Writing Reports for City Council

City staff provide objective, professional advice to Council, and implement Council’s decisions (in accordance with policies and bylaws, and statutory powers, such as the Community Charter).

If, for any reason, trust and relationships are eroded, the City’s political decision making process will bog down, Council deliberations will often get side tracked, and decisions deferred (or sent back to staff for more information that may not even be needed to make the decision).

The best way for staff to support effective decision making, by Council, is to write Reports that foster Council’s trust and confidence in staff. When writing any Report for Decision, ask yourself: “Have I presented all the reasonable options/choices for Council’s consideration? Are the options presented objectively? For each option, have I explained the advantages/benefits and the disadvantages/costs. Is the recommendation substantiated? Would I be confident using this Report to make a decision if I were a Council member?

Providing anything less may lead Council members to suspect they are being manipulated or managed by staff; or being pushed into staff’s desired outcome, without being given all the objective, reasoned advice an elected official is entitled to when asked to make a decision.

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