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Royal College of Art (the)

Operating as The Royal College of Art 

Legal address: Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU

The main constitutional document of the RCA is the RCA Charter, Statutes Ordinances 2017. To download the previous Royal Charter, 2007, click here

The Council

The Council is the governing body of the College. It is empowered by the Royal Charter to nominate to the Court a person for appointment as the Chancellor, to appoint the Chairman of the Council or Pro-Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor, to nominate to the Court a person for appointment as the Treasurer, to appoint, on the recommendation of the Senate, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost and to be involved in the appointment of the Auditors. 

So all the most senior appointments within the College are ultimately made by the Council;  Chancellor, Chair of Council, Treasurer (all on Council), the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy-Vice-Chancellor and Provost.

In addition, the Council is responsible for all matters concerning property and finance, for administrative policy, for overall strategy and for any issues affecting the general welfare of the College. 

Statement of Primary Responsibilities of Council

  1. To approve the mission and strategic vision of the College, the Strategic Plan (including long-term academic and business plans and key performance indicators), and to ensure that these meet the interests of stakeholders
  2. To ensure that processes are in place to monitor and evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the College against the Strategic Plan and approved key performance indicators, which should be – where possible and appropriate – benchmarked against other comparable institutions
  3. To delegate authority to the Vice-Chancellor, as chief executive, for the academic, corporate, financial, estate and human resource management of the institution within the terms of the Strategic Plan and the budget as agreed by Council. And to establish and keep under regular review the policies, procedures and limits within such management functions as shall be undertaken by and under the authority of the Vice-Chancellor
  4. To ensure the establishment and monitoring of systems of control and accountability, including financial and operational controls and risk assessment and procedures for handling internal grievances and for managing conflicts of interest
  5. To establish processes to monitor and evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the Council itself
  6. To conduct its business in accordance with best practice in HE corporate governance and with the principles of public life drawn up by the Committee on Standards in Public Life
  7. To safeguard and promote the good name and values of the College
  8. To appoint and to remove the Vice-Chancellor as chief executive, and to put in place suitable arrangements for monitoring his/her performance
  9. To appoint and to remove the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, the Vice-Chair of Council, the Treasurer and other senior appointments as determined by Council currently and in the future
  10. To appoint and to remove a secretary to the Council and to ensure that, if the person appointed has managerial responsibilities in the institution, there is an appropriate separation in the lines of accountability
  11. To be the employing authority for all staff in the institution and to be responsible for oversight of the human resources strategy
  12. To be the principal financial and business authority of the College, to ensure compliance with the OfS Memorandum, that proper books of account are kept, to approve the annual budget and financial statements, and to have overall responsibility for the College’s assets, property and estate
  13. To be the College’s legal authority and, as such, to ensure that systems are in place for meeting all the College’s legal obligations, including those arising from contracts, legal commitments made in the College’s name and legal obligations in relation to charity law, equality and diversity and health and safety
  14. To receive assurance that adequate provision has been made to uphold the quality of the student experience
  15. To receive assurance that academic governance is effective
  16. To act as trustee for any property, legacy, endowment, bequest or gift in support of the work and welfare of the College
  17. To ensure that the Students’ Union operates in a fair, democratic, accountable and financially sustainable manner
  18. To ensure that the College’s Charter, Statues and Ordinances are followed at all times and that appropriate advice is available to enable this to happen.

The membership of 34 is made up principally of independent (non-College) members but includes a number of staff and students. The Council normally meets four times a year: three termly meetings and one strategy meeting. 

The Council has four sub-committees – Audit & Risk Committee, Planning & Resources Committee, Nominations Committee and Remuneration Committee – to which the Council has agreed to delegate various matters which deal with financial, resource, estates, contractual, HR and other governance areas. The senior academic body of the College is the Senate. 

Click here to see Annual Reports and Accounts Corporate Publications.

Click here to see the RCA's Governance Structure

Click here to see a full list of Council Members.

Click here for biographies of Council Lay Members.

College Mace
College Mace

The Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and Treasurer

The  Chancellor is the Head of the College and presides over meetings of the Court and confers degrees at Convocation.

The Pro-Chancellor is ex-officio chairman of the Council.

The Treasurer is an independent member of the Council and Chair of the Planning & Resources Committee. 

Chancellor: Sir Jony Ive

Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Council: Baroness Rebuck DBE

The Treasurer and Chair of Planning & Resources Committee: Caragh Merrick

Secretary of the Council: College Secretary, Jocelyn Prudence

The Senate

The Senate is responsible for the academic work of the College. Subject to the powers reserved to the Council by the College Statutes, the Senate promotes and validates the academic work of the College both in teaching and research and regulates the education, welfare and discipline of the students. 

The Senate agrees the appointment of external examiners, new academic developments, syllabi and student numbers and revisions to the Regulations. It approves the final examination results and awards the degrees. The membership of 20 includes Deans of School and representatives of the staff and students. The Senate normally meets four times a year.

The principal committees of the Senate are the Academic Standards Committee, the Research Committee and the Academic Board for Concessions and Discipline. The Academic Board for Concessions and Discipline is responsible for admissions, student course concessions and academic disciplinary matters. The Professorial Board advises the Senate and the Vice-Chancellor.

The Court

The Court is the body empowered by the Charter to appoint the Visitor, the Chancellor and the Treasurer of the College. The Court also appoints certain members of the Council, being neither members of the academic staff nor salaried officers of the College. The Court which has a membership of around 300 meets annually, and receives a report by the Vice-Chancellor and  Pro-Chancellor on the College during the previous year and the audited financial statement of the College.

Sub-Committees of Council 

Audit & Risk Committee

Nominations Committee 

Remuneration Committee 

Planning & Resources Committee