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Democracy Zone (14th January 2014)

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Name of Committee Democracy Zone
Date and time 14th January 2014, 10:00
Place Meeting Room 2

Actions and Decisions

TypeDescriptionWho
Action Ongoing: Scheduling of Summer term Union Council dates David Martin, Guy Drury
Action Ongoing: Set (provisional) dates for Union Council until 2020 David Martin, Guy Drury
Action Ongoing: Email committee members asking for votes on which voter software they prefer
Action Item 8: Amend Policy 1213P16- Leadership and Representation mandate section 3, to refer to 3.4 e & f. Guy Drury
Action Item 7: re-word the Spring Election By-law, section 6.1 Guy Drury
Action Item 7: remove 7.3 from the Spring Elections By-law Guy Drury
Action Item 7: in the Spring Elections By-law, add an additional point to section 5 labelled 5.8 (see item 7 in minutes) Guy Drury
Action Item 6: With permission from the Union Council Chair, this debating by-law will be trialled at the next Union Council
Action Item 6: add a procedural motion to section 4.2 that allows Union Council members to be removed from meetings Guy Drury
Action Item 6: Rename this paper 'Union Council Debating by-law' Guy Drury
Action Item 6: Re-write procedure behind Procedural Motions and bring to a future DZC meeting Guy Drury
Action Item 6: Make agreed amendments (outlined in minutes) to the debating by-law Guy Drury
Action Item 5: Ensure that in future Union Council Chair briefing/training, that they also have responsibility for the Disciplinary Committee Katie Ng, Guy Drury
Action Follow up with VP Engagement regarding policies 1011P22 and 0506P20 David Martin
1. Apologies and attendance

David Martin welcomed everyone to the first Zone Committee of the year. Apologies and attendance were noted as above. This meeting was quorate. Also in attendance were Union members Jade Head and Marcus Burton.

Katy O'Brien was absent without apologies.

2. Approval of minutes from the last Committee meeting (13th December 2013)

The minutes from the Democracy Zone Committee meeting held on 13th December 2013 were approved by the committee members.

The committee were updated on the status of the actions from the last meeting: 

  1. Student Groups Committee reports will include additional information on group names and allocated zones
  2. Scheduling of Summer term Union Council dates have been delayed but they will be arranged ASAP
  3. Provisional dates for Union Council (UC) until 2020 will be set in the next few weeks (after elections period)
  4. The review of the M&AA will now occur at the end of Summer term 2015 not 2016
  5. Election By-laws will be discussed at this meeting
  6. The choice between eChoice and VoteMatch still needs to be formally made by the committee, (there is a preference for eChoice) 
  7. David Martin is in the process of reviewing and ammending Policy 0910P25
  8. The Committee ratified the decisions made in the last meeting through approval of the minutes
  9. David Martin will follow up with VP Engagement regarding policies 1011P22 and 0506P20
  10. Union member, Marcus Burton has created a document detailing where polices were passed (AGM or UC)
  11. Staff will be sorting through lapsed polices over the next few weeks (after elections)
Action Ongoing: Scheduling of Summer term Union Council dates (David Martin, Guy Drury)
Action Ongoing: Set (provisional) dates for Union Council until 2020 (David Martin, Guy Drury)
Action Ongoing: Email committee members asking for votes on which voter software they prefer
Action Follow up with VP Engagement regarding policies 1011P22 and 0506P20 (David Martin)
Student Groups
3. Update on affiliations and funding

David Martin presented the report on behalf of Jamie Hemingway, Student Groups Officer. Jaki asked if the reports could include the budget available for student groups, and not just the budget allocated; this will be taken into account for the next round of funding. On a related matter, Jaki asked where the monthly Zone reports fit into the Committee meetings. Nickola explained that the general idea is for each committee to recieve their report at Zone committee meetings so they can comment or ask questions. They will also be available on the new Zones website once it is up and running.  

Jamie Hemingway arrived.

Marcus asked if the number of student groups being rejected for funding was concerning; David Martin answered no as many of the applications are rejected on the ground that they are not strong enough or they are requests for items that SUSU cannot provide funding for.

Policy
4. Volunteer training policies

David Martin introduced the topic and explained to the committee what was being asked of them. As there were no questions regarding this paper, the committee moved to a vote; four members voted FOR retaining Policy 0910P17 - Implementation of Equal Opportunities, therefore amending the decision made in the last meeting to allow it to lapse.

This policy will now be taken to the next UC with a recommendation to retain it.

Constitution
5. Disciplinary procedure reform (for approval)

David Martin handed over to Guy and Nickola who had done the bulk of the work on reforming the Disciplinary procedure. Nickola outlined the background behind this and added that Henry Pearson, Chair of Disciplinary Committee, had been involved in discussions as well. Guy gave a summary of the changes that had been made and invited thoughts and suggestions from the group. The following changes were decided:

  • Section 2.4, remove text within brackets and change 'student' to 'member'
  • Section 3.4, to include text stating that absence of the Chair can include absence due to conflict of interest
  • Section 2.5, re-write (see attached document 'Rule 9 MB responses')
  • Section 3.3, re-worded and also refer to 'member' instead of 'person'
  • Jade Head questioned 3.1 and when the Chair of Disciplinary Committee is elected. It was decided to change this section to explain that the chair will be elected by and from Union Councillors by the end of week 4 of every academic year
  • Move the content from the Appendix to 4.2.d and remove the Appendix
  • Re-write Rule 8 to allow for exceptions to the rule of interpretation e.g. in the case of disciplinary committees, allow the Chair of Disciplinary Committee to have more power over interpretation of rules
  • Remove section 4.4
  • Move section 6.1 to section 5 (5.6)

David Martin said that there had been enough discussion on this topic and so, in the interest of time, he decided to move onto the next item on the agenda. The committee would return to item five at the end of the meeting if there was time. 

