Congregation, the ultimate legislative body of the University, is composed of virtually all academic staff and certain research support staff, administrators and librarians. It has responsibility for considering major policy issues submitted to it by Council or members of Congregation; elects members to certain University bodies, including Council and the Audit & Scrutiny Committee; and approves changes or additions to the University's Statutes and Regulations, which define the governance structure.
Council, composed of members of Congregation elected by Congregation, ex officio members and lay members, is (subject to the provisions of the Statutes) responsible for the administration of the University and for the management of its finances and assets. It is also responsible to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), for meeting the conditions of the Financial Memorandum between the Funding Council and the University. Council meets regularly and is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor.
The University's principles of governance are: defining policies and setting objectives for securing resources, the appointment of senior staff sufficient to meet the objectives and monitoring of progress towards those objectives. Council has stewardship, under Congregation, of the University's affairs and ensures that suitable processes are in place for the management of the University's business.
Council is advised by a range of committees, including five main committees that report directly to Council on core business: the Education Committee, the General Purposes Committee, the Personnel Committee, the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee and the Research Committee. Financial and audit committees reporting directly to Council include the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, the Finance Committee and the Investment Committee.
The Education Committee is responsible for defining and keeping under review the educational philosophy, policy and standards of the collegiate University, and for the oversight of activities relating to teaching, learning and assessment.
The General Purposes Committee advises Council on policy in respect of issues or activities which are university-wide and transcend the remit of the other main committees of Council or other specialist committees as appropriate. Its remit includes responsibility for strategic issues relating to risk management.
The Personnel Committee has oversight of the development and review of employment policies, staff relations and all personnel matters.
The Planning and Resource Allocation Committee advises Council on planning, budgets and forecasts, resource allocation and other financial arrangements, and monitors performance against plans and budgets.
The Research Committee advises Council on policy and planning issues relating to research – in particular, those aspects of the Strategic Plan that relate to the University's research activities, and reviews the progress made against the Plan. The committee facilitates the preparation for external reviews of the University's research, and co-ordinates the gathering of data for such reviews. The committee is responsible for the University's policies and procedures for costing and pricing of research, including full economic cost recovery, risks associated with research, and maintains a register of international research collaboration agreements to which the University is a party.
The remit of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee includes responsibility for the appointment of the external auditors and internal audit service, agreeing the nature and scope of their work and their fees. The committee reviews the effectiveness of the risk management, internal control and governance arrangements, considers the annual financial statements and oversees the policy on fraud and irregularity. The committee also receives reports from the Value for Money Committee and the Audit Committee of the Press. Whilst senior officers attend meetings of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee as necessary, they are not members of the committee.
The Finance Committee is responsible, under Council, for the review of the annual financial statements of the University and of the Press, for banking arrangements and for the review and publication of financial regulations and procedures.
The Investment Committee is responsible, under Council, for the management of the University's investment portfolio.