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University Secretary's Office

University Secretary's Office


The role of the University Secretary's Office (USO) is to oversee the overall governance, assurance and compliance structure of the University and to ensure the integrity of the conduct of its business.

The office provides independent advice to the Council, Senate and the Vice-Chancellor and ensures that they gain the assurances required to fulfil their statutory and regulatory responsibilities.

Key areas of responsibility are:

  • Constitutional and Corporate Governance
  • Governance Committees Oversight and Support
  • Legal Work
  • University Assurance
  • Policy Governance
  • Information Governance
  • Research Governance
  • Teaching/Education Governance

USO Structure

The University Secretary's Office comprises:

  • Governance and Executive Support: ensures the University has an efficient and effective governance and executive committee structure and that its modus operandi reflects best practice.
  • Legal Services: provides an effective and proactive in-house legal advice and support service to all University administrative and academic departments to assist their contractual, business and research commercialisation activities including the procurement of specialist external legal services as required.
  • University Assurance Service: provides Council, Audit Committee and the Executive with independent assurance of the adequacy and effectiveness of the University's risk management and control systems, the reliability of its management information, regulatory and policy compliances and value for money.
  • Information Governance Unit: ensures compliance with statutory reporting, historical record-keeping and contractual requirements. It advises on the University's compliance with Freedom of Information, Data Protection and Environmental Information legislation, co-ordinates responses to requests and investigates any data compliance incidents.

USO organisational structure diagram

Contact Details

University Secretary's Office
Durham University
Palatine Centre
Stockton Road