Terms of Reference

The approved Terms of Reference of the Exception Committee.

1 Purpose

Under delegated authority, to make decisions which would otherwise require Court approval between meetings of Court subject to defined principles and on the understanding that any matter so referred can be referred to the full Court should this be the wish of the Exception Committee.

2 Composition

2.1 The Committee shall consist of at least six members.

2.2 The Principal, the Senior Lay Member, the University Secretary, and the Convener (if a Court member) of each of the other Standing Committees of Court shall be ex officio members of the Committee.

2.3 Unless otherwise represented the membership of the Committee must also include a General Council Assessor, a staff member of Court and a representative of the Students’ Association (normally the President).

2.4 Court shall appoint members of the Exception Committee on the recommendation of the Nominations Committee.

2.5 The term of office of lay members will be no longer than their membership of Court and will be for a maximum of three years.

2.6 The term of office of the staff member of Court and General Council Assessor will be no longer than their membership of Court and will be for a maximum of three years.

2.7 Previous members are eligible for re-appointment up to a normal maximum of two consecutive terms of office.

2.8 The Senior Lay Member shall be appointed ex officio Convener of the Committee.

2.9 All members of the Exception Committee are expected to comply with the University’s Code of Conduct as set out in the University’s Handbook and declare any interests which may conflict with their responsibilities as members of the Exception Committee.

3 Meetings

3.1 The Committee will be convened only if required and much of its business is expected to be conducted through correspondence. Meetings may be held in person or virtually by the means of videoconference, teleconference or other means.

3.2 The aim will be to circulate minutes, agendas and papers to members of the Committee at least five working days in advance of the meeting or prior to the conclusion of the consultation period. In cases of extreme urgency which is likely to often be the case given the nature of this Committee and with the agreement of the Convener papers can be tabled at meetings of the Committee or the conclusion of the consultation period may be within 24 hours of circulation of the information.

3.3 Papers will indicate the originator/s and purpose of the paper, the matter/s which the Committee is being asked to consider and any action/s required and confirm the status of the paper in respect of freedom of information legislation.

3.4 Four members of the Committee shall be a quorum.  This number must include the Senior Lay Member and the Convener of the Audit and Risk Committee.

3.5 A formal minute will be kept of proceedings and submitted for approval as soon as practicable to members of the Committee. The draft minute will be agreed with the Convener of the Committee prior to circulation.

4 Remit

4.1 To consider any matter between meetings of Court and with the full delegated authority of Court to make a decision on the matter on behalf of Court.

4.2 The Committee in reaching a decision must be satisfied regarding the following:

  • that a detailed risk assessment has been undertaken on the matter under consideration and that there is clarity in the information presented to the Committee on the actions to mitigate any identified risks;
  • there is evidence of the consideration given to the equality impact of the matter under consideration; and
  • there is a robust rationale for the proposals or options being presented by the identified lead senior officer or officers including information on the outcome of any consultation undertaken.

4.3 Any decision agreed must comply with following principles:

  • be consistent with the University’s approved strategic plan and objectives;
  • any resource implications must be fully funded from within existing budgets or robust and satisfactory plans must be in place to meet the identified resource implications; and
  • conforms with relevant legislation and any required external conditions set by bodies such as the Scottish Funding Council.

5 Other

5.1 The Committee will from time to time undertake a review of its own performance and effectiveness as part of the overall review of the effectiveness of Court and its Committees and report thereon to Court.

5.2 In order to fulfil its remit the Committee may obtain external professional advice as necessary.

5.3 A report on issues discussed at each meeting or concluded via correspondence will be provided to the subsequent meeting of Court.

5.4 Membership of the Committee will be published on the University’s website.

5.5 To undertake such other responsibilities as the Court may determine.

Approved 12 May 2014, last update 14 June 2021