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Financial Statements 2011-12 17

The University Senate

The Senate is the highest academic authority of the University. It is responsible for the promotion of academic work in both teaching and research, for the regulation of educational arrangements and the maintenance of discipline. It receives quality audit reports from both the Quality Assurance Agency and in-house departmental reviews. Currently it has five representatives on Council each appointed for three years.

A review of the effectiveness of Senate was conducted in 2006 and its recommendations have been implemented. A further review is in progress.

The University Court

The University Court is a formal body established under the Charter and Statutes whose main function is to receive a report from the Vice-Chancellor on the workings of the University, along with receiving the Financial Statements.

Responsibilities of the Council

The Council is responsible for the administration and management of the affairs of the University and is required to present audited financial statements for each financial year.

The Council is responsible for ensuring proper accounting records are kept. These should disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the University and its subsidiary undertakings and enable Financial Statements to be prepared in accordance with the Statement of Recommended Practice: Accounting for Further and Higher Education and other relevant accounting standards. Within the terms and conditions of a Financial Memorandum agreed between HEFCE and the Council of the University, the Council, through its designated office holder, is required to prepare Financial Statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the University and its subsidiary undertakings and the surplus or deficit and cash flows for the year.

In the preparation of the Financial Statements, the Council has to ensure that:

n suitable accounting policies are selected and applied consistently;

n judgements and estimates are made that are reasonable and prudent;

n applicable accounting standards have been followed;

n Financial Statements are prepared on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the University will continue in operation.

Any system of internal control or risk management is designed to manage rather than eliminate the risk of failure to achieve business objectives and can only provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance against material misstatement or loss.

The Council has taken reasonable steps to:

n ensure that funds from HEFCE are used only for the purposes for which they have been given and in accordance with the Financial Memorandum with HEFCE and any other conditions which HEFCE may from time to time prescribe;

n ensure that there are appropriate financial and management controls in place to safeguard public funds and funds from other sources;

n safeguard the assets of the University and its subsidiary undertakings and to prevent and detect fraud;

n secure the economical, efficient and effective management of the resources and expenditure of the University and its subsidiary undertakings;

n ensure that processes operate within the University to identify, evaluate and manage significant risks and to review the effectiveness of the system of internal control.

The key elements of the University’s system of internal control, which is designed to discharge the responsibilities set out above, include the following:

n clear definitions of the responsibilities of, and authority delegated to, heads of academic departments and administrative sections;

n a short and medium term planning process, supplemented by detailed annual income, expenditure and capital budgets;

n regular reviews of academic performance and financial results involving variance reporting and updates of financial outturns;

n defined and formalised requirements for the approval and control of expenditure, with investment decisions involving capital or revenue expenditure being subject to formal detailed appraisal and review according to appropriate levels set by Council;

n Financial Regulations, including financial controls and procedures, approved by the Audit and Risk Management Committee;

n a professional internal audit team whose annual programme is approved by the Audit and Risk Management Committee;

n a Risk Register which contains weightings (of likelihood and impact) linked to the Strategic Plan which also informs the internal audit planning process.

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