Operations and Commercial Committee – Terms of Reference and Operating Principles
The Executive Board (ExBo) is the key body to which the Departmental Board (DB) delegates
the day-to-day running of BIS.
ExBo constitutes Executive Board Committees (ExBo Committees) as extensions of itself, to
carry out certain defined roles.
The Operations and Commercial Committee is one of the four Committees established by
ExBo Committees share Terms of Reference, except for details of membership.
Members are appointed in an individual capacity; should a member resign from their
position on the Committee, it is not necessarily the case that their successor will take their
place. Members are appointed for an initial two year term.
Committee members are expected to prioritise attendance at ExBo Committee meetings
A minimum of 5 members of the Operations and Commercial Committee are required to be
present at meetings, or to give views by correspondence, for the Committee’s decisions to
Substitutes for ExBo Committee members are not permitted.
The Committee’s overall objective should be to help ensure that BIS operations enable the
department to deliver its business objectives and staff welfare effectively. It does not have
the responsibility (nor the expertise) for decision-making on departmental operations, but it
can add value by providing:
(a) a challenge function to those responsible for operations – to ensure the approach
is robust; and
(b) a user perspective – so that operations reflect customer needs and capabilities.
The Operations and Commercial Committee’s remit covers:
• estates (buildings & other physical assets) - overseeing the management of the
department’s buildings and estates;
• knowledge management;
• security/health & safety - overseeing security and health and safety management,
including ensuring that provisions are in place to manage major planned or
unexpected events (e.g. terrorist attack, severe flooding, major sporting events)
[potential overlap with People Committee];
• corporate service provision (especially for HR, Shared Services finance & pensions) -
ensuring the delivery of the change programmes of the Portfolio in core BIS;
• operational risks (security, delivery, resources, reputation); and
• commercial/ contract management - overseeing the development and management
of the department’s commercial strategies;
• Admin spend may also be included [potential overlap with Performance, Finance and
A key aspect of the Committee will be to ensure clarity of expectations of the role of the
“business” (individuals & line managers) and the “centre” (e.g. IT & estates teams).
The Operations and Commercial Committee’s role also comprises of:
• Taking decisions on specific actions arising from change programmes and initiatives,
where they relate to operations
• Escalating areas of concern to Executive Board as appropriate.
Agendas and papers
Papers to the Operations and Commercial Committee always set out advice on the roles and
responsibilities of individuals, line managers and “corporate centre” (defined as
appropriate) on the relevant issue.
The Committee will explicitly ask itself (i) “is this proposed approach robust” and (ii) “what
does this imply for individuals/managers in BIS” and (iii) “is this reasonable” questions on
each item it discusses in order to support delivery of an effective service.
The Committee will request feedback from those who present paper(s) on how they felt
Committee did or did not add value – and how it might do so better.
The BIS Secretariat will wherever possible, commission ExBo Committee papers three weeks
in advance of the meeting. The timetable for the submission of papers is as follows:
- First draft paper due = by close six working days in advance of the meeting
- Secretariat feedback on first draft = by close five working days in advance of the
- Modifications to paper = completed by officials by noon three working days in
advance of the meeting
- Circulation of final paper to Committee members = by close three working days in
advance of the meeting.
In addition to the clearance line within groups, papers
coming to ExBo Committees should
be sponsored by an ExBo Committee member (this is to establish the paper’s standards, not
Aside from these specifications, ExBo Committees set their own protocol for agendas,
ExBo Committees are extensions of
ExBo, rather than bodies that report to
they are not expected to escalate routinely to ExBo where they have delegated decision-
making and oversight powers. However, they are expected to provide an oral update on
significant business at ExBo when necessary, and a written update review to the ExBo
meetings every quarter.
Items can also be raised under AoB at any ExBo Committee.
Minutes are shared with ExBo from all ExBo Committees.
Committees set their own protocol for presenters.
Frequency & timings of meetings
Committees set their own meeting frequency and length. However, ExBo expects each ExBo
Committee to meet at least 10 times per year (discounting Christmas and summer breaks). Transparency of ExBo Committee activity
ExBo expects ExBo Committees to make commitments to reasonable transparency.
Committees set their own protocol for meeting this expectation, including around observers
and the publication of ExBo Committee agendas, meeting summaries and papers where
Each Committee reviewer and observers are expected to share their thoughts and
experience of the Committee (i.e. Yammer or BIS Intranet blog).
Each ExBo Committee will conduct a review of its operations Terms of Reference on a yearly
basis (i.e. in the new term).
Each ExBo Committee will also perform self-reviews of its effectiveness on at least a yearly
basis. Each ExBo Committee commits to acting on the findings of these reviews.
Additionally at the end of each ExBo Committee a nominated member will be asked, in
advance, to self-review the meeting and provide an update at the next ‘DGs and Directors’
meeting. BIS Secretariat and Minutes
The BIS Secretariat provides support on each area of these Terms of Reference to the Chair
and members of each ExBo Committee.
The BIS Secretariat takes the minute of ExBo meetings, and aims to clear it within 48 hours
of the meeting where possible. Operations and Commercial Committee - Operating Principles
• Committee members should prioritise their attendance at meetings; where
Committee members do not attend three meetings in a row, the Chair may
recommend that their membership of the Committee be reviewed.
• The Operations and Commercial Committee expects that items will be presented by
as few presenters as possible, but as many as necessary in the individual
• The Operations and Commercial Committee allows observers at meetings, except
where there are confidential discussions. Any member of BIS may apply to observe a
• Operations and Commercial Committee agendas, meeting summaries and papers will
be published wherever possible on the intranet.
• The Secretariat will review actions outstanding at the beginning of every meeting.
• Meetings will be held monthly, for duration of two hours. If required, short notice
teleconferences or meetings may be called by the Chair.
• Occasional joint meetings with another ExBo Committee may be held, where topics
or responsibilities overlap.
• All papers of the Operations and Commercial Committee will be sponsored by a
Agendas, papers & minutes