Who should see the minutes before they are distributed?

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.

10 Comments »

  1. avatar Peter Shilling Says:

    Who should receive Minutes of a meeting from a voluntary organisation

  2. avatar walktall Says:

    Anyone who wants them if they are a member.

  3. avatar walktall Says:

    Members if they request it.

  4. avatar Heather Wright Says:

    After a trustee meeting the minutes still hadn’t been published 6weeks later..due to a lot of other issues I resigned as a Trustee after over 3years on that particular charity board. The chairman has now refused to allow me to have the minutes saying I am not a trustee therefore I cannot comment or see the minutes. Even though I was at the meeting.
    Can the chairman do this?
    I know that the chair has altered the minutes in the past to say things the way they wanted them recorded. The secretary at that time resigned.
    What is my legal position to get these minutes please?
    Thank you.

  5. avatar Confused Says:

    After a trustee meeting the minutes still hadn’t been published 6weeks later..due to a lot of other issues I resigned as a Trustee after over 3years on that particular charity board. The chairman has now refused to allow me to have the minutes saying I am not a trustee therefore I cannot comment or see the minutes. Even though I was at the meeting.
    Can the chairman do this
    What is my legal position to get these minutes please?
    Thank you.

  6. avatar Gayle Says:

    Hi there, Im in Victoria and the sports club I’ve done minutes for is using the Model Rules. Whilst the model rules states minutes need to be taken, it does not stipulate sending minutes out to members, or even ones that attended meeting. The President does not want them sent out at all. I have been doing minutes for years and have always sent a copy out to members (in other volunteer groups). I’m in a quandary of what to do. Any advice?

  7. avatar David Price Says:

    Hi Gayle,
    The president really does not have the authority to ask you not to send the minutes out.
    Difficult as it may be, I suggest you raise it at the next meeting and get the meeting to decide. You and I both know what will happen – the meeting will want them sent.
    There is no reasonable reason for minutes not to be sent out to members.

  8. avatar Josephine Says:

    A non profit organization has not been sending minutes of meeting because the President said it is costly and time consuming. Is it reasonable to suggest to just upload it on their website for everyone to read? Thanks Josephine

  9. avatar David Price Says:

    Hello Josephine,
    In today’s digital world it is common practice for minutes to be made available on a website. Sometimes they are put behind a password or some other form of security so that only members or other authorised people can have access.
    Your President is suggesting what is today, common preactice.

    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.

  10. avatar macd stochastic Says:

    Very wonderful information can be found on site . “Many complain of their memory, few of their judgment.” by Benjamin Franklin.

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