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Governance and Structure

​​​​​The University Executive Committee is responsible for all matters associated with the development and management of the university.

Council Standing Orders

Last updated: 9 February 2022

Guidelines on the conduct of Council business (as of May 2018)

1. Preamble

1.1 Council business shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the University’s Articles of Association.

2. Order of Business and Agenda

2.1 The Chair of Council with the University Secretary shall be responsible for the agenda. Any member of Council may ask for an item to be considered for the agenda by sending it to the Secretary at least three weeks before the date of the meeting.

2.2 The Council agenda indicates which of the following three categories each item is classified as:

Open Business

Business designated as open means that it has been judged that it is material which is appropriate to be published on the University website and therefore available to all members of Staff and Students and by implication the general public. The minute of the item will be made available to all Staff, Students and Council Members in such manner or manners as are approved by Council from time to time and all Council Members shall be entitled to be present at the relevant Council meeting at which the open item is discussed.

The related paper (if applicable) will be made available to members of staff and students via the Infonet, unless the Council at its discretion in any particular case considers that the paper should remain confidential even though the record of the discussion contained in the minutes will be open.

Confidential Business

In respect of a confidential matter then all Council Members shall be entitled to be present at the relevant Council meeting. Matters should be classified as confidential where that is appropriate, having regard to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and/or the Data Protection Act, to protect the University’s interests, to protect matters which are personal, or to protect matters which are commercially sensitive. Any related papers shall remain confidential to Council Members (and any members of University Executive entitled to be in attendance). The presumption is that the record of the discussion of that item contained in the minutes will also be confidential, unless the Council at its discretion in any particular case considers that the minutes may be made available to all Staff and Students.

Reserved Business

This classification shall only be made if the item relates to a named or identifiable current or prospective or former member of Council or of Staff or of Student(s) or the Secretary. In that case all Staff and Student Council Members shall withdraw from the meeting together with any other Council Member or the Secretary who has a personal interest in the item. The minute and any related papers shall only be available on a confidential basis to those Council Members entitled to be present at the meeting where the item was discussed. An exception is made for discussion of Remuneration and Human Resources Committee (RHRC) business, where the Student Member who is the member of RHRC may remain for discussion of RHRC business.

3. Council Business

3.1 All items which are confidential will be clearly indicated as being confidential. Other items may be discussed outside of Council prior to the publication of the minutes.

3.2 Normally, the agenda and all papers for Council are circulated one week before the date of the meeting. At times, the scheduling of committees or the need for urgent action may prevent this. In such circumstances the Council may agree to consider papers which are laid on the table or to take minor matters under Any Other Business. While it is recognised that a rigid line on allowing consideration of late business would be prejudicial to the efficient functioning of the University, it is generally understood that such business should be kept to a minimum.

3.3 If a member has a potential conflict of interest in an item under consideration they should declare it and withdraw from the meeting for the discussion of the item unless the meeting decides otherwise.

4. Conduct of Council Meetings

4.1 Responsibility for presenting business to Council lies primarily with the Vice-Chancellor or appropriate member of the University’s Executive. In presenting business which has been considered by Council Committees, any recommendations made by the Committee(s) will be included.

4.2 The person presenting business to Council is responsible for ensuring that it is clearly presented and explained and includes recommendations. All items shall include a cover sheet using the standard format.

4.3 To save the time of the Council, members should, wherever possible, seek any factual information they may need or notify apparent errors in papers outside the meeting itself.

4.4 No fixed limits are set to either the length of contribution or the number of times a member may speak, but members are urged to bear constantly in mind the need for brevity and gauge the number and duration of their interventions accordingly.

4.5 The Chair is responsible for ensuring that all opinions related to an item under discussion have adequate opportunity to be heard. He/she may, though, draw the attention of any member to the need to avoid repetition, for economy in time, or indicate to Council a view that the discussion should be brought to a close. The Chair may also call to order a member whom he or she considers has strayed from the matter under discussion.

4.6 Proposals and recommendations contained in papers under consideration do not require proposing and seconding.

4.7 Proposals to Council may be approved (with or without amendment), rejected, transferred to a committee, referred back to the originating committee or officer for further consideration, or be subject to any other action as determined by Council. Decisions will normally be reached by consensus and regarded as ‘nem con’ unless a member asks for a dissenting view to be recorded.

4.8 Motions, which must be proposed and seconded, may be put to the meeting by members. Amendments to motions, which must also be proposed and seconded, may also be put to the meeting. Any amendment will be considered before the substantive motion is considered. If multiple amendments are put forward they will be considered individually in the order in which they are put forward.

5. Quorum

5.1 The quorum and arrangements for proceeding if a meeting is inquorate are detailed in the Articles of Association.


6.1 The Chair shall be taken by the Chair of Council or in his/her absence by the Vice-Chair. In the absence of both Chair and Vice-Chair the members present shall elect a Chair for the meeting.

6.2 The Chair of the meeting may vote on a matter under consideration and, in addition, shall have a second casting vote if any vote is tied.

6.3 The ruling of the Chair on the interpretation of these Guidelines is final.

7. Amendments

7.1 The Governance and Nominations Committee shall be responsible for advising Council on any amendments to these Guidelines.

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