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Schedule of Delegated Financial Authority

Statue of John Napier 

The Court approved the undernoted Schedule at its meeting held on 22nd October 2012.  Amendments to the Schedule reflecting the new Court sub-committee structure agreed following the 2013/14 Governance Review were made by Governance Services under authority delegated from the Court on 23rd June 2014.


1. Preamble

1. The University Court is the body responsible for ensuring the proper conduct of the University’s affairs. By virtue of the Principal’s authority and responsibilities as the Chief Accounting Officer of the University, the Court recognises the need to empower the Principal to discharge her or his duty to ensure the orderly conduct of the business of the University in a timely and efficient manner. Subject to certain conditions and reservations set out below, the Court delegates full authority to the Principal to act on its behalf in all matters affecting the well-being of the University. All further delegation to members of staff derives from the Principal.


2. General principles and arrangements

1. This Schedule lists those people or bodies who are authorised to commit the University to a contractual or quasi-contractual relationship (i.e. normally with an external body or person, such as the award of capital contracts or the offer of a place to an individual student).


2. Subject to any restrictions imposed by the Court, those to whom authority is delegated can delegate it further if they so wish and are responsible for approving formal schemes of sub-delegation as appropriate. Such delegation does not diminish the personal responsibility to the Court of the office holder to whom that body has made the initial delegation.


3. All authorities are subject to policies approved by or on behalf of the Court and where relevant to budget availability, and must be exercised in accordance with relevant current procedures and applicable statutory requirements.


4. The Schedule covers the authority to make a commitment with resource implications whereas operational transactions, which give effect to such decisions are covered by operating procedures.


5. In respect of new business contracts, full delegation is granted on the basis that Court expects that in all cases:

a) the business case will be properly assessed before any contractual commitment is entered into, including a full assessment of the project risks, both reputational and financial.

b) the full costs of the project will be identified, including any matched funding costs, any additional overhead cost, including estates costs.

c) where a new business proposal would commit the university to additional costs, the contract will not be signed until a decision has been made about where these additional costs are to be funded from.

d) all contracts will normally be expected to make an appropriate contribution to central university overheads in accordance with University policy and the University finance strategy, although the Principal has authority to choose to cross subsidise projects within the overall budgetary limits agreed annually by the Court.

e) a legal opinion must be sought on all non standard contracts


3. Reserved areas of businessEdinburgh Napier University Coat of Arms

1. There are areas of business that the Court reserves to itself for decision, whether directly or through powers delegated to its Committees as set out from time to time in the remits for those Committees or through powers delegated to specific officers as determined by the Court from time to time. These at present are:

a) The appointment and terms of reference of Court Committees.

b) The appointment or removal of members of Court.

c) The appointment of Court representatives on other bodies.

d) The appointment of senior officers, namely the Principal and Vice Chancellor, and, after consultation with the Principal and Vice Chancellor, the Secretary and such Vice-Principals and Assistant Principals as the Court may consider necessary for the discharge of its functions.

e) The remuneration of the Principal, University Secretary, Vice-Principals and Assistant Principals.

f) Severance terms for the Principal.

g) The appointment of the External Auditor.

h) The University’s Strategic Plan and Budget.

i) The promulgation of the Standing Orders.

j) Acquisition and disposal of property, and commitments to other major projects, where the value of the transaction, or of a group of linked transactions of which it is part, exceeds £500,000.

k) Statement of Accounts, accounting policies, and the Annual Report.

l) Indemnities for members of Court.

m) This schedule of reserved matters.


2. The Court will be informed about major litigation.

4. Delegation to the Principal

1. Subject to the reserved areas (set out in paragraph 3), the Court delegates full authority to the Principal to act on its behalf in all matters affecting the well-being and effective working of the University, subject to the following principles:

a) The Principal will act within the terms of the prescribed conditions of her or his appointment.

b) The Principal’s actions will be:

i. consistent with the University’s budgets approved by the Court

ii. consistent with the University’s strategic plans and objectives

iii. in conformity with relevant legislation and externally prescribed conditions, including the Principal’s responsibilities as the designated accounting officer under the Scottish Funding Council Financial Memorandum.

c) The Principal’s actions will be consistent with the 9 principles of public life identified in the report on Standards in Public Life (the Nolan Report) as amended.

d) The Principal will at all times act in accordance with the best interests of the University, its staff and students, and will be mindful of the importance of preserving and enhancing the University’s reputation.

e) The Principal will report to the Court all significant decisions thus taken, and will be accountable to the Court for such decisions.

f) In cases of doubt, for example in regard to novel or potentially contentious matters, the Principal will consult with the Chair of the Court, whom failing an external member of the Court nominated for the purpose by the Chair of Court.

g) In her or his absence, the Principal may delegate authority to an appropriate senior officer, acting on her or his behalf.


