The UK needs more effective board meetings as more directors struggle with their duties. An average British board conducts 9.7 meetings yearly, while 65% of its non-executive directors have other commitments that often involve meeting management issues. 

Fortunately, UK boards can boost their efficiency with a well-organised agenda for a board meeting. 

In this article we’ll discuss the best board meeting structure, the best practices for creating meeting agendas, and some common challenges to avoid when having board meetings. At the end of the article, you’ll find board meeting template examples with timestamps and meeting minutes.

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The structure of the board meeting agenda for UK businesses

The UK law doesn’t define specific rules regarding board meetings and agenda templates. Corporate boards choose the meeting structure that fits their goals the most. That said, many companies use the following agenda format for regular board meetings:


The board meeting header (or headline) provides general information about the meeting and contains organisational info:

  • Company’s name, primary, and additional addresses (if applicable)
  • The meeting location, date, and time

This section may include a link to a virtual meeting.

Call to order

The call to order officially opens the meeting. The chairman welcomes the participants while the secretary begins taking meeting minutes. Please note that the UK Companies Act 2006 requires corporate board directors to record detailed minutes of each meeting to comply with the law.

Check the comprehensive board meeting minutes template to fulfill your legal responsibility.

Roll call

Roll call is when the board chair checks the meeting attendance and establishes the quorum.

The UK Parliament defines the quorum as the minimum number of members required for legally valid voting decisions during the meeting.

According to the Companies Act 2006, at least two board members must constitute the quorum.

Approval of the agenda

At the beginning of the meeting, the chairman checks whether the board directors agree on the meeting agenda.

The participants approve the agenda under general consent by a majority vote. Board members can also introduce changes to the meeting structure at this stage.

Approval of prior meeting minutes

Board members review and approve the previous meeting minutes at the beginning of the meeting. Directors can change the meeting minutes for accuracy and approve amended versions. 

Board and company reports

The board proceeds to reports after approving the previous meeting minutes. Business board members may review several reports:

  • The chief executive director report (CED or CEO)
  • The chief financial officer (CFO) report
  • The chief technology officer (CTO) report
  • Standing and special committee report
  • Chairman report

These agenda items may require additional time as they often generate discussion. Thus, understanding financial reports helps board members to identify potential financial threats and map positive and negative trends in the company’s finances.

Decision on past business items

Old business items are topics of the previous agenda, including unresolved matters, issues that require extra discussion, or items assigned as new. 

Some old business matters may originate from spontaneous issues at the end of the previous meeting. 

Discussion on new business matters

New business matters can be planned or spontaneous, occurring during the discussion or at the end of the meeting. Depending on the priorities, boards reserve should seize potential opportunities for discussion in this section. 


Directors proceed to announcements when critical matters need no further discussion. Boards may include the following announcements:

  • Reminders, upcoming events, and policy changes
  • Company news, critical hires, promotions, achievements, or leadership changes
  • Industry updates, shareholder news, and project updates
  • Other special announcements


Adjournment is the formal closing of the meeting. The board chair summarises key decisions and sets the next meeting date.

Note: You can create meeting agendas, add tasks, and assign attendees on the go in secure board portals.
board meeting agenda uk

Best practices for creating a board meeting agenda for UK businesses

Check the five best approaches for creating meeting agendas.

1. Define the objectives and goals of the meeting

Accenture, a global consulting firm, emphasises the importance of clear objectives for board meeting agendas. 

A meeting should revolve around a central idea to be productive. Its business items, such as reports, meeting minutes, and old and new business matters, should support this objective.

When preparing for a meeting, decide on its goals with the board chair, CEO, and other board directors.

Check how to prepare for a board meeting with eight effective practices.

2. Identify the essential information that should be included in the agenda

Successful boards use agenda templates for various meetings. Your corporate board meeting agenda template must contain items relevant to the meeting objective. If the board meeting centers around the annual budget, it includes relevant reports from the CEO, CFO, and respective committees. 

Based on our experience, the most productive meetings come from board directors’ collaborative efforts at the agenda-planning stage. Sharing expectations helps directors focus on the business items that matter the most for the upcoming appointment.

Note: You can circulate the agenda through the board meeting notice and ask the board directors to approve the business items a week before the meeting.

3. Use clear and concise language

You should communicate the agenda in a clear and concise format so that board directors know what to expect during the next board meeting. 

According to Harvard Business Review, the perfect agenda items address questions to be answered, not just out-of-context topics.

Therefore, you should consider desired outcomes when listing items on the agenda. You can describe the business matters with a few lines, exemplified in the table below.

Sample agenda itemSample questions to be answered
Annual budget issues“How can we cut our annual budget spending by 25%?”
Cybersecurity risk in the boardroom“How can we protect login information in our workspace?”
Supply chain management“How can we reduce our supply chain costs by 15%?

4. Prioritise the agenda items based on their importance and urgency

Directors conduct meetings more efficiently if they prioritise agenda items by urgency and importance. Drawing on our observations, successful boards put matters on the agenda in the following order.

