The Open University is governed, to a significant extent, by committees. Further information on the formal committee structure can be found on the Government Structure and the Academic Structure pages of this site.
The primary University committees are the Council and the Senate, but within their substructures a number of committees exercise delegated authority on their behalf.
The purpose, terms of reference, mode of operation and membership composition of each formal University Committee is set out in their constitutions.
Committee members hold their positions either by virtue of their role (ex officio) or by election or appointment. OU staff are encouraged to contribute to the work of the University's Committees by standing for election.
The Senate approved the Standing Orders, which, although they do not apply formally to other bodies, are used as advice to all Committee Chairs about the procedure of business. The Standing Orders contains policy information on membership categories, elections and co options, attendance, the conduct of meetings, openness and information and classification of documents. Information on Membership of OU Governance Committees and how they are filled is published as Appendix 1 of the Standing Orders. Details of the Role and Responsibilities of Members is Appendix 2 of the orders. Elections to membership of the Senate, and other committees in the academic governance structure shall be concluded in accordance with the Code of Practice for Elections to OU Governance Committees, is published as Appendix 3. The code also outlines the procedures to be followed in the event of a casual vacancy arising on the Senate, or for a Senate elected member on another committee.
The quorum for meetings of the Council is specified in the Statutes, and for Council Committees in their constitutions. The quorum for meetings of the Senate is 50% plus 1.
Information on the formal committees of the University including their constitutions, papers and minutes can be found on the Governance intranet site. Please note that members of the public will be unable to access this restricted area.