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1.5 Standing Orders of the Council

***Amendments to the Standing Orders of the Council were last approved at the meeting of the Council held on 07 February 2024, with changes taking immediate effect.***

The University Statutes contain provisions regarding the conduct of University business in general and of the University Council in particular. The Standing Orders of the Council are secondary to the Statutes.

The Vice-Chair can carry out any of the duties or functions of the Chair under these Standing Orders in the absence of the Chair.

(1) Meetings

(a) Ordinary meetings of the Council shall be held at least once during each term.

(b) Special meetings of the Council may be held as the Council decides.

(c) Extraordinary meetings may be convened at the request of the Chair of Council with the agreement of two thirds of membership, which currently equates to fifteen members, of Council.

(d) Notice of Council meetings, whether ordinary, special or extraordinary, including the agenda and any papers, will be circulated to every member of the Council at least four working days before any meeting of the Council, and the Chair of the Council may request to convene a meeting with less notice where urgent business is to be discussed.

(e) At special meetings and at extraordinary meetings no business shall be taken which does not appear on the agenda.

(f) As per Statute 5(8), quorum for Council meetings, whether ordinary, special or extraordinary, is two thirds of membership, which currently equates to fifteen members, with the majority being independent members.

(2) Order of Business

(a) Subject to the discretion of the Chair, the order of business at an ordinary meeting of the Council shall be as follows:

(i) Items of business which require the full and detailed consideration of the Council, to be determined by the Chair of the Council, in the following order:

(A) the Minutes of the previous ordinary (and of any subsequent special or extraordinary) meeting;

(B) any matters arising on the Minutes;

(C) any business which the Chair may bring forward;

(D) any business which the Vice-Chancellor may bring forward;

(E) reports from the Committees of the Council;

(F) any business required by the Statutes, Ordinances, Regulations or Standing Orders to be done;

(G) questions and notices of motions;

(H) any other business.

(ii) Items of business to be noted and/or approved without discussion.

(b) It will be assumed that members of the Council will have read all the papers circulated.

(c) Papers categorised as Protected or Restricted may not be published by Council members outside the University, or made the subject of public comment, without the agreement of the Council.

(d) Members of the Council should speak with the Secretary to Council prior to discussing the contents of Council papers with anyone outside of the Council membership.

(e) The contents of any papers circulated to members of Council which are marked Restricted, Protected, Confidential or Strictly Confidential must in no circumstances be divulged or discussed with any person who is not a member of Council. The Council may at any meeting by a vote decide to remove the category of ‘Strictly Confidential’ from any paper which has been circulated as such.

(3) Business of Council

(a) The full terms of motions not arising out of the business on the agenda (except a motion for the suspension of Standing Orders) must be given to the Secretary to Council in writing, signed by the members proposing and seconding the motion, not later than 9.30am, four working days before the date of the Council meeting.

(bi) A passed motion may only be rescinded or altered in the academic term during which it was passed, or the term immediately following, if it is signed by at least ten members of the Council.

(bii) A rejected motion may only be reintroduced in the academic term during which it was passed, or the term immediately following, if it is signed by at least ten Council members.

(c) A motion will only be discussed or put to the vote if it has been proposed and seconded. When a motion, which arises out of the business under discussion, has been proposed and seconded, the proposer will, if required by the Chair, provide the Chair with a copy of the motion in writing to be read out, before any discussion or a vote on the motion proceeds.

(d) A motion, which appears on the agenda, will not proceed in the absence of the member who introduced it, unless they have requested another member to take it up in their place. If no other Council member has been requested to do so, the motion will be considered dropped and will not be introduced without fresh notice.

(e) A motion which has been introduced and seconded will not be withdrawn or altered without the consent of a majority of members present.

(f) A motion which carries financial implications for the University will not be voted on at the Council without the Council first having sought advice from its Finance and General Purposes Committee.

(g) A motion which contains matters which fall within the terms of reference of the University Estate and Environment Committee will not be voted on at Council without the Council first having sought advice from its University Estate and Environment Committee.

(h) Except by permission of the Chair, no member shall speak more than once on the same motion or amendment, except the introducer of a motion in reply, or to a point of order or in explanation. Should an amendment be introduced, any member who has spoken on the original motion may speak again to the amendment.

(i) The mover of an original motion will be entitled to reply, but in doing so will not introduce new matter and, after they have begun their reply, no other member will speak on the question. The mover of an amendment will not be entitled to reply.

(j) Any member of Council may ask the Chair any question relating to business which is within the powers of Council. The Chair may, if they wish, pass the question on to the Secretary of Council.

(k) Notices to introduce a motion will state the date on which it is proposed that the motion will be introduced or the question will be asked.

(l) A Standing Order may be made, altered or rescinded where it has been discussed with the Chair and Secretary to Council at least 10 working days before a Council meeting, and with their permission, is included on the agenda for that meeting.

(m) Any member may propose, with the permission of the Chair, one of the procedural motions listed below at any time during a meeting. The proposer of a procedural motion may speak to it and if a seconder can be found the seconder may also speak. The motion will then be put to the Council without further debate. No amendment may be proposed to a procedural motion, unless it relates to the time of adjournment, and no member may discuss any other subject whilst the procedural motion is being discussed. The procedural motions which may be proposed are:

That the Council adjourn for (time specified);

That the debate be adjourned at (time);

That the question be put;

That the question be not put;

That the Council proceed to the next business;

That the matter be referred back to Committee.

(n) All questions of order will be decided by the Chair whose decision shall be final.

(o) Every matter will be determined by the majority of the members present and voting on the motion, except where an electronic ballot, either by email or online vote, of all members has been ordered. In the case of equality of votes, the Chair shall have a casting vote, whether or not they have voted before on the motion.

(p) An electronic ballot of all members may be ordered at a meeting of the Council by the Chair, or on a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Council present and voting.

(q) An electronic ballot of all members may be ordered by the Chair between scheduled meetings of the Council.

(r) A motion for the suspension of Standing Orders will only be carried if two-thirds of the members present are in favour of it.

(4) Honorary Degrees

(a) All members of the Council and the Senate will be invited once each year to submit to the Honorary Degrees Committee, through the Vice-Chancellor, in confidence, nominations for honorary degrees, and they will also have the right to submit nominations in confidence to the Vice-Chancellor at any time.

(b) The constitution of the Honorary Degrees Committee (referred to as ‘The Committee’) will be approved annually by the Council and the Senate and shall be composed as follows:

The Chair of the Council, who will be Chair of the Committee

The Vice-Chancellor

The Provost

One Pro-Vice-Chancellor or nominated deputy

The Chairs of the Faculties

Two Independent members of the Council appointed by the Council

The Director of Development

The Committee will meet at least once in each academic year to consider the names of people nominated for honorary degrees.

(c) The Committee will report annually to the Council

(i) The Committee may itself make additional nominations for honorary degrees and may seek additional nominations from other members of the University in order to obtain a properly balanced list.

(ii) The Committee may seek advice from members of the University on the merits of these candidates under consideration.

(d) The whole proceedings in the selection of honorary graduands will be strictly confidential.

(e) In accordance with the powers contained in Ordinance 5.1 the Senate may grant honorary degrees.

(5) Terms of Reference of Standing Committees of Council

Terms of Reference of Standing Committees of the Council are available here.