The main tasks of the secretary are preparation of minutes and agenda and dealing with correspondence. The secretary is also usually responsible for the practical arrangements relating to meetings e.g. ensuring adequate seating and refreshments.
If at all possible minutes should be circulated to all members prior to the meeting. The success of a meeting often depends on good organisation – this includes a well prepared agenda, preferably developed by the secretary and president working together and ratified or negotiated by members at the beginning of each meeting.
Be prepared for meetings
- Make sure that members are notified of date, time and place of meetings and arrive early yourself to ensure that the meeting room is ready.
- Take along any files which may be required during the meeting including the minute book for queries about past decisions or action. If minutes are kept online, take a laptop or tablet to the meeting if possible, so that minutes can be referred to if necessary.
- Make sure that you carefully read the correspondence prior to the meeting and pick out the essential information to present to the meeting.
At the meeting
- Record attendance and apologies.
- Take notes of all essential matters and careful notes of motions and amendments – including movers and seconders.
- During the meeting list all action arising from decisions made, the president should ensure that someone takes responsibility for the action, note that person’s name in the minutes.
- It is not necessary to read every word of every article of correspondence.
- However all correspondence should be tabled or circulated. Important items should be listed along with any action arising.
- The secretary may participate in discussion during meetings but not to the detriment of his/her ability to take accurate notes of proceedings.
Minutes and records
- Minutes should be concise and accurate, expressing only facts. They should be written up promptly after meetings. They should be either written in a minute book or (if using a digital format) typed and stored in secure digital storage.
- Minutes are an historical record and should be kept. A minute book is easy to hand over but also vulnerable to loss or accidental destruction. If using a digital format, how to store minutes digitally is a decision for each club to make. Whether stored in someone’s personal computer or in online storage such as Google Drive, ensure all the minutes are handed over when a new Secretary takes over the job.
- Keep a copy of all outward correspondence and file with the appropriate inward letter or email.
- Make sure that a record is kept of names and addresses of all members.
- The Club may choose to split the Secretary’s role into two e.g. Minutes Secretary and Correspondence Secretary
At or after the AGM
If a new secretary is taking over, hand over minutes (whether in print or digital) up to date, with minutes of last general meeting and minutes of annual meeting just held. Hand over any stationery, stamps etc. Acquaint new secretary with expected duties (see also Meetings section).
The incoming secretary should inform the Parents Victoria office of the contact details of the new Parents Victoria representative.