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Democracy Zone (23rd April 2014)

Minutes

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Name of Committee Democracy Zone
Date and time 23rd April 2014, 13:00
Place Meeting Room 2
Present Members
(voting)
Union President David Gilani
Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries David Martin
Vice President Sports Evan Whyte
Clubs and Societies Officer Jamie Hemingway
Union Councillor Jamie Barker
In Attendance
(non-voting officers and staff)
Union Council Chair Katy O'Brien
Head of Membership and Community Engagement Nickola Moore
Democracy Assistant Katie Ng
Democracy Coordinator Guy Drury
Absent with Apologies Chief Executive Jaki Booth
Union Councillor Mayan Al-Shakarchy

Actions and Decisions

TypeDescriptionWho
Action Correcting members names in the membership list e.g. Katy 'let's shine' O'Brien Guy Drury
Action Circulate paper on how to create policies David Martin
Decision Lorna Reavley has agreed to be the Returning Officer for the Summer Elections
Action Speak to Paul Davie about getting UC and Student Trustee results data online David Martin
Action Amend Union Mandates to include '4. Student Leaders to present plans to first Zone Committee of the academic year' David Martin, Guy Drury
Action Union Council admin timetable to inlcude Zone plans (for presentation during first Union Council of the academic year) Nickola Moore, Katie Ng
Decision Approved the changes to Rule 2
Decision Approved the Officer Transparency policy proposal
Decision Approved the Debating By law
Decision Approved the minor amendments to Rule 4
Decision Staff to inform students if their role is being changed, and include them in the process Guy Drury
Decision Approved changes to role and status of Chair of Union Council
1. Apologies and attendance

David Martin welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies were recieved from Mayan Al-Shakarchy.

2. Minutes from the previous meeting

The minutes from the Democracy Zone Committee meeting held on 25th March 2014 were approved by the members. It was brought to attention that Katy O'Brien's name is still incorrect on the system; Guy will look into correcting this.

  • David Martin has created a general guide on how to write policies which will be circulated to the committee.
  • The Student Leader review is an ongoing project that will be taken forward into next year.
  • Lorna Reavley has agreed to be the Returning Officer for the Summer Elections.
  • The Union Councillor and Student Trustee results data is not on the website; David Martin will follow up with Paul Davie on this matter.

All other actions had been addressed.

Action Correcting members names in the membership list e.g. Katy 'let's shine' O'Brien (Guy Drury)
Action Circulate paper on how to create policies (David Martin)
Decision Lorna Reavley has agreed to be the Returning Officer for the Summer Elections
Action Speak to Paul Davie about getting UC and Student Trustee results data online (David Martin)
Student Groups
3. Update on affiliations and funding

Since the last meeting, there has not been a Student Groups Committee affiliation meeting. The next one is scheduled for Friday 9th May, 12pm in Meeting Room 2. As of this date, there are 18 requests for affiliation.

David Martin informed the group that Funding Round 3 has now closed. He added that he is also looking into the finances of all student groups and has found that a very small number of groups have not yet claimed the money they have requested in past funding rounds; this is being looked into.

Policy Review
4. Reducing the intervals for Policy lapse

David Martin explained that this paper outlined changes to Rule 2 (Decision Making) regarding the process of reviewing Policy and the intervals at which Policy is lapsed, as recommended by the Democracy Zone Committee on 25th March.

David Gilani asked how often lapsing policies would be taken to Union Council within one year. Guy explained that lapsing Policies would only be brought up in Union Council once a year, during the second term (Stage 3).  

The committee voted to approve these change; 4 voted for, 0 against and 0 abstained. These rule changes will be taken to Union Council on 1st May for approval.

Decision Approved the changes to Rule 2
5. Officer Transparency policy

David Martin explained he had been mandated by this Committee to re-write Policy 0910P25 Manifesto Transparency, due to recommendations from the Policy Review Group; the paper presented to the Committee is the new proposed Policy.

