Standing Orders of Senate

Establishment of the Council of Senate: Standing Orders of the Council of Senate

June 2014

1. There shall be five ordinary meetings of the Council of Senate in each academic year. Meetings shall normally be held in October, December, February, April and June. Meetings shall normally be held on Thursdays at 2.00 pm. Meetings shall be summoned by the Principal.

2. Meetings of the Council shall be convened by the Principal. In the absence of the Principal, meetings shall be convened by the senior Vice-Principal present (excepting the Clerk of Senate).

3. Extraordinary meetings of the Council may be summoned by the Principal in consultation with the Clerk of Senate. An extraordinary meeting shall also be summoned by the Principal on the submission to the Director of the Senate Office of a requisition signed by a minimum of twelve members of the Council. The requisition shall specify the business to be considered. A minimum of three working days’ notice of the meeting shall be given by the Senate Office.

4. The agenda for meetings of the Council shall be prepared by the Director of the Senate Office in conjunction with the Clerk of Senate and the Principal. Proposed items of business for ordinary meetings of the Council may be submitted by any Council member and should be notified to the Director of the Senate Office no less than ten working days before the meeting. The agenda shall normally include as an item ‘Principal’s Q&A’. Items proposed for consideration under Principal’s Q&A should be notified to the Director of the Senate Office no less than ten working days before the meeting. An annual schedule of expected business shall be maintained. This shall include periodic presentations on the work of the main committees of the Council by their Conveners.

5. The Council of Senate Business Committee shall be drawn from the membership of the Council and shall meet normally five working days in advance of Council meetings. The Business Committee shall consider the agenda for the forthcoming Council meeting and provide its comments in an annotated version of the Council agenda. The Business Committee shall also consider items proposed by members and items proposed under Principal’s Q&A. Where the Business Committee decides that a proposed item should not be included on the agenda, it shall provide a statement of the reasons for its decision to the member proposing the item. The Business Committee shall not exclude a duly proposed motion arising from the agenda (see point 7 below).

6. The agenda and papers for Council meetings shall normally be issued not less than ten working days in advance of the meeting. Papers will be issued to all members of Senate. The agenda and unreserved papers shall be available on the Senate Office web site internally and externally.

7. Formal motions arising from the issued agenda shall be submitted to the Director of the Senate Office in hard copy and signed by the proposer and a seconder, both of whom shall be members of the Council, not less than five full days before the Council is due to meet. The Senate Office shall circulate such motions to members of the Council and of Senate and they shall be tabled at the meeting.

8. Motions may be proposed arising from discussion during meetings on the basis that, in the judgement of the Convenor, they relate directly to discussion of the topic under consideration (subject to the Council having been provided with sufficient information to allow it to form a judgement on the matter without further consultation). In addition, the Convenor may ask the Council for an indicative vote on a matter under discussion on the Agenda.

9. When an amendment to a motion has been made and seconded, no other amendment shall be accepted by the Convener until the amendment before the meeting has been disposed of. When the amendment is put to the meeting, a vote shall be taken for and against. If the amendment is carried, the question before the meeting shall be the motion as amended. If the amendment is lost, the question shall be again the motion as it stood before the amendment was proposed. In either case, it shall then be competent for any member to propose another amendment which, if duly seconded, shall be dealt with as described above. The motion in its final form shall be put to the meeting and a vote taken for and against. Except by express leave of the Convener, only the proposer of a motion shall have the right of reply at the end of discussion by the Council of Senate.

10. At any time in the course of a discussion, a member may raise a point of order and the discussion shall be suspended until the point of order has been decided by the Convener, whose decision shall be final.

11. The agenda for normal meetings shall be divided into:

Part A: Items for discussion

Part B: Items for formal approval

Part C: Items for information

Items from Parts B and C of the agenda shall not normally be discussed.  However, the Council Business Committee may indicate that items from Parts B or C have also been identified ('starred') for discussion.  At the outset of the meeting, the Convener shall ask members whether they wish to have further items starred.  Items submitted for approval that are not discussed shall be deemed to have been approved at the meeting. 

12. The quorum for meetings of the Council shall be 80 members. The quorum may be increased by the Council in the event of the appointment of additional members to the composition of the Council.

13. Further urgent or non-contentious items may be added to the agenda at the discretion of the Convener.

14. Voting at a Council meeting shall normally be by means of a show of hands. In the event of a vote, the Convener shall have a deliberative and a casting vote.

15. Members of Senate who are not members of the Council may attend meetings of the Council and participate fully in any discussions, but may not take part in any vote by the Council.

16. Any member of the Council who has a personal interest in any matter under discussion at any meeting of the Council shall, as soon as practicable, disclose that fact to the meeting. The Convener shall determine whether the member shall withdraw from the discussion. A member is not, however, considered to have a personal interest in matters under discussion merely by virtue of being a member of staff or a student of the University.

17. The Convener shall determine all questions of procedure not expressly provided for in these Standing Orders.

18. The Principal and Clerk of Senate may act on the Council’s behalf on any urgent matter between ordinary meetings of the Council. A record of action taken will be provided to the next ordinary meeting of the Council.

19. An amendment to the Council’s Standing Orders will require the support of two-thirds of the Council’s membership, subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Council as established by Senate.

Approved by the Council of Senate on 5 June 2014