Group Secretary Communication
A guide for the Group Secretary on how to communicate with the Group
As Secretary, you will be the central point of information and communication within the Group. This section details the other key elements of the role as well as some of the main factors with keeping people informed and communicated with.
Make information available to members of the Group
You will often be the person who receives information required by others in the Group.
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, you will need to distribute information in a variety of ways. Too many paper versions reduce the likelihood of people reading them. So be selective about which papers you choose to print and which to distribute in other ways.
For those items that you do send, you will need to establish a system for distributing information. The system needs to be simple and reliable. It might include:
- pigeon holes at the Group Headquarters (or another place used by members of the Group)
- regular postal or personal delivery
- delivery to the section meetings.
You also need a system for distributing information electronically. Many Groups have a website that information can be published on.
Email information as necessary but try to avoid including the whole Executive Committee every time. Only send information to those who need it.
Many Groups find it useful to publish a Group diary. This ensures that everyone involved has a clear idea of what is planned and can organise their time accordingly.
In a very active Group it also ensures that the Group’s facilities are not double-booked.
The Group Secretary is well placed, as a central point of contact, to co-ordinate the information that needs to be included in the diary. Production of the diary could be delegated to someone else.
Having dates planned a year ahead is not uncommon in Scouting. Having a ‘rolling diary’ for the next 12 months that is published every quarter gives good advanced warning.
Keeping people in the Group up to date with what is happening and with future events is essential if everyone is to feel involved. It is a significant task and one that should not be the sole responsibility of the Group Secretary.
A Group website or social media page is an excellent central point of information and some Groups will be able to actively involve young people in its development. A website can be used to publish news, events and updates for everyone to see.
Similarly, a Group newsletter provides a regular opportunity to update the whole Group and you can involve young people in creating it.
The Secretary may well contribute content to the website or newsletter but these tasks need to be shared. Discuss with the Group Chair if a Group website co-ordinator and Group magazine editor can be appointed.
Keep in contact with the District Secretary
An open dialogue with the District Secretary means that the Group will be well informed. Situations can be identified early and fixed before they turn into problems. It also makes it easier to ask for help if you are in regular contact.
You might also be in contact with the District Appointments Secretary. They help to make appointments in the Scout District. You may be asked for information on members of your Scout Group, so knowing them in advance is helpful.
Keep such records as the Group Scout Leader and Group Chair require
The details of every member in the Group should be on their record.
Liaising with the District Appointments Secretary makes it much easier to record everyone in the Group.
As a matter of course, you should also keep a more immediate record of all those in the Scout Group. This includes, for example:
- the Leaders, Assistant Leaders, Young Leaders and Instructors
- members of the Group Executive Committee
- Group Advisors
- Occasional Helpers
- others who fulfil specialist roles for the Group eg quartermaster or caretaker.
There will be some records that you will need to keep securely. Minute books or folders and records of those involved in the Group have already been mentioned. There may well be others and you need to make sure you are fully aware of the Group Scout Leader’s and Group Chair’s requirements.
A contact list may be kept by the Section Leaders, but many Groups keep it centrally (with the Secretary) to enable communication direct to parents.
Some of the information may be sensitive or confidential and you need to agree who has access to what. Holding information about members requires compliance with the data protection laws. Find out more about best practice and data protection.
The Group Secretary is responsible for ensuring that all documents relating to the ownership of property and equipment and all other legal and official documents, together with any documents of historical importance or interest are kept in a safe place.