Best practice for Minute taking is by a Minutes Secretary or a technological solution (digital recorder which then converts to a Word document). It is efficient to have a Minutes Template prepared and to take your laptop. A Minutes Secretary does not replace the Committee Secretary. The Minutes Secretary is anyone who can accurately take minutes and provide a first draft quickly and efficiently to the Secretary.
The Secretary then checks the Minutes for accuracy and releases them to other Committee members.
Minutes should NOT record who said what unless someone distinctly requests to go on the record. The Minutes should provide a record of the proceedings of the meeting just sufficiently to be useful and transparent. E.g. the Minutes do not need to detail all the points of discussion, rather summarise and provide the resultant decision.
Motions, decisions and other formal aspects are recorded. It is very important that:
- Motions and any actions have a designated person responsible and this person is recorded in the Minutes.
- Minutes must be disseminated electronically to the Committee within seven working days of the meeting.
- The “What Do We Tell Our Members from This” summary for publishing to members is disseminated.
- If a delegate or Committee Member presents to the Committee, the topic, actions and outcomes needs to be provided within the Minutes.
- The Secretary on behalf of the Committee maintains a Record of Key Committee decisions and a Committee Action Tracking List as below.
Reporting to the Committee
Reports to the Committee should be simple and brief. Reports should be in writing, e.g. a simple bullet point report, or an email. These should be distributed and READ prior to the meeting so that time in the meeting can be used effectively.
Standard reporting helps keep things simple - use of the questions below could help to keep reporting focused:
- What is the issue?
- Is the issue for the Committee to understand (for noting) or for the Committee to make decisions about (for decision)?
- Why is it important – likely consequences?
- What are the options or choices?
- Who has this already been discussed with?
- What is the recommendation for the Committee to adopt?
Verbal reporting is inefficient and should be discouraged. Discussion should be action focused: what do we need to do or decide?
In order for a club to run efficiently, it must keep records. Most records will be generated through the activities and decisions of the Committee, or member data. All records should be accurate, current and readily accessible. The person with the task of maintaining records is the generally the Secretary.
Some legislation requires records be kept for a minimum period, it is recommended that clubs retain records for 10 years. Some records, such as rules and certificate of incorporation (if relevant), should be permanently filed.
The following present some of the records and record keeping methods adopted by clubs. Note that electronic records, data bases are optimal but should be backed up adequately to avoid loss.
A book or a set of cards for the register of members
A minute book and notebook or pad for taking notes at meetings
A filing system suitable for keeping records
Stationery - plain or embossed with club's name, address and logo.
A book to record assets and liabilities
Membership application forms and other standard forms (eg Committee nominations)
A calendar for recording dates of meetings, activities and deadlines
Accounting records - the Treasurer takes charge of these
A manual of procedures - this can be the club’s most valuable asset. Many tasks have to be completed at the same time each year and should be recorded in standard form.