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Running a great Group Trustee Board Meeting

A guide for the Group Chair and Group Secretary

Preparing for the meeting

Many Group Chairs will be used to preparing for meetings – through their personal, professional or Scouting experiences. However, the following advice may put a new perspective.

There are four key steps to follow when preparing for a meeting:

Group Chair and Secretary to agree the agenda

Preparing the agenda should start with a look at the previous meeting’s minutes to review the content and to identify any new issues. There may be some routine items (such as preparing for the Annual General Meeting) that are needed, depending on the time of year.

It's important that all Trustees know when the meeting is and inform the Group Secretary (by a specified date, normally at least two weeks before the meeting) of any agenda items they wish to raise. You may decide once you are in full possession of the facts that there is no need for a meeting. If this is the case, then alerting people and rearranging the meeting is the best use of everyone’s time.

When planning the agenda you need to consider:

  • The information that members will need in order to come to the meeting prepared. Discussion can focus on the issues, if members start with a common understanding. A full explanation either as part of the agenda or in a supporting paper is essential.
  • The venue of the meeting. Doing some advance thinking about the meeting venue is worthwhile. Are all Trustees able to access the room? Is the venue accessible to those who may need to use public transport? Is the start time suitable for those who may need to travel home from work? The meeting is more likely to be a success if everyone is comfortable, the room is an appropriate temperature and there is sufficient space. Meeting round a table is preferable as it gives everyone somewhere to put their papers and people can gain eye contact with the Chair.

Group Trustee Board

Meeting agenda for Wednesday 4 September 2019
Location: Village hall
Time: 7.30pm, to finish by 9.30pm

1. Welcome and introductions (led by Group Chair)

2. Apologies for absence

3. Declaration of interests – Minutes of the previous meeting

4. Review of action points from the previous meeting

5. Financial report (led by the Group Treasurer)

  • Current balances
  • Review of Group budget (copy enclosed)
  • Payment of membership subscriptions to the District
  • Renewal of equipment insurance

6. Safety Updates

  • Review of the fire risk assessment and evacuation plans
  • Schedule for portable appliance testing of electrical equipment
  • Review of recent accident/near-miss reports

7. Fundraising sub-committee report (led by Chair of the Fundraising sub-committee)

8. Review of the web campaign for funds for Headquarters repairs

9. Update on funds for new tents and equipment for the Cub Pack

10. Update on future plans

  • District fun day
  • Group sports day
  • Village fete

11. Group Scout Leaders’ report

Including details on:

  • Report on sections – activities, aims and achievements.
  • Report on any Group activities and review the Group Development plan.

12. Recruitment and retention issues (led by the Scout Troop Leader, GSL and Group Chair)

  • Report to be led by the Scout Troop Leader, GSL and Group Chair
  • Youth and adult membership
  • Joining list figures
  • Want to join enquiries – appointment of Membership enquiries role followed by a
    general discussion

13. Future meetings

  • Agree meeting dates for the next 12 months – please bring your diaries!

14. Any other business

  • Please advise the Secretary at least 48 hours before the start of the meeting of any other business, so that appropriate time can be reserved.

The Secretary to make the arrangements

Whether the venue is to be the Group Headquarters, or another venue, there are things to do.

  • Book the date and time
  • Check that the facilities will be available (eg kitchen facilities if you plan to provide refreshment)
  • Check how to gain access (eg who will let you in or where to collect the key)
  • Make arrangements with anyone who you need to help you set up the room (eg to arrange the furniture).

Good venues get booked up quickly and so you may find it easier to set meeting dates well in advance and to book everything for a year at a time.

Receive and send out the papers

The Group Secretary should send the papers to everyone attending. This includes the Chair so they will know what information has been sent.

Make sure the agenda and any papers are sent out in good time. People need to read them, digest the information and to think about the issues. About two weeks before the meeting makes sense. Sending out the papers too far in advance of a meeting usually means that the situation changes, late items crop up but are too late to be included. This means that people will not be prepared to discuss them at the meeting. Remember that some people are prone to losing things that come out too early.

Arranging the most suitable way to send the meeting papers (eg paper copies or by email) means people are more likely to read them.

Only send the details (and any minutes) to those who are members of the Trustee Board. The Chair and Secretary should agree if others should receive them on a regular basis or if there are special reasons for someone to receive a one-off copy

The Chair to decide how to tackle each item

The Chair is a key influence on the direction of the meeting and the items discussed. The effectiveness of the meeting will depend on how people understand the agenda issues, how they introduce each topic and who they choose to lead a discussion.

While the Chair should try not to prejudge the outcome of an issue being discussed, they can have a clear idea of what is needed and steer the conversation. Consider if they are seeking:

  • a briefing for the Trustees
  • a decision
  • a range of options for further investigation
  • views and/or ideas.

The Chair also need to ensure the meeting is a good use of the Trustees time, by:

  • ensuring that issues discussed are part of the Trustee Board's remit
  • making sure that all members are in agreement or have been an active part of the discussion
  • not returning to issues already dealt with or discussed.

It helps if to time the agenda and allocate a portion of time to each item. This will let the Chair monitor progress and ensure that the matters of real substance are fully covered.