Meeting minutes are a vital component of effective governance. In this blog we will cover a few of the important aspects of meeting minutes.
Minutes are the official record of the business of a meeting. Unlike the verbatim minutes of sittings of the provincial and federal parliaments, which are found in Hansard, the minutes of meetings of most organizations are generally meant to provide a record of what was DONE at the meeting, not what was SAID. Exceptions to this include some municipal councils and school boards and other organizations with bylaws that specifically state that verbatim minutes are to be kept.
The minutes of the immediately preceding meeting of an organization must be on the agenda of the next meeting and approved at that meeting before they become the official minutes. Usually just after adoption of the agenda, there is an item on the agenda which reads: ‘Reading and Approval of the Minutes'.
The motion to approve the minutes must be moved by someone who was present at the meeting, though anyone can second the motion. The minutes once approved become the official record of the meeting. Until the minutes are approved they are simply a "draft for approval", it is good practice to note this on the distribution copy. It is vital that the members that were at that meeting actually review the minutes to ensure their accuracy.
Minutes are important for several reasons:
· They are a legal document, in the case of a dispute or investigation, the minutes of an organization can be required to be produced and used as evidence.
· They provide information and transparency for those that were not at the meeting, allowing them to be up to date with the business of the organization.
· They are institutional memory for an organization. They can also be referred to as a way remind organizations of what needs to be done or has been done.
· They are often required for insurance and banking reasons; such as purchasing insurance, adding or changing signing officers at the bank as well as for certain fillings.
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