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Oxford University Gazette, 1 June 2006: University Acts

COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY

Changes in Regulations

Council has made the following changes in regulations, to come into effect on 16 June.

1 Regulations concerning the Audit Committee

Explanatory note

These changes in the regulations reflect the changes in the activities of the Audit Committee which have been taking place in recent times and propose additions as described below.

The Audit Committee is a committee of Council and historically has been charged with the oversight of the audit of the internal controls and financial affairs of the University. The work of the committee has more recently expanded to include an independent review of matters beyond simple financial affairs including the process for the identification and management of risks, the operations of the University's information technology projects and systems and the scrutiny of other major projects and processes across the University. This expansion in activity reflects work to take account of concerns expressed in the University and new reporting requirements in general.

As a reflection of this shift in work Council has decided to change the committee's name to be the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

Under the revised regulations the committee has the specific powers to call for any investigation that it considers necessary and to call any individual or call for any document or documents relevant to any such investigation that it considers necessary. These are not new powers but have not hitherto been included in the regulations. It may also undertake audit reviews, including project reviews, at the request of Council.

In addition, provision is now made for the Audit and Scrutiny Committee to receive requests for internal audit reviews from twenty members of Congregation. The procedure for dealing with these requests will be that they should be addressed to the Proctors and Assessor, who will pass them on to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee and will at the same time notify Council. The committee will evaluate the issues raised and either institute the review requested or provide reasons why the committee considers the review to be unnecessary. Reports on these activities will be made in the normal way. The chairman of the Audit and Scrutiny may be contacted directly by members of Congregation who believe they have issues that should be brought before the committee.

The full opinion in each internal audit report produced for or by the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, save any opinion which relates to a report that the committee considers requires immediate reference to Council, will be published on the Oxford intranet review within one month of acceptance by the committee. The full report of any internal audit review, except any report referred to Council, will be available for consultation by arrangement with the secretary of the committee. As indicated above these provisions will also apply to the full opinion in reports produced in response to a request by twenty members of Congregation or to the summary produced on why such a requested review is considered unnecessary.

The Chair of the Conference of Colleges will in future be a member of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee ex officio in order to provide a formal link between the University's audit and scrutiny process and that of individual colleges. The University Audit and Scrutiny Committee is required by HEFCE to provide a collegiate University-wide view on Value For Money and risk management and this formal link is necessary to discharge its duty. The link as shown in the regulations below to the OUP audit process provides the same reassurance to the University regarding the OUP.

Text of Regulations

In Council Regulations 15 of 2002 concerning committees reporting directly to Council (Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4634, 16 October 2002, p. 226, as amended from time to time) delete existing regulations 3.8–3.10 concerning the Audit Committee and substitute the following:

'Audit and Scrutiny Committee

3.8. All members of the committee shall serve for five years and shall be re-eligible for reappointment for one further and final period of five years.

3.9 The Audit and Scrutiny Committee shall consist of:

(1) a member of Council appointed by Council who shall not be the holder of any teaching or administrative post in the University, or in any college, society, or Permanent Private Hall, and shall not be a member of any other body, or hold any other position, which in the view of Council involves executive authority within the University, who shall chair the committee;

(2)–(5) four persons appointed by Council who shall not be the holders of teaching or administrative posts in the University, or in any college, society, or Permanent Private Hall, and at least two of whom shall have experience at a senior level in the non-public sector and all of whom shall bring relevant expertise to the working of the committee; 1

(6) the Chair of the Conference of Colleges ex officio;

(7) one member of Congregation elected by Congregation from among members of the faculties in the Divisions of Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences and of Medical Sciences who shall not serve on Council or the Finance Committee or on any committee which in the view of Council has main line executive authority within the University, or hold any office in the University or any college which involves executive authority;

(8) one member of Congregation elected by Congregation from among members of the faculties in the Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences who shall not serve on Council or the Finance Committee or on any committee which in the view of Council has main line executive authority within the University, or hold any office in the University or any college which involves executive authority;

(9) one member of Congregation, not necessarily being a member of any division and not in any case being nominated in a divisional capacity, who shall be elected by Congregation who shall not serve on Council or the Finance Committee or on any committee which in the view of Council has main line executive authority within the University, or hold any office in the University or any college which involves executive authority. 3.10 The quorum for the committee shall be not less than four members of the committee. 3.11 The committee shall expect to receive full co-operation from all staff and students of the University and shall:

