The MPC meets every month to set the interest rate. Throughout the month, the MPC receives extensive briefing on the economy from Bank of England staff. This includes a half-day meeting – known as the pre-MPC meeting – which usually takes place the week before the MPC's interest rate setting meeting. The nine members of the Committee are made aware of all the latest data on the economy and hear explanations of recent trends and analysis of relevant issues. The Committee is also told about business conditions around the UK from the Bank's Agents. The Agents' role is to talk directly to business to gain intelligence and insight into current and future economic developments and prospects.
The MPC meets over three days. At the first meeting, normally held on the Thursday prior to the MPC decision, members discuss their views on how to interpret the most recent economic data. At the MPC’s second meeting – the first of two policy meetings, normally held the following Monday – MPC members debate what the appropriate stance of policy should be.
The MPC’s final meeting – its second policy meeting – is normally held on the Wednesday. Following further discussion on the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the Governor puts to the meeting the policy which he believes will command a majority and members of the MPC vote. Any member in a minority is asked to say what level of interest rates he or she would have preferred. The interest rate decision is published alongside the minutes of the MPC’s meetings at 12 noon on the Thursday.
The Warsh Review, led by former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh, recommended in December 2014 that the MPC should in future meet on eight occasions through the year. The Government has announced its intention to implement these changes as the part of the Bank of England Bill, which will be considered by Parliament in due course.