Do I really need a minutes template?

minutes image

I put out a post last week asking people what would they like me to write a blog about, and the results astounded me. I was overwhelmed with the amount of people wanting a simple, easy to use minutes template. Lots of people have to take minutes but do not have a workable minutes template to use, so I have put together some basic information on taking minutes and included a minutes template at the end of the blog… enjoy!

Taking minutes at a meeting is an important job that requires practice and skill.

Minutes, whether you use a minutes template or not are important because they:

  • Summarise what took place at a meeting
  • Include key points such as decisions made and actions assigned
  • Act as reference material for future meetings
  • Clarify what took place during previous meetings
  • Provide a record to show that an organisation/group has been carrying out its work properly
  • Show that the organisation/group are compliant with what it says in their governing document (refer to relevant course for more info here)
  • Demonstrate that the organisation/group is accountable to its clients, funders, staff and stakeholders

Imagine trying to capture all of that with no minutes template? Sounds daunting doesn’t it?

THAT is why a minutes template is so important, it provides consistency, structure and clarity to the information being recorded.

Minutes themselves do not validate meetings or decisions but provide an accurate record of what has taken place.

So, which minutes template is right for me?

Minutes can be written in different forms:

Verbatim minutes: These are a record of every single word that is said throughout the meeting. They are often long and can be difficult to skim for a particular piece of information.

Summary Minutes: These minutes summarise the discussion leading up to a decision and the action as a result. Summary minutes are normally written in full sentences rather than bullet points and are useful as a reminder for participants after the meeting and also ensure that absent colleagues are able to know what decisions were made and the discussion leading to those decisions. They also can be used to trace the history of a project.

Action minutes: These minutes simply record what actions have been decided upon, who is responsible and what the milestones and deadlines are. The purpose of these minutes is to provide only a record of decisions that require action.

The most common minutes template used is for summary minutes. This is because they are easy to read, easy to follow, document all important decisions but more importantly the discussion that lead to that decision, that way people who are absent from the meeting can get a flavour of what went on.

Tips from our Team!!

Below are examples of some of the meetings/groups when we think that minutes should be taken, and a minutes template used:

  • Management committee/trustee meeting
  • Subcommittee meeting
  • Annual general meeting (AGM)
  • A public meeting
  • Staff meeting
  • Volunteer meeting
  • Appraisals
  • General/team meetings
  • Advisory groups

Minutes should follow the agenda. The agenda should be numbered, so should the minutes.

At Biz Training Solutions (part of The National Training Academy), we always use summary minutes. Because of that we have provided you with our minutes template below. Please feel free to use it in your organisation.

This is just a snapshot of what it requires to take minutes. If you want to learn more, check out fantastic taking minutes’ course here: http://biztrainingsolutions.co.uk/bts-elearning/taking-minutes-online-training/ 

 

 Summary Minutes Template

 

Date/Time:         The time and date of the meeting

Location:             Where the meeting is taking place

Present:               Who is present at the meeting

Apologies:          Who has sent their apologies

  1. Welcome and introductions

Usually the chair welcomes everyone to the meeting, sets the agenda, time etc… that is summarised here

 

  1. Minutes from last meeting

A summary is written here, any amendments to the minutes, any questions or clarification, any feedback etc… this is all summarised here. There also needs to be a sentence that says – It was agreed that the minutes are a true record of the meeting.

Action: Any actions from the previous minutes

By whom: Who is responsible

Feedback: Any feedback against that action if applicable

  1. Agenda Item – XYZ

Whatever item is next on the agenda should be summarised here. That includes any discussions, decisions and actions.

Action: Any actions

By whom: Who is responsible

Feedback: Any feedback against that action if applicable

  1. Agenda Item – XYZ

Whatever item is next on the agenda should be summarised here. That includes any discussions, decisions and actions.

Action: Any actions

By whom: Who is responsible

Feedback: Any feedback against that action if applicable

  1. Standing agenda items

Any standing agenda items, such as finance, safeguarding etc.. would be discussed and summarised here

Action: Any actions

By whom: Who is responsible

Feedback: Any feedback against that action if applicable

  1. Any other business (AOB)

Any other business that does not have its own agenda item is discussed here.

Action: Any actions

By whom: Who is responsible

Feedback: Any feedback against that action if applicable

  1. Close business

The time that the meeting closes.