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Legal Framework

Stranmillis University College (the College) was established in 1922 under the Ministries of Northern Ireland Act 1921.  The College receives funding from the Department for Employment and Learning (now part of the Department for the Economy) under Article 66(2) of the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986.  As a result of the approval by Parliament of the Colleges of Education (NI) Order 2005, the College became a legally incorporated Higher Education Institution on 1 October 2005 and is integrated academically with Queen’s University Belfast through an Agreement dated May 2002.

A Management Statement and Financial Memorandum (MS/FM) has been drawn up by the Department. The MS/FM sets out the broad framework within which the College will operate, in particular:

  • the College’s overall aims, objectives and targets in support of the Department’s wider strategic aims and the outcomes and targets contained in the Programme for Government (PfG) targets; 
  • the rules and guidelines relevant to the exercise of the College’s functions, duties and powers; 
  • the conditions under which any public funds are paid to the College; and 
  • how the College is to be held to account for its performance.

The‌ Articles of Government and ‌ Instrument of Government provide the framework for Governance within the University College.

Governance Arrangements

Governing Body

The Governing Body is appointed by the Minister for  the EconomyAs set out in its Operating Framework , the Governing Body meets at least 4 times a year.  Rules and procedures for the conduct of meetings are set out in Standing Orders. With effect from September 2014, the Agenda and Minutes of Governing Body meetings (excluding Reserved Business) are published on the College website. 

The Governing Body comprises lay members, a student and two staff representatives. The Principal is also a member. The roles of Chair and Vice-Chair of the Governing Body are separated from the role of the University College’s Chief Executive, the Principal.  

The Governing Body subscribes to the principles of public life and has adopted a ‌Code of Conduct for its members.

Governing Body Committees

As detailed in its Operating Framework, four Committees have been established by the Governing Body to support it with its responsibilities and each Committee has its own Terms of Reference:

An Education Committee
HR and Remuneration Committee
Finance and General Purposes Committee
An Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

All Committees provide a report to the Governing Body after each meeting.  A ‌Forward Schedule of Meetings of the Governing Body and its Committees is published.  Meetings are not open to the Public.

Register of Interests

All members of the Governing Body are required to complete a ‌Register of Interests and to disclose any interests as they arise.  The Register is formally reviewed on an annual basis.


Members of the Governing Body do not receive any form of remuneration for their work with the Body but may claim reasonable expenses for their attendance at meetings and other events organised by the College.  Details of all Expenses Claimed will be published annually.

How the University College is Organised and Managed

The Principal is the Chief Executive of the University College and is supported by 4 Directors as set out in the attached ‌Academic Structure chart. The Corporate Services Structure chart is also included.

The Principal’s role as Accounting Officer is set out in the Governing Body’s Code of Conduct.


Operational and Academic Governance Committees

The Principal as Chief Executive has established a number of operational and academic governance Committees to support good governance in the University College:


  • A Corporate Planning Team, which assists the Principal as Chief Executive in developing the core corporate services and associated Business Plan to support the delivery of the University College’s Mission and Vision as articulated in the Corporate Plan which has been approved by the Governing Body;
  • A Senior Leadership Committee which is responsible for the development of the Corporate Plan which is subject to approval by the Governing Body.  This Committee is also responsible for the development, implementation and reviewing of approved strategies to support the delivery of the Corporate Plan, including financial and resource planning;
  • An Academic Leadership Committee to assist the Senior Leadership Committee in the planning and development of a sustainable academic portfolio to support the delivery of the College’s Mission and Vision as articulated in the Corporate Plan.  This Committee also considers recommendations for approval for new programmes and new partners and the suspension or discontinuation of existing programmes and partners. The Committee identifies the likely resource requirements (including potential requirements for IT, library services, time-tabling, student support, outreach and admissions) of new programmes and partnerships and promotes dialogue between academic and professional services to develop viable, market-informed programmes that are aligned with the University College’s strategic plans;
  • A Teaching & Learning Committee which acts as a proactive and strategic body for the monitoring and enhancing of the quality and standards of learning, teaching, assessment and curricula of the University College.  Its primary role is to ensure that quality assurance procedures are implemented and taking responsibility for promoting quality enhancement across the University College.

These structures are currently subject to review.

The Principal provides regular reports to the Governing Body and its Committees on performance of the College, covering the full range of its activities, including regular reports on academic performance, Financial, Human Resources, Estates management and Risk management and progress reports on key projects.