible for the security of the Seal.
As set out in University Ordinance 27, the power to affix the Seal of the University to a document may be exercised and witnessed either by two members of the Council of the University or by one member of the Council and by the University Secretary (or an Officer nominated to act in the University Secretary's place).
For the purpose of this section of the Financial Regulations, irregularities include but are not limited to:
- Misappropriation of the physical, monetary or intellectual property assets of the University.
- Destruction, concealment or falsification of an account, record or document made for accounting purposes.
- Production or use of any account, record or document which is known or suspected to be misleading, false or deceptive in any material particular.
- Accepting, agreeing or attempting to obtain a bribe
- Giving or agreeing to give or offer a bribe.
- Attempts to conceal any of the above.
This procedure is intended to assist individuals who believe that malpractice or impropriety has occurred. It is not designed to allow the questioning of financial or business decisions taken by the University.
An individual who discovers information which they have reasonable grounds to believe shows malpractice or impropriety within the University should be able to disclose that information without fear of reprisal and independently of line management where necessary, provided that the disclosure is made in good faith and without malice.
The University will treat all such disclosures in a confidential and sensitive manner. Every effort will be made to keep the identity of all parties confidential so long as such confidentiality is compatible with a fair investigation.
This procedure applies to all University employees, agency workers and self-employed workers and to all members of the University as defined by Statute 2 (this includes graduates and students of the University).
Any person who has reason to believe that an irregularity with financial implications for the University has or is about to take place, is required to inform their Head of Department and the Internal Auditor immediately.
The Head of Department will in turn notify the Director of Finance immediately.
If it is suspected that the Head of Department is involved in the irregularity, the matter should be notified to the Director of Finance or Internal Auditor directly. If it is suspected that the Vice-Chancellor, University Secretary or Director of Finance are involved in the irregularity the matter should instead be notified to the Treasurer.
Failure to inform the appropriate person immediately may mean that further losses are incurred or that evidence is lost.
In the event of possible fraud or corruption, the Director of Finance will immediately inform the Vice-Chancellor and the University Secretary.
The Vice-Chancellor, University Secretary and Director of Finance will determine whether an investigation should be conducted and if so what form it should take.
All investigations shall normally be led by the Internal Auditor and employees of the University are expected to co-operate with requests for assistance by the Internal Auditor.
Where initial investigation provides reasonable grounds for suspecting a member or members of the University of irregularity, action will be taken to prevent further loss. This may require suspension, with or without pay, of the suspect(s).
A member of the University suspended under suspicion of irregularities will be allowed to collect personal property under supervision, but should not be able to remove any property belonging to the University. Any security passes and keys to premises, offices and furniture should be returned.
The Director of Computing Services should be instructed to withdraw without delay access permissions to the University's computer systems
The University will follow disciplinary procedures against any member of the University who has committed fraud. The University will normally pursue the prosecution of any such individual. The Audit Committee should be advised of the reason where the police are not notified of a suspected or actual fraud.
The Internal Auditor will ensure that the amount of any loss is quantified in all fraud investigations. Repayment of losses together with costs will be sought in all cases.
The Audit Code of Practice requires the Vice-Chancellor to inform, without delay, the Chair of the Audit Committee, the Chair of Council and the Accounting Officer of HEFCE of any serious weaknesses, significant frauds or any major accounting breakdowns. If the designated officer refuses to make an appropriate report, then the internal and external auditors must report to them directly. A serious weakness is deemed to be "one that may result in a significant fraud or irregularity" and includes one that has resulted in an attempted, suspected or actual significant fraud or irregularity. For these purposes only, significant fraud is deemed to be "usually where one or more of the following factors are involved:
- the sums of money are in excess of £10,000
- the particulars of the fraud are novel, unusual or complex
- there is likely to be great public interest because of the nature of the fraud or the people involved".
(NOTE: Other security matters, such as those relating to vandalism, thefts of personal property and intruders on University property should be reported directly to the Central Security Office).
The Audit Committee has a duty to “oversee the institution’s policy on fraud and irregularity, including being notified of any action taken under that policy.”
New Programmes of Study
Quality Assurance document QA3 – Procedure for Approval of New Programmes of Study – may be found on the University's Quality Assurance Code of Practice page. This document includes a proforma QA3.1 - Resource Implications of New Programmes of Study – which should be completed and submitted to the Director of Finance for review, to ensure that the proposed programme is financially viable.
Staff and students who are not resident at a University address should not use the University postal system for the receipt of personal post, as this places an additional strain on internal resources. If however an item of personal mail is sent to a student or a member of staff at the University address for whatever reason, please note that the University shall not be liable to any person (including but not limited to the sender and/ or the recipient) for any such items becoming lost, damaged or misdelivered anywhere in the delivery chain or for any other resulting loss or damages including but not limited to any direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential loss or damages, loss of business opportunities, loss of revenue or similar.