Good Governance Declarations
In accord with the Council of University Chairs (CUC) Higher Education Code of Governance, the University applies the Nolan Principles for Standards in Public Life throughout its operations and decision-making processes.
The University’s status as an exempt charity, which confers eligibility for UK charity tax relief, also bring a number of specific responsibilities in relation to good governance. These include requirements with respect to the individuals who can hold senior decision-making roles.
The University maintains a Register of Members’ Interests, whereby members of the Council and Senior Executive Staff are required to place on record their principal external interests.
The higher education regulatory body for England, the Office for Students (OfS), monitors the University’s compliance with the CUC Code and with its charitable body responsibilities as part of the conditions of registration as a higher education provider.
The University takes the above responsibilities very seriously and to support compliance and effective implementation has developed a number of policies with which staff, students (where applicable) and members of committees (whether staff, students or lay) are required to comply. These policies include the following:
Relevant staff and committee members are asked to complete two declarations on an annual basis:
Should any concerns arise in relation to either type of declaration, the Chief Operating Officer will decide whether the matter requires the attention of the Chair of Council who may take advice from the Governance and Nominations Committee before making a decision on whether any further action is necessary.
The information provided in both declarations may be disclosed to the Office for Students and HMRC as part of the University’s statutory reporting responsibilities.
Further notes on each declaration
Notes on the Register of Interests Declaration
A conflict of interest is defined as follows in the University’s Conflict of Interests Policy:
A conflict of interest arises where the commitments and obligations owed by an individual member of staff to the University or to other bodies, for example a funding body, are likely to be compromised, or may appear to be compromised, by:
- that person's personal gain, or gain to immediate family (or a person with whom the person has a close personal relationship), whether financial or otherwise; or
- the commitments and obligations that person owes to another person or body.
There can be situations in which the appearance of conflict of interest is present even when no conflict actually exists. Thus it is important for all staff when evaluating a potential conflict of interest to consider how it might be perceived by others.
The duty to declare a possible conflict applies to the perception of the situation rather than the actual existence of a conflict. However, the duty is not infringed if the situation cannot reasonably be regarded as likely to give rise to a conflict of interest.
Conflicts of interest may be financial or non-financial or both.
Staff and members of key senior committees are required to complete the Register of Interests form on an annual basis, usually in October, which provides a record of any potential conflicts of interest in relation to individuals’ associations with other organisations and/or personal links. The information provided may be disclosed to the Office for Students and HMRC as part of the University’s statutory reporting responsibilities. The Declaration will be retained in the Academic Registrar’s Office and is available for public inspection on request. As part of compliance with charities legislation, any trusteeships held by members of Council with charitable bodies other than the University will be published on the University’s website.
When attending committee or other decision-making meetings, if members believe a specific item may involve a conflict of interest, they should declare it at the beginning of the meeting and be prepared to absent themselves from the discussion of the item concerned, at the discretion of the chair.
Notes on the Fit and Proper Persons Declaration
To maintain its charitable status, the individuals who have general control and management over the running of the University and the application of its assets must provide a fit and proper persons declaration. This is a statutory requirement and compliance with it is monitored by the Office for Students.
The individuals required to complete the Fit and Proper Persons declaration at Loughborough and the format of the declaration used by the University have been developed in accordance with the published guidance provided by HMRC.
What does “fit and proper” mean?
The HMRC definition of a fit and proper person is as follows:
An individual is “a fit and proper person” if they ensure, or are likely to ensure, that charity funds and tax reliefs are used only for charitable purposes.
Relevant individuals are asked to sign a declaration confirming their commitment to act in accordance with this definition and to disclose, if applicable, certain information about their past that may impact on whether they are able to meet the definition. The declaration process is repeated annually, usually in October, to check that the information held remains up to date but individuals are also asked to notify the Head of Governance immediately if any changes occur during the year.