The Council’s meetings are conducted in the presence of the majority of its 40 members in order for its resolutions to be valid. In the first meeting of the annual convening period, the royal order which invites the Council to meet is recited to members together with any orders or special decrees regarding a ministry formation or modification. The Council’s meeting are open to the public but can be held confidentially according to a request from the Government, the Chairman of the Council or a minimum of ten of its members when the Council meets in a confidential session, the Council’s halls and balconies are emptied of people who get a permission from the Council’s including the Council’s employees, government staff, or it’s experts. If the reason for holding the meeting in a confidential session ceases, the Chairman takes the members approval to close the session and therefore, the meeting become open to the public again.
The Council holds an ordinary meeting on Monday every week, unless decided otherwise, or when there is no items to be discussed, the meeting shall be postponed. The Chairman invites the Council to hold its session at least 48 hours prior to the specified time of each meeting, and shall attach the agenda, memos reports and drafts to the invitation, if not distributed before.
The Chairman may also invite the Council to meet before its ordinary date if he finds it necessary.
• Work Procedures During Meetings (work steps within council hall)
The Chairman opens the Council’s session in the presence of more than half of its members. The chairman recites the names of members who apologizes for not attending the meeting. The Chairman takes members views for the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting. Each member who attended the meeting has the right to request the correction of any statement he said and was wrongly understood. The minutes of the previous is corrected accordingly.
The Chairman informs the Council of the papers and letters before reviewing the items listed in the agenda. Every member has the right to comment on the subject of papers and letters once only. Provided that the duration of his comments does not take more than five minutes and total time of all comments not exceeding half an hour.
The Council proceeds in reviewing the items contained in the agenda. It is not permissible to discuss any subject which is not listed on the agenda expect for urgent matters that should come under the item of “Arising Matters” based on the Chairman request, or a request submitted by five members and the approval of the Council’s members.
During the meeting, it is not permissible for any member to speak unless he requests that and the Chairman grants him the permission to do so. Also the Chairman may not reject any request to speak except for reasons contained in the regulation. He may not give a permission to speak on a subject which the Council has referred to certain committee except after that committee has submitted its report, and provided that this subject is listed on the Council’s agenda. However, it is permissible for any member to forward a written request to the Chairman demanding a clarification about a matter that he likes to inquire about which relates to the Council’s affaires. The Chairman may reply briefly in the meeting and without discussing the matter. The Council can then proceed in reviewing the remaining items contained in the agenda.
Who has the right to close the discussion of any issue presented to the Council? Are there any conditions?
The Council Chairman, the Government, the specialized committee, or based on a written request signed by a minimum of three members may suggest closing the discussion of any matter. It is conditional for the closure of any discussion that a prior permission to speak was granted to at least two supporters and two opponents. Permission to speak is always granted to one member after the government speakers.
Procedures of Member’s Participation
The permitted members to speak may do so while standing from their seats or from the stand, if allowed by the council’s Chairman. The committee’s Secretary shall always speak from the stand as well as whoever speaks when discussing the reply on the royal speech or the council’s remarks concerning the Government’s program, and in other cases when the Chairman requests the speaker to speak from the stand.
The Meeting’s Recesses
The Chairman may recess a meeting temporarily to break for a period not exceeding half an hour and shall also do so during prayer times.
• The Voting Process and Declaration of the Council’s Resolution
The Chairman takes the members opinions (votes) on the proposed subject, immediately after the Council’s decision to close its discussion and after ensuring the existence of required quorum. If the proposal contains several matters. The presenter or five other members may request its division and the chairman present each matter separately. In taking the final decision, the Council usually adopts the electronic voting method. If the chairman can not distinguish the opinions, voting is done by raising hands, and if this can not be distinguished also, the chairman requests the supporters to stand up. If this can not be distinguished again, the chairman reverses the request and ask the opposing members to stand up.
In case if all of these methods do not achieve the purpose for any reason, opinions are taken by calling the members by name provided that each members expresses his opinion by saying (AGREE) or (DISAGREE) or (ABSTENTIOUS) without any command. A member may abstain from expressing his opinion in any matter provided that he gives the reasons for his abstention after taking his opinion regarding the matter, and before declaring the result. Abstention shall not be considered as an acceptance or rejection of the matter.
The chairman shall then declares the Council’s resolution regarding the presented matter based on the voting outcome, and after declaring the resolution, it not allowed to make any comments on it.
• The Minutes of Meeting
The Minutes of a meeting is considered an Official Declaration of everything that takes place in the meeting, and what has been said during it. It contains details of what has been recited in the meeting including memos, bills, suggestions; the discussions that took place, the opinions expressed, and resolutions and recommendations made. It also contains a list of members names that participated in voting and their opinion whether they agree, disagree on abstentions. The Minutes of every meeting edited by the council’s staff under the supervision of the General Secretary of the Council and is distributed to members as soon as it is printed and submitted for approval in the following meeting. Following its approval, the minutes is signed by the Chairman of the Council and the General Secretary, and kept in the Council’s files. The Minutes is published in the special attachment of the Official Gazette after sending it to the Government, and also on the Council’s Website (shura.gov.com.bh).
The Final Statement of the Meeting
Following every meeting, a brief statement is prepared urgently indicating a summery of the conclusion of the matters presented to the Council, and resolutions and recommendations made so that such information become available for various means of the media.