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Helen F  
#1 Posted : 10 November 2021 17:38:37(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Helen F

We have a new Governance exec who is proposing that as we do not have any union representatives we only need to consider the H&S (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 and therefore we do not need to take minutes at our H&S Committee meetings, rather just capture items in an action log.

I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable about it and would prefer to keep minutes that caputure what is discussed - admittedly it's admin heavy, but personally I'm not sure the HSE would find an action log sufficient.

What do people think? 

Roundtuit  
#2 Posted : 10 November 2021 18:24:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

True "minute taking" is unfortunately becoming a lost art.

Most meetings eventually descend to a list of action point, owner and time frame with the main agenda being the carry forward from the meeting before. This follows the principles of SMART which is more than enough to satisfy the HSE along with independent external management systems auditors.

The bigger issue is making those assigned tasks think about what they can actually achieve and by when rather than having the same item appearing repeatedly with the delivery date being pushed forever backward. In this scenario "minute taking" would merely record the excuse for kicking the item down the road before moving on which looks bad to any external party.

Roundtuit  
#3 Posted : 10 November 2021 18:24:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

True "minute taking" is unfortunately becoming a lost art.

Most meetings eventually descend to a list of action point, owner and time frame with the main agenda being the carry forward from the meeting before. This follows the principles of SMART which is more than enough to satisfy the HSE along with independent external management systems auditors.

The bigger issue is making those assigned tasks think about what they can actually achieve and by when rather than having the same item appearing repeatedly with the delivery date being pushed forever backward. In this scenario "minute taking" would merely record the excuse for kicking the item down the road before moving on which looks bad to any external party.

firesafety101  
#4 Posted : 10 November 2021 19:29:46(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

I once worked for an American company in Merseyside who had lost a whole car manufacturing factory to fire during the 1950s.  Following that their safety culture was ramped up a few good notches.

I was responsible for fire and safety and led the H&S committee meetings, two of them every month as the premises was split in two by a 2 hour Fire Wall  I took the minutes and the meetings were run by a very high ranking member of management.  I typed out the minutes and distributed them in the few days after the meetings and the Plant Manager also received a copy which he discussed during the monthly Management Committee meeting attended by the Plant Union Convenor.

The minutes were as detailed as I could reasonably be expected to write, taking notes during the meetings.

As the four weeks between meetings went on and no action was being taken until week four when everyone ran around putting things right, the Plant Manager wanted to know progress as did the two who ran the meetings.

The minutes were distributed a second time just before the meetings and woe betide anyone responsible for taking action who neglected his required tasks.

Attendees at the meetings were all union reps who were well supported (egged on) by their Convenor.

Those minutes I believe were instrumental in actions being taken and the meeting seemed to always run well.

When I change employer I took the procedure with me and the union reps were all amazed at how much more efficiant the H&S meeting were because agreed actions were usually taken.

thanks 1 user thanked firesafety101 for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 11/11/2021(UTC)
Kate  
#5 Posted : 10 November 2021 23:39:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

The solution to this disagreement will be found by answering the following two questions:

1. What value do you get from the minutes?

2. What is the objection to the minutes?

It may well turn out that a different way of presenting the minutes will both preserve the value and resolve the objection.

It would be worthwhile to consult the committee members about what they want from the minutes.

Brian Hagyard  
#6 Posted : 11 November 2021 08:39:26(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

do you "recognise" the trade union? Are they involved in negotiations etc? If so then the legal requirement to have a H&S comittee is when 2 trade union reps requset it. As such i dont see why you would exclude them. I work for a largeish employer and we recognise two trade unions, although membership is not as high as it used to be. As such they are represented on all our communication systems.

I would be lost without someone keeping minutes for me on actions we agree - but thats just me.

