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Ethics Framework Governance Committee

Following a review in 2018, the University Ethics Committee has been succeeded by two University-level committees heading up the ethics governance structures:

  • Ethics Framework Governance Committee (EFGC), which has oversight of ‘institutional’ or ‘corporate’ ethical matters, reporting to Council. It has overall responsibility for the University’s Ethics Framework, including associated policies, and has authority to make final judgements in relation to high risk cases and/or those which have wide-reaching implications for the institution.
  • Academic Ethics and Compliance Committee (AECC), a committee of Senate which has oversight of ethics policy and governance relating to academic activity, including but going beyond research ethics. It also oversees research-related compliance issues such as clinical trials and sponsorship. AECC maintains oversight of the departmental/subject level ethics committees, and provides a first point of referral for complex issues raised by the latter.

AECC provides an annual report to EFGC, alongside reports on relevant issues to University Teaching Committee, University Research Committee and University Partnerships and Enterprise Committee.

Diagram of Ethics Governance Structures (PDF , 253kb)

Ethics Framework Governance Committee

Terms of reference

Terms of reference

Committee Remit:

The University's Ethics Framework Governance Committee (EFGC) is a sub-committee of Council, with delegated authority to oversee the effectiveness of the governance of the Ethics Framework of the University.  While Council has ultimate responsibility for ethical compliance, the primary remit of EFGC is to advance, review and seek Council approval for the ethical dimensions and implications of institutional and corporate activities undertaken on behalf of University. It will also seek periodic assurance on the effectiveness of ethical arrangements for research, teaching and learning and other academic-focused areas as overseen by Senate and its sub-committees.

Committee Outcomes:

The main outcomes of the Committee's oversight on behalf of Council are: [a] upholding and safeguarding the values and commitments of the University [b] by seeking assurance, ensuring principles and practices are compliant with the law and spirit of activities undertaken at, and in the name of, the University [c] protecting colleagues undertaking such activities from harm or disrepute.

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 judgements 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 focused risk or considerations 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 judgement and interpretation on behalf of Council, including complex judgements 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 operation;

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 Council;

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 University Secretary.

Approved by Council at its meeting on 12 November 2019


Membership 2020/2021

Denise Jagger, Chair of Council (ex officio) (Chair)

Professor Simon Best, lay member of Council

Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor and President (ex officio)

Professor Matthias Ruth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (ex officio) 

Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement (ex officio)

Dr Keith Allen, Chair, Academic Ethics and Compliance Committee (ex officio)

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

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


Dr Adam Dawkins, University Secretary (Secretary)

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

In attendance:

Jeremy Lindley, Finance Director

Joan Concannon, Director of External Relations

Dr Russell Grant, Risk Manager 

The Committee may co-opt additional members (external or internal) as necessary to advise on specific policy matters where subject-matter expertise would be beneficial. A further lay member of Council may be asked to attend where the Committee is asked to make decisions in relation to specific cases.


Meeting dates

Ethics Framework Governance Committee meeting dates

Frequency of Meetings 

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.


Ethics Framework Governance Committee
reports to Council


  • Denise Jagger
    Chair of Council

Who to contact