Skip to content

What is the University's legal status and constitution?

What is the University's legal status and constitution?

The University's Legal Status

Sheffield Hallam University is a Higher Education Corporation (HEC), established on 1 April 1989, following the Education Reform Act 1988. Under the Education Reform Act (1988), the University has the power to

  • provide higher education
  • provide further education
  • carry out research and publish the results

The Education Reform Act 1988 also allows the University to do anything which the trustees (the governors) believe is necessary for the purpose of providing further education, higher education and conducting research.

For example, such powers may include supplying facilities, goods and services, entering into contracts, forming companies, borrowing and investing.

The University also has the power to award prizes, grants and scholarships for activities which support the University's objective of providing higher and further education.

The University's constitution

The constitution of the University is set out in the legal documents the Instrument and Articles of Government which outline how the University must be governed and how decisions are made.

The Instrument of Government

The Instrument of Government outlines the membership and size of the Board of Governors, as well as the terms of appointment, and the length of service of governors. It also allows committees to be established. The regulatory framework of the Office for Students (OfS) came fully into force on 1 August 2019 and this included responsibility for approving changes to the University's Instrument and Articles of Government. This had previously been the responsibility of the Privy Council.

The Articles of Government

The Articles of Government outline the responsibilities of the Board of Governors, the Vice-Chancellor and the Academic Board. They regulate the committees of the Academic Board and the Board of Governors, as well as the procedures for their meetings.

The Articles also cover the responsibilities of the Board of Governors and the Vice-Chancellor with regard to the suspension and dismissal of staff. Changes to the Articles can be made by the Board of Governors with the consent of the Privy Council.

To provide feedback on the University's governance arrangements and the information made available on this page please email your comments to We will use the contact information that you provide in your message to respond to you. In connection with your contact information, you can view the University's privacy policy here.

Share this page