Thanks for your comments. I guess you're right that standing orders are not a legal document pure and simple. And my comment about growing documents that still fail to resolve every issue applies to tax codes, accounting standards, and so on, as well as standing orders. But standing orders do have a legal status, in that a failure to follow standing orders (without deliberately suspending them) could well be held to render a decision unlawful. Standing orders also have status by virtue of being mentioned in the Local Government Acts. I'm not clear that there is a problem with an implied preference for a decision. If an agenda item is "To agree..." then I would assume that the context implies that the council can reject the implied decision, in which case the minute will say "It was not agreed...". Most agenda items tend to be something like that. Of course they could be written as "To consider whether to agree..." if it was felt that starting off with a positive statement was misleading. In any event, many agenda items are prepared by the clerk, whereas I would think the legislation in the question is about insisting that where councillors want to raise issues, they are required to give reasonable notice and to express themselves clearly. In this case, it is clear enough that whatever the resolution may say, the fact that it is in the agenda doesn't prevent the council from rejecting it.