Role and Status of the Chair of Council (1314R3)

Status: Lapsed | Zone: Democracy

Passed: 01/05/2014 | Lapsed: 01/07/2021

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • The various issues and questions about the status and role of the Chair of Council have arisen over the course of the year.
  • At present, the Chair is treated as a Voluntary Officer, as they are not a Union Councillor or Student Leader, and are elected at the AGM each year.
  • There is little provision in the Rules as to their election, holding of office or general duties outside the specific roles assigned to them during meetings.
  • There are no provisions preventing the Chair from holding other positions within the Union; the general prohibition on holding multiple Union Council-level positions contained within Rule 7 (Elections) (which applies to Sabbatical Officers, Student Leaders, Union Councillors and Student Trustees) does not include the Chair of Council.
  • There is no clear means of holding them to account under the provisions of Rule 10 (Discipline and Recall of Union Officers).
  • The policy “Reforming the Role of Union Council Chair” (1112P13), concerning the role and duties of the Chair, passed at the AGM in 2012 but not yet fully implemented.
  • Section 3 of that Policy, requiring decisions to shorten business to be subject to a vote of Council, is satisfied via the ability to put a procedural motion to challenge the Chair’s ruling under Rule 2, section 6.4(g).
  • The role would benefit from a full role description, along the lines of a student leader, which would outline the Chair’s general duties, in particular outside meetings, and would include clarification of their period of office.
  • The procedure around the election of the Chair should be clarified by an elections by-law.
  • It is vital that the Chair in unquestionably neutral on matters coming before Council, and it is important that they do not have the ability to sit twice in decision on a matter, so the position of Chair should not be able to be held in conjunction with any other position within SUSU.
  • The Chair should be able to be held to account by the officer disciplinary process (Rule 10).
  • The provisions of Policy 1112P13 should be reflected in the Rules, and the policy accordingly lapsed, as it has been implemented.
  • To re-affirm the importance of the neutrality and independence of the role of Chair of Council.
  • To add a role description for the Chair of Council to Rule 2 (Decision-Making), by removing section 6.3 and inserting a new section 7, as follows:
    Sorry, there are no Mandates for this policy