Roles and responsibilities

The main roles within a committee.

Primary page content

The compositions of Council and its committees are uniquely defined to ensure an equal and effective balance of skills, experience and knowledge relevant to each body’s Terms of Reference.

Each Board, body or committee has a Chair and Secretary.


The terms of reference will specify whether person specification for the Chair - this might be a specific role within the College or an independent member.

The Chair provides leadership and direction to the committee and facilitates the committee’s business.

An effective Chair has a strong understanding of the remit and role of their committee and how it fits into the wider governance structure of Goldsmiths.

Chairs should welcome all members and ensure they have an opportunity to contribute.

They should ensure that all actions are clearly indicated so that they are accurately recorded alongside an owner and timeframe. They should end unnecessary or out of remit discussions to ensure that only relevant issues are discussed, and the agenda items are covered.


The Committee Secretary is not just a note-taker, they are a key individual who supports the Chair to manage the business of the Committee, ensure decisions are made and communicated to key stakeholders.

They ensure that the Business of the Committee:

  1. aligns with the terms of reference of the committee
  2. is undertaken at the appropriate time in the academic year, ensuring that approval routes and external deadlines are factored into schedules of business

Secretaries should also understand their committee’s role in the wider governance structure, including their role and terms of reference. This wider knowledge enables secretaries to better communicate with the committees their committee interacts with.

Secretaries are responsible for: ensuring members are aware of their role; planning agendas with the Chair; categorising items; commissioning, quality-assuring, organising and circulating papers and communicating with sub and parent committees.


No matter what category of member they are all members have the same duties when sitting on a committee.

Members should utilise their skills and experience to inform the discussion and decisions at the committee.

Members should always:

  • Act in good faith, in the best interests of Goldsmiths, and to ensure assets are used only for charitable purposes
  • Act in the interests of the College (charity) as a whole, and not as a representative of any particular sectoral interest
  • Act impartially (avoid conflicts of interest)
  • Act collectively and achieve consensus, wherever possible

Secretariat (Governance Team)

The Secretariat is the professional service team who maintain the College’s committee structure as outlined in the governing documents.

The team act as the central point of contact between the College and its independent governors, the Lay Members of Council. All Secretaries, as well as any staff involved in organising meetings within their Departments, can call on the Secretariat for advice and assistance at any time.