The University is governed by statutes and regulations, including the Financial Regulations and their supporting financial processes which set out how the University’s financial activity is to be managed
University Acts, Financial 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;
(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) 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 and is provided for in Council Regulations 20 of 2002). 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.
(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.
(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 OfS for ensuring that the University complies with the OfS Framework, the OfS terms and conditions of funding and related guidance from OfS, and other bodies.
(2) Heads of Unit
(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 OfS Framework, the OfS terms and conditions of funding and related guidance from OfS and other bodies, by the dates published by the Chief Financial Officer;
(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) Chief Financial Officer
(a) The Chief Financial Officer 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 Chief Financial Officer, the Head of Financial Assurance 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) 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 Financial Procedure for the Retention of Financial Documents (pdf) 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.
(a) The University's audit arrangements are required to accord with the OfS Audit Code of Practice. This Code of Practice confers responsibilities on the Audit and Scrutiny Committee , and on the University's internal and 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 Director of Assurance as required.
(1) In a unit that receives cash or cheques, the head of that unit is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Cash and Banking process governing such receipts.
(2) In a unit that receives card payments, the head of that unit is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Cardholder Data Security Rules and Processes governing such receipts.
(3) All monies receivable by the University are to be regarded as income of the University.
(4) University income includes all monies made available to individuals on the basis of their association with the University (other than pursuant to authorised outside appointments: see regulation 8.6).
(5) All University receipts must be paid into a University bank account promptly and be properly accounted for.
(1) All sales of goods and supplies of services must be in accordance with the Managing Sales of Goods and Services process.
(2) All sales should be authorised and subject only to acceptable credit risks.
(3) Customers must be made aware of the University's standard conditions of sale and supply (available from the LSO), which must be incorporated into all contracts (subject to any variations required on a case-by-case basis, and drafted or endorsed by the LSO), including contracts for sales generated online.
(4) Charges made to external customers should always reflect the full economic costs of the service or goods provided. Heads of units (or their delegate) must approve sales to employees, members of the University, and other customers, which are made without charge or at a charge below that normally made to external customers.
(5) Appropriate charges should be made for the use of University premises and facilities for non-University purposes.
(6) The Chief Financial Officer or the Finance Committee may write off a bad debt against general revenue or, where it is considered that the bad debt resulted from unguarded action taken by a unit, against that unit's funds. Table F identifies the financial authorisation limits applicable.
(7) The Chief Financial Officer will provide the Finance Committee with an annual report of the total sum written off each year, giving details of individual sums over £5,000.
(1) The Gift Registry oversees the management of philanthropic donations, gifts and associated income. Advice should be sought from the Gift Registry where uncertainty exists on the nature of a receipt. All such cash gifts and grants, and all other undertakings to make future payment, must be directed, forwarded or otherwise notified promptly to the Gift Registry with the supporting information prescribed in the Cash Handling and Banking process. The Gift Registry operates a dedicated bank account for the receipt and management of such donations in the name of University of Oxford Development Trust Fund (OUDT).
(2) If such a cash gift or grant exceeds £20,000, or involves future payment, no payment should be accepted, conditions agreed, or formal receipt provided, without prior reference to the Development Office.
(3) The Registrar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Development and External Affairs), the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Development Officer are authorised to issue a formal receipt on behalf of the University. The Chief Development Officer has delegated this activity to the Gift Registry.
(4) Where necessary, and in consultation with the LSO and the Taxation team, the Development Office will determine: whether a gift should simply be received and acknowledged; whether a University trust regulation should be made; whether an undertaking to make future payments should be made the subject of a binding covenant; whether the commitment to future payment is more in the nature of a nonbinding pledge.
(5) All future commitments shall be made the subject of a binding covenant where decisions on University expenditure have to be made in advance of receipt of the funds.
(6) Where necessary, trust regulations, prepared by secretaries to divisional boards (or their equivalent in the case of budgetary units not in divisions) and taking advice where necessary from the LSO, are approved by the General Purposes Committee of Council, having authority to approve trust regulations under Council Regulations 15 of 2002.
(7) In considering the acceptability or otherwise of any donation, the Development Office must have regard to the guidelines made under Council Regulations 15 of 2002 concerning the Committee to Review Donations and Research funding . In particular the Development Office must have regard to the possibility that funds may originate from illegal sources. They should exercise particular caution where:
(a) having been offered large donations from persons unknown to them, they do not receive satisfactory replies to the further enquiries they make;
(b) donations are conditional on particular individuals or organisations being used to do work for the University;
(c) offers of donations in cash are made for a certain period of time, during which the University receives the interest, before the capital sum is returned to the donor at the end of the specified period;
(d) offers of donations in foreign currencies are made for a certain period of time, during which the University receives the interest, before the capital sum is returned to the donor in the form of a sterling cheque at the end of the specified period.
All such cases must be referred promptly to the Registrar, and advice should be sought from the LSO.
