Notes for Minute-Takers
Notes for Minute Takers
The minutes are a legal record of the decisions made by the meeting, and significant factors considered. They are also a general reference for volunteers affected by decisions taken, those assigned actions in the minutes, and interested members.
During the Meeting
Note the venue, date, start & finish time, attendance and apologies. Have a copy of the agenda and previous minutes to use as a guide to what needs to be recorded.
Record important events such as reports to the meeting, and major matters considered by the meeting as a whole. Try to capture the essence of the whole-of-committee considerations.
With important motions write down the exact wording of the motion, and the mover and seconder. If you don’t understand a motion, ask the chair to have the motion repeated. If necessary, read out the motion to ensure that it is recorded correctly.
Note down the major factors considered by the committee as a whole and the overall sequence of the discussion. There is no need to note who said what or to attempt a full transcript, what is needed is the essence of what the committee took into account in arriving at a decision. Note the outcome eg CARRIED or LOST. If a show of hands is called for then record the numbers in favour and against.
Reports are normally accepted or noted by the meeting. The auditor has requested that identifying information be included in the minutes, to allow matching of the report to the discussion. In the case of the Treasurer's report, this might be the amounts of income and expenditure during the period covered by the report, and the bank balance.
It is essential that you list the names of those responsible for following up the committee’s decision. Don’t let decisions pass without linking them to an ACTION person in the minutes.
Typing up the Minutes
Use clear, simple language accurately and without ambiguity. Write the minutes up quickly before the memory fades. Keep your notes until the minutes have been agreed. If using bolding or italics, make sure the minutes are also legible as plain text since this is how they may be emailed.
With important motions include the names of both mover and seconder. For minor motions, use a simple statement such as: “It was agreed that…”, or "The XXX report was accepted". Where relevant include matters discussed by the meeting as a whole in reaching decisions, and the broad thrust of the arguments for and against. It may be useful to record views expressed by a significant number of those present even though less than a majority, but avoid selectively reporting who said what during discussions.
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