2021 Annual Report

Independent Auditor’s Report to Governing Council of the University of Derby


We have audited the financial statements of the University of Derby (“the University”) for the year ended 31 July 2021 which comprise the Consolidated and University Statement of Comprehensive Income, the Consolidated and University Statement of Changes in Reserves, the Consolidated and University Statement of Financial Position, the Consolidated Cash Flow Statement and related notes, including the Statement of Principal Accounting Policies.

In our opinion the financial statements:

• give a true and fair view of the state of the Group’s and the University’s affairs as at 31 July 2021, and of the Group’s and the University’s income and expenditure, gains and losses and changes in reserves, and of the Group’s cash flows, for the year then ended;

• have been properly prepared in accordance with UK accounting standards, including FRS 102 The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland; and

• meet the requirements of the Accounts Direction dated 25 October 2019 issued by the Office for Students.

Basis for opinion

We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing (UK) (“ISAs (UK)”) and applicable law. Our responsibilities are described below. We have fulfilled our ethical responsibilities under, and are independent of the group in accordance with, UK ethical requirements including the FRC Ethical Standard. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is a sufficient and appropriate basis for our opinion.

Going concern

The Council has prepared the financial statements on the going concern basis as they do not intend to liquidate the Group or the University or to cease their operations, and as they have concluded that the Group and the University’s financial position means that this is realistic. They have also concluded that there are no material uncertainties that could have cast significant doubt over their ability to continue as a going concern for at least a year from the date of approval of the financial statements (“the going concern period”).

In our evaluation of the Council’s conclusions, we considered the inherent risks to the group’s business model and analysed how those risks might affect the Group and University’s financial resources or ability to continue operations over the going concern period. Our conclusions based on this work:

• we consider that the Council’s use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate;

• we have not identified, and concur with the Council’s assessment that there is not, a material uncertainty related to events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the Group or the University’s ability to continue as a going concern for the going concern period.

However, as we cannot predict all future events or conditions and as subsequent events may result in outcomes that are inconsistent with judgements that were reasonable at the time they were made, the above conclusions are not a guarantee that the Group or the University will continue in operation.

Fraud and breaches of laws and regulations – ability to detect

To identify risks of material misstatement due to fraud (“fraud risks”) we assessed events or conditions that could indicate an incentive or pressure to commit fraud or provide an opportunity to commit fraud.

Our risk assessment procedures included:

• Enquiring of the Council, the Audit and Risk Committee, internal audit and inspection of policy documentation as to the Group’s high-level policies and procedures to prevent and detect fraud, including the internal audit function, and the Group’s channel for “whistleblowing”, as well as whether they have knowledge of any actual, suspected or alleged fraud.

• Reading Council, Audit & Risk Committee and Finance & General Purposes Committee minutes.

• Obtaining a copy of the Group’s fraud register. We communicated identified fraud risks throughout the audit team and remained alert to any indications of fraud throughout the audit.

As required by auditing standards, and taking into account possible pressures to meet loan covenants and performance targets, we perform procedures to address the risk of management override of controls and the risk of fraudulent revenue recognition, in particular the risk that income from tuition fees is recorded in the wrong period and the risk that Group management may be in a position to make inappropriate accounting entries, and the risk of bias in accounting estimates and judgements such as impairment and pension assumptions. We did not identify any additional fraud risks. In determining the audit procedures we took into account the results of our evaluation and testing of the operating effectiveness of some of the Group-wide fraud risk management controls.

We also performed procedures including:

• Identifying journal entries to test based on risk criteria and comparing the identified entries to supporting documentation. These included those posted with unusual revenue combinations, journals posted at period end, users who posted few journals and unusual journal entries to cash and borrowings.

• Assessing significant accounting estimates for bias.

• For transactions related to revenue in the period prior to 31 July 2021, we assessed whether revenue had been recognised in the appropriate period by inspecting a sample of transactions and agreeing to supporting evidence.

Identifying and responding to risks of material misstatement due to non-compliance with laws and regulations

We identified areas of laws and regulations that could reasonably be expected to have a material effect on the financial statements from our general commercial and sector experience, and through discussion with the Council and other management (as required by auditing standards), and from inspection of the Group’s regulatory and legal correspondence and discussed with the Council and other management the policies and procedures regarding compliance with laws and regulations.