(8) Every proposed donation to the University of £20,000 or more, and cumulative gifts equal to or exceeding, in total, £20,000, must be reviewed under the framework for the acceptability of donations and research funding for a decision on whether its acceptance may breach the guidelines governing the acceptance of gifts by the University (cumulative gifts shall be treated as one gift and a decision taken at the point when the threshold of £20,000 is crossed). This may involve a referral to the Committee to Review Donations and Research Funding. When it is the judgment of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Development and External Affairs) that acceptance of any donation may breach those guidelines* the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Development and External Affairs) must refer the donation to that body for its consideration and decision.
* The guidelines governing the acceptance of gifts by the University are made under the authority of Council Regulations 15 of 2002 concerning the Committee to Review Donations and Research Funding.
(1) Grants in support of research must be negotiated through Research Services, in accordance with regulation 4.1 below.
(2) Gifts for research (where it is the donor or benefactor's intent to support specific research activity) are to be treated as research income and should be managed in accordance with the Guidelines on Gifts (Donations) for Research.
(1) All procurement of goods and services must be in accordance with the Purchase to Pay processes.
(2) Subject to 3.1 (3), all contracts (other than construction-related contracts) for the purchase of goods and/or services to the value of £125,000 or more must be negotiated through the Purchasing Department . For limits below this, the limits set out in Table G apply (excluding insurance costs which must follow Insurance Section processes). A banker's guarantee is required for payments made in advance that exceed £50,000.
|Limit £000||Preferred Supplier||Other Supplier|
|0 - 2.5||No quote required||Confirmation of price required|
|2.5 - 25||No quote required||Two written quotes required|
|25 - 125||Formal request for quote||Formal request for quote|
|125+||Purchasing Department||Purchasing Department|
(3) For all equipment and services expenditure incurred on research awards departments should ensure that each award funder's general and grant-specific terms and conditions for the procurement process are met. Note that these requirements will sometimes go beyond the University's standard requirements outlined above.
(4) All contracts for the purchase of goods and/or services must incorporate one of the University's standard forms of contract. Where this is not possible, departments may agree to alternative forms of contract provided any "high risk terms" as defined in the Purchase to Pay process have been referred to the Purchasing Department or (for construction-related contracts) Estates Services. Orders placed above £125,000 must be managed using the principles established in the University's Contract Management Guidelines.
(5) RS is responsible for the authorisation of research-related services. Units are responsible for procuring items on approved research projects. Further requirements for research-related expenditure are included in regulations 4.1-4.2 below.
(6) All contracts for the acquisition of goods and services otherwise than by purchase (for example, leasing arrangements) must be negotiated through the Purchasing Department and notified to the Head of Payment Services.
(7) All procurement through the use of a credit card must comply with the financial control procedures for the card, which are issued by the Chief Cashier. It is the responsibility of the head of unit to agree the chosen credit and transaction limits with the Chief Cashier, and to ensure that the limits are adhered to.
(2) Statute XIV deals with the employment of academic and support staff, and the first section of that statute covers authority to employ and dismiss staff. Written authorisation must be obtained through Personnel Services before heads of unit, departmental administrators and others may issue contracts of employment on behalf of their units.
(3) No outside-funded member of staff may be given a contract of employment for a period exceeding that for which funding is available fully to support the post or posts to which he or she is appointed, with the exception of open-ended terminable contracts on which advice must be sought from Personnel Services.
(4) Payments under employment contracts must be made through the University payroll and not by other means.
(5) Heads of units must supply the Payroll Office with a register of authorised signatures for authorisation of salary documents.
(6) All documents sent to the Payroll Office authorising the payment of new employees or subsequent changes to their salary or other details must be authorised in accordance with the relevant register of authorised signatures.
(7) The only payments, which may be made through the University payroll, are those that relate to the operation of approved University salary scales, and such other payments that have been specifically approved by the Personnel Committee.
(1) All financial matters relating to research awards and contracts must be managed in accordance with the University's Managing Research Projects process.
(2) All applications to outside bodies for research funds must be submitted via RS. Every award of £20,000 or more will be reviewed prior to acceptance under the framework for the acceptability of donations and research funding for a decision on whether its acceptance may breach the guidelines governing the acceptance of gifts by the University (which may involve a referral to the Committee to Review Donations and Research Funding). When it is the judgment of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) that acceptance of any funding may breach those guidelines the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) must refer the funding to that body for its consideration and decision.
(3) In terms of expenditure incurred on a research award or contract, heads of unit are responsible for ensuring that:
(a) all applications to outside bodies are prepared in accordance with University's Policy on the Costing and Pricing of Research (thereby complying with the Government's Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) Guidance and Full Economic Costing (FEC) Guidelines);
(b) the funds awarded by the research funder are sufficient to meet the financial commitments required under the award;
(c) wherever possible, budgetary units should recover the FEC of research undertaken and when it is not possible to recover FEC, units should consider the impact on the overall position of the unit;
(d) the unit has procedures in place to manage compliance with research funder terms and conditions on different awards, and maintains an adequate audit trail.
