Tax evasion is when individuals or businesses deliberately omit, conceal or misrepresent information to reduce their tax liabilities. Organisations can be used by associated individuals or businesses to facilitate taxpayer evasion in the UK or overseas.
The University of London is committed to preventing the facilitation of tax evasion by associated individuals or businesses anywhere within its operations. We do this through the development of reasonable prevention procedures, carrying out regular due diligence and risk assessments of our activities and creating awareness and a culture of compliance throughout the University. We also use our strategic planning processes to identify possible risks for future activity, possible changes in legislation and through efficient and effective contract management.
1.0 The University of London
The University of London is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, we are recognised globally as a world leader in higher education. The central University, its trading subsidiaries and Central Academic Bodies provide a suite of innovative high-quality academic support and professional services, and manage a valuable property portfolio. The active trading subsidiaries, all wholly owned by the University, are CoSector Limited, Senate House Services One Limited and Senate House Worldwide Limited.
2.0 Risk Assessment and Implementation of Prevention Procedures
The University is committed to embedding processes which will help eliminate the opportunities for the criminal facilitation of tax evasion.
The University undertakes risk assessments of all operations to determine the nature and extent of exposure to the risk of any “associated persons” engaging in activity that could criminally facilitate tax evasion. Reasonable prevention procedures proportionate to the size, complexity and risk are implemented.
The University maintains a register of possible risks of the facilitation of tax evasion by its staff and associates, as well as listing controls to mitigate those risks, and any actions required to improve those controls. This register is regularly reviewed and updated, as and when required in relation to the nature of the specific risks.
3.0 Due Diligence
Due diligence on customers, suppliers, partners and funders will be undertaken in order to ensure that the risk of potential interactions with the University or its subsidiaries being used by associated persons to engage in the criminal facilitation of tax evasion is clearly identified before any transactions take place. This due diligence will be proportionate to the identified risk.
4.0 Raising Awareness & Collaboration
As the strategic knowledge base for tax at the University of London, the Finance and Planning Department is committed to staying aware of developments, legislation and case studies in regards to the prevention of the criminal facilitation of tax evasion. Eliminating the opportunities to facilitate tax evasion effectively requires improved traceability, increased transparency and collaboration between statutory agencies, civil society organisations and both public and private sector businesses.
• The University has nominated a key officer responsible for information and queries on CFA2017 within our organisation – the Key Officers for CFA2017 are Lizzy Conder, Director of Finance (all areas), and Caroline Heckscher, Procurement Director (Procurement).
• The University’s Organisational & Staff Development Team will be building training on CFA2017 into the University’s Mandatory Training Programme.
• The University has nominated departmental officers responsible for information and queries on CFA2017 within the areas that they support:
o Central Administration and Property and Facility Management: John Sharp
o International Programmes: Gerard Kelly
o School of Advanced Study and Institute in Paris: David Jackson
o CoSector: Andrew Smith
o Legal Service: John G Stewart
o General: Philip Hayes, Associate Director of Tax
• We will work in collaboration with other universities and with external bodies such as the Office for Students (OfS), British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) to share and develop best practice in due diligence, prevention procedures and the elimination of the criminal facilitation of tax evasion.
• The University’s Procurement Director is responsible for supply chain management transparency and initiatives.
University staff are encouraged to speak to any of the nominated officers listed above if they have any questions or concerns about tax evasion. If any individual suspects that any person associated with the University and its subsidiaries is engaging in the criminal facilitation of tax evasion, it must be disclosed as soon as possible to one of the Key Officers named above. In cases where a member of staff believes that informing the Key Officers would be inappropriate, they should consult the Director of Compliance and Secretary to the Board (Rosalind Frendo) and/or follow the procedures outlined in Ordinance 23 (Public Interest Disclosure which sets out the University’s ‘whistleblowing’ procedure).
5.0 Consequences for any associated person breaching the University’s commitment to zero tolerance towards the criminal facilitation of tax evasion
Any staff member who fails to meet the University’s commitment to zero tolerance towards the criminal facilitation of tax evasion will be subject to disciplinary action under the University’s Disciplinary Procedure (2018), which may include summary dismissal. The staff member may also be personally liable to criminal prosecution in the UK under existing tax evasion laws.
We use our reasonable endeavours to challenge customers, suppliers, partners and funders that do not meet our standards regarding prevention of the criminal facilitation of tax evasion. Such individuals or entities may also be liable to prosecution under the provisions of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
In the supplier selection phase of the University’s Procurement Process, we may remove from competition suppliers that do not agree with the University’s policies or who have poor supply chain practices in place. In contract management, contracted suppliers will be required to take the necessary action to improve their service delivery and we will work with them to address any concerns. If the supplier does not improve, the University may terminate the business relationship.
Presented for Approval by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Date: 2 October 2019