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Statement of Primary Responsibilities



The Scottish Code of Good HE Governance (2013) states that “the governing body shall adopt a Statement of Primary Responsibilities” (SPR) and proposes that this should be one of the key documents in relation to which the effectiveness of the Court should be measured. The SPR is subsidiary to the Napier University (Scotland) Order of Council 1993, which is the Statutory Instrument that determines the functions and powers of the Court, and is complementary to the statement of Reserved Areas of Business that is referred to in item 5 of the SPR, and included in the Court Handbook. In the event of any uncertainty in the interpretation of these documents, the Order in Council will have precedence over the SPR, which will in turn have precedence over the schedule of reserved areas of business.


It is expected that the responsibilities itemised in the SPR shall be discharged as outlined below.  The locus of primary responsibility denotes a responsibility either for advising Court or, where such powers have formally been delegated, for taking action on behalf of the Court.


Primary Responsibilities of the University Court
Locus of Primary Responsibility
Aims and targets of the University
1. To approve the mission and strategic vision of the institution, long-term academic and business plans and key performance indicators, and to ensure that these meet the interests of stakeholders 
Court as a whole
2. To promote the good name and values of the institution. 
Court as a whole
Approval of delegated authority
3. To delegate authority to the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, as chief executive, for the management of the institution in accordance with the constitution, and to establish and keep under regular review the policies, procedures and limits within which such management functions are undertaken by approving a schedule of delegated authority. 
Audit & Risk Committee 
4. To delegate the powers set out in Part C of Schedule 1 of the 1993 Order relating to the academic work of the University (including ensuring the quality of institutional educational provision) to the Academic Board, as required by the Order.
Academic Board
The business of the Court
5. To conduct its business in accordance with best practice in higher education corporate governance and with the principles of public life drawn up by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. 
The Chair of Court and Secretary 
6. To ensure that the institution’s constitution is followed, that appropriate advice is available to enable this to happen, and that the areas of business that the Court reserves to itself for decision are clearly specified and periodically reviewed. 
The Secretary advises Court* 
Oversight of systems and processes
7. To ensure that systems of control and accountability, including financial and operational controls and risk assessment and procedures for handling internal grievances, “whistleblowing” complaints and for managing conflicts of interest are established and monitored.
Control and Accountability: Audit & Risk Committee

Grievances Policy:  Court as a whole

“Whistleblowing” complaints:  Secretary informs Principal and Chair of Court in line with Public Interest Disclosure Policy

Conflicts of interest: Standing Orders
8. To ensure that processes are in place to monitor and evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the institution against agreed plans and approved key performance indicators, which should be, where possible and appropriate, benchmarked against other comparable institutions.
The Principal 
9. To ensure adherence to the funding requirements specified by the Scottish Funding Council in its Financial Memorandum and other funding documents.
The Principal (as designated accounting officer under the terms of the SFC Financial Memorandum.
10. To establish processes to monitor and evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the governing body itself. 
Court Establishes Ad hoc Review Groups 
11. To be the institution’s legal authority and, as such, to ensure that systems are in place for meeting all the institution’s legal obligations, including those arising from contracts and other legal commitments made in the institution’s name.
The Secretary Advises Court 
Appointments and employment
12. To appoint and if necessary dismiss the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and to put in place suitable arrangements for monitoring his/her performance which shall include consultation with all members of the Court
Nominations Committee and Remuneration Committee*
13. To appoint and if necessary dismiss a Secretary to the governing body and to ensure that, if the person appointed has managerial responsibilities in the institution, there is an appropriate separation in the lines of accountability.
Chair of Court and Nominations
14. After consultation with the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, to appoint and if necessary dismiss such Vice-Principals and Assistant Principals as the Court may consider necessary for the discharge of its functions.
Nominations Committee* 
15. To be the employing authority for all staff in the institution and to be responsible for establishing a human resources strategy. 
Court as a whole
Finances and assets
16. To be the principal financial and business authority of the institution, to ensure that proper books of account are kept, to approve the annual plan, budget and financial statements, and to have overall responsibility for the university’s assets, property and estate. 
Finance & Property Committee*# 
Audit & Risk Committee 
17. To act as trustee or be represented on boards of trustees for any property, legacy, endowment, bequest or gift in support of the work and welfare of the institution.
The Chair advises Court
 Welfare of students
18. To ensure that provision is made for the general welfare of students, in consultation with the academic board. 
Academic Board 


* subject to the schedule of reserved business

# The Principal is the University’s Accounting Officer


Approved by University Court

16 December 2013


Amendments to the Statement of Primary Responsibilities 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 23 June 2014