(1) call for any investigation that it considers necessary and to call any individual or call for any document or documents relevant to any such investigation that it considers necessary;

(2) receive regular reports from the Value for Money Committee regarding satisfactory arrangements in place to promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness;

(3) receive any relevant reports from the National Audit Office, HEFCE and other organisations;

(4) receive the minutes and annual internal audit programme of the Oxford University Press Audit Committee as well as regular reports from the chairman of that committee; consider any matters arising out of those minutes or reports which are of concern to the Audit Committee of the University and ask for further investigation and reporting as necessary;

(5) receive an annual report from the Oxford University Press Audit Committee in preparation for the drafting of the Annual Report of the Audit Committee of the University for submission to Council and Congregation;

(6) receive and consider requests for internal audit reviews submitted by twenty or more members of Congregation via the Proctors and Assessor;

(7) keep under review the effectiveness of the risk management, control and governance arrangements, including reviewing the external auditors' management letter, the internal auditors' annual report, and all management responses;

(8) undertake audit reviews, including project reviews, at the request of Council;

(9) oversee the institution's policy on fraud and irregularity, including being notified of any action taken under that policy;

(10) satisfy itself (a) as to the proper use and control of the public funds transferred from the University to the colleges and (b) that appropriate arrangements are in place concerning the delivery of value for money in relation to those funds; and report annually on these matters to Council;

(11) review the internal auditors' audit risk assessment, strategy and audit plan; consider major findings of internal audit investigations and the management responses; and promote co-ordination between the internal and external auditors, ensuring that the resources made available for internal audit are sufficient to meet the institution's needs;

(12) monitor the implementation of agreed audit-based recommendations, from whatever source;

(13) ensure that all significant losses have been properly investigated and that the internal and external auditors, and where appropriate the HEFCE accounting officer, have been informed;

(14) consider and recommend to Council the appointment of the external auditors, the audit fee, the provision of any non-audit services by the external auditors and any questions of resignation or dismissal of the external auditors;

(15) agree with the external auditors, before the audit begins, the nature and scope of the audit;

(16) discuss with the external auditors problems and reservations arising from the interim and final audits, including a review of the management letter incorporating management responses, and any other matters the external or internal auditors may wish to discuss (in the absence of management where necessary);

(17) consider and decide on the appointment and terms of engagement of the internal audit service (and the head of internal audit, if applicable), the audit fee, the provision of any non- audit services by the internal auditors and any questions of resignation or dismissal of the internal auditors;

(18) monitor annually the performance and effectiveness of external and internal auditors, including any matters affecting their objectivity, and to make recommendations to Council concerning their reappointment, where appropriate;

(19) consider the annual financial statements in the presence of the external auditors, including the auditors' formal opinion, the statement of members' responsibilities and the statement of internal control, in accordance with HEFCE's Accounts Directions;

(20) report annually to Council and thereafter to Congregation on activity for the year, drawing attention to significant issues and providing the committee's opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the institution's arrangements for the following:

(a) risk management, control and governance (the risk management element includes the accuracy of the statement of internal control included with the annual statement of accounts);

(b) economy, efficiency and effectiveness (Value for Money);

(21) request to Council that any matter, which in the view of the committee merits special and immediate consideration, be brought to Congregation's attention at any time during the academic year;

(22) publish on the Oxford intranet within one month of acceptance by the committee the full opinion in each internal audit report save for the opinion in any report that the committee considers requires immediate reference to Council.

Footnote

1 If and when there are more lay members on Council changes may be required to meet the HEFCE requirement that at least three of these members are lay members of Council.
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CONGREGATION 30 May

1 Declaration of approval of unopposed Legislative Proposals

No notice of opposition having been given, Mr Vice-Chancellor declared the Legislative Proposals (1) concerning University Discipline (pp. 971–7), and (2) concerning the restructuring of faculties (p. 993) approved.


2 Declaration of approval of unoppposed Resolution

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COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY

Register of Congregation

Mr Vice-Chancellor reports that the following names have been added to the Register of Congregation:

Cocks, A.C.F., St Anne's

de Jersey, P.E., Wolfson

Goh, C.-L.E, St Anne's

Howard-Alpe, G.M., Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics

Solopova, E., St Hilda's

Wigg, C.G., St Anne's

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DIVISIONAL BOARDS AND BOARDS OF FACULTIES

For changes in regulations for examinations, to come into effect on 16 June, see 'Examinations and Boards' below.

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