At least ten working days’ written notice of meetings is required (unless all trustees agree otherwise or urgent decisions are required). 

Legislation requires that the following have to be recorded for each meeting:

  • The date, time and place of the meeting
  • The names of all the trustees invited to the meeting
  • The names of the trustees who attended the meetings and those who did not attend
  • The names of any professional advisers or any other person who attended the meeting
  • Any decisions made at the meeting
  • Whether since the previous meeting there has been any occasion when a decision has been made by the trustees. If so, the time, place and date of such a decision, and the names of the trustees who participated in the decision.

Trustees need to know whether their trust deed specifies a quorum requirement. If so, it will be necessary at every meeting to consider and record whether a quorum is present. If there are a number of absences this may not be the case and any decisions made may be compromised. For this reason the chair or secretary should check expected attendees in advance - if there are too many apologies the meeting may need to be rearranged. The remaining trustees should also check whether there is still a quorum if any of the trustees have to leave part way through a meeting.

Nowadays it is common for trustees, particularly those based overseas, to attend meetings by video or conference call. Some scheme rules stipulate that meeting attendance needs to be in person. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that decisions taken at video or conference call meetings are valid (if there is a problem normally all that is required to solve it is a small change to the scheme’s rules).

At the time of writing (during the Covid-19 movement restrictions), video or conference call meetings are a requirement rather than a possible option. We predict that they will become the new norm given their many benefits and that any barriers to their introduction have been forcibly removed. We have set out below some suggestions to help to make virtual meetings effective:

  • Use video
  • Have audio dial-in as a backup in case of poor bandwidth
  • Test beforehand
  • Make sure faces are visible
  • Have an agenda and run the meeting properly
  • Hold more frequent meetings with shorter durations
  • Assign a meeting facilitator

If you are unable to make a meeting you should give your apologies in advance by contacting the chair and/or scheme secretary. You should still be provided with a set of meeting papers. We recommend that if you have any points you wish to be shared at the meeting you submit those via the chair. Following the meeting you should make yourself aware of any decisions taken and agreed actions by reading the meeting minutes or speaking to other trustees or the scheme secretary. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if anything isn’t clear.
Following any meeting the secretary to the trustees will write up the minutes of the meeting, including any decisions taken and any actions. These will be circulated for comments as soon as possible after the meeting date so that discussions are still fresh in people’s minds.  

Many trustees ask their scheme secretary to keep a separate action log.  This provides a useful summary of the current position, enabling trustees to see at a glance where things are.  It can also be used as a means of following up actions by filtering and sending sections to relevant parties.  It makes it harder to accidentally forget about items that have somehow “fallen off” agendas, and can help pinpoint when decisions took place.

Please see the section entitled “Decisions” for more information about recording decisions taken between meetings.

Meeting preparation and actions

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