The full cycle
1. A proposal for a change in policy is made, which can be prompted either by an internal desire or need for change, or as a result of an external body’s recommendation or proposal. Often, an ad hoc working group is then established by the Council or another University body specifically to review current practices, to look at good practice examples, and to make recommendations. The working group seeks information from relevant parties (which may include consultation with external bodies). It then reports on its findings to the relevant committees. A consultation period often follows, to receive internal feedback on the proposals.
2. A draft Report is composed which sets out the recommendations, background information on the proposals, and consequential changes to Statutes and Ordinances. The Report is submitted for approval to the Council; the Report is then published in the Reporter and put up for Discussion.
3. Remarks made at the Discussion are published in the Reporter and the Council may respond by way of a Notice. A Grace will then be published. If no amendment or request for a ballot is received, the Grace will be approved nine days after publication. Otherwise, the Council may accept an amendment as proposed, or call a ballot itself to decide between the original and the amended wording. Following on from the ballot, Statutes and Ordinances are amended as appropriate. Any changes in Statute must be approved by Privy Council – which can take up to six months.
Straightforward items for approval
The Council and General Board have the authority to make certain decisions and much of the straightforward business of the University requiring the approval of the Regent House, for example new regulations for trusts or changes in exam regulations, proceeds by means of a Grace (and explanatory footnote), or by Notice and Grace.