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Financial Limits

Financial Limits approved by Council for committee and officer action
Approved by Council 2006, with subsequent amendments.

The table below lists hierarchies of financial limits in which the higher levels involve either Finance and Resources Committee or Council.
The following additional schedules are available:

  • FinancialLimits%26CtePowers [pdf] (first approved by Council on 29 June 2006) integrating the financial limits information in the table below with the non-financial powers of Council and Finance and Resources Committee. (This document also maps explicitly to the Primary Responsibilities of Council and records the dates of amendment of the Financial Limits chart since 2006.)

In the table below, the specific limit of £500k for the sale, purchase and lease of College land, above which Council permission is required, overrides the other, higher limits set for other categories of transaction. This means that the other limits are for transactions not involving land.

Powers of specified officers/signatories Finance & Resources Committee financial limits and corresponding terms of reference Council Reserved powers relating to financial limits
Variations in Approved Budget 
(ie variations which would involve use of the contingency allocation or an increase in overall deficit)
to authorise variations in the approved Annual Budget up to a level to be agreed from time to time by Council  
For sums below £75K: SMT Current power: variations up £250k may be approved by Finance and Resources Committee  
Borrowing, Loans or Investments To approve borrowing, loans or investments up to a sum to be agreed from time to time by Council To approve borrowing or loans above an agreed value
Borrowing and Loans: approval within the committee system always required

Investments (excluding day-to-day cash management): One authorised signature for items below £10k and two authorised signatures for items above £10k, as per the banking mandate
This sum is currently £3.0m, but for investments there is a lower limit of 1.5m below which officer action is permitted without committee involvement This value is currently £3.0m
Grants To accept grants up to a sum to be agreed from time to time by Council To accept grants above an agreed value

All applications for routine research funding should be approved by the Pro-Warden (Research) after financial appraisal by the Director of Finance. All other applications should be approved by the Director of Finance.

Any proposed grant application or gift where acceptance could raise issues falling within the purview of the Ethical Committee for the Acceptance of Gifts should be referred to the Warden.

  Council will consider serious matters referred to it by the Ethical Committee for the Acceptance of Gifts.
General Provisions for Authorising Expenditure/Purchase Orders To authorise expenditure up to a level to be agreed from time to time by Council, and to report to Council on major items of expenditure approved By virtue of the operation of the Financial Limit on Finance and Resources Committee, Council must approve any expenditure over 3.0m, although this is not a specified Reserved Power
Up to £5k: Authorised departmental signatory
£5k to £40k: Director of Finance/Authorised Finance Department staff
£40k to £500k: Director of Finance or in his/her absence the Registrar & Secretary.
£500k to £1.5m: Director of Finance plus Warden.
In the absence of the Director of Finance the Registrar & Secretary acts instead, and in the absence of the Warden the Senior Pro-Warden.
This sum is currently up to £3.0m for a single item, but see separate limits on officer action for sums below 1.5m  
Contracts
Note that these are the authority limits for checking the scope and wording of a contract, defined by the contract value. The limits for authorisation of expenditure are separate, and are set out under the sections above concerning "Variations in Budget" and "Authorising Expenditure".
To approve contractual commitments up to a value to be approved by Council from time to time To approve contractual commitments over an agreed value and authorise College signatories and use of the College Seal
Up to a contract value of £30K, the authority limits are the same as for expenditure (see "Authorising Expenditure" section above)
Non-building contracts of value £30K to £150k may be authorised by the Director of Finance or in his /her absence the Registrar & Secretary.
Non-building contracts with a value in excess of £150k, other than those relating to routine research grants, must be authorised by the Registrar & Secretary. Those in excess of £500k must be authorised by SMT, with an upper limit of £1.5m.
This value is currently £3.0m for any single item, but see separate limits on officer action for sums below £1.5m This value is currently £3.0m
Sale, Purchase and Lease of College Land To approve the sale, purchase and lease of College land within a framework to be agreed from time to time by Council To approve the sale, purchase and lease of College land over an agreed value and/or an agreed period of time
There is a limit of £500k for the sale, purchase and lease of College land, which overrides the other, higher limits set for other, more generic categories of transaction. This means that the other limits are for transactions not involving land This value is currently £500k (total transaction value); no period of time is currently specified generically  
Building Projects 
(see also Contracts)
Note that these are the authority limits for checking the scope and wording of a contract, defined by the contract value. It is assumed that a specific allocation has already been made in the budget during the preceding year's planning round. If this is not the case (ie where the contracts are small enough to be funded from general recurrent budgets, or where a variation in budget is required, the relevant generic (ie non-building-specific) limits above for both expenditure and contracts apply.
To approve building projects up to a value to be agreed by time to time by Council To approve building projects over an agreed value and monitor their progress
Building contracts up to a value of £500k may be authorised by the Director of Finance or in his/her absence the Registrar & Secretary.
Building contracts with a value in excess of £500k must be authorised by the Registrar & Secretary. and those in excess of £1.0m by SMT as a whole. The upper limit is £1.5m.
This value is currently £3.0m, with a lower limit of 1.5m below which officer action is permitted without committee involvement This value is currently £3.0m

Note: Guidance on legal and contractual matters issued by the Registrar & Secretary must be followed at all times. Also, where the general guidance is insufficient, more tailored legal advice should be sought from the Registrar & Secretary, as appropriate.

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