Part 1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose

These regulations (1) are made by the Council of the University in accordance with its statutory responsibilities for the control of University finances. When applied, the regulations ensure the proper use of University financial resources, satisfying the University's requirements for accountability, internal control, and the management of financial risk;

(2) fulfil any legal or financial obligations established by HM Revenue & Customs, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and other government agencies; and

(3) form part of a management framework, designed to ensure that resources are being effectively applied and support the implementation of the University's Strategic Plan.

1.2 Application

(1) These regulations and supporting financial processes made under regulation 1.3 (3) (a) below apply to all bodies included in the University's annual audited financial statements, except University Societies (as defined in Statute V), subsidiary companies and the Press (which has its own financial regulations and processes). The Regulations and Financial Processes apply to all funds received or held by University bodies, from whatever source.

(2) Subsidiary Companies and societies are expected to develop their own regulations based on this document, appropriately amended to take account of their differing governance arrangements. In the absence of specific regulations for a subsidiary company or society, these regulations shall apply. Subsidiary companies and societies must also supply the University promptly on request with all such information within their control as may be needed by the University in order to fulfil its legal and financial obligations, and prepare its annual budgets and financial statements.

(3) The regulations and financial processes do not apply to the colleges of the University (as defined in Statute V).

(4) In the event of any conflict between the statutes, these regulations and the financial processes, the order of priority will be statute, regulation, and financial process.

(5) Part 10 summarises the definitions and abbreviations used in these regulations.

1.3 Responsibilities

(1) Council

(a) Council has overall responsibility for the financial management of the University's financial resources. The accountability for financial management within the University is delegated from Council to PRAC, the Finance Committee, and divisional boards.

(b) Council is also responsible to HEFCE for ensuring that the University complies with the Financial Memorandum and related guidance from HEFCE, and other bodies.

(2) Heads of Unit

Heads of unit must ensure that:

(a) all staff within the unit are made aware of the regulations and of the consequences of failure to comply with them. Failure to comply by a responsible person may be subject to action under the University's disciplinary procedures;

(b) an appropriate system of financial delegated authorities exists that ensures that funds received or spent are properly controlled, and their use monitored;

(c) the unit submits correct and timely returns of information requested for the University's annual budgets (see regulation 1.4 (1) below) and of legally required data to the Finance Division, for inclusion in the University's returns to bodies such as HM Revenue & Customs;

(d) all internal and external audit recommendations approved by the Audit and Scrutiny Committee are completed by the agreed date (see regulation 1.4 (4) below);

(e) either in person or through the offices of the unit administrator, appropriate and adequate arrangements exist to safeguard all assets; that University policies, including the regulations and financial processes, are complied with; and that records are maintained in as complete and accurate a form as possible, with electronic data appropriately backed up using a secure mechanism (see regulation 1.4 (2)-(3) below);

(f) either in person or through the offices of the unit administrator, the Finance Division is supplied with any information necessary to ensure that the University complies with the Financial Memorandum and related guidance from HEFCE, by the dates published by the Director of Finance;

(g) either in person or through the offices of their unit administrator, that internal management systems for the control of finance-related activity in their units are so designed as to allow adequate segregation of duties. Heads of unit must also ensure that access by staff using the University's business systems is restricted to roles and responsibilities appropriate to each user's role. The system roles and responsibilities allocated should provide clearly defined delegated authorities where necessary, and an appropriate balance of controls to prevent and detect errors. Heads of unit must ensure the requirements of the Managing Access to Oracle process are met;

(h) either in person or through the offices of their unit administrator, and in accordance with financial processes, adequate checks of financial transactions are made.

(3) Director of Finance

(a) The Director of Finance will arrange for these regulations and the supporting financial processes to be reviewed periodically and shall approve all financial processes prior to publication.

(b) Acting on behalf of the Director of Finance, the Head of Financial Assurance Team is responsible for ensuring that all heads of unit are aware of, and know how to, access the latest versions of the regulations and financial processes.

(4) Employees and Other Individuals

All employees, officers of the University and others with responsibility for the administration or management of funds held by the University, must comply with these regulations and meet the financial control requirements of any financial processes made under these regulations.

