Council is the University's executive governing body. It is responsible, under the Statutes, for “the advancement of the University's objects, for its administration, and for the management of its finances and property” and has “all the powers necessary for it to discharge those responsibilities”. Council is therefore responsible for the academic policy and strategic direction of the University, including its relations with colleges and external relations. All decisions concerning the University are made by Council or by any other body or person to whom Council delegates such decision-making powers, always subject to the powers of Congregation.
Council is responsible for determining the system of internal controls operated by the University and for monitoring the adequacy and effectiveness of the control environment. As set out in the University's Corporate Governance Statement in its Annual Financial Statements, Council has agreed on the major strategic risks to the University's activities and these are reviewed on a regular basis to identify developments and to consider any additional matters which need to be addressed.
Furthermore, Council is responsible to HEFCE for meeting the conditions of the Financial Memorandum between the Funding Council and the University. Council is required, amongst other things, to take reasonable steps to ensure that there are appropriate financial and management controls in place to safeguard public funds and funds from other sources, and to safeguard the assets of the University and prevent and detect fraud and other irregularities.
The principal business of the Council is to settle the annual budget, the Strategic Plan and other plans, to take major strategic decisions, to receive and decide upon reports from its committees and operations such as Oxford University Press and to propose amendments to Statutes and Regulations.
Ordinary meetings of Council are held on the first and fifth weeks of each Full Term and on the first Mondays after Full Term and twice in the Long Vacation, totalling 11 meetings per year. Extraordinary meetings may also be held at such other times as the Vice-Chancellor directs.
A copy of the agenda for Council is posted on the University Intranet on the day of each Council meeting. A copy of the non-confidential minutes of Council is posted on the University Intranet after the minutes have been approved at the subsequent Council meeting. Council has agreed that non-confidential papers will be posted on the University Intranet within a week of the meeting to which they refer.
For the remit, composition, functions and powers and other related matters, see the relevant part of the Statutes. For Council's responsibilities within the context of the University's governance arrangements, see the Statement of Primary Responsibilities of Council.
Agendas, approved non-confidential minutes, non-confidential papers and Vice-Chancellor's reports, together with Council's Standing Orders, are available online (oxonly).