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Durham University

University Committees

Finance Committee

Finance Committee Sub-committees

Standing Orders

(amends approved Council: 10/7/18) (Finance Committee is a committee of Council)

These Standing Orders should be read in conjunction with the Joint Standing Orders of Senate and Council.

Membership (Composition)

(Members 2021/22)
Ex officio members:
The Chair of Council or the Vice-Chair of Council (provided that they do not Chair Audit Committee) Mr Joe Docherty
The Vice-Chancellor and Warden Professor Karen O'Brien
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Professor Antony Long
The President of the Durham Students' Union Miss Seun Twins
Up to five members of Council (3 Lay and 2 staff members): Mrs Joanna Barker (2022) (15) (Chair)
Mr Jonathan Bewes (2022) (19)
Mr James Grierson (2023) (17)
Professor Colin Macpherson (2023) (17)
Dr Amir Michael (2022)(19)
Up to two co-opted members (where expertise required):
In attendance:
The Chief Financial Officer

Mr Stephen Willis

Other professional colleagues in support as determined by the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer in consultation with the Chair.
A full date after a member's name indicates that their term of office will expire on the 31 July in that year and a half date indicates the year of appointment of that member. eg (2015) (08) indicates that the member was appointed in 2008 and their term of office will expire on the 31 July 2015.

The Committee Chair and Deputy Chair shall be a lay member of Council.


In the event that the President of Durham Students' Union is unable to be present at a meeting of the Committee he/she shall be entitled to seek the approval of the Chairman to nominate one observer who shall be a registered student of the University to attend the meeting in question.



The quorum shall be 50% of the Committee’s membership and must include 2 lay members of Council.


The Secretary of the Committee shall be the University Secretary (Alison Blackburn).

Matters Reserved to Council

The Committee shall exercise all the powers of Council in financial matters except in relation to those items which are reserved to Council in these Standing Orders, on which the Committee shall advise Council.

The matters reserved to Council for approval are:

  • University Strategy, including the financial strategy;
  • Financial forecasts;
  • Revenue and capital budgets;
  • Annual financial statements;
  • Individual decisions with an estimated financial impact in excess of £5 million;
  • Increases in existing fees and charges to students above anticipated increases in University costs, taken from the latest approved financial forecasts;
  • Additional fees and charges to students and the extension of existing fees and charges to additional categories of students;
  • Other matters specified by Council from time to time.

Terms of Reference

The role of the Committee shall be to monitor the financial health of the University on behalf of Council. In addition to advising Council on those matters referred to above, the Committee's responsibilities shall include:

Financial Strategy

  • to monitor the implementation of the University’s strategy with regard to financial matters1
  • to approve individual decisions with an estimated financial impact of between £1million and £5 million (non-capital) and between £2million and £5 million (capital)
  • to consider the University’s quarterly Financial Management Reports
  • to monitor the financial administration of the University and make recommendations to Council where appropriate
  • to review the financial aspects of the University’s Annual Financial Statements prior to their consideration by the Audit Committee
  • to monitor the arrangements for safeguarding the University's assets
  • to make recommendations to Council on the financing of strategic projects
  • to approve the annual allocation of funds to the Durham Students’ Union and any other Arms’ Length Organisations
  • to keep under review the University’s employee pension arrangements
  • to monitor the effective and efficient procurement and use of resources in accordance with the objectives of the University
  • to keep the University’s tax strategy and Scheme of Financial Delegation under review
  • to review the University’s Treasury Policy

Investment and Borrowing

  • to approve the University’s policies on investment and borrowing
  • to make recommendations to Council on the allocation of funds for investment and to monitor the Return on Investment
  • to approve the appointment of bankers and other external financial advisers (other than auditors)

Estates and Projects

  • to monitor implementation of the strategy for the University estate
  • to consider the adequacy of the University estate and proposals for its maintenance and development, including opportunities to dispose of and acquire new properties
  • to review the extent and condition of the University estate including the efficiency of space utilisation, energy consumption and the adequacy of property insurance arrangements
  • to consider the adequacy of financial evaluation of major projects
  • to approve increases in project budgets already approved by the Committee where these are no more than 3% above the original approved budget

Intellectual Property, Subsidiary Companies and Major Collaborations

  • to monitor the appropriate exploitation of the University’s intellectual property
  • to keep under review the activities of the University's group of companies and the investments and other interests held by them
  • to approve the structure, establishment or winding up of all University trading companies

Endowments and Fundraising

  • to keep under review the University’s fundraising activities
  • to monitor the performance and use of donated funds and endowments via receipt of a quarterly report on fundraising


1 Role of University Strategy Implementation Committee (USIC)

USIC provides strategic oversight and scrutiny of progress in implementing the University Strategy 2017-2027. This includes project management and control of major projects, in particular the Critical Initiatives, where such oversight and scrutiny does not already fall within the remits of other Council Committees (e.g. Finance and Audit).


Kelly Knapp

0191 334 6124

Katie Crammen

0191 334 6119