The University of Leeds is an independent corporation established by Royal Charter, granted in 1904.

The University's 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.

The University is an ‘exempt charity’ under Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011. The University does not have a registered number issued by the Charities Commission but is in law a charity by Royal Charter. Our reference number with the charity division of HM Revenue and Customs is X6861.

How the University is governed

The Council

The Council is the University's governing body. It consists of 23 people, most of whom are lay members. 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. The Council has a 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 (people who are not staff or students at the University). This includes the Chair of Council and Pro-Chancellor, Alastair da Costa.

Find out more about:

The Senate

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

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

The Senate is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and President. It consists of more than 50 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.

Council committees

The principal committees of the Council are:

  • Strategy and investment committee (chair: Seb Elsworth)
  • Audit and risk committee (chair: Iain Moffatt)
  • Health and safety committee (chair: Vice-Chancellor)
  • Nominating and governance committee (chair: Chair of Council, Alastair Da Costa)
  • Remuneration committee (chair: Helen Grantham) 
  • Gift acceptance committee (chair: Chair of Council, Alastair Da Costa)

Senate committees 

Committees of the Senate include:

The Court

The University Court has approximately 90 members (the majority are lay-members). It is chaired by the Chancellor or, in their absence, the Pro-Chancellor. It is not involved in the University's decision-making processes, but is an important link with the community and other stakeholders, fostering engagement, responsiveness and accountability.

The Court serves as a mechanism for, and symbol of, the University’s accountability to the wider community. It is empowered to ask questions about, and express an opinion on, anything concerning the University. It conveys these opinions to the Council, and can invite the Council (or other University bodies) to consider particular questions or courses of action.

It meets at least twice a year: a formal meeting in December and other, informal, meetings.

Chancellor – Professor Dame Jane Francis DCMG

The Chancellor is an honorary role. Professor Dame Jane Francis represents the University in a ceremonial and ambassadorial capacity.

Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Jane is a pioneering scientist with international recognition for her study of fossil plants and their use as tools for climate interpretation.

Senior officers and executive management

Membership of the University Executive Group (UEG) comprises:

  • Vice-Chancellor and President
  • Principal Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellors
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Faculty executive deans
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • University Secretary

The Vice-Chancellor and President delegates responsibility for specific aspects of the University’s management to the UEG but retains ultimate responsibility for their work. Executive officers are responsible for the leadership and overall management of corporate services and executive deans are responsible for the management of faculties.

The UEG’s formal terms of reference include:

  • Protecting and promoting the interests of students 
  • Supporting staff in 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 
  • Resource allocation

Find out more about the management responsibilities delegated to the executive group.

Read our annual reports and other policies on our reports, accounts and policies page.  

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

Related links