Council and Main Committees

  • Thursday 28 May 2015
  • NO. 5098
  • VOL. 145

Council of the University

Changes in Regulations

Council has made the following changes in regulations, to come into effect on 12 June.

(a) Audit and Scrutiny Committee

Explanatory Note

The proposed changes, made on the recommendation of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, bring the committee's regulations into line with new HEFCE requirements for assurance and current University policies.

Text of Regulations

In Part 8 of Council Regulations 15 of 2002, concerning the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, amend existing regulations 8.7–8.9 as follows (new text underlined, deleted text struck through):

'8.7. The committee shall provide independent assurance to assist Council in fulfilling Council's responsibilities for ensuring the adequacy and effectiveness of the University's arrangements for risk management; financial control; governance; economy, efficiency and effectiveness (value for money); and the management and quality assurance of data submitted to the Higher Education Statistics Agency ("HESA"), the Student Loans Company, and to the Higher Education Funding Council for England ("HEFCE") and other funding bodies data quality assurance across the University's activities. In particular, the committee shall:

(1) 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;

(2) be entitled to place on the agenda of Council for discussion any matter which the committee deems it appropriate and necessary for Council to consider. The minute of any matter discussed by Council in this way shall be promptly reported to the committee;

(3) be entitled to discuss any matters its members may wish to raise, in the absence of University officers and/or the external and internal auditors;

(4) in respect of the University's external audit arrangements:

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

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

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

(d) 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;

(5) in respect of the University's internal audit arrangements:

(a) 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 non-audit services by the internal auditors and any questions of resignation or dismissal of the internal auditors;

(b) monitor annually the performance and effectiveness of internal auditors, including any matters affecting their independence and objectivity;

(c) review the internal auditors' audit risk assessment, strategy and audit plan;

(d) consider major findings of internal audit investigations and the management responses;

(e) ensure that the resources made available for internal audit are sufficient to meet the institution's needs;

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

(g) save in respect of any report that the committee considers requires immediate reference to Council, publish on the Oxford intranet within one month of acceptance by the committee the executive summary of each internal audit report, including of those reports produced under regulation 8.7(5)(f) or alternatively a summary of why such a requested report was considered unnecessary;

(h) make available for consultation by any member of Congregation by arrangement with the secretary of the committee the full text of any internal audit report for which the executive summary has been published under regulation 8.7(5)(g);

(6) in respect of the University's external and internal audit arrangements:

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

(b) monitor the implementation of agreed audit-based recommendations;

(c) discuss within the committee any matters the external or internal auditors wish to raise, in the absence of University officers where necessary;

(d) satisfy itself that, where non-audit services are provided by the external or internal auditors at the request of the University, the independence and objectivity of the external or internal audit service (as appropriate) has not been affected by the extent or nature of that additional work;

(e) promote co-ordination between the internal and external auditors;

(7) in the presence of the external auditors, review, and report to Council on, the draft annual financial statements from an audit perspective, including the external audit opinion, the statement of members' responsibilities, the statement of internal control and risk management, and any relevant issue raised in the external auditors' management letter, in accordance with HEFCE's Accounts Directions;

(8) seek assurance from the colleges:

(a) as to the proper use and control of the public and publicly-accountable 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;

(9) oversee the adequacy of the University's arrangements to prevent and detect irregularities, fraud and corruption, to include being notified of any action taken under the University's policy in this area;

(10) satisfy itself as to the appropriateness of the audit processes of Oxford University Press and shall:

(a) receive an annual report from the Oxford University Press Audit Committee;

(b) receive any other written or verbal reports from the Oxford University Press Audit Committee as the committee shall determine;

(c) consider any matters arising out of the reports which are of concern to the committee and ask for further investigation and reporting as necessary;

(11) 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;

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

8.8. In respect of its scrutiny function:

(1) the committee defines scrutiny as the process of structured inquiry or investigation into failures or alleged failures of the University's operations;

(2) the committee shall itself determine how and when to exercise this function;

(3) in exercising this function, the committee may call for any investigation that it considers necessary and may call any individual or for any document or documents it considers relevant to any such investigation;

