Code of practice


Generic responsibilities

Like others who serve the public, individuals representing the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) should follow the seven principles of public life set out by the Nolan Committee.

All AHRC representatives have a duty to bring an independent judgement to bear on all issues considered by AHRC and must:

  • comply at all times with this Code of Practice, with the financial regulations and rules relating to the use of public funds, including complying with AHRC’s rules on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality. More information about AHRC’s rules on gifts and hospitality can be found in the Management Statement (paragraph 40). Please see Annex four for a link to this document or for further information
  • act in good faith and in the best interests of AHRC
  • not misuse information gained in the course of their public service for personal gain or for political profit, nor seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests or those of connected persons, businesses or other organisations
  • declare publicly any private interests which may be perceived to conflict with these public duties in line with this Code of Practice (see Conflicts of interest).


Although any legal proceedings initiated by a third party are likely to be brought against AHRC, in exceptional cases proceedings (civil or, in certain cases, criminal) may be brought against the Chair of Council or other individuals representing AHRC. For example, a council member may be personally liable if he or she makes a fraudulent or negligent statement which results in loss to a third party. Representatives who misuse information gained by virtue of their position may be liable for breach of confidence under common law or under insider-dealing legislation.

It is expected that representatives who have acted honestly and in good faith will not have to meet out of their own personal resources any personal civil liability which is incurred in the execution or purported execution of their official AHRC duties, except where they have acted recklessly. Further advice on legal issues can be obtained from AHRC’s Associate Director of Resources.

Understanding roles and responsibilities

AHRC representatives should ensure that they fully understand the terms of their appointment, and their duties and responsibilities. Through the recruitment and appointment/induction process representatives will be given full information about their role and duties. Representatives may be removed from their role if they fail to perform their duties to the standards expected of persons who hold public office.

Last updated: 16 March 2023

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