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Introduction to the Council and Senate Joint Scheme of Delegation

The Joint Scheme explains how Council grants authority for University matters to other committees and officers.


The Scheme of Delegation sets out the authority held by Council and the Vice Chancellor and President and that which has been delegated to Committees or individual Officers of the University to exercise on their behalf.

The principal source of authority is derived from the University’s Charter and Statutes but also its Ordinances and Regulations and legal obligations which it is required to meet.

Council is the supreme governing body and carries unambiguous, collective responsibility for overseeing the University’s activities and determining its mission and strategic direction. Council ensures compliance with the Charter, Statutes, Ordinances and other provisions regulating the university and its framework of governance.

Council comprises 21 members. In addition to the Vice Chancellor it has 11 lay members (including a lay chair) 4 members elected by Senate plus the Chair of Academic Assembly, 2 members elected by professional staff and 2 student sabbatical officers. In reaching its decisions it will take advice from Officers and staff of the University and such external experts as it deems appropriate.

Senate is the supreme academic body of the University and is responsible to Council for all matters of academic governance. Subject to the provisions of Statutes and Ordinances and any powers reserved to Council, Senate has the power to take measures or actions to further the best interests of the University as a place of teaching, learning and research. It may also delegate such of its powers as it sees fit to individuals or committees as appropriate.

The Vice-Chancellor and President is the academic leader, Chief Officer and Accountable Officer of the University and, by virtue of this position, has the authority to take certain decisions on behalf of the University. With regard to academic matters, the Vice-Chancellor and President is the ex officio Chair of Senate. Under Senate Standing Orders they are also authorised to act on behalf of Senate during vacation and other times to deal with urgent business, subject to certain reporting and consultation requirements. With regard to financial matters, the Vice-Chancellor and President may authorise any recurrent expenditure from the University budget as approved by Council, as well as capital expenditure within agreed limits. Further details are specified in the schedule.

Matters where the Vice Chancellor and President is listed as the final authority, may be delegated at their absolute discretion without further recourse to Council and similarly can be withdrawn by him and reallocated elsewhere. However, it is expected that the Head of Strategic Governance will be notified of any such changes in a timely manner so that this document can be kept up to date and available on-line as a source of reference.

Under exceptional circumstances Council reserves the right to determine any matter which it has previously delegated under this Scheme. However, the rationale for this course of action must be formally noted at the next meeting of Council.

Where any decision taken in accordance with this Scheme is expected to have significant implications or is known to be sensitive, the Committee or Officer to whom the authority is delegated should consult appropriately before exercising their delegation. Any Officer or Committee to whom power to act has been delegated can decide that it is not appropriate to exercise their delegation on a specific occasion and can refer the decision back to the entity or person listed as the final authority for decision.

No scheme of delegations can cover every eventuality so if in any doubt, you are required to seek guidance from the Head of Strategic Governance (HOSG) Similarly if you believe any aspect of the current delegations is impeding the smooth and timely running of the institution, you should continue to operate within the stated delegations but immediately bring the matter to the attention of HOSG for further consideration.

This Scheme will be maintained on an ongoing basis by HOSG. Any amendments approved by Council will take immediate effect, as will changes made by the Vice Chancellor and President where they are the final authority. Additionally, the content of the Scheme will be formally reviewed annually by ARAC and periodically by finance with respect to finance specific elements.

If you have any queries regarding the Scheme, or require access to this information in an alternative format, please contact the Office for Strategic Governance by calling 01225 386212, or emailing

Version information

Owner: Council
Version number:
Approval Date: 15 October 2020
Revised by Council: 20 May 2010, 30 March 2011, 20 October 2011, 17 October 2013 and 26 November 2015 Approved by: Council
Date of last review: 15 October 2020


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