SOAS University of London

SOAS Standing Orders XVIII: Procedures for the Conduct of Committee Meetings

XVIII Procedures for the Conduct of Committee Meetings

These procedures apply to the Board of Trustees and all of its Committees.

1. Meetings of all Committees will be scheduled annually in advance, to allow the orderly conduct of business through to meetings of the Board of Trustees.

2. In the case of a Committee which has no lay members, an agenda paper and supporting papers for each meeting will be sent to each member not later than the third working day before the scheduled meeting and normally five working days before.  If a Committee has lay members, an agenda paper and supporting papers for each meeting will be sent to each member not later than the fifth working day before the scheduled meeting and normally seven working days before. This applies to ordinary and extraordinary meetings.

3. The Chair, together with the Secretary, will set a deadline for receipt of papers in order that the agenda may be distributed to Committee members in a timely fashion.

4. No business will be transacted at an ordinary meeting other than that specified in the agenda paper except for any matter of which the Chair has been advised in advance, which he/she considers urgent, and which has arisen too late to be specified in the agenda.  No papers may be tabled without the consent of the Chair.

5. Committee agendas shall include reserved items where matters under discussion are of a sensitive nature for reasons of protocol or commercial interest or because they relate to individual or identifiable staff or students.

6. The School operates a core meeting hours policy for the timing of institutional meetings. Core meeting hours are 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday. All meetings should be held within core hours unless there is a very clear reason why this is not possible. If one-off events need to be organised outwith core hours e.g. Board of Trustees/Academic Board Joint Meeting, these should be announced with plenty of notice (at least 6 weeks) so that colleagues can make alternative arrangements to cover their out-of-work responsibilities.  

7. There will be a quorum for all Committees which unless specified otherwise will be one third of the membership.  For the Board of Trustees the quorum will be eight, the majority of whom must be lay members, for Resources & Planning Committee five, for Academic Board nine, for Audit Committee two and for Executive Board six.  For the Academic Senate the quorum will be 30.

8. Where issues are put to the vote, a majority of those present and voting will be binding.  Should the Committee be equally divided, the Chair may exercise a casting vote. Vote tallies (and minority opinions raised during meetings) will be minuted.

9. When necessary a Committee meeting may be adjourned but notice of the adjournment and the date it is to be reconvened will be sent to each member, giving at least three working days notice of the intention to reconvene.  In the case of Committees with lay members, at least five working days notice of the intention to reconvene will be given.

10. With the exception of the first meeting of each session, the first business of every ordinary meeting of all Committees will be approval of the minutes of the previous meeting.   At the first meeting of each session, the first item on the agenda will ask each committee to note its membership and terms of reference, as well as the Procedures for the Conduct of Committee Meetings.

11. The Chair is responsible for the conduct of the meeting.  Members are required to co-operate with the Chair to ensure the fair and effective transaction of business, and the observance of the courtesies of debate.

12. Meetings must be conducted in a constructive, non-confrontational atmosphere and the authority of the Chair must be respected at all times.  Members who are guilty of obstructive or offensive conduct will be warned by the Chair that their behaviour is unacceptable.  If this behaviour continues, they may at the discretion of the Chair, be asked to leave the meeting.

13. The Chair may at any time call an extraordinary meeting.

14. The Chair will call an extraordinary meeting on the receipt of a written request to that effect stating clearly the purpose for which the meeting is required and signed by no fewer than five members in the case of the Board of Trustees, three for Resources & Planning Committee, eight for Academic Board and one third of the membership for other Committees.  Extraordinary meetings of the Academic Senate, focusing on a specific issue, may be called by the Director, 50% of Academic Board, or 60 members of the Senate writing to the Senate Chair. 

15. Notice of an extraordinary meeting will be issued a minimum of five working days before the meeting is convened where the Committee has no lay members, and seven working days when the Committee has lay members.

16. The agenda for an extraordinary meeting will only contain papers relevant to the issue(s) under discussion.  The meeting will not be asked to approve minutes, deal with any matters arising, nor will any other business be allowed.