This question has been received from Angela in Canada.
Hello there! I am the Secretary for a small, member-based, non-profit organization. I’m relatively new in this position and have bumped across some confusing problems which I hope you may have some insight. This is related to Minutes for normal Board meetings – rather than special meetings or AGMs. After the Board’s normal meetings, I am able to have the Minutes drafted within one day. I then distribute it to the Board members straight away. However, I was told that I should not distribute the Minutes soon after a meeting and that attendees of the meetings usually are not to bring any questions or revisions until at the next meeting when the Minutes are distributed. My question is this:
1. Is this true that Minutes should only be distributed at the next meeting instead of immediately after the meeting that the Minutes was created for?
2. If this is the case, what is the purpose of recording action items on Minutes?
3. Any reason as to why a meeting attendee can not bring questions or revisions forward until the next meeting?
Angela has in fact answered her own question in her point 2.
The minutes need to be distributed as soon as possible after the meeting. When I was a minute taker for a board, I had the minutes out to the board members within 30 minutes of the meeting finishing – I did the minutes directly onto a computer and it made it very easy. (I teach the minute taking process and I am developing an online course).
The reason is that if there is action, it needs to be with the board members as soon as possible so they they can begin taking the necessary action. To wait until the next meeting makes no sense at all although it is a common misconception. It just means that everything is delayed by a month.
The third question is also illogical. If a member sees an error or something awry in the minutes, then they should advise the minute taker, who can then determine if there is in fact an error and flag it on the next agenda for the minutes to be altered before they are approved. Waiting until the next meeting to raise concerns with the minutes is completely illogical as there is then no time to actually investigate if an error gas been made. I have seen this used as a tactic to discredit the minute taker and that sort of attitude does nothing for the professional and efficient running of the meetings.
Please Note: The author accepts no responsibility for anything which occurs directly or indirectly as a result of using any of the suggestions or procedures detailed in this blog. This is not, and should not be taken as legal advice. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with appropriate advice relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement. If you are in any doubt, seek appropriate advice.