'Governance' is a general and wide-ranging term which refers to the systems, structures, procedures and rules by which the University takes key decisions on its affairs.
It also covers the formal ways in which it records those decisions, tells other people that the decisions have been taken, and is held accountable for them.
The ultimate goal is that good governance doesn't become involved with the decision-making and the day-to-day running of the University.
Council is the University's supreme governing body, responsible for taking all final decisions on matters of fundamental concern to the University, including our academic mission and strategic direction. It ensures that our various systems, structures, procedures and rules are fit for purpose, that the University is being managed effectively, and that we meet all our legal obligations. A permanent majority of Council places are filled by 'lay' members, who are neither staff nor students. A Council meeting is only quorate if the majority of those present are lay members.
Senate is responsible for directing and regulating the academic life of the University including teaching, research, exams and the way that our Colleges, Schools and Departments are organised. Its membership includes Heads of Department, Heads of College, Pro-Vice-Chancellors and other senior academic staff.
At its Annual Meeting, Court receives a report from the President and Vice-Chancellor on the University’s activities over the year. It also receives (and can query) the University's audited financial statements, as approved by Council. Court has nearly 100 Full Members, including all members of Council plus individuals and organisational representatives who have a close interest in the workings of the University. There are also about 75 Associate Members, most of whom are retired academic staff.
About the Governance Office
The Governance Office is located within the Division of Student and Academic Services. It provides a direct secretariat function for the work of Council and Court, and for a number of Council's key committees including Audit and Finance. It maintains oversight of the procedures for ensuring openness and transparency in the conduct of the University's business, and provides general advice and guidance on the institution's decision making processes. It is also closely involved in the appointment, induction and on-going support of members of Council.
The Governance Office issues guidance notes and templates to assist committee chairs and secretaries, and report authors, on the presentation of agendas, minutes and reports in the University's standard format. Individual committee secretaries can obtain personal advice and support from the Governance Office on such matters at any time, and committee servicing support sessions for individuals or groups can be provided on request.
The Governance Office is staffed by:
Principal Assistant Registrar (main committees: Council, Court, Nominations, Council Advisory)
+44 (0)116 252 2718
Assistant Registrar (main committees: Audit, Finance, College Court Board)
+44 (0)116 252 5268
Governance Office Manager (and first point of contact for Council and Court)
+44 (0)116 223 1458