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... to expect that Minutes of a meeting ...

(21 Posts)
Grannyknot Mon 26-Oct-15 12:01:35

... shouldn't have to include writing up screeds of who was thanked for doing what?!

Just thank people in the meeting and get done with it! Everyone knows that everyone else is eternally grateful for a job well done in a volunteer group. Argh.

Local group for which I am currently doing secretarial duties, and I'm about to suggest that in future we do a "Decisions and Actions" note of the meeting only grin.

pensionpat Mon 26-Oct-15 12:54:25

Otherwise those minutes become hours!

Nonnie Mon 26-Oct-15 13:08:04

You are correct, minutes should be a record of salient points and nothing else. If a particularly long serving person has left then it might be appropriate to write something about thanking them but nothing more.

Anya Mon 26-Oct-15 13:27:41

Minutes are a nightmare! I used to act as Parish Clerk and some of the Parish Councillors wanted an almost verbatim account especially if it was something they'd said. They're frequently say 'minute that' in the meeting.

These were often the same ones who's said they'd 'act' on a point and never bothered. So we introduced a 'Decisions and Actions' column with a name against who had to action something. Not that it did much good.

Whosoever wrote the script for the Vicar of Dibley had obviously attended one of our Parish Council meetings grin

Elegran Mon 26-Oct-15 13:33:05

Anya A bit before the next meeting, a really good chairman would be contacting those who had actions down to them to ask how they were getting on with things. (Some hope!)

Luckygirl Mon 26-Oct-15 13:39:42

Oh heavens yes - when it comes to minutes less is definitely more. It is a waste of time and paper to note virtually every word.

When I was clerk to a school governing body I used to make them somewhat pithy and everyone was very glad to have less to wade through.

M0nica Mon 26-Oct-15 14:39:58

A committee I belong to will record thanks to those who have organised and successfully completed a major task. Something like:

The committtee thanked Sarah and her helpers for once again running a very successful Barn Dance

For the rest of us, a sentence in the Chairman's report to members at the AGM, just thanking all committee members for their hardwork, is quite sufficient. Most of us do it because we enjoy the work, the company and the benefits of seeing other people enjoying the results of our hard work. We do not expect to be thanked for every little action.

Just off to organise the catering for next Saturday's Study day, which will not be acknowledged in the minutes.

Grannyknot Mon 26-Oct-15 14:56:41

anya you've hit the nail on the head. I think often people who have nothing better to do who volunteer on local groups like to see their name in print! Every amendment that is sent it from the person who said the thank you and who want to see it in print.

Isn't the human ego a funny old thing.

ginny Mon 26-Oct-15 15:41:14

Quite agree.

One club that I attend reads out minutes of the last meeting including telling everyone what the speaker said. I really don't understand why they do that. If you were there, you already know and if you weren't, well, too bad.

JessM Mon 26-Oct-15 16:09:15

I agree minutes are there to note decisions. However sometimes there are other items which must be included. e.g. in school governors should record who was present, whether there are any declarations of conflicts of interest - and "Minutes of last meeting" as an agenda item.
In a formal situation (such as governors or charity trustees) they are meant to be READ ahead of meeting (not read out in the meeting) and agreed by the next meeting to as a "true and proper record" of what took place. This is important as then nobody can go back and dispute what was agreed. It's the board's opportunity to correct any inaccuracies.
If it is an informal group less is better. I still don't understand why our writers group circulates minutes of monthly meetings when there is a separate committee. Maybe its just to let people know what they have missed. In which case they are notes, really, and not minutes.

M0nica Mon 26-Oct-15 20:03:52

Ginny that is a very old fashioned thing to do and dates to the time when minutes were hand written in a minute book, which was the only record of the meeting and was the way the minutes were checked as true and accurate. In the past I have belonged to Societies that did that but the last one stopped doing it about 20 years ago.

My experience seems to be different from other peoples, I am on two committees and neither of them has a problem with people wanting to be thanked or named in the minutes. Possibly because most of us have experience of committees at work and just treat committee meetings as we would any other business meeting.

Anne58 Mon 26-Oct-15 21:37:20

My ex-boss would start each meeting by reading aloud the minutes of the previous meeting, even though all those present had already received a copy of them! If his PA had been asked to minute that it could have ended up like Groundhog Day!

thatbags Mon 26-Oct-15 21:39:41

gknot, if you're the secretary, write them in your own succinct style. So long as anything actually important is recorded they can't complain. Well, they can but they may not wink

Grannyknot Mon 26-Oct-15 22:14:24

Thanks for comments everyone.

Bags part of the problem is that the previous Secretary used to write essays grin - so that's what they expect, they need training!

I believe it's a real skill to summarise and extract salient points from waffle important discussions, so they should be pleased to have me smile.

A friend of mine used to write a newsletter for her gardening group and she would include a note that read "All complaints are taken seriously and complainants are immediately appointed to succeed the Editor". She never got a single one!

rosesarered Mon 26-Oct-15 22:31:15

My sister tells me of parish council meetings she attends that have me rolling in the aisles, so funny.Oh, the long boring evenings she has to put up with, that are only funny in the re-telling!

JessM Tue 27-Oct-15 06:53:05

Organisations can be trained. I chaired a U3a and was horrified in the first AGM (with about 100 in attendance) in which members seemed to think and AGM was an occasion in which you could leap to your feet and make speeches!
The following year I wrote a fairly stern piece for the newsletter about how I would be running the AGM. They were very well behaved. smile

Anya Tue 27-Oct-15 07:19:23

Thing to remember; if people are being paid to write minutes then fair enough they ought to be written to a professional standard, but if (as many are) they are being completed by a volunteer then they need to be cut some slack.

You can drive people off committees by adopting a hitleresque attitude.

Far better they waffle on a bit than miss out some salient point. Even the waffle can be a funny and interesting historical record as I found reading through old hand-written Parish Council meetings from over a century ago.

M0nica Tue 27-Oct-15 20:51:43

A good chairman can resolve any problem whether its minutes or running a meeting efficiently and well. A poor chairman just causes problems.

thatbags Tue 27-Oct-15 21:48:46

Do what the job requires rather than what people are used to and think they want. Minutes are notes of decisions reached and tasks appointed, not essays. They'll get used to it and may even be surprised how they put up with waffle in the past. Efficiency has attractions.

You can make them friendly notes smile

soontobe Wed 28-Oct-15 10:40:28

The problem as I see it, is that there are precious few people who will volunteer for anything, and that includes secretaries of committees. So I think their standard has gone down in recent years.
One that I attend is hopeless, but we are all very grateful that he does it, even though we all have to correct his minutes as they are far from being a correct record of the previous meeting.

goose1964 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:57:53

it'been ages since I've had minutes but when I di it just said something like thanks given