The principle role of the Capital section within the University is to:
- Financially manage the University’s capital programme, which has current planned expenditure of £223m
- Develop and maintain financial and management accounting systems which support this process
- Provide specialist advise and guidance with the completion of Investment Appraisals
- Manage recurring budgets for Estates of approximately £17m
The key responsibilities of the capital section in respect of the financial management of the University’s capital programme include:
- To provide a budgetary control function to ensure sound financial management of the capital programme. This includes monitoring capital expenditure against budget and profile, highlighting variances and addressing these in consultation with project managers to ensure that corrective action is taken where necessary.
- To provide a professional financial management service to the Estates Directorate in respect of the capital programme.
- The maintenance of the University’s 5 year Capital Plan and production of the capital forecasts (5 year plan) and capital estimates to inform management reporting.
- To provide all required financial information to support relevant University Committees and Working Groups.
- To develop and enhance financial information systems to support capital reporting requirements, both internally and externally.
- To maintain and manage accounting and reporting arrangements for projects funded from capital grants, and to ensure the legislative requirements of external funders are met.
- To manage the collection of all external capital funds.
- To play a central role in the completion of investment appraisals to Government legislative standards in accordance with the requirements of all major external capital grants.
- To Maintain the fixed asset register and equipment register.
The University has a responsibility to ensure value for money with the expenditure of public funds. Therefore all investment decisions, particularly those relating to major capital projects, should be made on a sound basis where all relevant factors affecting the decision are identified and systematically analysed. One highly effective tool which is widely used, and endorsed by HEFCE, to inform decisions is an investment, or economic, appraisal.
The University has produced a summarised ‘Investment Appraisal Guidance’ to outline the basic steps involved and to provide a high level understanding of the requirements.
More detailed information, guidance and advice on the completion of appraisals can be obtained from the Department of Finance and Personnel’s (DFP) economic appraisal guidance ‘The NI Practical Guide to the Green Book’ (http://eag.dfpni.gov.uk/) and the Higher Education Sector, HEFCE’s ‘Investment Decision Making: a guide to good practice’ (www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2003/03_17).