Statutory Bodies and Committees

General preparation for supporting a committee

  1. understand the Terms of Reference to know what the Committee is authorised to do and where it reports to
  2. ensure that all members are appointed correctly and know their formal position eg as a full members or in attendance; check the formal composition (which may stipulate that some members should only be for three years, for example) and hold elections if required; if someone leaves before the end of their term-of-office, this creates a 'casual vacancy' which should be filled for the remainder of the term
  3. arrange the meeting dates for the year and let the members know (some Committees are organised centrally by the Secretariat)
  4. draw up a Calendar of Business for future topics which can be anticipated
  5. check the quoracy rule
  6. if new to the role, read the minutes of several previous meetings to understand the business and anticipate issues
  7. meet with the Chair about how meetings are to be conducted and what role the Secretary serves
  8. hold the necessary information about the Committee.

Preparation  for a meeting

  1. make all the practical arrangements: room booking/refreshments/AV/special needs requirements; ensure there will be enough seats for everyone, and check how to adjust the room temperature
  2. follow up on previous actions in advance of the meeting and any matters arising
  3. ask members in advance if they have any items for discussion
  4. ask for and prepare a list of apologies
  5. in advance, plan time after the meeting to write the minutes
  6. read the papers; be prepared
  7. have a pre-meeting with the Chair to brief them on key issues.

Preparing an agenda

  1. use the template to draft the agenda, including standard items
  2. use the Calendar of Business for items depending on the cycle of business in the year
  3. review the previous minutes to identify items
  4. in conjunction with the chair, identify current internal and external developments for inclusion
  5. for Senior committees, identify any policy areas for consideration based on the Terms of Reference, if appropriate
  6. put the items in logical order
  7. ensure that it is clear on the agenda if items are for decision, recommendation upwards, or just for information; (check the Terms of Reference to identify exactly what power the Committee has)
  8. include Reserved area business on a separate agenda (on pink paper)
  9. meet the Chair to agree the agenda
  10. provide an annotated agenda or briefing notes for the chair (not all members) to give more detail on items and background information; you may need to ask others for this information
  11. note if it is the first or last meeting for any members.