and I found this:
Can members of the public have access to the minutes of our charity's Annual General Meeting?
Yes they can. We recommend that charities make the minutes of the AGM available to the public on request: they may charge a reasonable fee to cover the cost of providing them.
What details might these minutes include? Again, from the official site;
57. The taking and keeping of minutes of some types of meeting can be required by either company law or the governing document of the charity. It is important to check whether any requirements about minute taking apply to your charity. Whatever may be the legal requirements, we recommend that accurate minutes are kept of all meetings. The minutes do not need to be a word for word record, but need to record information that is important to the charity. We recommend that each set of minutes gives:
- the name of the charity;
- the type of meeting;
- the date and time the meeting was held;
- apologies for absence; and
- the names of those present, including:
- in what capacity they attended eg trustee, adviser, etc; and
- for what items on the agenda.
58. Ideally, the minutes of any meeting should be taken by someone not directly involved in the meeting, for example the secretary to the trustees rather than one of the trustees themselves. This is because it is usually difficult to take adequate notes and actively participate at the same time. However, sometimes the secretary will not be able to take the minutes, due to absence or some other reason. Equally, many smaller charities do not have staff or willing volunteers to take on this task. Where one of the trustees is to take the minutes, this person should be clearly nominated before the meeting starts (in some cases one of the trustees will also have the role of honorary secretary, in which case the task should fall naturally to them). Where a trustee is taking the minutes that person should ensure that they are able also to contribute actively to any discussion.
59. It should be noted that the formal minutes, once approved and signed as an accurate record by the chairman, form the only legal record of the business of the meeting. Clearly trustees can take notes of meeting for their own purposes; these should not however be used as an afterthought to the official minutes. It is important that, if a trustee is unable to agree that the draft minutes are an accurate record of the meeting, then he or she should draw the matter to the attention of the chairman before they are approved and signed. It is for this reason that copies of the draft minutes should be sent to every trustee that attended the meeting to ensure they have the opportunity to comment. If after discussion the trustee is still unable to agree then his or her dissension should be formally noted and recorded as a postcript to the minutes before they are signed.
60. It is normal practice to record the name of the Chair.
61. The approval of, and any changes made to, minutes of a previous meeting must be recorded, together with matters arising from the previous minutes which are not dealt with as a separate item of business.
62. The minutes usually record:
- the precise wording of any resolution together with the name of the proposer and (optionally) the seconder of the motion;
- a summary of the discussion on each item of business;
- information upon which the decision was based;
- details of the decision, ie who voted and how and, in the event of an equality of votes, if the Chair used a casting vote;
- the action required;
- the names of the people who are responsible for implementing the decision; and
- the date, time and venue of the next meeting.
63. It is usual for the names of people attending a general meeting to be recorded by their signing a register at the door which is then attached to the minutes as a record of those present.
64. We advise that minutes are drafted as soon as possible after the meeting and circulated promptly. This is particularly important for the minutes of trustees' meetings in order to avoid delays in implementing decisions.
65. As the minutes are the charity's record of decisions it is important that they are accurate and stored properly. They may need to be used to support decisions approved at meetings and to show approval and adoption of the audited accounts. The minutes of all meetings, particularly trustees' meetings, need to be kept during the existence of the charity.
66. Retention of documents after dissolution will depend upon differing circumstances. There is no central body which keeps the records of dissolved charities. A local library or the County or other local Records Office may be willing to store them. The last Secretary to the charity trustees may keep them. The charity's solicitor or accountant might keep the records after dissolution, or another charity working in a similar field may agree to the safekeeping of the remaining documents. The accounting records of the charity must be retained for a minimum of six years unless we consent to their disposal (s. 41 of the 1993 Act); we recommend that other important records of the charity are retained for a similar period. Charitable companies will also have to comply with the relevant requirements of the Companies Acts.
67. A minute book needs to be used to keep a copy of all the original minutes as signed by the Chair of the meeting. Minute books are usually bound volumes, or loose leaf, as established by the charity's tradition. The minutes and any supporting documentation should be numbered to ensure that any lost or missing pages can be identified. The Secretary or person responsible for minute taking is advised to keep the minute book in a safe and secure place. We recommend that if a loose-leaf format is used, the pages are consecutively numbered and individually signed by the Chair to aid in the identification of missing pages. The final copy of the minutes is the signed set of minutes held in the charity's minute book.
68. A charitable company is permitted to retain its statutory books on computer. Copies of minutes can be stored on a computer.
69. The minutes of trustees' meetings must be made available to all charity trustees and where necessary, to appropriate professional advisers (eg auditors). Minutes of trustees' meetings are not open documents and do not have to be made available for public inspection, unless the charity's governing document requires this. The minutes of a general meeting are usually made available to members (in the case of a charitable company they have to be) but do not have to be made available for public inspection unless the charity's governing document requires this.
So who fancies writing a letter to Mill Hill?