1.4 Financial Control

(1) Financial Planning and Reporting

(a) All heads of unit must meet the requirements of the Managing Budgets, Forecasts and Reporting process.

(b) Specific requirements of the process include the provision that, in accordance with the timetable issued by PRAC, each budgetary unit prepare a budget for the financial year and to submit the budget to its parent body for approval. Budgetary units are required to keep income and expenditure within the budgetary targets set by their parent body. Where expenditure is expected to exceed income, the unit must seek prior approval from its parent body to set a deficit budget. If the deficit arises for reasons other than the planned spending down of previously accumulated reserves the unit must provide a plan to show how the budget deficit will be recovered, over a period of no longer than three years, unless otherwise agreed by PRAC. Parent body approval is still required if the deficit arises from the spending down of previously accumulated reserves but in this case it is not necessary to provide a recovery plan.

Budgetary units are required to keep their income and expenditure within the budgetary limits approved by PRAC. In so doing, divisions may agree to offset their departmental budgets against one another.

(c) Each budgetary unit must prepare quarterly forecasts of its income and expenditure for each financial year, and submit them to its parent body in accordance with the timetable approved by PRAC.

(d) Appropriate processes to monitor and manage financial performance against budget and forecast must be implemented by the unit; and the unit shall supply its parent body with regular and timely reports of such performance. If a budgetary unit finds in the course of a year that it is likely to show a material variance against its budget, it must submit details of the situation to its parent body without delay.

(e) The parent body shall allow the budgetary unit to exceed its budget only if it is satisfied that the unit has plans in place to recover the position.

(f) Every instance in which a budgetary unit is allowed materially to exceed its budget must be reported to the next meeting of PRAC (or a suitable subcommittee of PRAC) by the parent body or by the relevant divisional board.

(2) Records and Financial Statements

(a) All transactions relating to the unit must be properly recorded in the University's business system using the approved process.

(b) Units must follow the guidelines in the Departmental Document Retention Guidance document (230kb) and keep such documents for the periods prescribed.

(3) Access to the University's Business System

All persons with access to the University's recommended business system must comply with the University's Information Security Policy, and with the Regulations Relating to the Use of Information Technology Facilities.

(4) Audit

(a) The University's audit arrangements are required to accord with the HEFCE Audit Code of Practice on Accountability and Audit. This Code of Practice confers responsibilities on the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, on Internal Audit and on the University's external auditors, each of whom has an unrestricted right of access to all vouchers, documents, books of account and computer data; and to any other information which they consider relevant to their enquiries. All budgetary units must meet the requirements arising from the audit programme approved by the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

(b) All employees and others with responsibility for the administration and management of funds received or held by the University, have a responsibility to guard against fraudulent practices affecting the University and follow the University Policies on Bribery and Fraud and Gifts & Hospitality if such practices are discovered, seeking advice from the Senior Assistant Registrar (Compliance) in the Council Secretariat as required.

1.5 Authorisation Limits

(1) Authority to Enter into Contracts

(a) Part C of Statute XVI contains the basic rules about who may commit the University in contract. No authority to commit the University extends to any contract that is illegal; or which does not comply with obligations laid down by HEFCE, HM Revenue & Customs, or other government authorities.

(b) Under Statute XVI, the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar each have authority in relation to any and every form of contract.

(c) The officers in Table A have authority in relation to the contracts specified alongside their titles.

Table A


All types of contract


All types of contract

Director of Finance

Contracts dealing with sales, purchases, investments, borrowings, commercial activities, research contracts, and the formation and operation of subsidiary, associated, and spin out companies

Director of Research Services

Research and research-related contracts

Director of Estates

Contracts for the design, demolition, construction, alteration, repair, and maintenance of buildings and for the sale, purchase, leasing, licensing, and charging of real property

Director of Legal Services jointly with the relevant head of unit

Instruction of external lawyers.

(d) The officers in Table A may each delegate their authority to enter the specified contracts on behalf of the University, subject to compliance with section 12 of Statute XVI and, in the case of delegation within the University, to compliance with regulations 1.5 (2) and 3.2 below.

