How Can Consent Agendas Reduce Board Meeting Times?

Consent agendas are a streamlined way for boards to handle routine or non-controversial matters efficiently. The consent agenda groups routine agenda items into a single section in a meeting agenda, making it easy for board members to review and approve the batch of items in a single action.

The outcome of a consent agenda is to save time in the meeting.

Here are some possible candidate items for grouping into a consent agenda section:

  • CEO and chairman reports
  • Committee or working group reports
  • General appointment announcements
  • Previous meeting minutes

 How Consent Agendas Work

  1. Preparation: Before the meeting, the board secretary or relevant personnel compile a list of routine items that don't require extensive discussion. These items are typically things like approval of previous meeting minutes, routine financial reports, committee reports, or minor policy updates.
  2. Distribution: The consent agenda is then distributed to all board members along with the meeting agenda. This gives members the opportunity to review the items ahead of time.
  3. Discussion (if necessary): During the meeting, the chair of the board will ask if any board member wants to pull any item from the consent agenda for discussion. If there are no objections, the entire consent agenda is passed without discussion.
  4. Vote: If an item is pulled for discussion, it is typically discussed briefly, and then a vote is taken. If no items are pulled, the chair will call for a motion to approve the consent agenda as a whole. Once a motion is made and seconded, the board votes to approve the consent agenda.
  5. Approval: Assuming there are no objections, the consent agenda is approved, and the meeting can move on to more substantive matters.

The purpose of the consent agenda is to save time during the board meeting by grouping routine items together and expediting their approval. This allows the board to focus more time and attention on important strategic discussions and decisions.

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BoardCloud ZA Editor

BoardCloud ZA Editor