The University endeavours to conduct its affairs with integrity and openness and to the highest ethical standards, and has developed a number of governance policies designed to ensure that:
- its decision making processes are transparent;
- any potential conflicts of interest are identified; and
- possible malpractice can be reported and investigated openly and objectively.
General governance policies
- Corporate Governance Code of Practice (PDF) - An overarching document which describes the systems, structures, procedures and rules on how the University takes decisions on its affairs and is held accountable for them.
- Code of Practice for Academic Governance (PDF) - Articulates the standardised structures, responsibilities and roles within the academic governance framework.
- Code of Practice concerning Freedom of Speech (PDF) - The University regards it as a fundamental principle of its existence as an independent academic institution that freedom of speech within the law should be respected on its premises and in all its activities. This code sets out the University’s procedures in connection with the organisation of meetings and other activities held on its premises, and the conduct required of all speakers and participants at such events.
- Registrations and Declarations of Interest: Council Policy (PDF) and Staff Policy (PDF) - These documents explain the requirement for those individuals with budgetary authority and/or influence over University business/procurement decisions to declare any potential conflict of interest from their position within the University on the one hand, and membership of, or connection with, other bodies and individuals inside or outside the University on the other. Also: Register of Interests Form (Word) for staff.
- Risk Management Policy (PDF) - This document explains the University’s underlying approach to risk management, and details the roles and responsibilities of the Council, Senate, the University Leadership Team and the Executive Board, and other key bodies. It also outlines key aspects of the risk management process, and identifies the main reporting procedures.
- Whistleblowing Policy (PDF) - It is a fundamental principle of employment at the University that employees will not disclose confidential information about the University's affairs. However, this Policy deals with circumstances where an individual discovers information that he or she reasonably believes to show that one or more specified types of malpractice, wrongdoing or dangers are taking place within the University, or in conjunction with third parties who are external to the University, such as suppliers or contractors. Where the individual reasonably believes that it would be in the public interest to disclose this information, then the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 gives legal protection to staff for a disclosure to be made without fear of reprisal.
- Ethical Giving Policy - The University has an obligation to conduct its fundraising and its relationships in an ethical manner. Due diligence is observed when assessing whether to accept gifts or to establish specific philanthropic relationships. The purpose of this policy and its guidelines is to allow members of the University Council and the staff who support them to make clear and consistent decisions regarding the acceptance or refusal of gifts and funding. These guidelines are to be observed by all staff engaged in these activities on the University’s behalf.
- Research Code of Conduct - The University is committed to maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in the conduct of its research. This code provides guidance on good practice in research, and on situations involving alleged misconduct in research.
- Data Protection - The University is a complex organisation that is highly dependent on the processing of personal data for a broad range of its activities. It has a clear obligation to the individuals about whom it holds data and this policy outlines the University’s commitment to process the information in a manner that is compliant not only with the provisions but also the spirit of GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.
- Freedom of Information Policy - The Freedom of Information Act (2000) gives a general right of access, subject to certain exemptions, to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, which for the purposes of the Act includes universities. The aim of the Act is to promote greater openness and transparency in how public authorities operate and in their use of public funding. This policy explains how the University handles requests for information that are submitted to it under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Information Security - Information is one of the key assets of the University and it is essential that it is appropriately secured to protect against the consequences of breaches of confidentiality, failures of integrity, interruption to availability and failure to comply with legal requirements. This policy explains how the University seeks to ensure that its information and information systems are adequately protected.
- Records Management - The University’s records are important sources of administrative, evidential and historical information. They are vital to the University in its current and future activities, assisting with accountability and providing an understanding of the institution’s history and procedures. This policy aims to ensure that all records held by the University are managed in a consistent and effective manner, from their creation to their eventual destruction or selection for permanent archiving.
Policies embedded within the University’s Financial Regulations
- Policy on the acceptance of gifts, hospitality and benefits by members of staff - The provision and receipt of gifts and hospitality to individual members of staff is a sensitive area for a publicly funded institution. Members of staff and members of the governing body may, on occasion, be offered gifts or hospitality simply as a mark of courtesy or gratitude. Such offers can place staff in a difficult position, since to refuse may cause offence but to accept may, in certain circumstances, be open to misinterpretation. The University has therefore drawn up this policy and the following regulations to avoid misunderstanding and to provide staff with a framework for dealing with difficult situations.
- Prevention of Bribery and Corruption - This policy details the University’s commitment to carrying out its academic and business activities in an honest, open and ethical manner; and is committed to observing the provisions of the Bribery Act 2010, in respect of its conduct both in the UK and internationally. As such, the University will have zero tolerance to any aspect of bribery and corruption both within the University and in respect of any third parties with whom we have dealings.
- Response to fraud - All members of staff have a duty to protect the University from the possibility of fraud by remaining vigilant and by reporting any suspected instances of fraud to the University’s Director of Finance. In reporting their suspicions, members of the University will be protected by the University’s Policy on Whistleblowing (PDF, 342kb). This section of the financial regulations explains how the University’s response to allegations of fraud will include the involvement of both the internal audit service and, where necessary the police, in investigations, as well as taking action through the University’s own disciplinary procedures. In all cases where there is sufficient evidence the University will work with the police to pursue a prosecution.
- Code of Conduct and Declaration of Interests - This section of the financial regulations confirms the University’s commitment to the highest standards of openness, integrity and accountability. The University seeks to conduct its affairs in a responsible manner, having regard to the principles established by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which members of staff at all levels are expected to observe. In addition, the University expects that staff at all levels will observe its code of conduct, contained in its detailed financial procedures, which covers:
- Probity and propriety
- Selflessness, objectivity and honesty
- Employee expenses - This section of the financial regulations provides guidance to individual members of staff and line management on what costs incurred whilst on University business are appropriately reimbursable from the University.