Minutes – an informal workshop

Template for an informal Workshop for UNISON members and active members

Learning Outcomes: awareness of common practices when taking minutes or notes of a meeting
Timing Suggestions: Circle the most appropriate from the list below


  • 1 hour 
Suggested event at which to run the workshop: Circle the most appropriate from the list below Branch development day,√



Activities and Facilitator Notes: 



Activity – why do we need minutes

Activity – Bog standard Items avoiding the usual pitfalls

Activity – Making Notes of decisions

Activity – Style and distribution

Activity – working as a team – Chair, secretary, Minute taker


Resources Required:Checklist and handout




Taking Minutes – Tips to make the job straightforward

Before the meeting

–      Run through the agenda with the Chairperson, to clarify points you don’t understand and get a feel for around how long each item will take – reach an agreement with the Chair that they will summarise, for your benefit, each decision made at the meeting before moving on to the next agenda item – to assist you in making notes

-       Speak to the Secretary about who should receive a copy of the minutes and when and compile a distribution list

-       If there are any known ‘standing orders’ about how the meeting should run get a copy eg Meetings of the Branch Committee shall last no longer than 2 hours

At the meeting

make a note of

  • the meeting title, the date. the start and finish times
  • those present, the name of the chairperson and apologies for absence – you  may have the responsibility of distributing and keeping an attendance and apologies list


Bog standard items at the beginning of the meeting

  • Chairperson’s opening remarks – this is used to make any announcements regarding issues not on the agenda eg Chair may call for matters of an urgent nature not on the agenda to be raised at the beginning so that the meeting can agree to hear them during this or a future meeting – this device is used to avoid having to have the ‘any other business’ item at the end of the meeting agenda, which is well known for being abused particularly by late comers.
  • Minutes of the previous meeting and any matters arising not otherwise on the agenda
  • Those present and apologies for absence

Agenda Items – make a note of

  • Agenda item number and title then the decision

After the meeting

Make an initial draft and submit this for the attention of the Chairperson who may make amendments – once these are agreed despatch to your distribution list


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