Many clubs hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) at this time of year, with the current COVID-19 related regulations and social distancing measures that are in place, traditional meetings currently are not an option. Clubs are therefore likely to need to run their AGM virtually.
This document is for guidance only and it is vital that you check your club constitution or articles to ensure that you can run your AGM virtually.
The chair should prepare in advance by reviewing the constitution or articles and how the meeting should be run. Unless the constitution states that meetings need to be face-to-face, running the AGM virtually is an option. Should the constitution state that meetings need to be face-to-face, members approval should be gained in advance of the meeting to host virtually. If a virtual meeting is possible, it will be safest way to run your AGM whilst gaining maximum membership engagement.
What stays the same if the AGM is run virtually?
- Notice period – the amount of notice you are required to give informed members of an AGM (defined in constitution) and how to join the meeting
- Quorum – Number of members that need to be present for a meeting to be valid also known as quorate
- Purpose & procedure– the type of information to be reviewed at the AGM. The procedure for voting or electing new committee members (although delivery of this may differ)
Top tips for running virtual AGMs
Ensure the AGM will be quorate There should be a clear understanding of how many members are required for decisions to be quorate. This should be stated in your constitution and still applies for virtual AGMs. Make sure you get members to pre-register in advance so you can decide whether to go ahead with the meeting.
Make sure you are prepared. Ensure that you provide sufficient advance notice of the meeting including instructions on how to participate electronically and send all relevant documents out to members as per the club constitution. If you intend to record the meeting, make sure that members are notified of this in advance.
In advance, the Chair should:
- Decide if participants should have their cameras and microphones on or be switched off and muted when not speaking
- Identify a person or people who will count votes
- Confirm a method for gathering votes in line with what is stated within the governing documents
- Identify and brief others who will be presenting
- Highlight someone who can manage the administration of the online meeting and voting platforms including sharing the meeting details, management of the waiting room, preloading proposals for voting, and the recording of the meeting
- Encourage members to send questions in advance to the secretary or an assigned person.. You may also be able to use chat functions during the meeting for questions at relevant times or if they do not feel comfortable speaking
Manage voting carefully. Any proxy votes should be held and confirmed by the secretary or assigned person. Just like in normal circumstances everyone should have an opportunity to speak and vote if eligible. Voting should be administered by the teller who should record names and how they have voted. They should add up and report this to the meeting. It is worth considering a second teller to confirm the prime teller’s count. Voting can be recorded either verbally by every member or asking members to put their name and voting position through a chat box. If your constitution allows, you could consider opening the voting and collecting votes in advance of the AGM to remove the requirement for voting during the meeting. Confidential voting could be carried out through direct messaging to the teller who should be trustworthy enough not to indicate how people voted. A vote could be carried out by simply raising a virtual hand or through the chat function. There are also a variety of online voting tools available that enable users to easily create an online vote that allows votes to be submitted remotely.
Make sure documents are still shown. The person supporting the Chair should share their screen with all documentation as they would in a face-to-face meeting. The supporter should be directed by the Chair to show appropriate documents such as the Chairperson’s report, Treasurer’s report, proposed changes to the constitution, etc.
Why not record your AGM? This can help the secretary to review and ensure the minutes are accurate and gives an opportunity for those who were unable to attend to view the meeting. Many of the listed platforms below offer this feature, remember to ensure all participants know that the call is being recorded and may wish to mute microphones and video camera.
Examples of online meeting platforms. There are many options for virtual meeting platforms, including options for voting, and lots that are free! We have provided some examples below – why not try some out to see what suits your club?
Examples of methods for virtual voting
Mentimeter- Allows people to vote using a seperate mobile device to log results for free.
If you are planning on including junior members to the online platforms, your club need to ensure they are following the guidelines that you would normally do for any contact and engagement with children/young people via social media. We would advise on all clubs ensuring you have appropriate social media policies in place.
Ensure that clubs include parents, no one-to-one conversations with children. Ensure appropriate language and content is being used. Do not allow children to post photos of themselves or anyone else and ensure other members do not post images of junior riders without the appropriate consents being in place.
We should also remember that the current requirements on social distancing place some individuals at risk, either of isolation and neglect, domestic violence or other forms of abuse. If you become concerned about the wellbeing and welfare of anyone that you have virtual contact with then you should share this with our Lead Safeguarding Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information on reporting concerns can also be found on our safeguarding page.
We must remind all members who are participating in virtual clubs, the British Cycling Code of Conduct must be adhered to at all times when using this facility, including treating all participants with respect.