The next NECL AGM is on Monday 5 August 2013 at Baddow. The agenda (here) includes a proposal to amend the constitution with a small addition concerning minutes – merely that a draft be issued in a timely manner soon after the meeting. I suggest this in the belief that early communication of outcomes is important and I hope everyone will support this.
The proposal is to add the following line to clause C(i)
“The general secretary will make draft minutes available to all members within 2 weeks after the meeting date.”
Some reasons for this;-
- As currently written, there is no actual requirement for minutes at all, late or early, though clearly some are expected.
- Past practice has been to produce minutes around 12 months later for the following AGM. Surely it is easier to write these up while things are still fresh in the mind, and the notes taken are most legible?
- The season following an AGM is the time during which the views and decisions on new issues are most relevant.
- During the season, members have generally not been aware of most issues or decisions made and had no means to look these up.
- With no draft available for reference during the following season it was assumed that attendees debrief club colleagues. This is neither efficient nor reliable. Raising a query via the general secretary should not be necessary and may not always be practical.
e.g.1 “do mid-season grades dictate a team’s playing order?” Do you recall if this was discussed? What conclusion was reached? Where would you check this?
e.g.2 “when a team plays out of grade order, there is a notion that adjacent players can be within 10 points of each other, but where is this quoted? If not in the rules, perhaps this was established at an AGM or LCM? Which one, and how would you verify this? There is no reference. etc.
- Approval of minutes 12 months after the event becomes almost routine as issues can then seem less important, attendees have less confidence to identify errors and less detail of discussion is remembered.
The benefits of early draft publication by the general secretary are;-
a) A more valuable reference available from the start of the relevant season.
b) Visibility to all, rather than being limiting to the attendees of the next meeting.
c) Greater opportunity for readers to check the detail, raise issues and correct errors and omissions to improve the accuracy and detail of final drafts.
A follow-on suggestion is that the general secretary file ALL AGM and LCM minutes, and any associated documents, on the NECL website, thus making them easily accessible to all members.