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Report of the Council on governance (chairmanship of the Audit Committee and external membership of the Council)

The COUNCIL beg leave to report to the University as follows:


1. The Council have considered the remarks made at the Discussion held on 11 March 2003 (Reporter, p. 743).

2. Several speakers in the Discussion supported the introduction of external members of the Council, one of whom would chair the Audit Committee. In the light of this support, the Council are proposing in this Report the appointment of an external Chairman of the Audit Committee, who would serve on the Council, and one additional external member of the Council. At present, they do not intend to proceed further with other proposals which did not command the support of the Regent House.

3. Among the other points made in the course of the Discussion was that the recent voting on governance had been unduly complex. Complexity arises in particular where there are a number of alternatives, whether in the original Grace or through amendments. This is exacerbated when the alternatives must be expressed as draft Statutes or Ordinances. The Council intend to report further to the Regent House about arrangements for ballots which would seek to address these problems.

4. It was also suggested by the Board of Scrutiny and others that a Syndicate, with substantial external membership, should be appointed to consider aspects of governance of the University. The Council propose to consider this matter when Dr Richard is in office as Vice-Chancellor.

Membership of the Council

5. In their Report dated 17 June 2002 (Reporter, 2001-02, p. 945) the Council proposed, among other things, the appointment of three members of the University Council, one of whom would be Chairman of the Audit Committee and another Chairman of the Council itself. This proposal was among a larger group of proposals in a Grace which was rejected by the Regent House in a ballot, the results of which were announced on 31 January 2003. In the Discussion about the governance of the University on 11 March 2003, several remarks were made recognizing the value of external members of the Council. The Council therefore wish to make a simple stand-alone proposal for the appointment of two external members of the Council. A Statute to that effect is proposed in this Report, together with the necessary amendments of Ordinance.

6. The Council emphasize that the proposal in this Report does not include the appointment of a third external member of the Council to chair the Council, and that the Vice-Chancellor will therefore remain in the chair, subject to the Chancellor's rights.

7. The proposed Statute provides for the arrangements for nomination to be prescribed by Ordinance. Subject to consideration of any remarks made in the Discussion of this Report the Council expect to propose an Ordinance which will provide for public advertisement of vacancies, for consideration of the resulting names by a Nominating Committee, and for the approval of the recommended names by Grace. One of the external members would be designated by the Council as Chairman of the Audit Committee.

8. The Council suggest that the Nominating Committee for external members should be constituted along the following lines, and would particularly welcome comments in the Discussion, after which they will propose an Ordinance (subject to approval of the Statute):

(i) The Chancellor, failing whom the High Steward, failing whom the Deputy High Steward, failing whom a deputy appointed by the Chancellor, in the Chair;
(ii) The Vice-Chancellor;
(iii) Two members of the Council in classes (a), (b), or (c);
(iv) Four other persons appointed from among the members of the Nomination Board for the offices of Chancellor and High Steward,1 not being members of the Council and at least two of whom shall not be members of the Regent House.

The Registrary would act as Secretary of the Committee.

9. The present Report does not make provision for the external members of the Council to become members of the Regent House as previously proposed, although the Council expect to provide for them to be able to speak in Discussions. The Report makes provision for termination of an external member's tenure by Grace on the recommendation of the Council.

10. The Council therefore recommend:

I. That subject to the approval of Her Majesty in Council, the Statutes of the University be amended as follows, and that this amendment be submitted under the Common Seal of the University to Her Majesty in Council for approval, with effect from 1 April 2004, or such later date as shall be approved by Grace:

Statute A


Chapter IV


Section 2.

By adding a new class (e) so as to read:

(e) two persons appointed by Grace of the Regent House who at the time of appointment are not qualified to be members of the Regent House, nor are employees of the University or a College, one of whom shall be designated by the Council to chair the Audit Committee of the Council.

By adding at the end of section 2 the following sentence:

Members in class (e) shall be appointed by Grace of the Regent House on the nomination of the Council; the arrangements for nomination shall be prescribed by Ordinance.

Section 4.

By adding a new subsection (c) so as to read:

(c) Members of the Council in class (e) shall be appointed to serve for four years from 1 January following their appointment.

Section 5.

By adding at the end of subsection (a) the following sentence:

The tenure of a member in class (e) may be terminated by Grace on the recommendation of the Council.

II. That, subject to the approval of Recommendation I, the regulations for the Audit Committee (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 914) be amended, with effect from the date that the amended Statute comes into effect, as follows:

Regulation 1.

By amending class (a) to read:

(a) a member of the Council in class (e) appointed by the Council to serve as Chairman of the Committee.

1 The Nomination Board consists of the members of the Council and sixteen members of the Senate. Four members of the Senate are appointed each year by Grace of the Senate on the nomination of the Council; at least one of the four members is required to be not resident in the University and at least one is to be under the age of thirty-five (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 111).

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Cambridge University Reporter, Wednesday 14 May 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.