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What does a secretary do?

14 Feb 2024

The Secretary is the chief administration officer of the organisation. This person provides the coordinating link between members, the management committee and outside agencies.
The Club Secretary is generally the clubs nominated representative for the purposes of complying with the Incorporated Associations Act.
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The Secretary is also the club officer responsible for managing, collecting, reviewing and disseminating the club’s information and knowledge (e.g. policies and procedures, position descriptions etc).
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The Secretary is responsible for collecting all the key club information created and used during the year and previous years and should co-ordinate the handover of the information and knowledge to the incoming committee and relevant volunteers.

Responsibilities
The general responsibilities of the Secretary are wide and varied and may include, but certainly not limited to the following responsibilities.
The Secretary is responsible for the administrative tasks of the club including:

Legislative responsibilities
One of the key responsibilities of the Secretary is to ensure they understand fully the club rules or constitution, by-laws, policies and procedures and ensure the club is run according to these core documents at all times.

The secretary will also act as the “public officer” of the club so generally becomes the clubs nominated secretary under the Incorporated Associations Act and as such is responsible for:

Meetings
Prior to the meeting

During the meeting

  • Take the meeting Minutes of each committee and general meeting, circulating them within 4 days of the meeting to relevant people.
  • Maintain the minute book of club committee and general meetings, ensuring the minutes of each meeting are signed by the President confirming they are a true and correct reflection of the meeting.

After the meeting

  • Circulate the meeting Minutes of each committee and general meeting, within 4 days of the meeting to relevant people.

Player and team administration
A key role of the secretary is to ensure that key data bases are maintained and accurate at all times. Some clubs may have created a membership officer role within the club. However, the secretary should ensure that;

  • All teams are entered in their relevant competitions
  • Venues are booked for training and match day competitions
  • All players are registered and cleared to play in their nominated teams
  • Co-ordinate all player and coach clearances and transfers

Communication

Knowledge Management
To successfully undertake the role of Secretary the roles requires the person:

  • To be well informed of all club activities, especially those of all sub committees (click for more information).
  • Have a good working knowledge of the constitution, club rules and by laws, policies and procedures as well as the duties of all office holders
  • Strong understanding of the legal and compliance obligations of running the club
  • Maintain a register of the latest version of all club documentation including but not limited to the Club Rules, all policies and procedures, by laws, position descriptions, subcommittee terms of reference, coach and player development plans etc.
  • Maintain a register of all marketing material relating to the club’s activities (letterhead, logos, posters, brochures etc.)
  • Ensure that all volunteers update their position descriptions and any operating manuals, policies and procedures and provide the secretary with the updated version prior to the Annual General Meeting.
  • Co-ordinate the induction training for the incoming committee, sub committees, coaches and volunteers.

Requirements

The Secretary is expected to:

If at any stage the Secretary becomes aware of a personal conflict of interest, real or perceived between themselves and the club, they should immediately notify the Club President of the conflict who will immediately inform all other committee members.

End of year hand over

Updating key documents

At the end of each year a key activity of the Secretary will be to review and revise their position description to ensure it continues to reflect the requirements of the role. The updated Position Description must be included in the club information register prior to the Annual General Meeting each year.

Succession planning

A key responsibility of the club secretary is to ensure that at the end of their term a new secretary is able to be easily recruited. An effective succession planning strategy is to appoint at least one but often multiple assistant secretaries who will be delegated tasks and responsibilities of the secretary. The secretary will ensure that when delegating tasks to assistant secretaries that:

  • Expectations are clearly defined
  • The assistant secretaries have been adequately trained
  • The secretary provides continual monitoring and support

Induction of the incoming Secretary

Sustainably successful clubs treat their knowledge, information and relationships like gold. They are handed over from year to year so the incoming volunteer can simply pick up where the last person left of instead of having to re-invent the wheel each time person changes roles.
An important responsibility of outgoing Secretary is to train, mentor and support the incoming Secretary and the best way to do this is through an induction process straight after the AGM.

The purpose of this induction meeting is to introduce the new Secretary to:

  • History of the club
  • Club rules, policies, procedures and by laws
  • Strategic plans, Objectives and implementation plans
  • Club Structure and roles and responsibilities of each position
  • As much other information as possible to enable the committee, new and old, to be as effective as possible.

Ideally all outgoing committee members would attend the session as well any other people who the President believes can add value such as Life Members or other people with knowledge the committee needs to know.

These sorts of meetings are a great forum for the incoming committee to ask any questions they have and also build relationships with the those leaving the committee, hopefully to the point where they feel comfortable to contact them if need be in the future for additional advice or further information.