Meetings are an unavoidable fact of life. They can be boring, badly organised and inconclusive. However they can also be very effective in building consensus and moving things on. Planning before the meeting, being organised during the meeting and good management both during and after the meeting can create an effective forum where members are valued and outcomes are realised.

Meetings bring together people with different ideas and experiences to exchange information, solve problems, make decisions, share concerns and explain issues.

Changes your P&C could make to meetings during pandemic

General P&C meetings

The P&C Constitution (section 18.4) states that P&Cs must hold three general meetings per semester (six per year). Please make your own local decisions as to whether the P&C cancels or re-schedules meetings.

Video conferencing

While the Constitution states that members must be “present” (P&C Constitution section 18.3), if a member is able to interact with the meeting (by phone or other method), then they are considered to be present at the meeting. You might like to consider inviting your members to Skype into your meeting (or use another type of video service).

Members may also phone in to the meeting if absolutely necessary and be put on speaker phone. You will need to organise this ahead of time so that you know who is going to phone in, and to which phone number.

Votes cast by members on Skype or speaker phone can be counted but you will not be able to hold a secret ballot (e.g. for the election of executives at the AGM) if you are using video conferencing or speaker phone for your meeting.

Postponing the AGM

If your P&C needs to postpone the AGM, you must give a minimum of 14 days’ notice of the new meeting date. It is likely that this would now mean that you are unable to hold your AGM before 31 March. Your Principal will notify your Regional Office and you should schedule your AGM for a new date as soon as you are able.

Current P&C executives will need to continue in their positions until the AGM can be held and a new committee elected.