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How to submit an oral item to Cabinet or a committee

Issue date: 
Monday, 4 February 2019
Issue status: 
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Version note: 

This publication is part of the CabGuide.

An oral item is a verbal update given by a Minister to Cabinet on a matter of particular urgency, sensitivity, or significance, or to a Cabinet committee on a government priority area or work programme. Oral items must not be used to seek decisions on significant issues in lieu of submitting a Cabinet paper.

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Oral items at Cabinet

Ministers may raise oral items at Cabinet for items of particular urgency or sensitivity, to update Cabinet on an issue, or to test support for a proposal before it is further developed.

Oral items will only be accepted for Cabinet with the approval of the Prime Minister.

How to request an oral item at Cabinet

If a Minister wishes to raise an oral item, then the Minister’s office should send an oral item email request to the Cabinet Office by the 10.00am Thursday lodgement deadline, or as soon as possible afterwards. Requests can be submitted up to the Monday before the Cabinet meeting if the matter is appropriately urgent. Ministers’ offices must have the Minister’s approval before submitting a request.

To make an oral item request, copy the form attached in the Word document below into an email and send it to the Cabinet Office at Please fill out all relevant sections of the form with sufficient information to clearly indicate the nature and purpose of the oral item.


Oral items at Cabinet committees

Ministers may also raise oral items at Cabinet committees to provide a brief update on a significant government priority area, work programme, or issue.

Note that oral items must not be used to seek decisions on significant matters in place of submitting a Cabinet paper. If Ministers want to seek committee agreement or to test a particular proposal, then it is recommended that they do so through a Cabinet paper.

How to request an oral item at a Cabinet committee

In the first instance, the Minister’s office should discuss the proposal for an oral item with the relevant Cabinet committee secretary. An oral item request may then be required as per the process for oral items at Cabinet detailed above.

Note that oral items at Cabinet committees will only be accepted with the approval of the committee Chair. Cabinet Office will liaise with the relevant Chair’s office and the Prime Minister’s office to confirm requests.

Oral item minutes

Oral items do not necessarily result in a minute. Minutes are issued for oral items when:

  • Cabinet has noted specific advice from a Minister on a significant issue and/or has agreed to a proposal
  • Cabinet has requested further action, information, etc.
  • authority for Power to Act is granted (for more information, read the guidance on Power to Act).

Minutes for oral items are published on CabNet the same as minutes for Cabinet papers. The title of the minute will begin with 'Oral Item' or 'Additional Item', and will be included in the Cabinet calendar view for the relevant meeting.


Last updated: 
Wednesday, 2 December 2015

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