When a council uses briefings to discuss key issues and reach consensus, the decision-making process is no longer open and transparent.
A council regularly uses briefings to work through the draft agenda for the next council meeting. In these sessions councillors develop a consensus position on all the key issues in the agenda. There is little or no debate at the next council meeting as the councillors already know all the outcomes.
Briefings should be used to ensure that councillors have all the information they need to develop an opinion on key issues. This information can consist of research, background information and the results of any consultation processes. Briefings should not be used to debate or develop a collective position on issues. This should happen in council meetings where the decision-making process is transparent and open.