Order of the board meeting agenda items
Sample business items
Time commitment
Low urgency and low importance / High urgency and low importanceCheck Box with Check on Facebook Non-controversial items
Check Box with Check on Facebook Prior meeting’s minutes
Check Box with Check on Facebook Procedural decisionsInformation-only items
Check Box with Check on Facebook Contract renewals
Check Box with Check on Facebook Minor policy revisions
Check Box with Check on Facebook Business updates
Check Box with Check on Facebook Non-controversial decisions waiting for official approval
High urgency and high importanceCheck Box with Check on Facebook Items that require immediate attention
Check Box with Check on Facebook Significant financial decisions
Check Box with Check on Facebook Key strategic decisions
Check Box with Check on Facebook Major initiatives
Check Box with Check on Facebook Crisis management initiatives
Check Box with Check on Facebook Principal financial reports
Low urgency and high importanceCheck Box with Check on Facebook Important old and new business items that can be postponed
Check Box with Check on Facebook Stakeholder engagement matters
Check Box with Check on Facebook Long-term strategies
Check Box with Check on Facebook Board succession planning

Successful boards modify the standard meeting structure by grouping non-controversial items in consent agendas. Consent agendas can be passed quickly in one motion. They help directors allocate as much time to crucial matters as possible.

5. Set realistic time limits for each agenda item

Jon Dwoskin, Business Coach/Executive Advisor, says timed agendas help avoid run-on meetings. That said, it’s also easy to underestimate the time commitment for particular topics. So follow these tips to set realistic time limits for each agenda item:

  • Judge from previous experience. Revise previous minutes with similar agenda items to estimate the time for the next meeting’s agenda.
  • Consider the number of speakers. The more directors speak for one item, the more time it requires.
  • Consider topics’ importance and complexity. Allocate more time to matters where you anticipate key discussions.
  • Reserve extra time. If you expect an item to take ten minutes, plan for 15 minutes, as distractions and other human factors may derail tight-scheduled meetings.

6. Use helpful technology

Cyber attacks are the primary concern for 67% of corporate boards in the UK. Using a board portal is today’s most reliable choice for simplifying agenda preparations and securing communications. A board portal is a digital workspace designed for non-executive directors and offers the following benefits:

  • Straightforward agenda. Fill out agenda templates, drag & drop documents, and assign attendees using a digital agenda builder.
  • Digital board minutes. Record digital meeting minutes with automatic timestamps.
  • Secure file-sharing. Share an encrypted meeting notice with reports and other documents in one click.

Sample board meeting agenda template: UK business perspective

Check this UK board meeting agenda template with the best practices considered.

Board meeting agenda template
CompanyDate TimeLocation
Success Industries23.05.202310:00 AMConference Hall 23, Success Centre
Meeting objectiveTo review and approve the annual budget for the upcoming fiscal year, incorporating a strategic cost-saving target of 25%.
Board agenda
TimeAgenda itemPresenter
5 minutesCall to orderChairperson
5 minutesRoll callChairperson
5 minutesConsent agenda approvalChairperson
20 minutesAnnual budget presentationCEO, CFO
10 minutesBreak
30 minutesReview of the cost-saving strategies and their impact on budget componentsTreasurer, CEO, finance director
45 minutesIdentification of the cost reduction areas to achieve a target reduction of 25%CEO, CFO
15 minutesBreak
30 minutesReview of the legal and operational implications of the proposed budget modificationsTreasurer, audit committee chair
10 minutesApproval of the modified annual budgetCollective
10 minutesAnnouncementsCompany secretary
5 minutesAdjournmentChairperson

You can also check the following board meeting agenda examples:

Challenges when creating board meeting agendas

Today’s UK companies face several challenges that indirectly interfere with agenda-planning processes. These relate to stakeholder communications, succession planning, and diversity dilemmas. Let’s take a closer look.

Stakeholder communications

Today’s investors, shareholders, and stakeholders insist on higher ESG transparency driven by tightening regulations. However, many current ESG practices don’t often align with stakeholder and shareholder financial expectations.

So directors have to choose between ESG practices and financial returns to stakeholders on their agendas.

Succession planning

The UK’s nine-year-term rule for board directors disrupts their succession planning agendas. Decreasing director salaries and diversity regulations complicate board succession planning meetings as well.

Diversity vs. experience dilemma

The Financial Conduct Authority’s new diversity rules help new business board members incorporate desired skills and experiences. 

Many chairs have succeeded with gender and age diversity yet struggled with racial and ethnic quotas. To some board chairs, diversity is “more about the skill set, not defined by gender or ethnicity.”

This discrepancy forces boards to balance diversity requirements and the quality of strategic oversight on their agendas.

Key takeaways

  • The board meeting agenda consists of the header, call to order, roll call, approval of the agenda and meeting minutes, reports, old business, new business, announcements, and adjournment.
  • Successful boards set clear meeting objectives, collaborate on business topics, prioritise agenda items, and set time limits
  • Boards often have difficulties finding the right balance in shareholder communications, succession planning, and diversity on their agendas.
  • Directors can use board portals to enhance many aspects of the agenda creation and board meeting processes. recommends iDeals Board, a British virtual data room and boardroom platform helping 175,000 companies succeed in meeting management. Our analysis of this product showed that it combines ease of use, affordable price, innovative security features, and robust meeting management workflows.

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Who sets the agenda for a board meeting?

The board secretary typically sets the meeting agenda. Experienced secretaries seek feedback from board members while approving meeting agendas.

How can I ensure that my board meeting agenda template complies with UK legal and regulatory requirements?

There are no legal requirements for the board meeting agenda. However, the law requires corporate boards to take meeting minutes.

Are there common mistakes to avoid when creating a board meeting agenda template for a UK business?

Not having a clear meeting objective, not circulating agenda in advance, and making vague agenda item descriptions are the most common mistakes you should avoid while preparing board meeting agendas.

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Casey Johnson Marketing strategist
Casey Johnson is a seasoned marketing strategist specializing in board portals. With over a decade of experience, she spearheads comprehensive marketing campaigns to enhance brand visibility and drive growth. Casey orchestrates content plans, conducts market research, and collaborates with content creators to ensure impactful marketing strategies.