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Financial and Legal Services Financial Regulations, Policies and Procedures


B. Financial Control

B1 - Introduction
B2 - Governance Structure
B3 - Responsibility for Finance in the University
B4 - Audit
B5 - Risk Management
B6 - Code of Conduct

B1 - Introduction

The University is a higher education corporation created under the provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988, as amended by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.   It is an exempt charity by virtue of the Charities Act 2011.    A guide to the University’s constitutional and legal status and its structural governance can be found here


B2 - Governance Structure

Information on Corporate Governance (including information on the overall University Committee Structure) can be found on the University’s Governance website


B3 - Responsibility for Finance in the University

B 3.1     Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is the governing body of the University.  The Board’s responsibilities are set out in the University’s Articles of Government, and Scheme of Delegation, and are informed by the Memorandum of Assurance and Accountability between HEFCE and Institutions. The Board’s responsibilities includes the following types of financial duties: 

  • to ensure the solvency of the University
  • to act as charity trustees
  • to safeguard the University’s assets
  • to ensure the effective and efficient use of resources
  • to ensure that the funds provided by HEFCE are used in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the University’s memorandum with HEFCE
  • to ensure that financial control systems are in place and are working effectively
  • to ensure that the University complies with HEFCE’s audit code of practice
  • to approve the University’s strategic plan
  • to approve annual estimates of income and expenditure and the annual financial statements
  • to appoint the University’s internal and external auditors.


B 3.2     Accountable Officer

The Vice-Chancellor is the University’s designated accountable officer responsible for the financial administration of the University’s affairs.  The Vice-Chancellor must ensure that annual estimates of income and expenditure are prepared for consideration by the Board of Governors and for the management of budgets and resources within the estimates approved by the Board of Governors Committee Structure (as applicable).


B3.3     Committee Structure

The Board of Governors has ultimate responsibility for the University’s finances, but delegates specific powers and processes to (amongst others) the committees detailed below.               


Audit committee

Finance and Resources Committee

Nominations, Governance Committee

Remuneration Committee

Committee Structure Diagram


B 3.4     Director of Finance

Day-to-day financial administration is controlled by the Director of Finance who is responsible to the Vice-Chancellor for:

  • preparing annual capital and revenue budgets and financial plans
  • preparing accounts, management information, monitoring and control of expenditure against budgets and all financial operations
  • preparing the University’s annual accounts and any other accounts and returns which the University is required to submit to other authorities
  • ensuring that the University maintains satisfactory financial systems
  • providing professional advice on all matters relating to financial policies and procedures
  • day-to-day liaison with internal and external auditors in order to achieve efficient processes.


Details of the key contacts for the main areas where advice can be sought within the Financial and Legal Services department can be found on the department’s webpages.


B 3.5     Heads of department, deans and directors

Heads of department, deans and directors are responsible to the Vice-Chancellor for financial management for the areas or activities they control.  They are advised by the Director of Finance in executing their financial duties.  The Director of Finance will also supervise and approve the financial systems operating within their departments including the form in which accounts and financial records are kept.  Heads of department, deans and directors are responsible for establishing and maintaining clear lines of responsibility within their departments for all financial matters. 

Where resources are devolved to budget holders, they are accountable to their head of department for their own budget. 

Heads of department, deans and directors shall provide the Director of Finance (or their nominee) with such information as may be required to enable:

  • compilation of the University’s financial statements
  • implementation of financial planning
  • implementation of audit and financial reviews, projects and value for money studies. 

B 3.6     All members of staff

All employees, officers of the University and others with responsibility for the administration or management of funds held by the University, must comply with these regulations and meet the financial control requirements of any financial processes made under these regulations. 

All members of staff should be aware and have a general responsibility for the security of the University’s property, for avoiding loss and for due economy in the use of resources. They should ensure that they are aware of the University’s financial authority limits and the values of purchases for which quotations and tenders are required. 

They shall make available any relevant records or information to the Director of Finance or nominee in connection with the implementation of the University’s financial policies, these financial regulations, the system of financial control, and any financial irregularities.


B4 - Audit

B 4.1      HEFCE – Audit Code of Practice

HEFCE has issued an Audit Code of Practice which sets out what it requires the University to have in place to provide adequate assurance on good governance, internal controls, the management of risk and achieving value for money (VFM).  How these requirements are met is for the University to decide itself. 

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 the broad framework in which they should operate.  

B 4.2     External audit

The external auditors should be reappointed annually by the Board of Governors.  The Board of Governors will be advised by the Audit Committee.  It is good practice for a competitive tendering exercise to be held at regular intervals, at least every five years. 

The primary role of external audit is to report on the University’s financial statements and to carry out such examination of the statements and underlying records and control systems as are necessary to reach their opinion on the statements and to report on the appropriate use of funds.  Their duties will be in accordance with advice set out in HEFCE’s audit code of practice and the Auditing Practices Board’s statements of auditing standards.

B 4.3      Internal audit

The internal auditor is appointed by the Board of Governors on the recommendation of the Audit Committee. 

The University’s Memorandum of Assurance and Accountability between HEFCE and Institutions requires that it has an effective internal audit function and that its duties and responsibilities are in accordance with advice set out in HEFCE’s audit code of practice.  The main responsibility of internal audit is to provide the Board of Governors, the Vice-Chancellor and senior management with assurances on the adequacy of the internal control system. 

The internal audit service remains independent in its planning and operation but has direct access to the Board of Governors, the Vice-Chancellor and the chair of the audit committee.  

B4.4      Other auditors

The University may, from time to time, be subject to audit or investigation by external bodies such as HEFCE, the National Audit Office, the European Court of Auditors, HM Revenue & Customs.  These auditors have the same rights of access as external and internal auditors.


B5 - Risk Management

Risks are defined as those external and internal factors that may impact adversely on the University achieving its objectives. The University acknowledges the risks inherent in its business, and is committed to managing those risks that pose a significant threat to the achievement of its business objectives and financial health. 

The Board of Governors has overall responsibility for ensuring there is a risk management strategy and a common approach to the management of risk throughout the University through the development, implementation and embedding within the organisation of a formal, structured risk management process.  

The University has a Risk Management Policy which forms part of the University’s strategic planning and performance management procedures, including internal control and governance arrangements.  The Policy informs the approach taken by the University to identify, assess and manage risk and explains the responsibilities of the different elements of the organisation, outlines key aspects of the risk management process, and identifies the main reporting procedures.

Heads of central and academic departments are responsible for identifying, managing and monitoring risks within their department and reporting these to the Registrar, as the responsible person for the University’s risk register.


B6 - Code of Conduct

The University is committed to the highest standards of openness, integrity and accountability.  It seeks to conduct its affairs in a responsible manner, having regard to the principles established by the Committee on Standards in Public Life which Board of Governors members and members of staff at all levels are expected to observe. 

Members of the Board of Governors are also charity trustees and as such are subject to obligations imposed by charity law.  Their dual role may introduce potential conflicts of interest which they will need to manage appropriately. 

Additionally, members of the Board of Governors, and staff are required to disclose interests as set out in the in the University’s Conflict of Interests Policy 

Further advice can be found in the University’s Conflict of Interests Policy.

Article last updated: Monday, December 14, 2015

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