Skip to content
Chevron pattern Chevron alternate pattern

University Council

Role description: University Secretary

Last updated: 14 January 2021

1. Appointment and Reporting

1.1 The University Secretary is appointed to that post by the Council itself, and in accordance with the provisions of the University’s Articles of Association.
1.2. Irrespective of any other responsibilities the appointee may hold, in relation to their responsibilities as Secretary, the Secretary is responsible solely to the Council and reports directly to the Chair of Council in relation to Council business (ie the preparation of Agendas, papers, Minutes, etc).

2. The Business of the Governing Body

2.1. The Secretary is responsible for providing the Council with authoritative guidance about its responsibilities under the charter, statutes, articles, ordinances and regulations to which it is subject, including legislation and the requirements of the Office for Students, and on how these responsibilities should be discharged.

2.2. The Secretary should ensure that new or revised responsibilities for the Council (eg arising from new legislation) are drawn to the Council’s attention.

2.3. The Secretary has a responsibility to alert the Council if they believe that any proposed action would exceed the Council’s powers or be contrary to legislation or to the requirements of the Office for Students.

2.4. The Secretary has sole responsibility for providing legal advice to, or obtaining it for, the Council and shall be provided with a budget for that purpose, and for advising the Council on all matters of procedure.

2.5. The Secretary shall ensure that all documentation provided to members of the Council is concise and its content is appropriate.

2.6. The Secretary will also act as Secretary to Committees of the Council, namely the Finance and General Purposes Committee, the Audit Committee, the Council and Foundation Standing Group, the Governance and Nominations Committee and the Remuneration and Human Resources Committee, or be responsible for ensuring that adequate clerical support is provided to Council Committees, and shall be provided with a budget for that purpose.

2.7. The Secretary shall maintain the Register of the Interests of the members of the Council and of any other persons from whom the Council requires a statement of interests.

2.8. The Secretary shall be responsible for the custody of the University Seal and for its proper use.

2.9. The Secretary shall be responsible for arranging an induction programme for new members of Council, and shall draw the attention of Council members to training activities arranged by Advance HE and other appropriate providers.

2.10. The Secretary shall arrange for the re-imbursement to Council members of the expenses they incur in carrying out Council business, and shall be provided with a budget for the purpose.

3. Working Relationships and Conflict of Interest

3.1. The University Secretary may combine the function of Secretary with a senior administrative or management role in the University. They must exercise care in separating these two functions.

3.2. If the Secretary perceives any conflict of interest between their separate functions, they should report it forthwith to the Council. If the Council believes it has identified a conflict of interest of this nature, the Secretary will be offered an opportunity to respond to any such question.

3.3. The Secretary will be required to form effective working relationships with the Chair of Council and the Vice Chancellor/Chief Executive of the University. The Secretary is required to consult the Vice Chancellor/Chief Executive and keep them fully informed on any matter relating to Council business (other than in relation to the Remuneration Committee’s consideration of the Vice Chancellor/Chief Executive’s emoluments).

3.4. The Secretary is required to advise the Chair in respect to any matters where conflict, potential or real, may occur between the Council and the Vice Chancellor/Chief Executive.

3.5. The Secretary will be required to form effective working relationships with other senior managers in the University in order to facilitate the effective conduct of Council business. The Secretary shall be a member of the University’s Executive.

3.6. The Secretary shall make a full and timely disclosure of their personal interests in the Register.

3.7. The Council will safeguard the Secretary’s ability to carry out their duties.

4. Personal

4.1. The Secretary will have a strong personal commitment to Higher Education and the values, aims and objectives of the University.

4.2. The Secretary will at all times regulate their personal conduct in relation to the Council and the University in accordance with accepted standards of behaviour in public life, embracing selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership, and maintain confidentiality as appropriate.

4.3. The University Secretary will participate in procedures established by the Council for the regular appraisal/review of their performance as Secretary. These procedures will be separate from procedures for the appraisal/review of any other responsibilities the Secretary may hold.

4.4. The Secretary is required to maintain a high standard of personal and professional self development, and will be appointed by the University a member of the Association of Heads of University Administrations.

Was this article helpful?