New Trusts Governance Framework

Since its establishment in 1874, the University has become the trustee of over 550 trusts created by gifts or bequests to the University over its history.

These trusts are held in an endowment fund and provide income for a wide range of University purposes including prizes, awards, bursaries, scholarships, fellowships, professional chair positions, research funding, books, publications and faculty equipment.

In 2022, the Trusts Governance Framework will be implemented across the University to improve accountability and compliance with the University’s statutory obligations and donor expectations, and to prioritise the use of trust funds for the highest strategic benefit.

The Framework aims to improve and influence accountability, strategic decision making, and compliance with the University’s statutory obligations and donors’ expectations. It comprises four key initiatives:

  • Establishment of a University Trusts Committee, as a Special Committee of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive, for the management of the University’s Major Trusts and for oversight of all other trusts;
  • Establishment of Faculty Trusts Committees and Divisional Trusts Committees for the Division of Academic and Student Engagement and the Division of Research and Innovation to oversee each Faculty or Division’s management of their trusts;
  • For each trust to be administered in accordance with approved rules which will have regard to strategic decision-making relating to expenditure, and compliance with the terms of the trust; and
  • For trust expenditure to be included in the University’s budgeting and forecasting processes to ensure expenditure is programmed and acquitted, and non-expenditure is tracked by the Faculty or Division.

The Trusts Governance Framework aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Improved compliance with the Trustees Act 1936 (SA);
  • Improved compliance with the terms of each trust;
  • Increased donor confidence, to encourage and grow philanthropy;
  • Increased strategic use and appropriate oversight of the University’s largest endowments;
  • Increased visibility by senior management over the management of University’s trusts and the importance of philanthropy, gift-giving strategies and goals; and
  • More targeted support by the Legal and Risk Branch to Executive Deans/Divisional Heads and Faculties/Divisions to raise the understanding of trusts management.

The University Trust Compliance Centre (UTCC) within the Legal and Risk Branch will support the stakeholders involved in the Framework by:-

  • providing assistance with reporting requirements for committee meetings;
  • providing assistance with the review and endorsement of Rules;
  • establishing new trusts;
  • providing education and awareness sessions;
  • management of compliance reporting;
  • working with Schools/Faculties/Divisions to correct non-compliances;
  • maintaining the University's Trusts Register;
  • providing advice on administering and managing trusts and rules; and
  • preparing reports to the University Trusts Committee.
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