Freedom of Information

The following publication scheme is for Somerville College, University of Oxford.

It follows the standard format required by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) from January 2009. It sets out what information the College publishes or intends to publish, how the information can be accessed and whether or not a charge will be made for it. The purpose of the scheme is to give a clear indication of which College publications are routinely accessible, so that the public can be informed, as far as reasonably possible, of the purpose and nature of College activities, and to assist in developing a greater culture of openness. Through the scheme, the College endeavours to be as transparent as possible about its activities, while at the same time recognising that there are exemptions within the Act.

The Information Officer is responsible for maintaining the scheme on behalf of the College. The Information Officer is the Senior Tutor who can be contacted at  The Academic Registrar maintains the publication scheme on behalf of the Information Officer.

All material associated with the definitions in the classes contained in the scheme are available either in hard copy, or electronically via the College website. To obtain hard copies of any of the material please contact the Academic Registrar or Senior Tutor on the email addresses above, or at Somerville College, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HD.

It is important to us that this Publication Scheme meets your needs. If you find the scheme difficult to understand, please let us know. We also welcome suggestions as to how the scheme might be improved. Any questions, comments, or complaints about this scheme should be sent to:
Information Officer: Senior Tutor, Somerville College, Woodstock Road, OX2 6HD,
or via email:

The College reserves the right to make a charge for printed copies of some documents to cover administrative costs.

Information which falls into the following categories is not published as part of the scheme:

  • the College does not hold the information
  • the information is exempt under one of the FOI exemptions or Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) exceptions, or its release is prohibited under another statute
  • the information is archived, out of date or otherwise inaccessible
  • it would be impractical or resource-intensive to prepare the material for routine release.

In the drop-down sections further down this page you can find further information on:

  • Who we are and what we do
  • What we spend and how we spend it
  • What our priorities are and how we are doing
  • How we make decisions
  • Our policies and procedures
  • The services we offer

In addition to the information provided in the FOI publication scheme, the college maintains many ‘lists and registers’ containing information required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the college. Details may be available on request. For further details please contact the Information Officer: Senior Tutor, to whom all enquiries should be addressed. The information below refers to the College Charter Statutes  and the College By-laws.


Publication Scheme Information

  • Who we are and what we do


    The Principal and Fellows form the Governing Body of the College. Somerville is constituted and regulated in accordance with the College Statutes, which are made from time to time by order of Her Majesty in Council in accordance with the Royal Charter and the Oxford and Cambridge Act 1923. The By-Laws are additional rules made by Governing Body. The College Statutes and Charter are available in hard copy or online here; College Charter and Statutes.

    Somerville College is a charity. The College was registered as a charity on 22 December 2010. Our registered number is 1139440.

    Organizational and Committee Structure

    The College has a number of committees, described in the College By-laws. The college organisation chart details the way the college is organised. You might like to look up key personnel, Fellows and staff or to contact the Development Office. You might also like to read about our history.

    Subsidiary Companies: Somerville College operates one subsidiary company. Information on this is available on request

    Student Groups: The Junior Common Room (JCR) and Middle Common Room (MCR)are the main student groups within College. Details on further non-academic student clubs and societies can be found here.

  • What we spend and how we spend it

    If you are interested in financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurements, contracts, and financial audit, then the links below may be useful.

    (See also College Accounts )

    Salaries and Benefits: Academic posts are aligned to the HE national pay spine which can be found on the University of Oxford
    salary scales
    . Somerville uses a separate pay spine for support staff which is modelled on, but not identical to, the University salary scales.

    Contracting goods and services (the College normally follows University policy on such matters)

    Annual Fees - available on request

    Annual Charges - available on request

  • What our priorities are and how we are doing

    Somerville is a College for women and men. It was founded (as Somerville Hall) in 1879 to provide an opportunity for women, who at that date were excluded from membership of the University, to enter higher education in Oxford. The founders' insistence that students should be subjected to no religious tests or obligations distinguished Somerville from its Anglican counterpart, Lady Margaret Hall, and set the ethos of cultural diversity which has characterised the College to this day.

  • Somerville's aims are:

    To provide opportunities to pursue learning at the highest level to all those capable of making good use of them, recruited through an equitable process based on achievement and potential
    To encourage the intellectual maturation of individual students by encouraging them to engage their critical faculties and intellectual curiosity, develop their analytical, and articulate their views
    To support the research of its Fellows and to foster disciplinary and inter-disciplinary diversity
    To safeguard the security of the College's academic provision through increased endowment funds
    To work wholeheardtedly within the collegiate University
    To be a good employer for all staff

    Annual Review
    University of Oxford Strategic Plan
    Conference of Colleges

  • How we make decisions

    Decision-making process

    The Governing Body of Somerville College comprises the Prinicpals and Fellows. It is constituted and regulated in accordance with the College Statutes and By-Laws (see link above). The Governing Body has responsibility for the directions and management of the affairs of the College. Decisions are made in the context of intercollegiate policy decisions agreed amongst the Conference of Colleges, and of the overall structure and governance of the University.

    The Handbook for Undergraduates, the Handbook for Graduates, and the Employee Handbook (available on request) explain how decisions concerning those members of the college community are made. These can be found in the 'Studying here' section of the website.

    Record of decisions:
    The College's annual accounts record financial decisions.
    Key decisions about the operation of the College are recorded in the Minutes of Governing Body.
    Conference of Colleges

    Governance structure of the University

  • Our policies and procedures

    For more details on these, please see Policies and Procedures.

  • Lists and registers

    Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority.

  • The Services we offer

    Advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases. Information about the following can all be accessed from the menu at the top of this page:

    IT and intranet provision
    College Open Days
    Sports Provision
    Student Services

    The Information Officer is the Senior Tutor (, to whom all enquiries should be addressed.