David Gilani commented that this policy was very well written, however he believed it was too focused on Sabbatical Officers with little mention of how Student Leaders (SL) are held accountable with regards to their plans. It was suggested that this policy may not be the appropriate place to inlcude SLs and that perhaps, in the future a policy focusing solely on SLs and their plans and accountability be created. The Committee agreed that an additional Union Mandate would be included stating that Student Leaders will create and present their plans for the year to the first Zone committee of the academic year.

The Committee voted to approve this policy proposal with the amendment noted above; 4 voted for, 0 against and 0 abstained. This will be taken to Union Council on 1st May.

Action Amend Union Mandates to include '4. Student Leaders to present plans to first Zone Committee of the academic year' (David Martin, Guy Drury)
Action Union Council admin timetable to inlcude Zone plans (for presentation during first Union Council of the academic year) (Nickola Moore, Katie Ng)
Decision Approved the Officer Transparency policy proposal
Constitution
6. Debating by-law

David Martin presented the Debating By-law applicable to General and Annual General Meetings and meetings of the Union Council (including Open Union Council). He drew the Committee's attention to the change made in Section 5 regarding the ability to speak against procedural motions.

The Committee voted to approve this by-law; 4 voted for, 0 against and 0 abstained. This will be taken to Union Council on 1st May.

Decision Approved the Debating By law
7. Minor amendments to the Rules

David Martin presented the Committee with this paper which detailed several minor ammendments to Rule 4.

The Committee voted to approve these minor amendments; 4 voted for, 0 against and 0 abstained. This will be taken to Union Council on 1st May for approval.

Decision Approved the minor amendments to Rule 4
8. Role and status of Chair of Council

David Martin presented this paper which detailed proposed rule changes regarding the Chair of Council. There will be a new section added to Rule 2 (Decision Making) which will give a full job description for the Chair of Council. This addition will allow the Chair to be disciplined or recalled if necessary, therefore affording them similar status to other Officers. However, they will still be seen as separate to other Officers in order for them to maintain a degree of neutrality.

Katy O'Brien asked if a Union Council member sitting in as Chair (for example in the event of the Chair being asked to step down temporarily due to a procedural motion), would be able to vote. Guy explained that in cases like that, they would be strongly advised not to vote.

Katy noted that communication about these changes had left a lot to be desired, and wanted officers in similar positions in future to be better included in discussions. This was duly noted.

The Committee voted to approve these changes; 4 voted for, 0 against and 0 abstained. This will be taken to Union Council on 1st May for approval.

Decision Staff to inform students if their role is being changed, and include them in the process (Guy Drury)
Decision Approved changes to role and status of Chair of Union Council
Elections
9. Summer Elections proforma

The Committee were presented with the Summer Elections proforma. Jamie Hemingway asked if there would be a Working Group for these elections. Guy answered that the whole Working Group system would be looked into and improved, but should a Working Group be needed it could be established. Jamie also asked how results would be published. They will be online after 15th May and hopefully, an event will be arranged to announce the winners.

Other business
10. Any other business

1. Policy ideas for the AGM

The following alterations to the AGM timeline were approved by the committee:

  • Ideas submission deadline will be Tuesday 29th April, 12pm (with circulation of ideas as soon as possible after the deadline).
  • Ranking of ideas, voting will open on Wednesday 30th April 12pm and close on Friday 2nd May 12pm.
  • The results of the ranking will be communicated to students soon after on Friday 2nd May.
  • Policy submission deadline will be Wednesday 7th May 12pm. This will allow sufficient time for students to write up a policy and also seek advice.

2. We the People, A Voice in Your SUSU 1213P17

David Martin informed the Committee that he was working on the above policy and asked that if anyone had any questions regarding this to contact him.

3. AGM notification

Katy O'Brien enquired about delays in receiving the email about the AGM. David Martin explained that it had been sent on 22nd April, and a few students had recieved it, however there has been a technical fault which has resulted in many students not getting the email. this was being looked into, and he was writing a blog about it which would be be released shortly.

David Martin explained that this might be the last meeting of the year. If necessary, a final meeting will be called and Committee members will be notified.

11. Date of the next meeting

David Martin explained that this might be the last meeting of the year. If necessary, a final meeting will be called and Committee members will be notified. 

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