Guidance on papers and reports for Council and its Sub Committees

The Council Effectiveness Review called for improvements to papers and cover sheets submitted to Council. The Review commented that ‘some papers are still perhaps too long and not sufficiently focussed on the needs of Council e.g. avoidance of or explanation of acronyms, clear authorship and recommendations.

Further information and guidance on preparing papers and reports for Council and Sub Committees can be found here.

Papers for Council must be prefaced by a one-page cover-sheet that provides an instant overview of the content. The cover-sheet should comprise a brief summary of the paper in 1-2 paragraphs (possibly the Executive Summary), the recommended actions and, where relevant, the risks and resource implications. When drafting the summary you should draw out the key points and main issues/risks as sharply as possible in order to focus and guide the discussion at the meeting.  The reader must be able to grasp the gist of the paper from the cover-sheet.

The template for a cover-sheet is available here.

Submission of Papers
Council, through the Council Effectiveness Review indicated that no papers should be tabled and there should not be any 2nd circulations. This means that all papers must be submitted to the Council Secretariat 2 weeks before the date of the meeting with a completed cover sheet. Submission may be by email to

Oral presentation of reports at meetings
If you are required to attend a Council meeting, please bear in mind that your will only have between two and five minutes to present your paper. You should keep any framing/introductory comments to a minimum to allow as much as time as possible for discussion. You should outline the key issues to help the meeting make informed, risk-aware decisions and assume that the members have read the paper in advance.

Governance - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823903 or Contact us

Last Updated: 06/04/2021