Guidelines on meetings, papers and minutes
UEB usually meets weekly, on Tuesdays. Every fortnight there is a business meeting, with a formal agenda, papers and minutes. Every alternate week, there is a more informal meeting of UEB, providing an opportunity for discussion of strategic items, for briefings/training, or `blue skies´ thinking. These informal meetings do not have minutes and if decisions are taken they are recorded in the minutes of the next formal meeting.
There is an annual business cycle for the UEB where items of business are logged in advance. This forms the basis for the agendas for individual meetings, and is maintained by Sally Green (Secretary to the UEB).
The latest version of the business cycle is available to UEB members on the UEB MUSE site.
There are formal agendas for the formal UEB meetings. These are drafted by Sally Green and agreed by the Vice-Chancellor. The agenda is finalised at least a week before the meeting. Items are normally placed on the agenda via a member of UEB; colleagues working with UEB members in planning items for the agenda should let Sally know as much in advance as possible of any items for a UEB meeting. It should be clear why an item is suggested for the UEB agenda, having considered other options, for example, email circulation or delegated powers.
Each UEB meeting has a standing item: Round Table. This provides an opportunity for any UEB member to raise any matters for information or for urgent discussion.
UEB business will flow more smoothly and effectively if papers:
- are brief
- are clear what UEB is asked to do: note, endorse, approve, decide
- indicate what happens next (e.g. responsibility for action; report to a University committee; consultation; communication)
- include the author’s name and the date of the paper
- are clear whether any decisions that UEB may make are implementing existing Senate and Council policy (and may be reported to these bodies); or require UEB to make recommendations or proposals to Senate and Council
- identify in advance whether the paper, or parts of the paper, are confidential and should be regarded as closed business .
Papers for UEB are all given a unique number, relating to the date of the meeting (for example, UEB/2012/0409/003).
Timescales for submission of papers for UEB
In the interests of good decision-making and effective use of members´ time, the following are the timescales for submission of papers:
- Papers sent to Sue Stephens (Minute Secretary) as soon as possible and no later than close of play on the Wednesday preceding the meeting date.
- Agenda and papers placed on UEB MUSE site (UEB members only) on the Thursday preceding the date of the meeting.
These are drafted by the Minute Secretary and approved by the Vice-Chancellor, before being circulated to UEB members as Unconfirmed Minutes. The next business meeting of UEB will receive the minutes and have an opportunity to agree or amend them, before these are placed on the UEB webpages and so made available to all staff. This means that UEB minutes will be published some 2-3 weeks after the date of the meeting itself.
The details of the process for agreeing the minutes and any closed items of business are available to UEB members on the UEB MUSE site.
UEB approach to openness and transparency
UEB has adopted an approach to openness and transparency that has as its default the availability of information to all staff. The minutes of UEB meetings are available to all University staff via this web page.
The UEB ways of working encompass appropriate means of dealing with confidential information (for example, personal data and that where a commercial interest applies), as well as enabling free and frank debate – in line with the Freedom of Information Act. Minutes of meetings (with appropriate provision for `closed´ items) are available on the UEB webpages.
Guidance on Freedom of Information and Data Protection is available for UEB members and contributors, covering agendas, papers and minutes. The guide is available to download from this page. This includes guidance on how to identify and deal with confidential items and minutes. Authors of papers for UEB should provide information in advance enabling identification of those items or papers that should remain `closed´ business, and why.
Communication of UEB discussion and decisions
A UEB communications strategy has been agreed.
UEB members are responsible for cascading information from UEB to their own areas. All staff will have access to the UEB minutes and so will know in outline what has been discussed and decided.