Part 4 : Committee meetings/Annual general meetings (AGM)
How often should the committee meet?
Your constitution/governing document will state the minimum number of times that you must meet as a committee. If meetings are too far apart, it will be difficult to make decisions. For all childcare organisations it is recommended that you meet at least twice in a term. However, if you are running a specific project, you may need to meet more often.
Attendance at committee meetings
It is important that all committee members take the time and effort to attend all meetings. Your constitution/governing document will state a minimum number of people that will be required to be at a meeting to make decisions. If there is an insufficient number of people required to attend, then the meeting will be rearranged. It is not good practice to often cancel or rearrange meetings, as this causes a great deal of inconvenience to everyone involved and it delays any decisions being made.
Preparing the agenda
The secretary and the chair of the committee should always prepare an agenda. The agenda should be circulated to all members prior to meetings. This will allow everybody time to prepare. If there is any reading material e.g. policies or procedures, these will need to be commented upon should they be needed for the meeting.
Running the meeting
The chair or the appointed deputy should run the meeting and the minutes should be taken by the secretary. These are then signed off by the chair and filed by the secretary. These constitute a record of your meetings and the decisions made during the meeting.
Any meeting must include the following:
- A report by the chair of any major issues that have arisen since the last meeting
- A report from the treasurer giving a statement of receipts and payments
- A report from the leader/manager of the committee with regard to the day-to-day running of the organisation
The chair is responsible for the meeting and should ensure that it runs on time (usually no more than two hours) and that everyone gets a chance to speak and share their views.
At the end of the meeting, a date should be set for the next. It is good to practice organising and booking dates for the next few committee meetings. If possible, agree a schedule for the whole year that will suit the majority of the committee members. Remember it is important to attend all meetings and be involved in any decisions that are made.
There are a few things that need to be included when taking minutes of the meeting. One of these is the list of all attendees. Everybody who has attended the meeting must be recorded. The minutes from the previous meeting must also be taken, as well as the chair’s report, the treasurer’s statement and any other relevant reports.
As well as all of this, the decisions that have been made must also be recorded, as these are the main reasons for having a meeting in the first place. Also taken must be the expenditure agreed, the jobs of work to be undertaken and who should be doing them and finally the date, time and location of the next meeting. Ideally within a week, the minutes should be typed up and distributed to all attendees as soon as possible.
A copy of the minutes should be posted on the parent notice board for everyone to have access. Any sensitive information, such as staff salaries should not be made accessible to the public.
Annual general meeting (AGM)
Each group must hold an AGM. All members are invited to attend. The purpose of this meeting is to present the Committee to stand down and a new one be elected. The annual report must also be presented, along with the audited accounts. The constitution and policies must also be re-adopted and agreed if any changes are made.
Parents elect the committee members by nomination. Voting can be done by ballot or by a simple show of hands. Three main officers will be elected (chair, treasurer and secretary), and these will form a management group.
The committee is financially liable for the business.