Council Meeting Protocols Policy
These Protocols shall apply to all meetings of the Council of the University and Committees of the Council, unless there is any inconsistency with the University of Newcastle Act 1989 or the University By law, in which case the Act or By-law (as the case may be) shall prevail. In the context of these Protocols, "Council" includes, where relevant, "Committees of the Council"
2. Notice of Meetings
Notice of the time and place of a meeting and a copy of the agenda papers accompanied by supporting statements are to be posted or delivered by the Secretary to each member of the Council at least seven days prior to the meeting or, by agreement of the members, distributed by way of the University Web site.
3. Placing Items of Business on the Agenda - Timing
Items of business for the agenda should reach the Secretary no later than 14 days prior to the meeting date.
4. Business at Meetings
The following meeting protocols and procedures reflect a combination of procedures formally agreed to by the University Council, historical precedents and normal rules of meeting procedure for use by non legislative bodies.
A record of Council Resolutions 1989 - present is maintained by the University through the Secretariat.
4.2. Protocol - Basic Principles
4.2.1. The Chair is the presiding officer.
4.2.2. All business requires a motion.
4.2.3. To put a motion a member must obtain the floor (i.e. the right to speak).
4.2.4. The Chair must determine who has the right to speak to put a motion. This is usually the first member to seek the floor on a particular matter where no one else already has the floor (except where two or more members seek the floor simultaneously, in which case the Chair must decide).
22.214.171.124 A motion requires three actions in order to be debated. It must be:
126.96.36.199.1 put (i.e. made);
188.8.131.52.2 seconded (which does not mean that the seconder must agree with the motion, but is wanting it put for consideration);
184.108.40.206.3 the motion must be stated (i.e. announced) by the Chair.
220.127.116.11 A motion can be rejected by the Chair if it is not in writing, but the Chair has a discretion to accept a motion made orally;
18.104.22.168 A motion can be altered before it is stated by the Chair. Brief informal discussion on alterations is possible, providing that it does not constitute debate on the motion. The mover may alter or withdraw the motion before it is stated by the Chair. The seconder should withdraw the second if the motion is withdrawn;
22.214.171.124 A motion is generally decided by majority vote. (A motion to suspend a rule of order or alter the enabling legislation requires a two-thirds vote);
126.96.36.199 Once a motion is made, the Chair then invites debate on that motion. (Steps to amend a motion after it is made are listed below at 4.2.7);
188.8.131.52 Debate on a motion under the direction of the Chair, should if possible, alternate between pro and con positions;
184.108.40.206 The presiding officer should not comment on motions during the course of debate unless the chair is first vacated by the presiding officer.
4.2.6. Notice of Motions
Notice of main motions on items of business is required. This is either achieved via the agenda, as adopted by the meeting, or by giving notice of a motion to be included in the agenda for a future meeting. The latter procedure is used for all motions on items of New Business.
220.127.116.11 An amendment is made and debated in the same way as a motion i.e. the amendment must be:
put; seconded; stated by the Chair.
18.104.22.168 An amendment must be determined by majority vote before the meeting returns to consideration of the main motion (as amended if the amendment is accepted).
4.2.8. The Agenda
22.214.171.124 The agenda is prepared for the presiding officer by the Secretary who allocates business to the relevant sections of the agenda under the direction of the presiding officer.
126.96.36.199 The meeting either adopts the agenda (by majority vote) or amends it (by a two thirds vote).
4.2.9. Items In Camera
188.8.131.52 A motion to close the meeting to all but members is called 'raising a question of privilege'. It is decided by the Chair by processing it by unanimous consent on a show of hands or, if unanimous consent is not achieved, as a main motion (see 4.2.5).
184.108.40.206 This provision does not apply to those officers of the University whom Council has resolved shall be present during items dealt with in camera.
220.127.116.11 Amending an agenda to declare an item be dealt with in camera is dealt with as above. Where an item is listed as 'in camera' on the agenda, to amend the designation to have it dealt with in general business requires an amendment to the agenda (see 18.104.22.168).