(4) The application of financial limits on the approval of expenditure on research awards should be made by reference to Table B above.
(5) RS is responsible for negotiating research and research-related contracts and grant conditions on behalf of the University.
(6) The accounting for all research projects undertaken by the University is overseen by Research Accounts in the Finance Division, which must also raise all invoices, claims and financial statements for externally funded research awards.
(7) Principal investigators are responsible to heads of units for ensuring that they comply with these regulations, and that research and expenditure are undertaken in compliance with the terms and conditions of each award funder.
(1) The purchase, leasing, or sale of all real property owned or leased by the University, which is not held as an investment, must be authorised by PRAC. In cases where the purchase, lease, or sale involves no more than £2,000,000, and is unrelated to a capital project, this authority has been delegated to the Property Management Subcommittee under Council Regulations 15 of 2002.
(2) All building works on such property require the prior permission of the Director of Estates.
(3) Section 4 of Statute XVI states that no allocation of a site, the area of which exceeds 1,000 square metres, or of a building, the overall floor area of which exceeds 600 square metres, may be made unless approved by resolution of the Congregation of the University.
(1) The Finance Committee is responsible for the approval of the University's banking and treasury arrangements.
(2) The Chief Financial Officer or Registrar and Group Treasurer must approve all new bank accounts of the University. All such bank accounts shall be in the name of the University. Amendments to existing accounts or mandates can be signed by two of the following: the Chief Financial Officer, the Registrar, Group Treasurer, Director of Technical Accounting & Reporting, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis.
(1) The Investment Committee is responsible to Council for the strategic oversight and supervision of all funds invested by, or for the benefit of, the University as set out in Council Regulations 15 of 2002. No budgetary unit or trust fund of the University may invest independently in any securities or other investments.
(2) A cash investment vehicle—the Deposit Pool—is used for
(a) the investment of benefactions and endowments before the making of trust regulations;
(b) surplus cash in trust funds; and
(c) University cash flow balances.
(3) Management of the Deposit Pool is the responsibility of the Chief Financial Officer, under delegated authority from the Finance Committee. Investments in the Deposit Pool are made in line with the Treasury Management Code of Practice and the Treasury Policies and Procedures Manual.
(4) Management of the University's shareholdings in spinout companies is the responsibility of the Chief Financial Officer.
Oxford University Endowment Management Limited (“OUEM”), a subsidiary company, is responsible for the management of certain investments of the University and those of The Oxford Funds. OUEM may delegate its authority to identified fund managers. The Board of OUEM is responsible for managing delegated authority limits within OUEM in respect of the Funds it manages.
(1) The University has the capacity of a natural person to manage, deal with and dispose of its property as it thinks fit; and this includes the power to invest, the power to borrow (and enter into contracts relating to derivative products ancillary to borrowings) and the power to charge its property as security.
(2) No borrowing may take place (other than through the operation of an overdraft which is part of regular banking facilities), and no University assets may be offered as security for any borrowing, without the permission of Council. Before sanctioning such activities, Council will obtain and consider proper advice (which for these purposes shall mean, save where expressly authorised by Council to the contrary, advice from a suitably qualified, independent person) as to the necessity for the loan or security, the reasonableness of the terms, and the University's ability to repay.
The University's approach to the management of risk is set out in the Assurance Framework relating to Risk Management . Budgetary units are required to ensure that all risks are appropriately managed, and notified to their parent body as appropriate.
University employees and others with responsibility for the administration or management of University funds must not use their authority or office for personal gain, and must always seek to uphold the ethical standards, and enhance the reputation, of the University.
Assets belonging to, or leased or loaned to, the University (or otherwise provided to the University for University purposes) may not be removed for personal use without written approval from the head of unit.
(1) Unless the Chief Financial Officer has approved an agreement in advance between the University and the persons concerned, in conformity with the Rules for the Letting of Functional Space, non-University commercial activities must not be carried out on University premises and University facilities must not be used for such activities.
(a) Other than the use of an address in connection with an authorised outside appointment (where the use of the address does not imply any relationship between the activity and the University), departmental or institutional addresses (whether postal or e-mail) may not be used for non-University commercial activities.
(b) This regulation must be followed strictly even in situations where there is reason to believe that the University may sanction a spin-out company based on the activity in question.
(1) When a member of staff, with the approval of his or her head of unit, undertakes private work for other budgetary units involving the use of facilities operated by the unit by which he or she is normally employed, proper invoices in respect of any charges which may be made for such work must be prepared, and submitted for approval and signature to the head of the unit by which the member of staff is ordinarily employed. Payment will be made through the University payroll unless a Schedule D tax reference for the trade has been obtained in writing from HM Revenue & Customs.
(2) Where heads of units allow private work to be carried out for other budgetary units, written rules should be drawn up and made readily accessible to all members of staff. The cost of any materials provided should be recovered, and care taken that safety procedures are observed.