(e) The Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar may also delegate authority to enter contracts to the boards of subsidiary companies, to officers of such companies, and to custodians appointed by such companies.

(f) Council Secretariat keeps a register of all delegations by the officers referred to in Table A.

(g) Heads of units have authority to sign contracts that are in the course of the ordinary business of their unit and which involve only the funds over which they have delegated control, subject to compliance with regulations 1.5 (2) and 3.2. They do not have any authority to enter into any contract which falls within the remits of the officers in Table A above (apart from sales and purchases in the course of the unit's ordinary business). What is ordinary business will vary, but for academic units can be taken to mean teaching and research and their support.

(h) For contracts in the course of ordinary business as defined in (g) above, save in relation to contracts of employment (see regulation 3.2 below), heads of unit may delegate their authority to sign contracts to their staff. Where such delegation of authority is made, the limits and the officer's acceptance must be recorded in written form. A form is available, although other records that summarise departmental delegations adequately (and which are accepted by delegates) are also acceptable. No such delegation shall be operative until a copy of the instrument recording the delegation has been delivered to the delegate and their acceptance received. The person making the delegation must retain these instruments and each unit must maintain a register of all delegations made by staff in that unit.

(i) Documents for sealing must be sent to the LSO.

2) Financial Limits to Authorise Expenditure Commitments

Tables B, C, D, E and F below summarise the upper internal limits on authority to commit to levels of expenditure (in contract or otherwise). Table B sets out those limits in respect of non-capital departmental expenditure (the rules concerning the authorisation and approval of research projects are set out in regulation 4.1.) Tables C and D set out limits in respect of capital expenditure together with reporting requirements. Table E sets out the limits applicable to investment decisions and Table F the limits applicable to the financial write-off of bad debts.

Table B Non-capital departmental expenditure*

Limit £000

Authorising Body/Officer




Chair of Council



Chair of committee


Divisional board

Head of division


Head of unit

Head of unit or delegated person


Table C Capital expenditure (other than centrally run IT projects)**
Limit £000

Requiring University Capital Funding

Not requiring University Capital Funding

Over 5,000



  • CSG recommends to PRAC
  • PRAC approves
  • Formal business case is required
  • Sponsoring division may approve

Below 300

  • CSG recommends to PRAC
  • PRAC approves
  • Formal business case not needed
  • Sponsoring unit may approve*


Table D Capital expenditure (centrally run IT projects)

Limit £000

Within the IT Capital Budget****

Not requiring University Capital Funding

Over 5,000

300 - 5,000

Below 300


Table E Investment decisions
The limits in Table E relate to making and implementing investment decisions (refer to Regulation 6.4 below)

Limit £000

Authorising Body/Officer

200,000 and over

Chief Investment Officer, following approval by the University's Investment Committee, further to recommendation by OUEM

Over 100,000 and under 200,000

Chief Investment Officer, with prior written approval from the Chair of the Board of OUEM

Less than or equal to 100,000

Chief Investment Officer.

Less than or equal to 15,000 

Any OUEM Investment Director 


Table F Bad debts to be written off

Limit £000

Authorising Body/Officer

Over 100

Finance Committee

Less than or equal to 100

Director of Finance


* Delegated authority given to divisional boards and heads of unit is subject to the overall budgetary limits approved by PRAC (see regulation 1.4 (1) above).

** For UAS capital projects, the Budget Subcommittee of PRAC is required to receive all proposals for review. University capital funding is defined as those funds set out in the University's Capital Plan submitted to PRAC and includes funds from the Press and HEFCE as well as the University Capital Fund.

*** The Property Management Subcommittee of PRAC has a delegated authority level for sales and purchases involving amounts of up to £2m that are for property not held as an investment and are unrelated to capital projects.

**** The IT Capital Budget is determined on a three-year annual rolling basis by Council on the recommendation of PRAC. In respect of the IT capital budget, CSG's role is to support PRAC in the development of the overall capital budget, of which the IT capital budget is part, but not to make recommendations on individual projects within the IT capital budget. The respective roles of IT Committee, Capital Steering Group and PRAC in respect of the IT capital budget are set out in the regulations governing those committees.