5. Budget authority framework

1. Each year the Court will approve the annual budget including a schedule of planned capital expenditure and receipts. Individual projects with a value of greater than £500,000 will be separately identified and require specific approval of the Finance and Property Committee.  Individual capital items over £10,000 will be identified in the annual faculty or department plan.


2. All proposed transactions involving heritable property with a cost or a net present value greater than £500,000 (including acquiring, altering, extending, selling, conveying, exchange/granting security over or leasing) should be considered and approved by the Finance and Property Committee, which will have final delegated authority to approve all such transactions on behalf of Court.


3. In approving the annual budget the Court or its delegated Committee will grant full delegated authority to the Principal. Where the proposed commitments have not yet been subject to a full investment appraisal including consideration of a costed business case, the Court may be asked for authority in principle (subject to appropriate business plans being prepared and approved by the Principal during the year). It will be assumed the business case has been reviewed and agreed by the Principal unless otherwise disclosed.


4. Within the approved budget, the Principal has delegated authority to vire between budget headings and between capital and revenue.


5. The Court may, via Finance and Property Committee, additionally delegate to the Principal authority to contractually commit the University beyond the agreed budget in a given year. The extent of this further discretionary delegation will vary and shall be informed by the advice of the Director of Finance depending on the prevailing financial position of the University at the time. Under such circumstances, normal University tendering procedures would be followed, no commitment being made without investment appraisal having been undertaken and the Director of Finance's advice having been sought and where the transaction is one which would otherwise under this schedule have required Court approval, this will still be required.


6. Contractual or legal requirements

1. All deeds and other documents relating to heritable property transactions in the name of the Court shall be valid only if they are subscribed by one member of the Court and the Secretary and sealed with the Common Seal of the University, or by one member of the Court and the Secretary and a witness. The Secretary will require to be satisfied that the commitment has been agreed by a person or body authorised to do so in the Schedule of Delegation, and shall be responsible for the safe custody of all deeds and other documents relating to heritable property transactions.


2. If there is a legal requirement, or if it is specifically required by the other party to the contract, for documents other than those which relate to heritable property transactions to be formally executed in the name of the Court, these shall be valid only if they are subscribed by one member of the Court and the Secretary and a witness. The Secretary will require to be satisfied that the commitment has been agreed by a person or body authorised to do so in the Schedule of Delegation, and that arrangements are in place for the safe custody of all such documents.


3. Where there is no requirement for a contract or agreement to be formally executed in the name of the Court, it may be signed by the person to whom authority to make the commitment has been delegated in the Schedule of Delegation, and may be delegated further where this is permitted by the Schedule of Delegation. The person to whom authority to make the commitment has been delegated in the Schedule of Delegation shall be responsible for ensuring that arrangements are in place for their safe custody of all such contracts and agreements.

7. Specific delegated financial authority


1. Heritable property


a) Transactions up to £500,000 

Principal with agreement of the Director of Finance following consultation with the Director of Property & Facilities and subject to an appropriate business case

b) Transactions or a group of linked transactions over £500,000

Finance & Property Committee


2. Other expenditure 


a) <£20,000

Level 3 budget holders

b) <£100,000

Level 2 budget holders

c) <£500,000

Principal with agreement of the Director of Finance and subject to an appropriate business case

d) £500,000 or more 

Finance & Property Committee 


3. Financial Transactions, Borrowing, Lending and Investment


a) Treasury Management, within agreed borrowing consent limits

Principal, who will delegate full authority to the Director of Finance

b) Secured or Unsecured Loans to Third Parties

Secured or Unsecured Loans to Third Parties

Finance & Property Committee

c) Investments and dis-investments in Subsidiaries, Non-Subsidiaries, Joint Ventures and Spin-Out Companies

Finance & Property Committee, on the recommendation of the Principal

Any borrowings above existing Scottish Funding Council approved levels must be approved by SFC in advance. All requests to increase SFC borrowing levels must be approved in advance by Finance and Commercialisation Committee on behalf of Court. 


4. New Business Contracts



a) All new business contracts (including commercial research, consultancy contracts, grants, collaborative agreements, agreements to provide training to other agencies, and other funding bids and covering renewal, extensions of existing arrangements where a new legal obligation is being entered into)

Principal, on the advice of the relevant Level 2 budget holder, who may delegate as seen fit, from time to time


5. Endowments (excluding funds donated to Development Trust)


a) Release to Fund Managers for investment

Director of Finance

b) Release of income to beneficiary as a budget for specified purposes

Director of Finance



Budget Holders

Level 1 

The Principal to whom all direct reports are accountable 

Level 2

Vice Principal, University Secretary and Director of Finance

Level 3

Deans, Directors of Service and Assistant Principals

Level 4

Assistant Directors, Institute Directors and Heads of Service

Delegation below this level is subject to the express agreement of the Director of Finance