Governance

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.

See the correspondence address

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 at least six times a year. It includes members of staff and student representatives, but the majority are lay members, including the Pro-Chancellor, Mr David Gray, 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, Sir Alan Langlands, 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:

  • strategy and investment committee (chair: Deputy Pro-Chancellor, Mr Quentin Woodley)
  • audit and risk committee (chair: Mr Ed Anderson)
  • health and safety committee (chair: Vice-Chancellor)
  • nominating and governance committee (chair: Pro-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, Professor Vivien Jones)
  • graduate board (chair: Dean for Postgraduate Research Studies, Professor Edward Spiers)
  • research and innovation board (chair: Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor David Hogg)

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: in a nutshell, the Court is an important link with the community and other stakeholders, fostering engagement, responsiveness and accountability.

The Court’s mission is to serve ‘as mechanism for – and a symbol of – the University’s accountability to the wider community’. It is empowered to ask questions about, and express an opinion on, any matter whatsoever concerning the University; and to convey such opinions to the Council, and can thus invite the Council (or other University bodies) to consider particular questions or courses of action. It meets at least twice a year: a formal, minuted, ‘business’ meeting occurs in December, whereas other ‘engagement’ events are intentionally informal.

Senior officers and executive management

The University’s Executive (formally, the University Executive Group (UEG)) consists of the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Finance Director, the Secretary, the Marketing Director, the Directors of Human Resources and of Facilities Management and the faculty deans. The Vice-Chancellor delegates responsibility for specific aspects of the University’s management to his colleagues on the UEG but retains ultimate responsibility for their work: senior officers and deans are responsible to the Council (through the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor respectively) for the leadership and overall management of the corporate services and the faculties. 

The UEG’s formal terms of reference include protecting and promoting the interests of students; supporting staff in realising their career aspirations and the wider education and research mission of the University; ensuring the academic development of the University and securing its academic and financial sustainability; formulating the University's Strategic Plan, and ensuring its implementation and the achievement of key objectives and performance targets; identifying and managing risks; and resource allocation.
Find out more about the management responsibilities delegated to senior officers

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