Out of Session Decision Making

Part of a School Representative Body’s role is to make decisions. This would normally occur in a formal meeting.   Due to time and other restraints at a meeting, final decisions are not always reached.

Items may arise in between general meetings that require a decision to be made.

It is not advisable to use Out of Session Decision-Making on a significant or highly contentious issue.  This should always be done through a properly called and face to face meeting to ensure full transparency and due process.

Consider whether the decision warrants a Special General Meeting of the School Representative Body which can be called for the purpose of dealing with a specific matter. The business of a Special General meeting will be confined to the single agenda item for which it is called.

If the School Representative Body finds reasonable cause to make an Out of Session decision, this may be done by email, phone or even, but not limited to, a notice board.

Process: 

  • The Chair or Secretary contacts all members of the School Representative Body, clearly outlining the matter to be decided on. (Via email, phone call, text, note, notice board or agreed method.)
  • A deadline (date and time) is given as to when answers need to be received by.
  • A question and answer process may occur. If the decision is happening via email, it can be very useful to use “Reply All” so that all members of the School Representative Body are involved in the discussion, creating openness and transparency and a more informed decision.
  • One must hear back from at least half of the members of the School Representative Body (quorum) before a decision can be made.
  • The Chair or Secretary records and collates the answers and ensures that only those eligible to vote have voted. (I.e. If you have included your Business Manager in the email for background information, it is important to remember that they cannot vote.)
  • At the agreed time, the Chair announces the decision, based on a simple majority.
  • At the next meeting, the Out of Session Decision is recorded in the minutes and ratified.


Important Points:

  1. If your School Representative Body has adopted Standing Orders, your Out of Session Decision Making process will be detailed there.
  2. Ensure all members have a mutual understanding as to the purpose and process for making Out of Session Decisions.
  3. Remember to be fair and inclusive so that all members of the School Representative Body have the opportunity to be involved in the Out of Session decision process.
  4. Fiduciary duty must always apply – i.e. always make decisions that are in the best interest of the School Representative Body.