4.2.10. Discussion in Committee
22.214.171.124 When the meeting wishes to consider a subject outside formal business and afterwards resume formal business, it may go into “committee”. This requires a motion (see 4.2.5). If adopted, the Chair immediately calls another member to the chair and takes a place as a member of the committee.
126.96.36.199 Discussions in committee shall not be recorded and shall not lead to resolutions or other determinations. They are used particularly to allow a subject to be discussed where the details or the action required require clarification.
188.8.131.52 The meeting shall determine in advance the length of time to be allowed for discussion in committee.
184.108.40.206 The Quorum provision applies to business referred for discussion in committee.
4.3. University Practice
4.3.1. Starred and Unstarred Items
220.127.116.11 Items are starred on the agenda at distribution or may be starred by members at the commencement of Part Two of Council Business, Matters for Consideration.
18.104.22.168 Unstarred items are then passed in a single motion prior to commencement of consideration of starred items.
4.3.2. Matters for Consideration In Camera - Order of BusinessUniversity practice is to consider Matters for Consideration in Camera as the final section of business at each meeting.
There shall normally be one major presentation to each meeting. The Chair shall determine the program of presentations on the advice of the Secretary to the Council and may include an additional presentation where a particular matter or matters should be brought to the attention of the Council at a particular meeting.
Except as otherwise provided in this Policy or in the legislation concerning the Council, at any meeting of a Council the nearest whole number above one half of the membership of the Council for the time being constitutes a quorum.
6. Conduct of Inquorate Meeting
6.1. Subject to clause 6.2 below, if a quorum is not present within 20 minutes of the stated commencement time, the meeting shall lapse and the business on the Agenda shall be included in the Agenda for the next scheduled ordinary meeting.
6.2. If, in the view of the Chairperson of the meeting, there is or are one or more urgent item(s) of business on the Agenda which cannot await the next scheduled ordinary meeting, the inquorate meeting shall deal only with those items and no others. The meeting shall not confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.
6.3. The next quorate ordinary meeting of the relevant Council shall confirm the minutes of the previous quorate ordinary meeting and ratify the actions of the previous inquorate meeting.
7. Presiding Member
7.1. The person presiding at any meeting of the Council has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, a second or casting vote.
7.2. Where the presiding member declines to exercise a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes, the motion lapses.
8. Meeting May be Adjourned
A meeting of the Council may be adjourned to a later time or date by decision of the meeting.
9. Disclosure of Interests
9.1. If at any meeting of the Council there is to be discussed any matter in which a member of the Council has a direct personal or pecuniary interest or involvement then that member must immediately declare his or her interest or involvement.
9.2. The Council must thereupon determine whether or not that member may be present during any discussion or participate in any decision with respect to that matter.
10. Acts and Proceedings
10.1. No act or proceeding of the Council or of any person acting under the direction of the Council is invalidated or prejudiced by reason only of the fact that at the time of the act or proceeding there was a vacancy in the office of any member of the Council.
10.2. All acts and proceedings of the Council or of any person acting under the direction of the Council are, notwithstanding the subsequent discovery of any defect in the appointment or election of any member, or that any member was disqualified from acting as or incapable of being a member of the Council, as valid as if the member had been duly appointed or elected and was qualified to act as or capable of being a member and has acted as a member of the Council and as if the Council had been properly and fully constituted.
11. Resolution by Flying Minute
11.1. Where in the opinion of the presiding member, a matter requires the urgent consideration of the Council and no meeting is imminent, members may be consulted in writing by flying minute.
11.2. A draft motion put before members by way of a flying minute shall become a resolution of the Council as at the date set for return of responses, provided at least two thirds of all members for the time being vote in favour of the motion.
A resolution passed by way of a flying minute shall be reported to the next ordinary meeting of the Council.
The protocols and procedures in this document are not exhaustive. Further advice may be sought during the meeting through the Chair if required.
Members should also familiarise themselves thoroughly with the duties and obligations of being a member of the governing Council. These duties and obligations are set out in separate guidelines on 'Governance'.
|Policy Sponsor||University Secretary|
|Policy Owner||Academic Registrar|
|Policy Contact||Deputy Academic Registrar, Governance and Academic Administration|