Technical Notes 2021, Issue 93, Council Report Template – August 2021

Report by: 
Ann Davie, Depute Chief Executive – Education People & Business
TN Number: 
Council Report Template – August 2021
Responsible Officer: 
Karen M Donnelly, Chief Solicitor & Monitoring Officer, Legal & Democratic Services
This Technical Note will be published on the Council’s website following circulation to Members. Its contents may be disclosed or shared outwith the Council.
  1. The purpose of this technical note is to alert Members to recent changes made to the Council’s template report and the reasons for the changes.
  2. The current Report Template was introduced in 2017 and generally continues to meet the needs of the Council and Members in terms of its layout and sections; it ensures that relevant information is put before Members in a way which is clear and consistent, emphasises key issues, thereby assisting transparent decision making.  However, it has been necessary to make some small amendments to ensure that the Council is complying with its legal obligations requiring that documents published on its website or transmitted electronically are accessible. 
  3. The main changes incorporated within the new Report Template relate to font and other accessibility requirements.  The new Report Template uses Arial 12 as the standard font.  This alteration has been made to improve accessibility and will also be applied to Minutes, Outstanding Business Statements and covering Agendas.  In addition and to further improve accessibility, all reports must be formatted at single line spacing and should be aligned to the left of the page rather than justified, as this makes the text easier to read. 
  4. The most important changes to the Report Template have been made to ensure accessibility when reports are published online.  This has required the removal of the tables which underpin the report headers and the box around the recommendations section.  The Report Template now in use is fully compliant with the Council’s legal obligations to ensure accessibility – the Council logo has been labelled and the imbedded tables at the header section have been removed. 
  5. Report authors must follow the Report Template and if the subject matter of a report requires the insertion of a table or some other formatting which is problematic when using a screen reader, then it is the responsibility of the report author to label the table or otherwise ensure that the report complies with the accessibility requirements.  This extends to appendices, drawings, images etc.
  6. The Council is currently acquiring a new Committee Management System, Modern.Gov.  This system will manage the committee process from report writing through to actions sheets and minutes.  The system will enable the Council to:
  • Streamline the process of collating and preparing committee documents for electronic publication
  • Facilitate the move to electronic or hybrid meetings
  • Remove the need for manual delivery of hard copy papers
  • Facilitate report writing and provide a platform for other contributors to comment or update, whilst managing version control
  • Help to build capacity within the committee reporting process
  • Support Members compliance with the Code of Conduct
  • Undertake greater engagement with the public through the ePetitions and eConsultation modules
  • Meet statutory/legal requirements
  • Improve the committee document search facility via the Council website
  • Make full use of hybrid touch screen devices to view and annotate electronic documents
  • Support a smart working culture
  • Reduce the Council’s carbon foot print through document scanning and digital storage
  • Reduce the costs of printing and delivering Council papers to Councillors
  1. It is likely that the implementation of Modern.Gov will necessitate further changes to the Report Template and so some of the changes set out in this Technical Note are a precursor to this.
  2. Finally, Members will note that these changes are also being applied to Technical Notes given that they are now published online. 
Distribution List: 
All Elected Members Corporate Management Team Executive Officers HSCP Management Team Corporate Communications Corporate Governance Manager