Understanding committee operations

There are some critical elements that must be followed to ensure the committee system of the University runs efficiently and effectively.

Meeting organisation

An efficiently run meeting cycle commences the previous year with the endorsement of the meeting schedule. This is usually presented and considered by the September- October meetings of the committee. Venues, time and dates will be placed into members' Outlook Calendars once these have been confirmed and the Executive Officer will place on the Senior Governance Committee Dates Calendar (PDF).

Developing work plans and formulating agendum

Each Committee will develop an annual Work Plan at the commencement of the year. Work Plans are dynamic documents and will, by their very nature, be amended as the year progresses. Each monthly agenda will include matters identified on the Work Plan as well as matters sent directly to the Executive Officer and cleared by the Chair.

An agenda can be very formal with items starred such as the Academic Board agendum or less formal such as the Course Portfolio and Scholarships Committee (PDF). The style of the agenda to be adopted, depends upon the purpose and scope of the committee, the number of committees providing direct reports and the number of members.

Conduct of the meeting

Meetings need to be conducted using a set of rules, usually referred to as Standing Orders. Academic Board committees use the Standing Orders adopted by the Board, whilst the management committees use those adopted by the Planning and Resources Committee. A Chair has scope to determine how formal or informal a meeting should be run, as long as there are clear processes about the order and deliberative decisions.

Meetings generally follow the same format:

  1. Meeting declared open when quorum reached
  2. Chair's welcome /apologies
  3. Procedural matters, including declaration of possible conflicts, approval of the agenda and confirmation of the minutes of the previous meeting;
  4. Items of business, including matters for approval, discussion and information.
  5. Other business

After the meeting

The Executive Officer will draft the minutes and forward to the Chair for clearance. Once cleared, action memos arising from the meeting will be forwarded to the relevant stakeholders. Minutes are not distributed to members for their input. Members, if the need arises, can raise matters of accuracy within the minutes at the next meeting under confirmation of the minutes.

The Executive Officer of the committee will also prepare a report of the meeting for distribution to the parent body. All items referred will be included in the report along with any attachments.