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Using virtual meetings – the new “business as usual” model

When the UK was initially advised that it would be in a state of lockdown with social distancing measures in place and there would be no non-essential travel, many did not anticipate this extending beyond April. Frequently the decision was taken to delay or defer meetings until after lockdown was lifted.

For many this was not an option, as they were providing services and support to the most vulnerable or at risk. For them, online meetings had to be embraced and have become the new normal.

There are several providers of online meetings including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex, Go to meeting etc. For charities in particular, G Suite provides access to G Suite Basic, using your domain, at no cost. Indeed, the Dafferns Team meet each morning via Zoom and during the day ad-hoc meetings are usually via Microsoft Teams. If you use the Microsoft 365 suite of software you may find you have access to Microsoft Teams and may not have realised.

When the current lockdown measures are lifted it may be some time before meetings around a Boardroom table happen again. Trustees of charities cannot wait until there is a return to how meetings were held in the past, they need to be ensuring that their charitable purposes are being met and decisions being taken in order to do so. Management will need to understand what access to internet or mobile technology your Board members have before a decision can be made.

Please note that older Governing Documents/Constitutions may state that face to face meetings are required however we are hearing that the Charity Commission are accepting that online, or telephone meetings are perfectly reasonable in the current circumstances.