11. Changes to Council Papers (2021 Pilot)

11.1 Introduction  

Following from the 2021 Council Effectiveness Review, there is a consensus from lay members that there need to be changes to the papers received by Council – making them shorter and the questions for Council clearer. 

To ensure conciseness and clarity, authors should not include things which are not at the strategic level Council will be reviewing the item. 

11.2 Paper Template 

Annex 6 (Committee Coversheet Template) is one interim approach being tested for this. The aim is for most papers for November's meeting to fit this guideline but with the understanding that many papers will already be far advanced if they are also going to Senate. 

The Council Cover paper will no longer be used, and instead salient information has been incorporated into this template. 

11.3 Action Required 

The key section is the purple box which outlines the questions for Council. This should go beyond “to Note or Receive” and ask genuine questions or areas for advice or engagement. 

11.4 EDI considerations 

As part of the increased focus on EDI, there will be a new section for EDI considerations, Secretaries will need to be gatekeepers for this. It should not be completed if there are genuinely not actionable, specific connections with equity, diversity and inclusion. 

However, many topics will have some tangible connection (e.g., buildings and accessibility, strategic changes and Equality Impact Assessments). If these are consistently being left out by paper authors, the Secretary should escalate and discuss with the Head of Governance or delegate to consider what further support is needed to ensure EDI issues are appropriately considered.  

11.5 Timing  

Other committees should adopt this template as soon as is practical, and in time for the January round of committee meetings. There may be further tweaks, following initial input at the November Council meeting and reflections on comments raised  by secretaries (such as moving the action earlier in the template and aesthetic points).