The University of Reading operates under the terms of its Royal Charter granted in 1926.
A newly reformed Charter and accompanying Statutes and Ordinances were brought into effect on 1 August 2015.
The University's Charter, its core constitution, was drawn up when Reading became an independent institution in 1926. It constitutes the University as a legal entity and grants the power to award degrees.
The charter reform project was set up 18 months ago to ensure that the University has governance structures in place that will enable the institution to move ahead with its University Strategy (PDF - 2600 kb) and realise its ambitions for its centenary year, 2026.
An all staff consultation on the proposed new governance structures was carried out earlier this academic year, with the University's Council approving changes to the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances in March 2015. The last stage of approvals was given by Her Majesty the Queen at a Privy Council meeting held on 10th June 2015 at Buckingham Palace.
- An increased emphasis on academic freedom - the purposes of a university are research and teaching, and academic freedom is fundamental. A specific provision on the principle of academic freedom is now included within the Charter. In addition, key HR policies now contain the University’s commitment to act in accordance with the principle of academic freedom.
- Statutes have been removed entirely, leaving just a Charter and Ordinances – the University took the view that they add an unnecessary and unhelpful level of complexity. Key provisions from the Statutes – including academic freedom – have been elevated to the Charter itself. Other matters have been moved to the Ordinances or, for detailed matters, will be set out in revised regulations, policies and procedures.
- As a result, Statute XXXIII, which contains disciplinary, ill health, performance management, grievance and redundancy procedures for academic staff, is removed - the requirement to have suitable, fair and reasonable policies governing these matters has been moved to Ordinance B5, with the substance set out in policies. Key differences are:
- One set of policies apply to all staff
- Simplified, faster and less adversarial disciplinary and grievance hearings
- Changes to panels hearing disciplinary and grievance procedures
- Changes to who hears appeals
- Individual procedures for misconduct, ill health and poor performance
- Simplification of the redundancy process to make it more transparent and streamlined
The charter reform project was about bringing the University governance structures up to date. It reflects the modern needs of the University, and will help us achieve our vision for 2026.
Read more in our University Strategy brochure (PDF - 2.6MB)
The University's Charter and Ordinances can be found in the Governance Zone.