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, 25 June 2020 and 25 March 2021.
In these rules of procedure the word “committee” shall apply to Council and to all College boards, committees and sub-committees.
Unless overridden by the Charter, Statutes, Ordinances or Regulations, the following rules of procedure shall apply to all College committees.
The term “Year” refers to an academic year, i.e. from 1 September to 31 August.
The term “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 defined and approved by Academic Board or Council as appropriate, or by both jointly in respect of joint committees.
Under the Statutes, Council has overall responsibility for any major restructuring of the committee system.
Committees may make recommendations to Academic Board or Council to change their terms of reference or composition. If approved, any changes will take effect from the following 1 September 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 their intended implementation. To facilitate these committees are encouraged to submit recommendations early in the academic year.
Unless otherwise determined in the Statutes, Ordinances or these Standing Orders, elected or appointed members of committees shall, subject to 3.4 below, serve for a term of three years. After this period, they shall be eligible to apply for reappointment to a second and final consecutive term.
Council or Academic Board may determine (as appropriate to the reporting line of the committee concerned, or both in the case of joint committees of Council and the Board) 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 body that appointed them. A student’s committee membership shall end with the cessation of their student status.
Where election or appointment to a committee’s membership is dependent upon a pre-existing membership of another specified committee, with the cessation of that pre-existing membership the dependent membership of the subsequent committee must also end (unless otherwise stated in the composition of the body concerned).
All members will be required to participate in a committee induction prior to taking up post.
Committee Secretaries shall be appointed by the Registrar and Secretary.
Any elected or appointed member of a committee 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 and so Council Members are not subject to this point.
A casual vacancy shall be filled by a new member, whose term of membership shall be counted as having begun from the previous 1 September if the vacancy arises mid-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 that committee, an appointment to a casual vacancy may instead be made for only the remainder of the term the departing member was expected to have served.
Where no nominations are received for an elected post 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 they shall not extend membership of the committee to these person(s) 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.
In instances where a member will be absent from the College for an extended period, encompassing multiple consecutive meetings, then an additional year of membership shall be added to their term; reasons may include but are not limited to maternity or paternity leave, research leave. At the discretion and approval of the Chair, the member may nominate an appropriate interim member to serve in their place for the duration of their period of leave.
In order to be deemed quorate, a minimum number of members must be in attendance at a meeting in order for its business to be conducted with sufficient authority. Unless otherwise laid down in the terms of reference, or otherwise determined by the committee, the quorum of a committee shall be the greater of either:
- 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 they qualify 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 any objection.
The Chair of any committee may cancel a scheduled meeting if in their opinion there is insufficient business to be transacted. In such circumstances meetings should normally be cancelled with at least one week’s notice.
Special meetings of committees may be called in two ways:
- at the discretion of the Chair, providing members are given at least one week’s notice
- if a request to hold a meeting, signed by at least half of the committee’s members, is submitted to the Chair or Committee Secretary with at least one week’s notice of their proposed meeting date
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. After the meeting they shall then ensure that they provide a committee report and required business to the 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.
Any committee or Board may appoint a Deputy Chair from amongst its member, the Deputy Chair will take on the role of Chair when the Chair is unavailable to fulfil their role.
Chairs of committees, except where ex officio, shall be appointed for a period of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment.
Chairs of Committees, except where ex officio, will be identified on the basis of the relevance of their skills and experience to the remit and responsibilities of the Committee. The Chair of Council will approve the Chairs of Council Committee and the Chair of Academic Board will approve the Chairs of Academic Board committees. All Chairs will receive an induction into their role and responsibilities.
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 their 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 Statutes, 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. The Warden 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.