(4) the committee shall receive and consider requests for scrutiny reviews submitted by any member of Congregation;

(5) the committee shall undertake scrutiny reviews at the request of Council;

(6) save in respect of any scrutiny review that the committee considers requires immediate reference to Council, the committee shall publish on the Oxford intranet within one month of acceptance by the committee a summary of any scrutiny review undertaken under regulation 8.8(4) or (5), or a summary of why such a requested review was considered unnecessary;

(7) save for those reports which the committee considers shall remain confidential (for example those concerning individuals) and for any report referred to Council, the committee shall make available for consultation by any member of Congregation by arrangement with the secretary of the committee the full text of any scrutiny report for which a summary has been published under regulation 8.8(6).

8.9.

(1) Each year, at the same meeting at which Council is asked to approve the University's financial statements, the committee shall report to Council and thereafter to Congregation and to HEFCE on its activity over the relevant financial year.

(2) When producing its annual report, the committee shall consider, inter alia:

(a) the external auditors' annual report and management letter;

(b) the internal auditors' annual report;

(c) work done in relation to value for money; and

(d) any relevant evaluations carried out by HEFCE or others.

(3) The report shall be based on information presented to the committee.

(4) In addition to drawing attention to significant issues that have arisen out of the committee's work over the year in question, the report shall include the committee's opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the University's arrangements for:

(a) risk management, to include the accuracy of the statement of internal control and risk management included with the annual statement of accounts;

(b) control;

(c) governance;

(d) value for money; and

(e) the management and quality assurance of data submitted to HESA, the Student Loans Company, and to HEFCE and other funding bodies.

(5) The committee's annual report is additional to any other reports the committee considers it appropriate to submit to Council during the year.'

(b) Rules Committee

Explanatory Note

This amendment brings the provisions governing membership of the Rules Committee into line with other University committees, in order that casual terms of office be discounted when determining eligibility for re-election or re-appointment of non-student members. The opportunity is also being taken to replace the term 'chairman' with the gender-neutral term 'chair'.

Text of Regulations

1 In Council Regulations 42 of 2002, concerning the Constitution, Duties, and Powers of the Rules Committee, delete existing regulations 1–4 and substitute (deleted text struck through, new text underlined):

'1. The Rules Committee shall consist of:

(1) the Senior Proctor (or in his or her absence the Junior Proctor), who shall act as chairman;

(2), (3) the two Proctors-elect;

(4), (5) two college deans elected by the Conference of Colleges;

(6) a member of Congregation appointed by Council;

(7), (8) two student members (who must at the time they take up office have been matriculated for at least three terms) elected by the Council of the Oxford University Student Union from among its members;

(9), (10) two student members (who must at the time they take up office have been matriculated for at least three terms) appointed by the Executive of the Oxford University Student Union not necessarily from among its members;

(11), (12) two graduate student members appointed by the Executive of the Oxford University Student Union not necessarily from among its members.

2. The members under regulation 1(4)–(6) above shall hold office for three years, and shall not be eligible for reappointment or re-election until the expiry of three years from the date on which their period of office expires. Casual terms of office shall not count towards this limit.

3. The members under regulation 1(7)–(12) above shall hold office for one year and shall not be eligible for reappointment or re-election under (7)–(12).

4.

(1) If a member under regulation 1(4)–(12) above dies or resigns or leaves the University during his or her period of office, his or her place shall either be filled for the remainder of his or her period of office by the body which appointed or elected him or her or (if that body so decides) be left vacant.

(2) If he or she a member under regulation 1(7)–(12) above dies or resigns or leaves the University before the expiry of one-half of his or her period of office, the provisions concerning re-eligibility shall apply to his or her successor as if his or her successor had served for a full period; otherwise those provisions shall not apply.'

2 Ibid, amend regulation 10(3) as follows (deleted text struck through):

'(3) If at this further meeting the voting is still equal, or if there is an equality of votes at a meeting at which all members are present, the Chairman shall have a casting vote.'

Council of the University

Register of Congregation

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

Blee, S A, Bodleian Libraries

Dommett, D M, Saïd Business School

Hewson, A C, Department of Earth Sciences

Kubal, A M, Wolfson