Make Minutes Count
The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) has published a new guidance note on minute taking. The guidance rather than being prescriptive is principle based offering suggestions that are tailored to each organisation. The purpose of minutes is to provide an accurate, impartial and balanced internal record of the business transacted at a meeting. This involves documenting the reasons for the decision, sufficient background information for future reference and sufficient context to give assurance that decisions were taken properly. Well written minutes should convey all the assurance a regulator needs.
“No one-size approach” for minute writing applies and there is no ‘right way’ to draft minutes. It is therefore up to each individual organisations to decide how best its meetings should be recorded. At a minimum minutes should be clear, concise, free from ambiguity and include:
- Key points of discussion
- Decisions made
- Where appropriate reasons for decisions
- Agreed actions
- A record of any delegated authority to act on behalf of the organisation.
The guidance includes detailed discussion of preliminary information including quorum, the treatment of conflicts of interest, the style of writing, dealing with dissent in the minutes, the treatment of post-meeting developments and to whom access to minutes might be granted. The guidance can be found at www.icsa.org.uk/minutetaking.