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Ethics Committee

Terms of reference

The specific functions of the Committee in delivering its remit and achieving its outcomes are:

i. to consider on behalf of Council, the interpretation and implications of external statutory, regulatory
requirements or policy guidance relating to ethical or social responsibility matters for the University, and seek
assurance on how effectively they are implemented and understood in the University;

ii. to advance, with the steer of University Executive Board (UEB), the development of the University’s Ethics
Framework and periodically review its effectiveness, seeking assurance from a range of bodies and groups;

iii. to approve policies in the scope of the Ethics Framework. These include matters relating to institutional and
disclosure and conflicts of interest; the giving and receipt of gifts and hospitality; donations and fundraising;
anti-bribery and anti-corruption measures; protection against modern slavery and human trafficking,
responsible procurement, investment and partnering or associating with individuals and organisations;
environmental and related sustainability and any other social responsibility matters relevant to its remit;

iv. to review and make final judgments on cases, circumstances and activities which have significant or novel
and/or wider-ranging ethical considerations and which fall within any of the policy areas covered in iii above;

v. to consider academic-centred or focussed risk or consideration referred to the Committee which are unable to
be resolved or mitigated solely through Academic Ethics and Compliance Committee (AECC) of Senate, such as
considerations in relation to sources of funding for research, teaching or other activities;

vi. to consider, or commission consideration of, sensitive, novel or matters of ethico-legal judgment and
interpretation on behalf of Council, including complex judgments in respect of freedom of speech and
academic freedom which Council has a legal responsibility to uphold, and any other matter meriting referral
from Academic Ethics and Compliance Committee or other body or officer; oversee the development of a due diligence framework to enable corporate and institutional ethics matters
to be consistently, fairly and proportionately assessed, and receive assurance on the effectiveness of its

viii. to commission internal or external investigations, due diligence or other audit-related activities to provide
assurance on specific cases or circumstances within its remit.

Reports to:
Council, as a sub-committee of it, through:

i. seeking Council approval of the University’s Ethics Framework as advanced and reviewed by the Committee;

ii. an annual report to Council, reporting on the work of the Committee;

iii. an executive summary of the Minutes of each of its meetings, reported to the next scheduled meeting of

iv. ad hoc reports requiring or meriting escalation to Council, or reports from the members of the Committee who
are also members of Council appointed and/or the Registrar and Secretary.


 Approved by Council at its meeting on 12 November 2019


Membership 2019/2020

Two lay members of the Council, of whom one will be appointed Chair [the SILM and a new member of Audit and
Risk Committee are possibilities]

Chair of Council (ex officio)

Vice-Chancellor and President (ex officio)

Pro-Vice-Chancellors (ex officio) [we should think about how we bring the PVCs in as relevant]

One undergraduate representative appointed by York University Students Union (YUSU)

One postgraduate representative appointed by the Graduate Students Association (GSA)

Other membership points to note: The student members might be better served by the relevant YUSU and GSA
officers, either the Presidents or the officers with the Community and Wellbeing portfolios.  To consider whether we would involve lay experts for specific cases.


Jo Horsburgh, Registrar and Secretary (Secretary)

Dr Alice Wakely, Senior Governance and Assurance Officer (Assistant Secretary)

In attendance:

Chair, Academic Ethics and Compliance Committee (TBC)

Dr Adam Dawkins, Head of Governance and Assurance

Jeremy Lindley, Finance Director

Joan Concannon, Director of External Relations

Risk and Audit Manager, Finance Directorate (TBC)

Other officers as required.

Meeting dates

Ethics Committee meeting dates 2019/2020

  • TBC

Frequency of Meetings and Quorum

Not less than two occasions each academic year. Committee business may be considered by correspondence and in order to make written resolutions where there is an urgent need to do so.


Departmental/Subject Ethics Committees