1. Introduction

1.1 Who is this guide for?

This guide is intended primarily for the secretaries of formal committees at the University. However, committee chairs and members and those involved with committees operating at School/service level may also find some of the information useful.

1.2 The role of the Committee

Universities are highly complex organisations with both diverse missions and diverse stakeholders. Despite changes to the funding regime, most receive substantial sums in public funds, either directly or indirectly through the loans taken out by undergraduate students. Whilst many position themselves as global institutions, they also recognise their responsibilities to their local communities and of course to their students and staff. The environment in which universities operate is also changing rapidly. Making the right decisions, and being seen to have rigorous processes for decision-making, are critical in this challenging context.

Committees are a critical part of the governance structure and decision-making processes of the University. Committee members are often drawn from across the University and in this sense, committees make a key contribution to collegiality at Loughborough and are essential for the effective handling of much University business. Discussing issues and making decisions through committees ensures that the University is operating transparently and is accountable for its activities. Lay members of Committees provide external challenge and expertise in specific areas of business and, as many are also members of Council, they contribute to reassuring Council about the effective operation of the University.

However, the role of Committees should not be confused with the role of staff with management responsibilities within the institution. Line managers and senior staff are responsible for the day to day running of the University, delivery of its key activities and the implementation of its policies and procedures. Relevant committees play a key role in determining and implementing overall strategy and consider decisions on major projects and initiatives. They will also be involved when changes are being considered to the University’s policies and some operational procedures, including changes to the formal governance framework set out in the Charter, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations.

In appropriate circumstances, to support speedy handling of business, certain Committee powers have been delegated to individual officers.