As part of Council’s commitment to be an exemplar of good practice in governance terms, it has ended its practice of having Part 1 and Part 2 Council agendas, the latter being confidential items, discussed without student representatives being present. The current minutes therefore cover confidential and non-confidential items. Having separately agreed in principle to publish Council minutes on the University website, it is appropriate to have an agreed policy on redaction.
It is important that key stakeholders are able to see evidence that Council is working effectively, and therefore redaction should be kept to a minimum. Minutes should be published only once they have been approved at the subsequent Council meeting.
Council is asked to approve the approach on redaction outlined below.
Matters will be redacted when:
- They relate to individual or identifiable groups of staff or students.
Typically, but not exclusively, this will include:
i) reporting on any grievance or disciplinary committee at any stage in its proceedings; ii) reporting on any matter under police investigation, or any other enquiry which could lead to possible Court action; iii) reporting on the establishment of the redundancy committee and its conclusions, except in the event that its conclusions relate to a significant number of unnamed staff where the privacy of individuals can still be maintained; and iv) reporting on possible appointments, not yet confirmed.
- The item of business is commercial in confidence.
This should be applied only where:
i) commercial negotiations with a third party are ongoing; ii) the university is in a legal dispute with a third party; iii) there is reasonable evidence that the third party expects the university to maintain confidentiality; and iv) full disclosure of the terms of a concluded deal could prejudice the University’s ability to strike subsequent deals of a similar nature.
A minute is critical of an individual not present at the meeting, and therefore not able to present an alternative perspective on the facts.
Any matter which would be redacted were the full Council approved minute to be the subject of a Freedom of Information request.
Other confidential matters not covered in 1 - 4 above.
Redaction should not be applied where the minute simply covers matters where the University has not performed as well as it might have hoped or planned.
Council recognises that it is conceivable that other, unanticipated, items could emerge, the publication of which would be considered seriously prejudicial to the University's interest. Under such circumstances the Chair will seek the view of the Vice Chancellor before determining the appropriate action. If redaction is applied, this will be reported to the next Council meeting.
Where items are redacted, at the end of the minute for publication, a note will be added to the effect that Council considered X other agenda items, which have been redacted in line with the Council's policy on redaction because they contain information relating to individual staff or students or because they are still commercially confidential.