New registration applications for 2023/24 academic year are now open and will be assessed against standard criteria for registered clubs set out on this webpage. Information required on the form must be provided in full. Incomplete applications will not be processed.
Student non-sports clubs, societies and publications run by students for students across the University can apply to register with the University via the Proctors. Registration and support of sports clubs is via the Sports Federation.
Why register a club, society or publication
Registered clubs have access to benefits like University IT for the club, insurance cover, minibus hire through the University scheme, and financial support. After a period of continuous registration, clubs can apply for permission to use the University's name and coat of arms.
To be eligible to register with the University, a non-sport club (whether a club, society, publication or other type of student association) must adopt the standard constitution and demonstrate, as part of the application, that it meets the following criteria:
Originality: A new club is expected to be original and not duplicate the role of an existing club. Where new applications propose activities that either replicate or are similar to those already offered by other groups, the members will normally be advised to join or merge with the relevant club.
Eligibility to membership: The standard constitution considers that all student members of the University are eligible to apply for membership of a registered club, other than in circumstances where membership is restricted to members sharing protected characteristics under section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 (provided that such restriction is approved by the Proctors).
- Membership: A prospective club is expected to have at least 30 confirmed members. Membership should include bona fide club members (i.e., people who have registered to become members and paid their subscriptions or have otherwise been confirmed as active members in accordance with the club’s constitution or byelaws). This register will in most cases represent the definitive information about those eligible to stand in, and vote at, elections for club officers. It is not sufficient for a club simply to keep a mailing-list of people who have expressed interest in its activities. Social media followers are not members unless they have successfully completed the registration to membership process. The Proctors are able to consider a dispensation from this requirement to ensure that all students, irrespective of their race, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability will have an equal opportunity to form clubs. A dispensation request can be submitted as part of the registration process.
- Longevity: By sustaining membership, a club can maintain its visibility and influence, and continue to advocate for its important causes and initiatives. As such, its sustainability is crucial for success and longevity. Clubs rely on their members to serve as leaders and take on various committee roles. If membership is not sustained, clubs can risks losing experienced members which can lead to a leadership gap and a lack of organisational memory.
- Financial sustainability: Financial sustainability allows clubs to adapt to changing needs, explore new initiatives, and expand their membership base, thereby contributing to their longer-term success and impact. Adequate financial resources enhance the quality of opportunities a club can offer, creating a more enriching experience for the members. A new club will be expected to demonstrate access to sufficient financial means to carry out aims and purposes set out in its constitution.
- Values: As an educational institution, the University’s reputation is built on its academic achievements, research output and the quality, range and diversity of its students’ activities and achievements, among other things. Clubs whose purpose, identity and values are incompatible with those of the University will be considered unsuitable for registration with the Proctors.
Where aims, purposes or activities by a prospective club are deemed to fall under any of the following criteria, the club will not be approved for registration:
Non-compliance with registration requirements: A club must comply with all registration requirements. Failure to do so will result in exclusion from the registration process.
Safety: The nature of the activity is deemed to be of such a high risk that it would require a disproportionate amount of funding and/or staff time to monitor to ensure compliance with minimum safety standards.
Insurance: If the activity cannot be covered under the University insurance policy for student clubs such as public liability insurance.
Sport club: If the activity involves a sport/physical activity (with possible exceptions for a limited range of such sports for which there are no safety or funding issues). Sports clubs should follow the registration process for sports clubs.
- Inclusivity: The Club is a college-based club or society rather than a university one.
- For-profit groups: Is set up to generate private income or promote a commercial product or services
- External links: Is constituted or governed by an external body. Any affiliations to national charities or brands and any other organisations must be declared even if the club acts as an autonomous chapter of the larger organisation.
- Unlawful activities: Promotes or endorses extremist ideologies or behaviours, any form of illegal or unlawful activity or any substance misuse.
- Aims to provide counselling, advice or advocacy.
- Is set up for a one-off event. Registered clubs are expected to be active and provide engaging programmes, events and activities for its members throughout the academic year.
- Applications where the purposes, activities and intended activities of the club are inconsistent with the University's policies, procedures and Codes of Conduct will result in non-registration.
Preparing to register a club, society or publication
Before you register a club you must ensure that you fully understand roles and responsibilities arising from the Regulations for the Activities and Conduct of Student Members.
