Preparing Ministers’ papers for a meeting
Ministers receive all Cabinet and Cabinet committee items in hard copy from the Cabinet Office, unless they have opted to use CabDocs. Papers should be prepared for a Minister’s attendance at Cabinet or a Cabinet committee by putting the papers in the order of the agenda, with the agenda on top (it is helpful to put the item number in the top right hand corner on the front of each paper). Remember to add any previously distributed items or items listed on the agenda as a previous reference.
If the Minister responsible for a paper cannot attend the relevant meeting, it is expected that their office will make arrangements for another Minister to present the item and will advise the Cabinet Office accordingly.
Getting messages to Ministers during meetings
Staff from Ministers’ offices who need to contact their Minister while they are in Cabinet should contact the Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Cabinet in the first instance, or Cabinet Office reception. The Cabinet Office will ensure that the messages and documents are taken into the Cabinet room. Ministerial staff may not enter the Cabinet room.
Staff from Ministers’ offices who need to contact their Minister while they are in a Cabinet committee meeting should go down the 8.1 corridor through the single door. Once through the door, turn left, and the Cabinet committee room is at the end of the corridor. Knock on the committee room door, wait until someone from the Cabinet Office answers, and give them the message.
A quorum for Cabinet meetings is half the full membership of Cabinet, plus one. The chair of a Cabinet meeting may vary the quorum requirements, if necessary.
There is no formal quorum for Cabinet committee meetings, although it is usually regarded as being three members. The quorum is decided by the chair of the meeting, taking into account the importance of the items under consideration, the presence of appropriate Ministers, and the advisability of taking decisions if few Ministers are present.