Managing Financial Administration

The University has in place a framework of Financial Regulations, processes and policies, underpinning financial administration and enabling it to maintain effective internal control, produce accurate annual financial statements, and manage the risks of error and fraud. All members of the University have a responsibility for making themselves aware of, and complying with, the Financial Regulations and processes.

Departments, usually under the oversight of the head of administration, have two key responsibilities:

  1. Managing financial administration in their departments in line with the Financial Regulations and processes (see below for details); and
  2. Ensuring that staff within their units are aware of key policies and regulations.

Good practice in sharing information:

  • Inductions - discuss Regulations, policies and processes in inductions. Ideally also ask the new starter to sign a checklist to confirm understanding of their obligations
  • Departmental handbooks - include details of key points and/or links in departmental handbooks or equivalent (e.g. intranet sites) 
  • Annual reminders - circulate annual reminders of the key policies (heads of administration receive an annual reminder with template text to complete this)
  • Job descriptions - include reference to Regulations, polices and processes in job descriptions where relevant
  • Training - encourage staff to undertake relevant training (e.g. link to bribery reading)
  • Departmental meetings - central teams may be invited to departmental meetings to provide further information.

If you have any questions about the Financial Regulations or are unsure how to interpret or apply them to your particular circumstances, please contact Financial Assurance. 

 

Regulations, processes and policies

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The Financial Regulations set out how key responsibilities are devolved through the University while the financial processes set out the key procedures and control arrangements for undertaking financial activity. 

The aims of the Financial Regulations are to:

  • Ensure the proper use of University financial resources, satisfying the University's requirements for accountability, internal control, and the management of financial risk;
  • Fulfil any legal or financial obligations established by HM Revenue & Customs, the Office for Students (OfS), and other government agencies; and
  • Form part of a management framework, designed to ensure that resources are being effectively applied and support the implementation of the University's Strategic Plan.

FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

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Conflicts of interest are bound to arise from time to time. The policy aims to facilitate activity taking place, while ensuring that any conflicts of interest are adequately managed.

All members of the University are responsible for recognising situations in which they have, or could be seen to have, a conflict of interest. They are required to declare that conflict and to take appropriate, agreed actions to manage that conflict.

This leaflet summarises what to consider regarding conflicts of interest and includes some examples of potential conflicts. For printed copies please contact coisec@admin.ox.ac.uk

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Bribery is the offering, promising, giving, requesting, or accepting of a financial or other advantage with the intention to induce or reward improper performance.

Staff are expected to act at all times in a manner that is fair, impartial, and without favouritism or bias. No member of the University should seek or accept a financial or other advantage for themselves or the University by bribery. Any suspicion of bribery should be reported.

All staff are encouraged to review Bribery: essential reading and the case studies.

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Fraud is a dishonest act or omission that is made with the intent of making a gain or causing a loss (or the risk of a loss).

Staff are expected to act at all times in a manner that is fair, honest and open. In addition, all staff must follow the Information Security Policy and other relevant policies to reduce the risk of fraud from unauthorised access to systems and data. Any suspicion of fraud should be reported.

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Gifts and hospitality are defined as the provision of property, consumables, services, entertainment or money for which no reasonable fee is paid in return by the recipient.

Staff should be aware that gifts may only be given or received if: the purpose is consistent with the purpose of the University; it is appropriate and the value is reasonable and proportionate to the circumstances; and they are managed in line with legislation and University policies. This includes reporting via a Gifts and Hospitality Register.

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This includes the policies, processes and activities employed in the management of risk, central to which is the University’s risk management policy and the use of tailored risk register and risk management reports.  The policy sets out the University’s objectives and strategy for risk management, and the arrangements it has adopted to enable it to manage its risks. 

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The University places great importance on the integrity of its operations, and has in place a number of policies and procedures to address problems that may arise for its employees and students, including those relating to grievance, harassment, discipline and individual allegations of fraud.

Where there are genuine concerns about possible malpractices or improprieties that are not adequately covered by other University policies or procedures, staff are encouraged to make a public interest disclosure.

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Subject to approval and appropriate record-keeping, academic and academic-related employees (with the exception of Associate Professors who have colleges as their main employer) are permitted to hold outside appointments e.g. executive and non-executive directorships, directorships in external organisations, spin-out companies, University subsidiaries and consultancies. The total commitment to such work, without any deduction from salary, must not exceed thirty days in any academic year.

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Information security affects both information held electronically and not. Departments are responsible for ensuring that there are adequate and effective information security controls are in place.

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Sets out regulations for making use of University IT and network facilities. 

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Tax evasion, and the deliberate and dishonest facilitation of the commission of tax evasion by another person, are criminal offences.  In September 2017, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) came into force, creating two new criminal offences for companies and other bodies corporate (which includes the University) of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion in the UK and overseas.

The offences place strict liability on relevant bodies for failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion.  No criminal intent, knowledge or condoning by senior management is required.  The only defence is that a relevant body has in place reasonable procedures designed to prevent associated persons from facilitating tax evasion.

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Contact us


 : Finance Division
      University of Oxford
      23-38 Hythe Bridge Street

      Oxford, OX1 2ET

 : financial.assurance@admin.ox.ac.uk

 : 01865 (6) 16206

 Financial Assurance Team 

 
 
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