Essential Elements of an Effective and Valid Meeting

The following requirements have to be observed in an effective and valid meeting:

•   there must be notice of the meeting.   in case of general meetings, there must be 15 clear days written notice (section 27 of the Act). the notice should clearly indicate

•   the nature of the meeting

•   the date of the meeting

•   the place of the meeting

•   the time of the meeting

•   the agenda of the meeting

•   the notice should be by a person authorized to do so.

•   the notice must be circulated to all members.

•   notice of the meeting must be read and adopted at the start of the meeting.

•   there must be a quorum; that is, the minimum number of members required before a meeting can continue with business.

•   the meeting must be chaired by the person authorized to do so by law. It is usually the chairman and in his absence the vice-chairman. If both are not present, then any member elected by the majority of members present shall preside.

•   the meeting must be conducted following the order of the agenda.

•   Minutes of the previous meeting must be read, confirmed and signed by the chairman before proceeding with the meeting.

•   voting must be carried out in a democratic manner and in accordance with the by-laws.

•   the chairman must control the meeting and act in the best interest of the society.

•   After each discussion, the chairman must announce the decisions arrived at (resolution) to enable the secretary enter a proper record.

•   Any report presented must be adopted before it is discussed.

•   Each resolution passed should be proposed and seconded. For resolutions passed that require action to be taken,  the meeting should:

»   identify who to act (action persons).

»   Give time limit by which action should be taken (action deadline).

»   identify and allocate required resources to enable implementation (resource allocation).

•    Minutes of the meeting must be clearly written.

Minutes and Minutes Writing

Minutes are a summary of the main points discussed/arrive at during a meeting. they are not a record of everything that was said.  Minutes should provide a clear and concise indication of what actually happened, that is agreements reached and resolutions passed.

Minutes are only valid after they have been read and signed by the chairman and the secretary on behalf of the members who attended.

Purpose of Minutes

•   reference – Minutes serve as a record for future reference of what was discussed and agreed upon in a meeting.

•   Evidence – Minutes are used as evidence in case of litigation in a court of law. this is to
promote or protect the interests of the society when appropriate.

•   disputes – Minutes are used to settle disputes in case of disagreements on what was agreed on in the past

•   Allowance – Minutes are used to support payment of the sitting allowance of committee members in societies in  accordance with approved budget

Layout of Good Minutes

The layout of minutes should consist of the following:

•   name and address of the organization

•   title, nature, date, place and time of the meeting e.g. Minutes of the management committee meeting held on 10th July 2007 in the co-operative society’s boardroom from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. (in capital letters)

•   names and designations of those in the meeting.   these can be categorized as present,
present by invitation, in attendance. Also record those who are absent with apology and
those who are absent but have not sent any apology.

Actual Proceedings of the Meeting

Start by recording the actual proceedings of the meeting.  Always start by numbering each minute from the last minute during the same year.  For example when recording the 3rd meeting of the year where the last minute number of the previous (the second) meeting was 18, start with number 19 e.g.

Min. no. 19/3/2007:  READING AND CONFIRMATION OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 8th February 2006 were read and confirmed as a true record of the proceedings of that day.  This was proposed by ……………….…… and seconded by ………..………………..

If there are any amendments to be made before confirmation, they should be made and the minute written for example as follows:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 8th February 2007 were read and confirmed
as true record of the proceedings of the meeting with the following amendments:  (if any)

EX-MINUTE: …………………………………………………………….

Minutes are always written in logical order from the first to the last one. Each minute title should be written in capital letters and underlined, as in the example above.

Min. no. 20/3/2006:  MATTERS ARISING FROM THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

If any discussion is raised on any of the previous minutes, record it by reference to the minute e.g.

EX-MINUTE:  13/2/006 – The chairman explained that the society could not repair the machines as agreed due to delays in processing tender documents.

EX-MINUTE: 17/2/2006 – The meeting agreed to re-allocate 50% of the money meant for committee training members’ education after realizing that this was the main bottleneck in the progress of the co-operative society.

Note: Every letter calling a meeting should have the first agenda, Reading and confirmation of previous minutes and the second as Matters arising from previous minutes.  The last item of the agenda should be; Any other business.

Ending Paragraph

In a separate paragraph after any other business, conclude the meeting with:

There being no other business to discuss, the meeting ended with prayer at………….
or:

Due to inadequate time, the chairman decided that all agenda of the meeting could not be discussed and some matters were therefore referred to the next meeting.

The society should maintain a minute file where all valid minutes are kept.  Copies of minutes may be sent to relevant offices for information and any necessary advice.

The supervisory committee will follow the same procedure of convening and conducting meetings.

 

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