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Governance toolkit: the essentials

Three key documents

The following three sets of reports, produced annually, provide a useful starting point for an insight into the key issues that are facing the University and how these are being dealt with. 

  1. Annual Reports and Financial Statements (usually published in early December)
    What is it?​ The Annual Reports of the Council and the General Board outline the conduct of their business over the past academic year. The Financial Statements provide an overview of the finances and operations of the University Group (including Cambridge University Press and Assessment), including its sources of funding and consolidated income and expenditure accounts.
    Why are they important? This is an opportunity to review detailed information on the University's financial position and a summary of the work of the Council and the General Board.
    ​Further reading... The British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG) publishes some useful guides to finances in the sector.

  2. Budget Report (usually published in June)
    What is it? Taking account of current and future financial climates, the Report reviews in detail the financial position of the University (as it stood at the end of the last financial year) and makes recommendations for the allocation of funds from the University's central fund 'the Chest' for the next financial year.  It includes breakdowns of staff and student numbers, research income and expenditure patterns, and HEFCE funding.
    Why is it important? This Report provides a snapshot of the University's financial health and planning. 

  3. Board of Scrutiny Annual Report (usually published in October)
    What is it? The Board of Scrutiny examines the Annual Reports of the Council and the General Board, the University Accounts and any other Council Reports issued during the academical year that require resources from the Chest. The Board reports annually to the Regent House on its findings and plays a crucial part in holding the University to account.
    Why is it important? The Board's Report is a critical but constructive analysis of proposals put forward and decisions made by the Council and the General Board.