Attendance and participation in committee meetings

19/10/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

While it is essential for directors to have an indication as to the level of commitment required of them, it is impossible to state with certainty how many man hours would be required of them at the time of taking on such commitments. The level of commitment required of a Director would vary from one company to the other but the average time commitment by global standards is that a Director should be prepared to spend at least four (4) days every quarter of the financial year on the company’s business after the induction phase. This includes time required to prepare for and attend scheduled Board meetings, Annual Board strategy away-day(s), the Annual General Meeting, site visits, committee meetings, meetings with shareholders, trainings and sessions as part of the Board evaluation process. There is always a likelihood of additional time commitment in respect of preparation time and ad hoc matters which may arise from time to time, and particularly when the Company is undergoing a period of increased activity.

In addition to the time commitment, particularly with respect to preparation for and attendance at Board meetings, a Director is required to actively participate at such meetings by bringing his independent judgment, objectivity as well as his expertise and experience to bear on Board deliberations. To be able to participate actively, a Non-Executive Director particularly, who is not involved in the day to day running of the company, will need to spend sufficient time studying Board papers to have a good understanding of the agenda items and be able to ask the right questions and make informed contributions at Board meetings. To facilitate this, it is imperative that Board papers are circulated in good time and in appropriate format. It is good practice to provide executive summaries with respect to lengthy reports and presentations and provide appropriate references and supporting documents. Board papers should also be made available electronically to allow for on-the-go access.

The Chairman of the Board has a key role to play in encouraging Directors’ attendance and participation at Board meetings by ensuring that all the Directors receive accurate, timely and clear information. A proficient and experienced Chairman is able to ensure that Board meetings are properly conducted in a cohesive manner, is able to effectively stimulate participation from all Directors and keep in check a potentially dominant Director. The Chairman is responsible for ensuring that the Board is an effective working group by promoting a culture of openness and debate which encourages Directors with dissenting views to air such views.

To Increase Attendance and/or Participation in Committees

  • Ensure committee chairs understand and can convey the role of the committee to members, and that the chair and members have up-to-date job descriptions.
  • Ensure adequate orientation that describes the organization and its unique services, and how the committee contributes to this mission.
  • Remember that the organization and its committees deserve strong attendance and participation. Don’t fall prey to the perspective that “we’re lucky just get anyone.” Set a standard for the best.
  • Have ground rules that support participation and attendance. Revisit the ground rules every other meeting and post them on the bottom of agendas.
  • Let go of “dead wood.” It often help to decrease the number of committee members rather than increase them.
  • Consider using subcommittees to increase individual responsibilities and focus on goals.
  • Conduct yearly committee evaluations that includes a clear evaluation process and where each committee member evaluates the other members, and each member receives a written report about their strengths and how they can improve their contributions.
  • Attempt to provide individual assignments to the committee members.
  • Have at least one staff member participate in each committee to help with administrative support and providing information.
  • Monitor quorum requirements for the entire board (as set forth usually in ByLaws), or the minimum number of board members who must be present for the board to officially enact business. This quorum, when not met, will serve as a clear indicator, or signal, that the board is in trouble.
  • Develop a committee attendance policy that specifies the number of times a member can be absent in consecutive meetings and in total meetings per time period.
  • Generate minutes for each committee meeting to get closure on items and help members comprehend the progress made by the committee.
  • In committee meeting reports, include noting who is present and who is absent.
  • Consider having low-attendance members involved in some other form of service to the organization, e.g., a “friends of the organization,” or something like that, who attends to special events rather than ongoing activities.
  • Have a “summit meeting” with committee members to discuss the low attendance problem, and use a round-table approach so each person must speak up with their opinions.

MCA has permitted use of video conference facility for Board / Committee meetings subject to following conditions:

  1. The facility shall be capable of allowing all participants to communicate concurrently with each other without any intermediary; Every director must attend at least one Board / Committee meeting personally in each financial year;
  2. Notice of Meeting should provide for the availability of the facility and necessary information to access the same;
  3. The Notice should seek confirmation of director that he would participate through video conference; in the absence of confirmation, it is to be presumed that he would physically participate;
  4. Chairman and Secretary are responsible for integrity, proper functioning of the meeting and ensure participation by director himself / authorized person;
  5. Roll call should be taken of directors participating physically a well as through video conference at the commencement and at conclusion of meeting;
  6. Participation by Director through video conference would be counted for the purpose of quorum;
  7. At the end of meeting the chairman to read out summary of decisions taken against each agenda and details of voting by each director; That part of proceedings shall be recorded and preserved;
  8. In minutes the Chairman shall record the presence of director during last three meetings whether personally or through conference; The Place where Chairman and Secretary are present shall be the place of Board Meeting.
  9. Soft copy of the ‘Draft minutes’ to be circulated within 7 days of the meeting;
  10. This facility is purely optional.