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A Kurdziel on 11/11/2021(UTC)
Kate  
#7 Posted : 11 November 2021 09:20:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

The OP says they don't have any union reps and as I understand it the proposal under dispute is to stop recording full minutes that detail the discussions that were had and instead just record the actions.

thanks 1 user thanked Kate for this useful post.
Brian Hagyard on 11/11/2021(UTC)
Evans38004  
#8 Posted : 11 November 2021 09:25:12(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Evans38004

For the last 15+ years, having worked with / for several companies - I've been able to survive with meetings that only capture items in an action log. (this includes who raised an issue / date of raising the issue / the assigned owner / agreed action closure date / actual closure date / status comments / feedback required/provided to person who raised the issue/concern

I don't personally think that the HSE would base their conclusions on an action log / full set of minutes

The important items for me is raising and resolving an issue - or providing feedback whey an issue cannot be resolved 

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Kate on 11/11/2021(UTC)
A Kurdziel  
#9 Posted : 11 November 2021 09:41:38(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

I am a fan (sad I know) of good minutes. Minutes provide a narrative  to why you decide on some things and ignore other options. In the real world it often comes to choosing options and if you only record one option and it goes wrong then it may become difficult to justify the choices you made at time. It could be that the manager is one of those lets just get things done types, full of good intentions which may lead to hell. I wonder what sort of meetings they had when they made decisions that led to Grenfell.

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Kate on 11/11/2021(UTC), CptBeaky on 11/11/2021(UTC), Helen F on 11/11/2021(UTC)
CptBeaky  
#10 Posted : 11 November 2021 10:08:55(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
CptBeaky

We don't have a union, and I still take notes/minutes. Looking at it from a purely finacial position, any paper trail highlighting improvements made could have a beneficial effect on any actions (fines or civil claims). I don't really see any compelling reason not to take notes or minutes.

thanks 2 users thanked CptBeaky for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 11/11/2021(UTC), Helen F on 11/11/2021(UTC)
Brian Hagyard  
#11 Posted : 11 November 2021 10:44:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

Originally Posted by: Kate Go to Quoted Post

The OP says they don't have any union reps and as I understand it the proposal under dispute is to stop recording full minutes that detail the discussions that were had and instead just record the actions.

Thanks missread the post

achrn  
#12 Posted : 11 November 2021 12:25:55(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

I've just had our safety meeting, and I'm just about to write the minutes.

I think minutes are important,  and should include more than just the list of actions.  However, I don't (personally) record a detailed Mr X said this, Mrs Y said that, Mx Z said the other.  More typically I would minute a discussiuon as 'the meeting discussed, and the following key points were raised: X Y Z'.  I record the consensus view with some indication of how united a consensus it was - I hope this encourages collective behaviour.

I agree with most of the other comments made.  In particular, minutes need to come out fast.  I regard minutes later than end of the following day as a failure.

Regarding actions that stay open meeting after meeting after meeting, one of our KPIs is how long actions have been on the agenda being carried forward. Any action that stays there too long gets raised at the board meeting - most people try and avoid being raised as a problem at the board meeting.  The KPI we use is number of open H&S meeting actions, how many of those were new last meeting, and age being how many times the item has re-appeared (if something raised first in the most recent meeting it is age zero, if it was raised in the meeting before last, and last meeting it wasn't reported closed, it's now aged 1, etc).  I started using that KPI about four years ago and it has helped.

e.g. '18 open actions, of which 12 were new last meeting, average age of open actions is 0.94'.  I'm normally happy with an average age under 1, but in this case it is actually 17 actions under control (brand new or only been carried over once) but one outstanding for two years and repeatedly discussed at board level.

thanks 3 users thanked achrn for this useful post.
CptBeaky on 11/11/2021(UTC), Helen F on 11/11/2021(UTC), chris42 on 12/11/2021(UTC)
chris42  
#13 Posted : 12 November 2021 09:43:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

As well as the responses above I would add don’t make the minutes too long. Provide just enough info for people to understand what is going on. Those at the meeting will know greater detail and anyone not at the meeting can go and talk to someone that was if they want to know more detail. To be honest the biggie is don’t wait until the next meeting to follow up with people on actions.

Chris

thanks 1 user thanked chris42 for this useful post.
Helen F on 12/11/2021(UTC)
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