Self-assurance and Departmental Visits

Departmental financial self-assurance return 2020

The financial self-assurance return 2020 is now closed, many thanks to those departments who submitted their approved returns by the deadline of Wednesday 30 September 2020. 

The Financial Assurance team have contacted departments regarding any outstanding information, if you have not yet submitted your completed, approved return please do this as soon as possible.  

The return is completed in SharePoint and can be accessed via the following button:

Financial self-assurance return 2020 SharePoint  


We encourage departments to spend time reflecting as well as typing and a PDF of the blank questionnaire is available for teams to discuss prior to completing the return on SharePoint.

Financial self-assurance return 2019 blank PDF 


Departmental Financial Self-Assurance Return

The Departmental Financial Self-Assurance Return is an annual exercise consisting of reminders of key elements of the financial processes and controls and prompting departments to think about how they are implemented through a series of questions. The aims of Self-Assurance are:

  • Departments - opportunity to reflect on levels of compliance; how risk is managed; and whether you are confident you can deliver your responsibility to maintain an appropriate system of internal control.
  • Finance Division - share information on good practice; encourage continuous improvement; and understand where more information or support is needed. 
  • Assurance - remind units regularly of the Regulations and processes; prompt units to consider key controls on an annual basis; encourage continuous improvement; and obtain over the operation of some key controls.

The Self-Assurance Return covers the main areas of financial administration. Each section includes a summary of key processes and controls, reminders of changes in year and highlights audit recommendations. Departments are then prompted to answer questions designed to drive attention to the key risk areas within the processes. 

The Self-Assurance exercise runs from August to September each year as part of the year-end activity. Departments should reflect on the previous year, and it is an opportunity to commit to implementing actions in the financial year just starting. The deadline for submission is usually the last working day in September.

The senior administrator responsible for financial administration (usually the head of administration) is asked to coordinate completion of the return for their department, and can involve relevant members of the team in completing the questionnaire. Once the coordinator is content with the return, it is submitted for review and approval by the head of unit. 

Self-Assurance 2019 as well as previous years' returns will be available via SharePoint. Coordinators will be notified when the return opens.  Please note, to maintain security you will only be able to access your department’s return if you are named on it.

If you need assistance accessing the returns please contact Financial Assurance .

Departmental visits

The Financial Assurance team has launched an annual programme of departmental visits primarily taking place from February to June each year. The aims of these visits include:

  • Providing departments with feedback from the Self-Assurance exercise, specifically around the high risk areas identified through Self-Assurance, audit reports and other data analysis.
  • Providing departments with support in implementing processes to manage high risk areas.
  • Identifying good practice within departments and sharing good practice across departments, enabling departments to learn from each other.
  • Offering an opportunity for departments to provide feedback to the Finance Division.



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Contact us

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

      Oxford, OX1 2ET


 : 01865 (6) 16206

 Financial Assurance Team