REM Meetings P&P
REM’s Agendas are Two Part Agendas – A Consent Agenda & an Action Agenda
A consent agenda packages routine committee reports, meeting minutes, and other non-controversial items not requiring discussion or independent action as one agenda item. This can save precious meeting time by allowing the attendees to approve this ‘package’ of items together in one motion.
Reports and information can be grouped together under a consent agenda only if all members agree. If even one member selects a specific item for discussion, it must be removed and placed on the Action Agenda. The attendees must make a consensual decision about how much time they will allow to that discussion. They may choose to put it in the Parking Lot (meaning table the discussion until another time) and decide together when it will be addressed or ask the leaders to schedule that meeting at a later time.
What types of items can be found on the consent agenda?
Typical consent agenda items are routine and should not require any discussion since all items are emailed to the team ahead of time and members have time to resolve any questions that arise. If leaders determine that questions remain, the item must be moved to the Action Agenda.
Typically the following things are considered for grouping in a REM Consent agenda.
« Meeting minutes
« Reports (must be sent via email at least 3 days in advance…preferably one week.)
« Updates or background reports provided for information only
« Correspondence requiring no action
« Appointments deserving group confirmation
« Final approval of proposals or reports that Directors have been dealing with for some
time and are familiar with the implications
« Routine contracts that fall within policies and guidelines.
« Confirmation of documents or items that need no discussion but are required by the
How does a Team begin using a consent agenda?
- Step One: Have the Team approve a motion to adopt the consent agenda format for their meetings.
- Step Two: The Team should also craft and approve a policy of what may or may not be included in the consent portion of the agenda.
- Step Three: Make sure that all leaders know what items belong on the consent portion of the agenda, and how to move items to and from this overall consent area.
What is the process for using a consent agenda?
A consent agenda can only work if the reports and items are known in advance and distributed with the agenda package allowing sufficient time to be read by all Team Members prior to the meeting. A typical process for developing and using a consent agenda is as follows:
« The leaders of the team decide what items will be placed into the consent portion of the agenda.
« The full agenda, including consent items, are disseminated prior to the meeting along with any documentation or back up information so that team members can read and digest all materials.
« As the first item of business, the meeting leader asks team members if any one wishes to remove any item under the consent portion of the agenda to the Action Agenda.
« If an item is removed from the consent portion, the leader will place it on the Action Agenda.
« The leader then asks “Do we have consensus on the Consent Agenda?”
The consent agenda should appear very near the beginning of the regular meeting. This allows any item to be removed and placed into the overall agenda for discussion and action late in the meeting. As with all formal team action, a quorum must be present in order to have action on the consent agenda items that is legitimate and binding.
Sample of a Consent & Action Agenda
II. Consent Agenda
a. Meeting minutes
b. Point Partners Report
c. Committee meeting minutes and report
d. Printed report of project strategic plan
e. Thank you letter for work done as part of the team’s project
e. Financial Report
III. Action Agenda
a. Brainstorming of ideas for revamping a section of your project to include area youth
b. Discussion and decision about finding new members for a specific role
c. Plans for community celebration of your completed project
Handling Items That Require Clarification or Discussion
Sometimes a team member will read the materials related to the Consent Agenda, and have a question. Or they feel the issue still requires discussion. Those are two distinct scenarios, and they receive two distinct treatments.
Items for Clarification or Questions
For items that require clarification, or for which a board member has a question, that clarification must be requested before the meeting. An item cannot be pulled from the consent agenda just to have a question answered. That sort of information gathering should happen ONLY before the meeting. In that way, the person being asked the question has time to gather the information. (There is nothing worse than having an issue tabled for the next meeting, only because a question could not be answered then and there.) In addition, that clarification can then be sent to all team members, so everyone has the same information before the meeting.
This is particularly useful for clarifying the minutes, which often takes absurd amounts of time that could otherwise be spent in more meaningful discussion.
Items for Discussion
If there is an item about which a team member disagrees, or believes that item requires discussion, then a request is made at the meeting table to pull that one item from the Consent Agenda, and to add it to the regular agenda as an item to be discussed. The remainder are approved, and only that single item is held out for discussion.