STFC Finance Committee – Terms of reference

Purpose

STFC Council has established this Finance Committee as an advisory group reporting to Council. It will consider proposals that carry financial exposure and risk and are subject to Council approval, including reviewing large project proposals and scrutinising productivity of the facilities.

The Committee will not act in an executive capacity or be a decision-making body in its own right, nor will it assume responsibility on behalf of Council for financial assurance. The committee will provide advice and guidance to Council, but Council remains responsible as a whole for discharging its oversight responsibilities.

Membership

Membership of the Finance Committee will be as follows:

  • no more than 4 non-executive members of Council, with the option of 1 additional co-opted independent external member (total 5)
     
  • reflect a broad representation of:
    • Core financial expertise (including the Chair)
    • Broad experience of the management of research infrastructure projects
    • Academic/ HEI background

Current Membership

The identity of these members will be published on the STFC web pages.

Council will appoint Members to the Committee on the recommendation of the Council Chair. Members’ terms will run concurrently with their membership of Council. In the case of any additional co-opted independent external member, their term will be for an initial period of 3 years with scope for one extension of up to 3 years.

The Finance Committee will be provided with a secretariat function by the Council Secretariat.

Reporting

The Committee will formally report to Council and be chaired by a non-executive Council member, and it will provide advice to Council in accordance with its terms of reference.

Responsibilities

The Finance Committee will:

  • Provide upfront guidance to the CEO as to the types of financial information and analysis that Council would normally require in order to review/ approve such projects;
     
  • Work with the CEO to ensure early engagement on a project basis as appropriate to ensure that Council’s requirements are considered from the outset, in order to ensure timely decision-making and avoid unnecessary delay or duplication;
     
  • Review formal proposals/business cases to Council in advance of Council approval to ensure that issues are identified and, wherever possible, resolved before Council, or, to ensure guidance is provided so that outstanding issues are presented in an appropriate and timely way in order to facilitate Council discussions and decision-making;
     
  • Have oversight of STFC’s medium/ long term financial planning processes
     
  • Agree an appropriate reporting financial framework to enable Council to provide effective oversight, including
    • Defining the financial and broader outputs to be captured
    • Commitment tracking i.e. capturing the subset of future unfunded commitments (either formal or implied)
    • Efficiency and productivity measures
       
  • Provide advice to Council in respect of Council reports on the same, flagging areas for challenge/ resolution as appropriate.
     
  • Consider other issues and undertake other tasks as required by Council for the proper discharge of its role, including:
    • Specific financial issues which may be novel or contentious
    • Oversight of CSD Change Programme benefits realisation
    • Others as determined on on-going basis in agreement with the STFC Executive Board
       
  • The Committees remit should be across STFC, including:
    • STFC owned/ managed facilities,
    • international infrastructure projects
    • arm’s length bodies
       
  • The Committee’s work may from time to time overlap with that of the STFC Audit Committee. Should that be the case, any potential conflicts or duplication will be resolved by the respective Chairs of the Audit and Finance Committees, advised by the Executive Director, Finance.

Meetings

The Finance Committee will normally meet six times per annum and meetings should be held so as to allow timely consideration of relevant business before the next Council meeting. However, meetings may be cancelled if the Chairman of the Finance Committee considers that there is no significant business to be considered. Meetings may be held by means of telephone conference or in person as required. The Chairman of the Finance Committee is responsible for convening such meetings.

Council, the Chief Executive or the Executive Director, Finance may ask the Finance Committee to convene further meetings to discuss particular issues on which they want the Committee’s advice.

Finance Committee meetings will normally be attended by the Executive Director, Finance. Finance committee may require any other official of the Council to attend to assist it with it discussions. If not otherwise requested by the Chairman in the context of the business to be conducted, the Chief Executive and other Executive Directors may attend Finance Committee meetings at their own discretion.

A quorum shall consist of at least 2 members.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000