Standing orders: Rules for running committees

Elsewhere we have discussed the need for rules and guidelines on how to run committees.

‘Standing Orders’ as they are often known, are different from a Code of Conduct in that they provide the nuts and bolts of committee meetings, such as who gets to speak when and how votes are counted.

Codes of conduct are more about how members should behave.

There are various versions of standing orders, many based on systems like Roberts Rules, but there is one thing you need to know when it comes to strata committees: apart from the things that are mandated by law, none of these have any effect unless you as owners officially adopt them at a general meeting.

So have a look at our suggestions for rules that you could have.  Add to them and take some away, depending on how your committee works.  And write to us with your suggestions for improvements.

There is no “one size fits all” for committees so tell us how you would tailor these standing orders to fit your committee.

Proposed Standing Orders for Strata Committees (NSW)

  1. The meeting may not commence until the quorum of attendance (50 percent of the membership as decided at the previous AGM) has been reached. Acting members’ (proxy) votes may not be counted towards the quorum.*
  2. The meeting must be chaired by the elected chairperson unless they are absent or unable to do so, in which case the committee must elect a chair for the duration of that meeting.*
  3. Voting on committee matters is by a show of hands with each member carrying only one vote (unless they have been granted an acting member vote in writing by a member who cannot attend and the committee has agreed to it being allowed).*
  4. A simple majority of the committee in attendance can choose not to allow acting member votes if they so wish.*
  5. Members can be considered to be in attendance if they are present by telephone, video streaming or other electronic means.*
  6. The committee must allow non-committee members to attend the meeting but they are only permitted to speak if a majority of the committee agrees.*
  7. The committee may decide by a simple majority whether or not non-committee members should speak only on specific items on the agenda or on any or all agenda items.*
  8. In a tied vote, the Chairperson does not have a casting vote and any motion will be considered not to have been carried if it remains tied after a re-vote.*
  9. The chair should make it clear to non-committee members that they are bound by the Standing Orders.
  10. The committee will consider the items on the agenda in the order in which they appear unless a majority of the committee agrees to change the order at the meeting.
  11. The Chairperson will allow each participating member or attendee to speak only once on a topic until everyone who wants to speak has had a chance to do so. The same restriction will apply after each time an attendee speaks.
  12. After discussions, and before a vote, the Chair will call for anyone who wishes to raise a point that has not already been discussed, to do so.
  13. Once a vote has been taken and the meeting has moved on to the next agenda item, a previous motion may not be revisited. 
  14. Attendees and members who interrupt, talk out of turn or talk over other members may be warned verbally that their behaviour is not acceptable.
  15. If the behaviour is repeated despite a warning, the chairman can call for a vote of the committee to ‘name’ the miscreant in the minutes of the meeting.
  16. The meeting will be called to a close after the final item has been discussed and voted upon.
  17. If there is persistent disruption, the chair can propose the meeting be adjourned at any point, subject to the approval of the committee, with the remaining items to be decided “on paper”.
  18. There is no “any other business”.* Any items not on the agenda can only be discussed informally after the end of the meeting and no vote should be taken or recorded.

*Items 1 to 8 plus 18 are  already part of NSW strata laws or regulations.

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