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Taking minutes and record-keeping are necessary jobs of a governing council. They are usually done by the secretary, but the other council members and the site leader can help.
Minutes of each council and subcommittee meeting must be kept. They should be an accurate record of all decisions, outcomes and actions (including passed or failed resolutions) of the meeting. They should not be a word-for-word account of the meeting. They are an official record of a governing council and must be kept and stored appropriately.
Minutes should be clear and concise and should be easy to follow by people who aren’t present.
Although the minutes are usually taken by the secretary, the council can choose a separate minute secretary or someone else to do the job.
At the meeting
- List the council members who are present, absent, or have given apologies.
- List any non-members and guests.
- If there is a special resolution, note the names of all proxy-holders there and the people they are representing.
During the meeting
You should record:
- key discussion points
- all decisions (motions and resolutions, and whether or not they are successful) and proposals, with the name of the people responsible
- clear actions that need to be taken
- any guest speaker, presentation or workshop and brief summary of what was presented
- any declarations of a conflict of interest by council members and their absence during related discussion and voting
- summary of any other business
- date, time and place of the next meeting
- closing time of the meeting.
After the meeting
- Write up the minutes clearly.
- Copies of any documents referred to in the minutes (eg reports from the treasurer) should be attached when you send them round.
- Send the minutes to the committee members. Highlight people who need to do specific actions.
- File or store the minutes appropriately.
Sharing and confidentiality
Parents of the school community may ask council for a copy of the meeting minutes. Because some topics discussed at meetings are confidential, the council can decide if minutes are made public. To keep the school community informed some councils provide a summary of the meeting in the school newsletter or on the website.
The council’s records need to be correct and up-to-date. Records can be things like:
- the constitution
- code of practice
- register of council members, including any vacancies on council
- council member contact details
- standing orders
- contracts and agreements
- other formal correspondence
- the common seal.
The site leader will help you store physical copies of these things on site. You should make sure there are backups of any electronic files that you use.
The constitution and the code of practice are public documents and can be accessed for inspection by the school or parent community. To see them, ask the council or the site leader. Some sites make these documents available on their website.