Where a matter is highly sensitive, it may be ‘locked’. This means that circulation is restricted and the item is not named on the Cabinet agenda. This is usually done at the request of the submitting minister/s, although in some cases Cabinet Office will identify where an item should be locked. Once locked, an item will only be visible to Cabinet Office and ministers’ offices.

Agencies should consult with their minister’s office if they believe an item should be locked but as guidance the following items should be locked: commercially confidential items, certain contracts/significant appointments (for example judicial, chief executives), particularly if it includes remuneration and embargoed items.