Success of a new club depends on the committee members’ understanding of duties and responsibilities arising from their committee roles and the general rules and principles governing registered clubs.
In particular, you must ensure that:
- you understand rules relating to the use of the University name and its coat of arms;
- establish Committee Officers;
- your club/society/publication has adopted standard non-sports constitution;
- your club/society/publication has either adopted the Template Club Code of Conduct or has set up own version which should be supplied as part of the registration;
- your club/society/publication has either adopted Template Complaints Procedure for Clubs or has set up own version which should be supplied as part of the registration.
Where should the standard constitution be modified?
Paragraph 1 - your club's name
Each club’s constitution must specify its name and so this space is left blank on the standard constitution. Note that not all clubs’ names fit the format “Oxford...Club” set out on the face of the constitution - for example, some clubs prefer to refer to themselves as societies. In such cases, the first sentence should be tailored as follows: “The Club is called the Oxford … Society (hereafter referred to as “the Club”).”Certain limited variances from the standard constitution are permitted by default and are indeed necessary to enable clubs to have a fully functioning constitution. (Please apply 'Track changes' option before making any changes to the Standard Constitution for submission to the Proctors.)
Paragraph 1 - your club's objects
Clubs must have “objects” – i.e. a stated purpose and range of activities for which the club exists. For registered clubs, these must relate to the promotion of an activity in the University and must also remain subject to the conditions set out at the end of the paragraph. No proctorial permission is needed to insert objects, so long as they are contained within the sentence structure of the paragraph succinctly; lengthy interpretation or clarification of the objects should not be stated in this paragraph but, if necessary, in (annexed) regulations made in accordance with paragraph 28. Some clubs may be able to secure approval to depart from the requirement to be charitable; if you think that this is the case for your club, you should seek advice from the Clubs Officer.
Paragraph 18 - the number of committee members which your club will have
The club’s committee must have a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Senior Member and may have other members, up to a maximum of 8 as specified in paragraph 15, and should simply insert the number decided on in paragraph 18. It is not permitted, however, to amend the constitution to specify what the various additional roles are; clubs wishing to define particular roles for the additional committee members should specify them instead in by-laws/regulations in accordance with paragraph 28. Similarly, if your club feels that more than 8 committee members would be beneficial, you should consider creating non-committee roles via paragraph 28 regulations and by-laws.
The Proctors do not normally permit clubs to vary the constitution other than as described above. However, in certain circumstances and when supported by a compelling case, the Proctors have discretion to authorise variances from the constitution. Such authorisation is normally only granted where the Proctors consider that a change is strictly necessary in order to enable the club to carry out its objects (as defined in paragraph 1 of the constitution). If you think that your club may have a case supporting departures from the standard constitution, please seek advice from the Clubs Officer in the first instance.
Registering a club, society or publication
To register a new club you must complete a new registration application and provide supporting documentation.
The re-registration form is only accessible to University users. You must be physically connected to the University network or use VPN (virtual private network).
Applications received during Michaelmas Term 2023 will be accepted and processed throughout the term. From Hilary Term 2024, a deadline for the new registration applications will be on Friday of 9th week of each term. Assessment of applications will then take place in consultation with the Assessor, as necessary, acting on behalf of the Proctors as the Chair of the Clubs Committee. Timeframe for communicating outcomes will be in 2nd week of the following term. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. The Club will have further opportunities to re-submit a new application in the subsequent registration cycles.
Keeping in touch after registering a club, society or publication
Keep us up to date with any changes to the committee through the update committee members form as this is how we will contact you with information and updates throughout the academic year.
Club secretaries should bear in mind that they have a responsibility to keep an up-to-date list or register of bona fide club members (i.e. people who have paid their subscriptions or have otherwise been confirmed as remaining active members in accordance with the club’s constitution). This list or register will in most cases represent the definitive information about those eligible to stand in, and vote at, elections for club offices; and it should be made available on request to the Proctors for inspection.
It is not sufficient for a club simply to keep a mailing-list of people who have expressed interest in its activities.
Whether the list or register is kept in electronic or paper format, the club secretary should be aware of the requirements of the Data Protection Act. Information about the legislation and further resources are available from the data protection page.