Types of records to be kept
The Act requires every incorporated club or association to keep the following records:
- an up-to-date register of all members;
- an up-to-date copy of the rules (often called the constitution);
- an up-to-date list of the names and addresses of people who are office holders under the rules of the association;
- accounting records that record and explain the financial transactions and position of the association; and
- every disclosure of interest made by a committee member to be recorded in the minutes of the meeting at which the disclosure was made.
Members have the right under the Act to access the register of members, rules and record of office holders and receive financial statements or reports at each Annual General Meeting (see also Members' access to the records).
Minutes should be taken for all meetings, especially the annual general meeting (AGM) and management committee, as they serve as record of what happened during a meeting (see also Meetings). Approved minutes provide an official record of:
- business discussed;
- correspondence received;
- reports tabled;
- decisions made; and
- resolutions adopted.
The level of detail recorded in the minutes may vary between associations but any decisions recorded should clearly state:
- what decision has been made;
- who will be responsible for its implementation;
- when the decision is to be implemented by;
- if the decision is to be reviewed, and if so, when and by whom; and
- who should be notified of the decision and how.
The minutes must also record when a committee member has disclosed a material personal interest in a matter being considered by the committee (see also Individual committee members’ responsibilities).
Notice of meetings
Notice of association meetings and special resolutions must be given to all members within the notice periods specified in the rules of association. Copies of notices showing the date issued should be kept in case of a later dispute. Notices are often filed with the related minutes.
Certificate of Incorporation
The certificate of incorporation is issued when the association is first incorporated or if a change of name occurs. It is important the certificate is stored safely as it is evidence of the association's corporate status. The certificate can be required for example, when applying for funding grants or opening a bank account.
If the original certificate cannot be located the committee may apply through AssociationsOnline for a duplicate certificate to be issued.
The Act requires records to be kept of the association's finances. Taxation and industrial legislation also require financial records to be kept. Access to accurate and up-to-date financial information also ensures that the association and its services remain viable.
The requirements of the Act are:
- associations must keep sufficient accounting (or financial) records so that the financial transactions , financial position and performance of the association are correctly recorded;
- these records need to be kept in a way that will allow true and fair accounts (or financial statements) to be prepared, and so that these accounts can be conveniently audited if required; and
- the financial records are required to be kept for at least seven years.
Depending on the association's annual revenue there may be additional accounting requirements to be met. These requirements are discussed in detail in Accounts and Auditing.
Many associations compile an annual report that summarises the main achievements and highlights of the past 12 months. There is no set format for an annual report, but it is usually submitted to members at the AGM and includes:
- Chairperson's report.
- Staff report.
- Activity report.
- Annual statistics.
- Annual financial report.
- Interest stories, highlights and low points.
- List of staff, management and volunteers.
Where an annual report is produced, it is usual to include the annual financial report. As an annual financial report is required under the Act, it is a convenient way of ensuring that the association meets its obligation to submit its annual accounts to its members at the AGM.
Many associations also distribute an annual report as a public relations exercise. Some funding agreements require annual reports.
In addition to the records required by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and State and Commonwealth industrial laws (see Employment), associations may wish to set up employment‑related record systems. These could include:
- Recruitment records such as job descriptions, selection criteria, related industrial agreements, advertisements, selection processes and outcomes;
- formal records of any meeting or discussion related to issues of employee performance and position review;
- formal documentation of all proceedings related to any grievance;
- records on staff training and professional development; and
- copies of all correspondence and memoranda relating to individual conditions of employment, changes or requests.
The following health and safety records should be kept in a separate file for easy access and reference:
- risk management analysis;
- training details;
- safety committee minutes; and
- copies of specific management committee resolutions.
Copies of all insurance policies should be kept in a secure place. Changes to policies should be updated on the files immediately when they are received.
Insurance policies may require an association to keep specific records for the purposes of validating a policy. For example health declarations or assets registers. Associations must notify their insurer as soon as possible after events such as an accident, theft or fire. It is important associations keep copies of all notifications and correspondence to prevent the possibility of any dispute regarding an association's obligations.
Service delivery records
Some associations need to keep service delivery records in order to:
- acknowledge achievements;
- minimise risk of professional negligence;
- facilitate communications and change overs;
- ensure industry or professionally‑based requirements are met; and
- assist in evaluation and planning.
This may take the form of statistic sheets, case files or employee reports. Funding arrangements may also require certain records to be kept and reported on.