The importance of a good clerk

I should start this blog with clarifying what I mean when applying the term Clerk for “not for profit” entities as, in practice, the title can be applied to a variety of roles.  The Clerk is the link between the Board of Trustees (or Directors) and the operational staff; however for small entities it may be that the Clerk is also the “operational staff”.

A good Clerk:

  • ensures that the Board has a structure to its meetings by circulating an agenda and keeping a log of when specific issues need to appear on the agenda (i.e ct2dmkm. the budget does not need to be approved at every meeting although they may wish to monitor current activity against it)
  • maintains a schedule of when policies require reviewing and the frequency this should occur, and then ensures these appear on the agenda, at the right time, with current or amended versions circulated for review
  • ensures that the Board understands its limits or terms of reference and does not try to operate outside of these
  • is up to date with current legislation effecting the entities operations and keeps the Board informed as to what has changed and the impact for the organisation
  • has a broad understanding of the financial data and reporting requirements so that they can proactively advise of any changes that are imminent
  • ensures that concise minutes are maintained so that all Board members are clear as to what has been agreed, what actions need to be taken, and by whom
  • takes the lead role for providing appropriate documentation for new Board members to ensure an efficient induction process

It should be stressed, then, that the Clerk is more than just a minute taker although I will explore the value of this task being undertaken well in a later blog.

It is therefore important that organisations invest in training for their Clerk and ensure that they are up to date in all matters effecting their activities.

The Board should be acting on a strategic level and your Clerk should be facilitating this review of operational activities; ensuring that the operational staff have the direction they require and that feedback is received and collated on a timely basis to ensure that good decision making can be made.

For any further details or questions please contact Deborah Austin