Members, meetings, and the committee - your association's legal obligations

Updated: Jun 19

To receive funding from the NSW Department of Education, schools must be run by an Incorporated Assocation.

An Incorporated Association is a legal entity under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (the Act), which means there are regulations that have to be followed by your association.

Following are some important regulations that you need to be aware of so that your association complies with its legal requirements. There are more, which I will write about in future posts. You can read more at the Department of Fair Trading's website here.

MEMBERS: The Act requires that you have at least 5 members at all times. Your association's registration can be cancelled if you have fewer than 5 members.

You must keep a register of your members. The register of committee members must be kept at the main premises of the association or the association's official address, which must be in NSW. More info here.

YOUR COMMITTEE: Sometimes called the 'committee of management' or 'board' is responsible for managing the affairs of the association, in accordance with its constitution and the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (the Act).

Committee members are elected by members of the association at your Annual General Meeting (every year) or at a Special Meeting. You cannot appoint yourself to the committee, you must be elected by your members.

Your constitution says who will be on your committee - the roles, such as Public Officer, Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, and how long someone can be on the committee. The public officer must reside in New South Wales. An association's incorporation may be cancelled if it does not have a public officer or if its public officer does not comply with these requirements.

If your constitution says someone can be on the committee for more than one year, they must be re-elected ie voted for again, they don't get to decide that they will stay on the committee. More info here.

MEETINGS: There are three main types of meetings usually held by associations. These are: Annual general meetings (AGMs); Other general meetings; Management committee meetings.

The management committee should meet as often as is necessary to properly manage the affairs of the association. The constitution can stipulate a minimum requirement for management committee meetings. Unless the association's constitution says otherwise, only committee members are entitled to attend committee meetings. However, the committee may permit members and other persons to attend.

By law, you must have an annual general meeting every year (as the name of this meeting suggests. 2020 was an exception because of COVID), within 6 months after the association’s financial year end. Your association’s constitution specifies its financial year. More info on meeting here.

RECORD KEEPING: Minutes must be kept of meetings. There are laws about recording what is said in your meetings. The minutes should include:

  • the day, date, time and place of the meeting

  • the time the meeting started

  • the names of those present and any apologies

  • that the chair announced a quorum was present and that the meeting was duly constituted (if this announcement was made)

  • a reference to minutes of the previous committee meeting and the signing of them as a correct record

  • details of every resolution put to members and whether it was passed with the appropriate majority

  • details of persons voting against a motion or abstaining from voting if those persons request that this be recorded

  • details of any appointments made, persons elected to office and any leave of absence granted to a member

  • an overview of discussions on decisions made

  • the date and time for the next meeting, if this is determined during the meeting

  • the time the meeting ended.

Minutes of meetings must be kept in written or electronic form. If records and minutes are kept in electronic form, they must be able to be converted into hard copy.

If any part of the minutes is in a language other than English, a copy of the minutes in the English language must be kept with the minutes. The Associations Incorporation Act 2009 prescribes penalties for failure to comply with this requirement.

Minutes of meetings are the official written record of the business transacted at a meeting and need to be retained indefinitely. In addition, documents that might relate to potential litigation (such as incident report forms and permission to publish student photos) should not be destroyed and kept indefinitely. More info here.

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