The standard operating procedures explain the conduct and responsibilities of Council and its committees.
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The Standing Orders were revised with effect from 1 September 2005, and again with effect from 1 September 2007, 1 September 2009, 1 September 2010, 1 September 2011, 1 September 2012, 1 September 2015 and 25 June 2020.
In these rules of procedure, the word “committee” shall be deemed to apply to Council, and to all College boards, committees and sub-committees.
Unless prescribed otherwise in the Charter, Statutes, Ordinances or Regulations, the following rules of procedure shall apply to all College committees.
“Year” means an academic year, i.e. from 1 September to 31 August.
“Meeting” means the convening of a committee or board in person, by telephone or such other digital or electronic platform.
2. Constitution of committees
The terms of reference and composition of committees shall be laid down by Academic Board or Council as appropriate, or by both jointly in respect of joint committees.
Under the Statutes, Council has overall responsibility for major restructuring exercises in relation to the committee system.
Committees may make recommendations to the Academic Board or Council as appropriate for changes in their terms of reference or composition, and these will, if approved, take effect on 1 September next following unless there are exceptional reasons (e.g. legal compliance) for them to take effect at another time. Most changes within the system will be consolidated for presentation to Academic Board and Council – in either the Spring or the Summer term preceding intended implementation – and to facilitate this committees are encouraged to bring forward proposals early in the academic year.
Unless otherwise determined in the Statutes, Ordinances or these Standing Orders, elected or appointed members of committees other than students shall, subject to 3.2 below, serve for a period of three years and be eligible for reappointment for a second and final term, unless Council or Academic Board (as appropriate to the reporting line of the Committee concerned – including Council for joint committees of Council and the Board) determines that there is an exceptional case for reappointing a particular individual beyond two terms. Student members shall serve for a period of one year and be eligible for reappointment as determined by the appointing body, provided that they shall cease to be members on ceasing to be students.
A member of a committee who is elected or appointed as ‘a member’ of Academic Board, or of Council, or of any other named committee, shall, unless otherwise stated in the composition of the body concerned, cease to be a member of the committee to which she/he has been appointed or elected on ceasing to be a member of the body form which the appoint or election was made.
Committee Secretaries shall be appointed by the Registrar and Secretary.
Any elected or appointed member of a committee, except Council, who is absent from three consecutive ordinary meetings of the committee, shall cease to be a member unless the committee decides otherwise. Where appropriate, the body from which the member was elected or appointed shall be informed. Attendance at Council is covered by the Statutes.
A casual vacancy shall be filled until the end of a new three-year term, counted from the previous 1 September if it occurs after the beginning of an academic year. However, where members are elected, any elections arising from casual vacancies during the academic year shall normally be filled for three years from 1 September next following.
Where the application of these provisions would lead to a number of appointments to a committee having the same expiry date, and in the view of the appointing body this is likely to be detrimental to the effective conduct of the business by the committee concerned, an appointment to a causal vacancy may instead be made for the residue of the term of appointment of the departing member.
Where no nominations are received of an elected place on a committee, another call for nominations will be made in time for the vacancy to be filled after one complete year, and in each successive year until the vacancy is filled. A member once elected will serve a full three-year term.
Committees may invite such person(s) as they deem appropriate to attend meetings and to give advice or information but shall not extend membership of the committee without the consent of the Academic Board or Council as appropriate.
Co-options: A Committee shall not have the power to co-opt additional members unless specifically provided for in its composition.
Members may not delegate their duties/rights or attendance to other persons without the advance agreement of the Chair
Unless otherwise laid down in the terms of reference or determined by the committee, the quorum of a committee shall be the greater of:
- one-third of its members (the arithmetical third being rounded up or down to the nearest whole number), not counting vacant places
- three members
Where, in the membership of a committee, a member occupies two places (e.g. by holding two offices corresponding to ex officio places simultaneously) one of the places shall be counted as a vacancy for the purpose of calculating the quorum, and in the event of voting the member shall have only one vote (unless he or she qualifies for a second casting vote as Chair).
Any decision taken in the absence of a quorum shall be deemed to be the Chair’s decision taken on the advice of members present, providing no member present registers his or her objection.
The Chair of any committee may cancel a scheduled meeting if in his or her opinion there is insufficient business to be transacted, and should normally do so with at least one week’s notice.
Special meetings of committees may be called at the discretion of the Chair providing members are given at last one week’s notice; a special meeting of any committee shall be called, giving at least one week’s notice, if a request to hold a meeting signed by at least half its members is received by the Chair or Committee Secretary.
6. Agenda, papers and minutes
The officer appointed to act as Committee Secretary shall issue an agenda to each member not less than one week before the date of a meeting and after the meeting shall ensure that proper and timely arrangements are in place for progressing the business to any senior committees, for follow-up action, and for the issuing of minutes following their approval by the Chair.
Items of business not included on the agenda may only be raised at the meeting at the discretion of the Chair, and normally only by giving at least 24 hours’ notice to the Chair and Secretary.
7. Reserved and confidential business
The provisions for the transaction of reserved and confidential business shall be as set out in the statements of College Policy approved by Council, from time to time
If no Chair has been appointed, the committee shall appoint a Chair from amongst its members and may appoint a Deputy Chair.
Chairs of committees, except where ex officio, shall be appointed for a period of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment.
In the absence of the Chair or Deputy Chair from a meeting, the members present shall appoint a Chair for the meeting from amongst their number.
The Chair of a Committee may take action on its behalf on any matter being in his or her opinion either urgent or non-contentious. Such action shall be within the terms of reference of the committee and shall be reported at the next meeting
Under the statues, the Warden is an ex officio member of the Council, the Academic Board, and such other bodies within the College, with the exception of Audit and Risk Committee, as may be determined by the normal procedure for approving the composition of the body concerned, and is entitled to attend and speak at any meeting of any committee except a committee set up to consider the appointment or termination of the office of the Warden.
Decisions shall be made by a majority of members present and voting, provided that there is a quorum.
In the case of an equal number of votes cast for and against a motion, the Chair shall have a second and casting vote.
The number of votes cast and number of abstentions may be recorded in the Minutes.
11. Equality and diversity
Committees have a duty to be alert to equality and diversity issues which arise in the areas of College activity which they oversee.