HEA/IUA Code of Governance of Irish Universities

HEA/IUA Code of Governance of Irish Universities

Good governance arrangements are essential for organisations large and small whether operating in the public or private sectors. Governance comprises the systems and procedures under which organisations are directed and controlled. A robust system of governance is vital in order to enable organisations to operate effectively and to discharge their responsibilities as regards transparency and accountability to those they serve. Given their pivotal role in society and in national economic and social development, together with their reliance on public as well as private funding, good governance is particularly important in the case of the universities.

The principle of good governance in Irish universities is well established - initially enshrined in the Universities Act, 1997 and subsequently detailed in the 2001 framework, The Financial Governance of Irish Universities agreed between the HEA and the Conference of the Heads of Irish Universities (now the Irish Universities Association). In 2007 the HEA/IUA published “Governance of Irish Universities - A Governance Code of Legislation, Principles, Best Practice and Guidelines” which updated and replaced the relevant provisions of the 2001 Code. 

All universities adopted the HEA/IUA “Governance of Irish Universities”, its principles and its reporting requirements, implementing it with effect from 2007. Since then, the reporting requirements have been submitted on an annual basis to the HEA, as required by the Code. 

The Department of Finance issued a revised Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies in May 2009, to reflect current best practice in governance. This Code updated the previous 2001 Code which provided a key input into the 2007 HEA/IUA “Code of Governance for Irish Universities”.  The Department of Finance 2009 Code, while covering much the same areas as the earlier Code, updated requirements, responsibilities and accountabilities in certain areas such as internal control, audit and risk management. While many of these had been anticipated in the University Code, important new areas were also addressed. 

This 2012 revised “Governance of Irish Universities” reflected the provisions of the 2009 Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. 

In 2019 a revised Code was adopted. 

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