Architectural detail on the Great Hall

Corporate governanceThe University is supported by a community of strong academic leaders

The University of Leeds (as it is formally and legally known) is an independent corporation established by Royal Charter. Its objects, powers and framework of governance are set out in the Charter and its supporting statutes, amendments to which must be approved by the Privy Council.

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The Council

­The Council is the University's 23-strong governing body. For the purposes of charities law, members of the Council are trustees of the University. The Council is committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate governance, as well as meeting the obligations placed on us as an exempt charity and body in receipt of public funds.

It has a collective responsibility to promote the University's wellbeing and to ensure its sustainability. Its specific responsibilities include:

  • corporate strategy, plans and budgets
  • corporate policy and major business decisions 
  • establishing the framework for governance and management 
  • monitoring institutional and executive performance

The Council meets six times a year. It includes members of staff and student representatives, but the majority are lay members, including the Pro-Chancellor, who also serves as the Council’s chair. (Lay members are those who are neither employees nor students of the University.)

Find out more information on the members of the Council (and details of any additional charities of which they are also trustees).

The Senate

The Senate is responsible to the Council for academic governance and especially for regulating:

  • the admission of students
  • the­ curriculum
  • academic standards
  • the award of degrees and other qualifications

The Senate, which is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, consists of more than 160 members including academic staff and student members. In addition to its responsibility for academic governance, the Senate has an advisory role extending across most aspects of our work.

University committees

The Council and the Senate are each supported by a number of committees. The principal committees of the Council include:

  • audit and risk committee (chair: Mr Tom Morton)
  • health and safety committee (chair: Vice-Chancellor)
  • remuneration committee (chair: Pro-Chancellor)
  • gift acceptance committee (chair: Pro-Chancellor)

Committees of the Senate include:

  • taught student education board (chair: Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Education)
  • graduate board (chair: Dean for Postgraduate Research Studies)
  • research and innovation board (chair: Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation)

The Court

The University Court has about 90 members (the majority of whom are lay), and is chaired either by the Chancellor or, in her/his absence, the Pro-Chancellor.  It is not involved in the University's decision-making processes, but it plays an important and influential role on behalf of our stakeholders in seeing that we are well managed, and responsive to public and local interests and concerns.

In particular, the Court makes sure that we are accountable to the wider community. It has the right to ask questions about, and express an opinion on, any matter whatsoever concerning the University, and to communicate such opinions to the Council. It normally meets twice a year.

Senior officers and executive management

The Vice-Chancellor delegates responsibility for specific aspects of the University's management to the Deputy-Vice-Chancellor, pro-vice-chancellors and the other senior officers who make up the Vice-Chancellor's Executive Group (VCEG), and to the deans of faculty, but he retains ultimate responsibility for their work.

Members of the VCEG are responsible to the Council (through the Vice-Chancellor) for the leadership and overall management of the corporate services; and for formulating policy and other proposals for consideration by the Senate and the Council. Further information about the management responsibilities delegated to members of the VCEG is available at

Similarly, the deans are responsible to the Council (through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor) for the leadership and overall management of their respective faculties. The Faculty Management Group (FMG), which comprises the deans and members of the VCEG, plays a co-ordinating role in the management of faculties, and monitors their financial position and academic development.

Download our annual reports and accounts from the last five years.

Further detailed information about governance is available from the Secretariat's website, or by contacting Helen Pickersgill