Electronic circulation of committee papers

Introduction

This note provides specific guidance and advice on the University’s standard procedure for the electronic distribution of committee agenda papers. It first outlines and emphasises some general security principles relating to the electronic distribution of agenda papers, and then explains the University’s standard procedure for doing this.

General security issues

The University is responsible for ensuring the security of information held by all members of the institution in connection with their duties. Committee papers may contain information of a commercially sensitive, personal or otherwise confidential nature. Such information if sent to a private email address is still legally considered to be University-held information, and the University still has responsibility for its security.

Clearly, the University cannot guarantee the security of information on services operated by third-parties. Because of this, staff are required to use only their University IT account for University business. For consistency, and to ensure the same level of protection, this requirement applies to all members of the University, including lay members of Council and other committees.

In the case of external members (ie not staff or students) of University committees, to enable them to receive their agenda papers electronically they will be issued with a University IT account.

Lay members of Council and some other external committee members already have University IT accounts. If your committee includes any external people who are not members of Council you may need to check with IT Services (contact Sandy Pearson, x7958, spe@le.ac.uk) whether they have an active University IT account. If not, this can easily be arranged.

Security of portable Devices

As we increasingly move towards distributing and accessing committee papers electronically, all committee members and committee support staff are reminded of the need to ensure that confidential or sensitive information contained in both hard copy and digital documents, including the papers for Council, Senate and their key committees, are appropriately secured.

Accessing these documents using a portable computing device (e.g. a tablet, laptop or smartphone) and holding them on the device presents risks associated with the use of such mobile devices, so adequate security provisions must be place in order to secure the information.

This will include up to date anti-virus protection, security patches and protection by a strong password.

Security patches are updates to operating systems, programs and apps issued by the creators. Generally the software will either just install them or ask you if you want to install them.

Other measures that need to be applied are: ensuring that any documents are only held on the portable device for the minimum time required; not allowing anyone else to have access to the device or its contents; and appropriately managing the physical security of the device at all times.

Standard procedure for the electronic distribution of agenda papers

In accordance with the above, the University operates a standard procedure for the consistent and secure distribution of agenda papers. This involves committee members being sent an email containing a link to the papers for the meeting. By clicking on this link members will be prompted to log on to a special ‘Committees’ area of the X: drive where the papers are deposited and arranged in individual committee folders. All of the individual papers for a specific meeting are arranged in a single PDF document, or two PDF documents if the agenda has unreserved and reserved sections, using Adobe Acrobat X-Pro. If you require advice and/or training in the use of Adobe Acrobat X-Pro, and how to deposit files in the ‘Committees’ area of the X: drive, please contact Sandy Pearson, details as above.

Once logged on to the X: drive Committee members, with their University username and password, get free access to eduroam wi-fi whilst on campus at the University of Leicester (or any other universities that use eduroam wi-fi) and/or can print off their own hard copy of the papers.

Internal committee members (ie University staff and students) who require hard copies of agenda papers should be asked to print off their own set locally inside the University, having first accessed the papers via the X:drive. Committee secretaries are not expected to circulate hard copies to such members.

In the case of external committee members, it should be borne in mind that they may not have easy access to printing facilities, and they should not be expected to incur printing costs on a personal basis. If any such members do require hard copies of the agenda papers it is appropriate for them to be sent out by the committee secretary.

Any committees not currently engaged in the electronic circulation of committee papers should take steps to make the facility available to their members as soon as possible, using the standard procedure outlined in this note.