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How we operate: SFC governance

The Scottish Funding Council SFC was established by the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005. This Act sets out the main governance framework within which we operate.

About Us

In particular, the act sets out our main duties and powers and the basic constitution of SFC.    

SFC is a Non-Departmental Public Body of the Scottish Government and operates at 'arms-length' from the Government. The relationship between SFC and the Scottish Government is governed by a Framework Document [PDF] agreed in July 2018.

The Management Statement describes in detail our relationship with the sponsoring directorate in the Scottish Government and its powers, functions and responsibilities. The Financial Memorandum sets out the terms and conditions which apply to the funds made available to us by Scottish Ministers.

Ethical Standards in Public Life

As part of its commitment to conducting its business in an open and accountable way, we promote the observance of high standards of behaviour amongst its members. We comply with the provisions of the Ethical Standards in Public Life (Scotland) Act 2000. We require all of SFC's Board members to complete a Register of Interests which is updated regularly and is available to the public.

View the registers of interests for current members at Council membership.

One of the provisions of the Act was the establishment of the Standards Commission for Scotland. The Commission is committed to high ethical standards in public life through the promotion and enforcement of Codes of Conduct. It works with public bodies to support them in their duty to promote high standards in the conduct of their business. You can find more information on the Commission at the Standards Commission for Scotland website.

Scottish Ministers have approved the Code of conduct [PDF].

On Board: A Guide for Board Members of Public Bodies in Scotland

We seek to comply with On Board: A Guide for Board Members of Public Bodies in Scotland which sets out the responsibilities of Boards of public bodies and their members, and provides good practice in corporate governance. We also seek to comply with the relevant provisions of the Financial Reporting Council UK Corporate Governance Code.

How we conduct our business

Standing Orders

Our Standing Orders are the rules for the membership, the proceedings and conduct of SFC business and meetings.

Schedule 1 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005 contains provisions about the status, membership, structure, and proceedings of SFC. Some of these provisions are relevant to SFC's Standing Orders; in particular those relating to membership and to committees.

The legislation also states that we may regulate our own procedure - including any quorum - and so for the most part the Standing Orders have been determined by SFC.

View the current:

Scheme of Delegation

While SFC retains responsibility for all decisions and matters made and carried out in its name, it is not practical for it to do all of these things itself at its formal meetings. Typically in such circumstances, non-executive bodies such as SFC retain a strategic role and delegate operational matters to the chief executive officer.

Authority is also delegated from SFC to its Chair and to its committees. The scheme of delegation defines where the boundaries lie between strategic and delegated operational matters. It also indicates the mechanisms through which the use of delegated authority should be reported to us.

SFC's current Scheme of delegation [PDF] can be found here.

Efficiency statements

The Scottish Government sets a 3% annual efficiency target for public bodies to ensure they are managing their resources carefully. As part of this, SFC is required to publish an annual efficiency statement.