Alan of Victoria has asked this question because in his volunteer group, the chairman and the secretary insist on seeing the minutes which the minute secretary has prepared before they go to the other people at the meeting.
This is a common one in the world of volunteer organisations. The answer is simple – everyone who attended the meeting has the same right to see the minutes as anyone else and at the same time. If the chair or the secretary want to “vet” the minutes, then they should take them themselves.
The minutes belong to the meeting, not the chair, nor anyone else. If the minute taker’s minutes are so bad that they need to be re-written, then get another minute taker. If not, then they should go to everyone at the same time.
If the minutes are being taken properly, there is nothing to edit since it would all have been clarified at the meeting. Any decision which was made should have been read to the meeting by the minute taker at the time so there should be nothing to change. (By the way, if the minute taker does not clarify what he or she has recorded on each item, then a good chair will ask them to do that.)
Also if the minute taker is recording just the decisions and action AND NOT WHAT PEOPLE SAY, then there is nothing to check.
I advise all minute takers whose minutes are being “checked” and altered by the chair (or in this case the secretary) to resign and give their time to a group that appreciates their work.
Now there is one exception to this and that is when there is technical information that has been given at the meeting that the minute taker does not fully understand. In this case it is appropriate for the chair to check that the technical detail is accurate in the minutes.
So, modern minute takers should be taking the minutes directly onto a laptop computer (everyone these days has access to a laptop) and then sent directly after the meeting closes.
If you are not sure how anyone of this works, visit www.minutetaking.com and attend one of my training programs.