When and by whom should the minutes of an AGM be signed?

Richard from Australia has made a comment and asked this question:

In an answer to Carmen you said “The AGM minutes only need to be signed by the chairman. There is absolutely no harm in the minute taker signing too and that may be good practice.”

My questions are, 1) WHEN should they be signed by the Chairman? That is, before they are distributed to members or at the following AGM and 2) Is the Chairman you refer to the Chairman of the AGM to which the Minutes refer or the Chairman of the following AGM?

Richard’s comment is quite right – the minute can sign the minutes as well and yes, it may well be good practice.

In order to answer your questions, it’s important to set the context. The signing of the minutes is nearly always done at the next AGM and the chair of that meeting signs them – not the chair of the original meeting of which they are the minutes. The signing is simply a demonstration of agreement by the meeting, not the chairman, that the minutes are accurate.

There is a common misunderstanding that the chairman makes the decision – it is the meeting that makes the decision as to whether the minutes are signed through the moving and voting on the motion “That the minutes be signed (or confirmed) as an accurate record of the meeting”.

So the quick answers to your questions are 1 – they are signed at the next AGM; and 2 – The chairman of the next AGM is the one who signs.

But!! (There is always a but!!) The practice of signing minutes itself is fast disappearing as minutes are so often now recorded and stored electronically and so there is actually nothing to physically sign. Many organisations still keep a hard copy that is signed and that is fine but most organisations are moving away from that practice. The issue is not so much around the actual signing as it is around the meeting agreeing that the minutes are an accurate record. The very very old practice of pasting minutes into a “minute book” has almost completely disappeared. In some ways that is sad as for many organisations, it was the only way of keeping a history. The best practice, I believe, is to do a regular printout of the minutes and bind them so the historical record is mmaintained. This could be done every year, or 2 years or 5 years, whatever is most sensible.

 

Please Note: The author is not a lawyer and 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. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement.
David Julian Price

 

 

 

 

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