As the Group is regulated, our assessment of risks involved gaining an understanding of the control environment including the entity’s procedures for complying with regulatory requirements. We communicated identified laws and regulations throughout our team and remained alert to any indications of non-compliance throughout the audit. The potential effect of these laws and regulations on the financial statements varies considerably.

Firstly, the Group is subject to laws and regulations that directly affect the financial statements including financial reporting legislation (including related companies legislation), taxation legislation, pensions legislation and specific disclosures required by higher education and related legislation and we assessed the extent of compliance with these laws and regulations as part of our procedures on the related financial statement items. 

Secondly, the Group is subject to many other laws and regulations where the consequences of non-compliance could have a material effect on amounts or disclosures in the financial statements, for instance through the imposition of fines or litigation or the need to include significant provisions. Auditing standards limit the required audit procedures to identify non-compliance with these laws and regulations to enquiry of the directors and other management and inspection of regulatory and legal correspondence, if any.

Therefore, if a breach of operational regulations is not disclosed to us or evident from relevant correspondence, an audit will not detect that breach. Context of the ability of the audit to detect fraud or breaches of law or regulation Owing to the inherent limitations of an audit, there is an unavoidable risk that we may not have detected some material misstatements in the financial statements, even though we have properly planned and performed our audit in accordance with auditing standards.

For example, the further removed non-compliance with laws and regulations is from the events and transactions reflected in the financial statements, the less likely the inherently limited procedures required by auditing standards would identify it. In addition, as with any audit, there remained a higher risk of non-detection of fraud, as these may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal controls. Our audit procedures are designed to detect material misstatement.

We are not responsible for preventing non-compliance or fraud and cannot be expected to detect non-compliance with all laws and regulations.

Other information

The Council is responsible for the other information, which comprises the Financial Highlights, the Financial Review, the Public Benefit Statement, the Corporate Governance Statement, the Statement of Internal Control and the Indicators of Financial Health. Our opinion on the financial statements does not cover the other information and, accordingly, we do not express an audit opinion or, except as explicitly stated below, any form of assurance conclusion thereon. Our responsibility is to read the other information and, in doing so, consider whether, based on our financial statements audit work, the information therein is materially misstated or inconsistent with the financial statements or our audit knowledge.

Based solely on that work:

• we have not identified material misstatements in the other information; and

• in our opinion the information given in the Strategic Review and the Report of the Governors and Corporate Governance Statement, which together constitute the strategic report and the directors’ report for the financial year, is consistent with the financial statements.

Council responsibilities

As explained more fully in their statement set out on page 18 (of the PDF edition of this report), the Council is responsible for: the preparation of the financial statements and for being satisfied that they give a true and fair view; such internal control as it determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error; assessing the Group and parent University’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern; and using the going concern basis of accounting unless it either intends to liquidate the Group or the parent University or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.

Auditor’s responsibilities

Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue our opinion in an auditor’s report.

Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but does not guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with ISAs (UK) will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements. A fuller description of our responsibilities is provided on the FRC’s website at www.frc.org.uk/auditorsresponsibilities.

We are required to report on the following matters by the Accounts Direction dated 25 October 2019 issued by the Office for Students (‘the Accounts Direction’). In our opinion, in all material respects:

• funds from whatever source administered by the Group or the University for specific purposes have been properly applied to those purposes and managed in accordance with relevant legislation;

• income has been applied in accordance with the University’s Statutes (or articles of government for post 1992 institutions); and

• funds provided by the Office for Students, UK Research and Innovation (including Research England), the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the Department for Education have been applied in accordance with the relevant terms and conditions.

Matters on which we are required to report by exception We are required by the Accounts Direction to report to you where the University has an access and participation plan that has been approved by the Office for Students’ director of fair access and participation and the results of our audit work indicate that the Group’s and the University’s expenditure on access and participation activities for the financial year disclosed in Note 9b has been materially misstated. We are also required by the Accounts Direction to report to you where the results of our audit work indicate that the Group’s and the University’s grant and fee income, as disclosed in note 3 to the financial statements has been materially misstated. We have nothing to report in these respects.


This report is made solely to the Council and in accordance with the Charters and Statutes of the institution. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the Council those matters we are required to state to them in an auditor’s report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the University and the Council for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed.

Sarah Brown for and on behalf of KPMG LLP, Statutory Auditor Chartered Accountants One Snowhill Snow Hill Queensway Birmingham B4 6GH