Action Item 5: Ensure that in future Union Council Chair briefing/training, that they also have responsibility for the Disciplinary Committee (Katie Ng, Guy Drury)
6. Debating by-law (for consideration)

David Martin explained that there is no formal by-law for debating during Union Council meetings that is currently active. He presented this paper for discussion and asked members for their opinions.

  • Marcus questioned whether 3.1 was correct and suggested that the Chair should decide which order amendments should be debated. There was agreement that this approach would be better; 3.1 will be corrected to read 'Amendments shall be debated in the order determined by the Chair'.
  • David Martin asked to change the timings of speeches outlined in section 2.3. It was agreed that timings in this section (excluding 2.3.e) would be increased by one minute.

There was discussion amongst the committee as to which method was fairer and which would provide the best quality of debating. David Martin asked the committee members present to state their preferred method of debating; the current system or the method outlined in this paper. The committee were split with two members preferring each system. Jaki suggested asking the Chair of Union Council if they would be happy to trial this method of debating in the next Union Council meeting; the committee agreed to this.

David Martin asked if there were any other thoughts on the by-law.

  • Marcus asked if section 8.5 was referring to a new Procedural Motion (currently there is no motion that allows Union Council members to be removed from a meeting); Guy said yes and that he would add this in as an additional point in 4.2 and in the Rules.
  • Marcus also asked for claification on whether these by-laws applied to AGMs as well as Union Council. The paper does not make clear where these rules should be applied and so it was agreed to rename them 'Union Council Debating by-laws' and refer only to Union Council meetings throughout.
  • There was also discussion about where the Procedural Motions should be listed (Rules or in the By-law); Guy agreed to re-write the procedure behind Procedural Motions and present it to the committee at a future date.

 

Action Item 6: With permission from the Union Council Chair, this debating by-law will be trialled at the next Union Council
Action Item 6: add a procedural motion to section 4.2 that allows Union Council members to be removed from meetings (Guy Drury)
Action Item 6: Rename this paper 'Union Council Debating by-law' (Guy Drury)
Action Item 6: Re-write procedure behind Procedural Motions and bring to a future DZC meeting (Guy Drury)
Action Item 6: Make agreed amendments (outlined in minutes) to the debating by-law (Guy Drury)
7. Elections by-laws (for approval)

Guy Drury introduced this paper and explained the background of it.

The committee moved to a vote on the Open Place Union Councillor Elections by-law; 4 members voted to approve this by-law.

Discussion turned to the Spring Election By-law. Jaki advised that point 6.1 should also include a statement explaining that a Union officer is also not allowed to campaign whilst they are on duty as a Union officer. Guy said he would add this into 6.1. David Gilani asked if we should be prohibiting the use of ladders by candidates as this may put off some candidates and negatively affect the elections. Guy explained that it is necessary as SUSU could be held accountable for accidents that do occur. Jaki suggested that, as 7.2 covers 7.3, perhaps 7.3 could be removed and, in its place, additional information on how SUSU will facilitate the placement of publicity at heights can be added. It was decided that an additional 5.8 would be created and it will read ' Any publicity placed contrary to arrangements may be removed and the candidate punished accordingly'.

After discussion, the committee moved to a vote on the Spring Elections By-law; four members voted to conditionally approve this by-law with the amendments outlined above.

 

Action Item 7: re-word the Spring Election By-law, section 6.1 (Guy Drury)
Action Item 7: remove 7.3 from the Spring Elections By-law (Guy Drury)
Action Item 7: in the Spring Elections By-law, add an additional point to section 5 labelled 5.8 (see item 7 in minutes) (Guy Drury)
Elections
8. 11th Open Place Union Councillor - how to elect in accordance with the Leadership and Representation Policy

David Martin introduced this paper and explained why there is currently an issue with electing equal numbers of men and women into the Open Union Councillor positions; the committee were asked to decided which method of electing the 11th position should be used.

The committee discussed the following two options:

  1. After the allocation of the five highest-placed men and women to the first 10 positions, the 11th place will be given to the candidate with the next-highest number of votes.
  2. Alternatively, the representation of men and women across the rest of the membership of Union Council will be examined, and the 11th position allocated to the next highest-placed candidate whose gender is under-represented. If the representation is already balanced, then the 11th place will be given to the candidate with the next highest number of votes'. 

After discussion, the committee moved to a vote; two members voted for option two and two members abstained.

It was therefore decided that solution two would be the best option in practice and more in line with current policy.

David Martin then asked the committee how these elections should be held: as one election or as two seperate elections. The committee moved to a vote: one member voted for holding a single election and three members voted for holding two seperate elections.

The committee voted in favour of holding two seperate elections. 

Action Item 8: Amend Policy 1213P16- Leadership and Representation mandate section 3, to refer to 3.4 e & f. (Guy Drury)
Any other business
9. Date of next meeting

The meeting finished at 12.15pm. As there was not enough time to complete discussion on item five, the committee decided to meet again before the next Union Council. The Chair asked for volunteers for this meeting; Evan Whyte, Jamie Hemingway, Jade Head and Marcus Burton volunteered. It was decided that Katy O'Brien and Henry Pearson, Chair of Disciplinary Committee, should also be invited to this meeting.

The next Democracy Zone Committee will be held shortly after the Spring elections, date TBA. 

Key: P (Papers Provided), PF (Papers to Follow)