Proactive publication of information about the University, especially
committee information, manifests our place as a key institution within Essex. It
allows us to deal with requests for information in an efficient and timely
manner and to promote effective administration. Publication demonstrates our
openness, is conducive to building relationships, and shows that we are proud of
the things we do. It also allows us to safeguard information that should rightly
be kept internal.
Decisions about what we publish are made at an institutional level, to ensure
consistency and continuity. In general the University is an open organisation
that makes information available. However, some committees deal with personal or
other information which mean that it would not be appropriate to publish.
Our policy is to publish agendas and minutes of the University’s primary
decision making committees. Our committee structure has many layers to ensure
that a wide range of stakeholders can be involved in, comment on and shape
policy. Sub-committees give more detailed consideration to issues than is
possible at Senate or Council. Sub- committees make recommendations to their
parent committee. There are some areas for which Senate has delegated authority
to sub-committees, allowing them to make decisions which are then reported to
Senate. Important decisions about the University will either be made by or
reported to Senate or Council, and noted in their minutes.
We will normally publish committee information in circumstances where it is
possible to publish the entire minutes of a committee without redaction and:
the committee is covered specifically by the ICO’s guidance
the committee is one that makes relevant decisions in its own right
best practice, guidance or legislation from elsewhere encourages it
We will not normally publish where Freedom of Information exemptions are
likely to apply, in particular:
section 36 (protecting the University’s ability to have free and frank
section 40 (protecting personal information)
section 43 (protecting information of commercial value)
Individual requests for specific agendas or minutes that are not routinely
published, or for discussion papers, will be considered on their own merits. The
value and importance of information can change over time so the same decision
will not necessarily be taken when the same item is requested at different
points in time. Items may be redacted before release, where appropriate.
Requests should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms of reference and membership
These are published on our website for all formal University committees. They
annually and updated in the interim as necessary.
Agendas and minutes
Committees that publish will make available the agenda and minutes for each
meeting. In general, where minutes are likely to need redaction they will not be
The term “papers” refers both to all paperwork relating to a committee, but
also, more specifically, to those documents drawn up to inform a committee on an
issue, or as a starting point for discussion. These discussion papers will
normally move through the committee structure, being amended at each stage. They
may be amended further even after being seen by the final committee. Papers in
this sense can only be considered to be draft documents until they have been
seen, commented on, and amended by the final committee on their path. Any
decisions arising from a paper will be recorded in the minutes. These discussion
papers are not published.
Published agendas and minutes will be those which have been approved by the
committee. Drafts will not be published. In general this means that the minutes
will be published by then end of the term following the next meeting of that
same committee, so for a committee that meets in November and January the
minutes of the November meeting will be published by the end of the summer term,
after they have been approved by the January meeting of the committee. See the timetable for committee meetings.
USG – the University Steering Group – is the University’s executive
leadership team. It meets fortnightly to advise the Vice-Chancellor on matters
relating to the management of the University. It is also a forum for open
discussion and the ability to have full and frank discussion is key to the
purpose of this group. Most of the items discussed by USG are included in the
regular Top Lines briefing, available to University members.
Policy created: 2014
Agreed by: Council July 2014
For review: 2017
Freedom of Information TeamInformation is available on request.