Section 6: Assets and Liabilities

6.01 Asset Protection
6.02 Stock
6.03 Intellectual Property
6.04 Borrowing
6.05 Hire Purchases and Leases
6.06 Insurance and Risk Management

6.01 Asset Protection
Senior Management Group members are responsible for the custody and security of the buildings, stock, stores, furniture, cash, etc under their control. They should consult the Security Officer in any case where security is thought to be defective or where it is considered that special security arrangements may be needed.

Assets owned by the University shall, so far as is practical, be effectively marked to identify them as University’s property. For good practice, an inventory of such assets including details as appropriate, on description, location, date of purchase, price paid or estimated value, etc. should be maintained by College / University Service management. An annual asset register check should be carried out by a nominated individual within each College / University Service.

Assets owned or leased by the University shall not be subject to personal use without proper authorisation.

Disposal of land and buildings must only take place with the authorisation of University Court (see Section 5.11).

The University’s detailed accounting policies on capitalisation of assets can be found within the annual financial statement which is available from the Finance website. In general, only items with a value in excess of £25,000 will be capitalised within the University’s financial system.

6.02 Stock
Senior Management Group members are responsible for establishing adequate arrangements for the custody and control of stocks and stores within their areas of responsibility. The accounting systems used for stores must have the approval of the Director of Finance.

Senior Management Group members are responsible for ensuring that regular inspections and stock checks are carried out. Stocks and stores of a hazardous nature should be subject to appropriate security checks and methods of storage have been approved by the Safety and Environmental Protection Services office.
Staff responsible for stock locations must ensure that:

  •  Adequate stock-taking procedures are in place as required within the University’s year-end procedures;
  • Stock is ordered only in appropriate quantities of suitable quality at the best terms available, after appropriate requisition and approval (See Section 5.01 – 5.06);
  • Stock is adequately protected against loss, misuse or obsolescence;
  • Procedures are in place to account for all stock movements and the correct allocation to the appropriate user;
  • Stockholdings are regularly reviewed for obsolete stock and in such cases obsolete stock should be disposed of at an appropriate time so as to obtain the best value (normally expected to be market value) possible for the University;
  • Best value is obtained for the sale of any goods to external bodies or to staff;
  • Stocks are valued during the year and the stock valuation (as reported to the Finance Office) should be at the lower of cost or net realisable value.

6.03 Intellectual Property
Certain activities undertaken within the University including may give rise to ideas, designs and inventions, which may be patentable. These are collectively known as intellectual property.

Through its position as employer, University Court is the legal owner of intellectual property developed by its members of staff. Any proposal involving the commercial exploitation of intellectual property requires the approval of University Court. University Court has delegated this authority to the Secretary of Court, who is advised in such matters by Research and Enterprise.
In determining the potential for commercially exploiting intellectual property and the means by which this may be achieved, Research and Enterprise will have regard to:

  • The extent to which the intellectual property may be legally protected, i.e. by patent, copyright, trade mark, design right or registered design.;
  • The size of the potential market for such intellectual property, and the potential commercial return from exploitation;
  • The ability of the University, and of the members of staff concerned, to support further technical development of the intellectual property;
  • The existence or prospect of commercial support for development and exploitation. The detailed policy guidelines on intellectual property can be obtained from the Research and Enterprise website.

6.04 Borrowing
The University Court alone has the power to approve the borrowing of funds from banks and other external sources of funds.

The Director of Finance will be responsible, before any agreement is entered into to borrow funds, for advising the University Court on the effect such borrowing, payment of interest thereon, and the impact repayments will have on the cash flow, income and expenditure account and balance sheet of the University.

The Director of Finance will design and maintain a suitable system to record all such borrowings: in particular they will ensure that the University Court at no time breaches any covenants made with lenders in respect of such borrowings.

6.05 Hire Purchases and Leases
All leases and hire purchase contracts for equipment or other equivalent assets must be referred to the Director of Finance for approval.

6.06 Insurance and Risk Management
The University Insurance & Risk Manager is responsible for the University’s insurance arrangements, including the provision of advice on the types of cover available. Contact details and the policies can be found on the Finance Office website.

As part of the overall risk management strategy, all risks will have been considered and those most effectively dealt with by insurance cover will have been identified. This is likely to include important potential liabilities and provide sufficient cover to meet any potential risk to assets. This portfolio of insurances will be considered and approved by the Finance Committee on an annual basis.

The University Insurance & Risk Manager is responsible for:

  • Effecting insurance cover as determined by the Finance Committee;
  • Obtaining quotes, negotiating claims and maintaining the necessary records;
  • Keeping a register of all insurances effected by the University and the property and risks covered;
  • Dealing with the University’s insurers and advisers about specific insurance problems.

All staff members should ensure that a risk assessment is carried out and documented when looking to reach a contractual agreement with an external body. The risk assessment should identify any actions, events or sets of circumstances that could arise as a result of the contract, which could adversely impact on the University’s ability to achieve its objectives. The risk assessment should also identify how the risks can be i) avoided, ii) reduced to an acceptable level, or iii) managed and contained.  In particular all staff members  must ensure that any agreements negotiated with external bodies cover any legal liabilities to which the University may be exposed. The Secretary of Court’s advice should be sought to ensure that this is the case.

All staff members must give prompt notification to the University Insurance & Risk Manager of any potential new risks or activity, and additional property and equipment that may require insurance and of any alterations affecting existing risks.

All staff members must advise the University Insurance & Risk Manager immediately of any event that may give rise to an insurance claim (either by or against the University). The University Insurance & Risk Manager will notify the University’s insurers and, if appropriate, prepare a claim in conjunction with the Head of School, Research Institute or Administrative Service.