The Use of Consent Agendas

We would like to start using Consent Agendas, but don’t know much about them.

Consent Agendas are one avenue to enable your Board of Directors to become more generative. A consent agenda allows the board to approve items together that do not need discussion or individual motions. Typically, consent items are routine items, reports, or informational items. Examples are meeting minutes, committee reports or individual key management reports. In order for a consent agenda to be effective, board members should receive their board packets in advance (industry practice is at least one week in advance) in order to review and read documents. 

At the board meeting, any documents within the consent agenda can be pulled out for discussion by any board member and removed from the consent agenda. If there is no removal of documents from the consent agenda, a motion can be made to approve the consent agenda. 

Before using a consent agenda, it’s important to note two areas: 1) Items that are considered roles and responsibilities by HRSA as outlined in the Health Center Program Compliance Manual (Board Authority, Element C) should not be in a consent agenda as these items need to be discussed within the board meetings, and 2) Provide education to the Board of Directors and key leadership on the role of consent agendas and the proper way to use it.

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