Process for oral items and items direct to Cabinet

Oral items at Cabinet

Ministers may raise oral items at Cabinet for items of particular urgency or sensitivity, or where a Minister wishes to sound out their colleagues before a formal proposal is developed.

Oral items at Cabinet are not listed on the Cabinet Agenda in advance of the meeting.

Oral items at Cabinet will be accepted only with the prior approval of the Prime Minister. If a Minister wishes to raise an oral item at Cabinet, the Minister’s office (with the approval of the Minister) should send an oral item email request to the Cabinet Office by the 10.00am Thursday lodgement deadline, or soon as possible afterwards. The Cabinet Office will confirm the request with the Prime Minister’s office, and will advise the Minister’s office of the Prime Minister’s decision.

Circumstances can sometimes mean that Ministers are unable to seek agreement to oral items at Cabinet according to the Cabinet timetable. Where Ministers’ offices are aware that an oral item may be needed under such circumstances, they should advise the Cabinet Office as soon as possible.


Oral items at a Cabinet committee

Due to the infrequency of oral items being raised at Cabinet committees, proposed oral items for discussion at a Cabinet committee should be discussed with the relevant Committee Secretary in the Cabinet Office in the first instance.

Contact information for Cabinet committee Secretaries is on the Public Service Intranet, which is accessible by any computer with a public service IP address.


Papers direct to Cabinet (without first being considered by a Cabinet committee)

Papers are not usually submitted directly to Cabinet without first having been considered by a Cabinet committee. 

The exceptions are papers proposing or reporting on Ministers’ overseas travel. Other papers may be accepted for submission direct to Cabinet because they are particularly urgent or sensitive. 

If a Minister needs to submit a paper direct to Cabinet, the Minister’s office (with the approval of the Minister) should email the Cabinet Office before the 10am Thursday lodgement deadline, or as soon as possible afterwards using the template provided.  

The final version of the paper should still be lodged through CabNet (or in hard copy if the paper is classified as Confidential or above) by 10am on the preceding Thursday, pending advice from the Cabinet Office on whether the paper will be accepted for the Cabinet Agenda