Governance & Strategic Planning

Terms of Reference

The approved terms of reference of the Ethical Fundraising Advisory Group (May 2018).

1 Purpose

The principal purpose of the Ethical Fundraising Advisory Group (EFAG) is to consider and advise on whether the sources and purposes of prospective donations and philanthropic fundraising are ethically acceptable.

2 Composition

2.1 The Advisory Group shall consist of ten members.

2.2 The Senior Vice-Principal, Vice-Principal People and Culture, Vice-Principal Philanthropy and Advancement, Dean of Academic Excellence, University Secretary, Director of Finance, Director of Communications and Marketing and Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability shall be ex officio members of the Advisory Group.

2.3 The other members of the Advisory Group shall consist of one members of Court and one member nominated by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA).

2.4 EUSA shall appoint, on an annual basis, a representative to be a member of the Advisory Group. This will normally be the Vice President Services of EUSA who will remain a member of the Advisory Group for the length of their term of office.

2.5 Court shall appoint a member of the Advisory Group on the recommendation of the Nominations Committee.

2.6 The Nominations Committee shall take cognisance of ex officio members of the Advisory Group and ensure that the composition of the Advisory Group is as set out in 2.3.

2.7 The term of office of the Court member will be no longer than their membership of Court unless otherwise determined by Court and shall normally be for a maximum of three years.

2.8 Previous members are eligible for re-appointment up to a normal maximum of two consecutive terms of office.

2.9 The Senior Vice-Principal shall be appointed ex officio Convener of the Advisory Group, and in the absence of the Convener, the University Secretary will act as Convener.

2.10 All members of EFAG are expected to comply with the University’s Code of Conduct as set out in the University’s Handbook and declare any interests which may conflict with their responsibilities as members of the Advisory Group.

2.11 Other individuals from within or outwith the University may also be invited to attend meetings from time to time, to provide the Advisory Group with information on specific items on the agenda.

3 Meetings

3.1 The Advisory Group will meet as required to fulfil its remit and will meet at least three times each academic year.  With the prior approval of the Convener of the Advisory Group, urgent matters may be considered through correspondence.

3.2 Meetings will be timetabled on an annual basis and will take account of the schedule for University Executive meetings to ensure appropriate reporting.

3.3 Minutes, agendas and papers will normally be circulated to members of the Advisory Group at least five days in advance of the meeting. Late papers may be circulated up to two days before the meeting. Only in the case of extreme urgency and with the agreement of the Convener will papers be tabled at meetings of the Advisory Group.

3.4 Non-contentious or urgent matters not on the agenda may be considered at a meeting subject to the agreement of the Convener of the meeting and the majority of members present.

3.5 Papers will indicate the originator(s) and purpose of the paper, the matter(s) which the Advisory Group is being asked to consider, any action(s) required, and confirm the status of the paper in respect of freedom of information legislation.

3.6 Four members of the Advisory Group shall be a quorum.  This number must include the Senior Vice-Principal or the University Secretary, who will act as Convener to the Advisory Group should the Senior Vice-Principal be absent for the duration of the meeting.

3.7 A formal minute will be kept of proceedings and submitted for approval at the next meeting of the Advisory Group. The draft minute will be agreed with the Convener of the Advisory Group prior to circulation, and in the case of the absence of the Convener at a meeting, the University Secretary.

3.8 The Advisory Group may also function between meetings through correspondence and any decision(s) taken formally ratified at the next meeting of the Advisory Group.

4 Remit

4.1 To consider and advise on whether the sources and purposes of a) prospective donations (restricted and/or unrestricted) and b) philanthropic fundraising are ethically acceptable.  Although the University of Edinburgh Development Trust, on behalf of the University of Edinburgh, is grateful to receive support from a wide variety of sources, there are occasions when it might not be appropriate to accept a donation.  It is also possible that other matters may need to be referred to the Advisory Group, and it will be the responsibility of the Senior Vice-Principal and University Secretary to agree when matters of this nature require to be considered. 

4.2 To draft procedures for the ethical screening of donations for approval by CMG. The procedures will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Advisory Group, who will subsequently make recommendations to the University Executive.

4.3 To oversee the approved procedures for the ethical screening of donations. Where a doubt remains following initial ethical screening by Development and Alumni (D&A), referrals will be made to the Advisory Group on the advice of the Director of D&A or a named alternate. If the Advisory Group is unable to reach agreement or any doubt remains, the matter will be referred to the University Executive.

4.4 To be a sub-group of the University Executive and accountable to it.

4.5 To adhere to the University’s commitment to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).   Although the remit of the Advisory Group is specifically related to donations, the PRI provides a framework for an organisation to take environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into its investment strategies.  These principles shall be addressed in relation to prospective donations, fundraising and other funded activities the Advisory Group considers and advises on.

5 Other

5.1 The Advisory Group will from time to time undertake a review of its own performance and effectiveness and thereon report to the University Executive.

5.2 In order to fulfil its remit the Advisory Group may obtain external professional advice as necessary, including seeking legal advice.

5.3 An annual EFAG report will also be prepared and presented to the University Executive.  The report will also be submitted to the University’s Audit & Risk Committee and Risk Management Committee for information.

5.4 The EFAG terms of reference, membership and procedures will be published on the University’s website.  Once approved by the University Executive, the EFAG annual report will also be published on the website.