P&C Federation FAQs

(Source: P&C Federation Website | Correct as at May 2019)

Contents

  1. P&C Associations in NSW government schools
  2. Role of the President
  3. Role Of The Secretary
  4. Role Of The Treasurer
  5. Role of the Principal in P&C Associations
  6. Sub-committees
  7. P&C Association Membership
  8. Annual General Meeting
  9. Meeting Agenda
  10. Meeting Minutes
  11. Special Meetings
  12. P&C Association monies
  13. Involvement in School Ceremonies
  14. Quorum
  15. Signatories
  16. Alcohol and P&C Association events

1. P&C Associations in NSW government schools

Does my school community need a P&C Association?

Yes. Every school community should have a P&C Association.

Why does a school community need a P&C Association?

A P&C Association enables parents and citizens to meet to determine the needs and aspirations of the school community.

Can every school have a P&C Association?

The Education Act 1990 ensures that a P&C Association may be established at any government school.

What does a P&C Association do?

The objects of a P&C Association are to; promote the interests of the school by bringing parents, citizens, pupils and teaching staff into close co-operation; assist in providing equipment required by the school; report to the Minister the material requirements of the school; assist the teaching staff in establishment of school policy and management in all facets of school activity.

Who can be a member of a P&C Association?

Membership of P&C associations is open to all members of the school community: parents, teachers and citizens.

I’m interested in forming a P&C Association at our school.

The suggested steps in the formation of new P&C associations are: notify the Principal of your intention to establish a P&C Association, call a public meeting of parents and community to form a provisional committee to draft by-laws which will accompany either constitution (the standard or prescribed one as decided by your provisional committee). Circulate the constitution and by-laws to interested parents and citizens of the school community. You shall then call a meeting specifically for the purpose of formal adoption of the constitution and establishment of the P&C Association. At this time an election of Office-bearers as set out in the constitution occurs.

Can our P&C Association be members of P&C Federation?

Yes. Once the P&C Association has adopted its constitution and by-laws this meeting would be an appropriate forum to discuss becoming a member of P&C Federation.

What if the Principal does not want a P&C Association?

This is highly unlikely scenario as all educational stakeholders recognise the importance of parent and community engagement. Further, a Principal does not have the ability to obstruct the establishment of a P&C Association at your school.


2. Role of the President

 

The President is elected at the P&C Association’s Annual General Meeting.

Duties

The President is responsible for:

  • The successful functioning of the P&C Association meetings
  • The attainment of the P&C Association’s objectives
  • Ensuring that the P&C Association takes part in decision-making processes in the school
  • Fostering fair participation of all members and ensuring that all new members are made to feel welcome
  • Supporting volunteers
  • Consistent adherence to the constitution
  • Acting as the P&C Association’s spokesperson when public statements or actions are needed
  • Setting up lines of communication with the Principal
  • Being signatory on the Association’s bank accounts
  • Chairing meetings, in the absence of the President, one of the Vice-Presidents will chair the meeting or the meeting can elect a chairperson from the members present for that meeting.

Voting

The President is entitled to the same voting rights as any member. However, a President, when in the Chair, often abstains from voting in order to preserve the impartiality of the position.

The person chairing a meeting does not have a casting vote in the event of a tied vote. In the event of a tied vote, the motion remains as status quo. This allows the motion to be put forward at another time.

Sub-committees

The President is automatically a member of all P&C sub-committees. The President should be informed of all subcommittee meetings and decisions, this would occur through written report.

An experienced President gives opportunities to the Vice-Presidents to develop their skills in chairing meetings. Federation recommends that a vice-president be delegated to chair part of a meeting. The training process could also include delegating the responsibility of sub-committee leadership to vice-presidents.

The President also has important responsibilities outside of meetings and is looked to as a leader of the parent community.

The President does not make unilateral decisions and should be mindful that all public statements accurately represent the views of the association.


3. Role Of The Secretary

 

The Secretary is responsible for carrying out the administrative tasks related to the decisions of the meetings as resolved. The Secretary prepares, in consultation with the President, all meeting agendas.

The Secretary is required to attend P&C Association meetings and take notes of the discussions in order to produce a set of Minutes for subsequent distribution to members and for receipt, possible amendment and adoption at the following meeting. (In the absence of the Secretary the meeting should elect a person to take the Minutes, this person should be identified in the Minutes.) Further, the position includes receiving and tabling all correspondence as well as writing and dispatching outgoing correspondence as resolved/appropriate. The Secretary also issues notice of all meetings and maintains official records of the P&C Association such as the constitution, by-laws, rules of subcommittees, Incorporation Certificate, ABN details, list of financial (voting) members, Minutes, Attendance book.

Notice of Meeting

P&C Constitution by-laws state that P&C Associations meet on a regular day each month ‘during term time’ at the school. Secretaries may use the P&C newsletter, school newsletter/website, school sign, or other means to promote meetings. Motions on Notice, issues and events to be discussed should be advertised along with names of guest speakers.

Agenda

An agenda is a list of items of business to be considered at a meeting. An Agenda should include the name of the organisation, the type of meeting (e.g. Annual General Meeting, General or special meeting); where the meeting will be held; the date the meeting will be held and time the meeting will commence. An Agenda should contain the following;

  1. Welcome and formal opening of meeting
  2. Apologies
  3. Minutes of the previous meeting (Receipt/Amendments/Adoption)
  4. Business arising from the previous meeting Minutes
  5. Correspondence
  6. Reports:
    • President’s report
    • Treasurer’s report
    • Sub-committee reports
    • Principal’s report
  7. General Business
  8. Close


An agenda for Annual General Meetings will be similar to the above with the inclusion of items that only occur at an AGM such as election of Officers and Executive, appointment of the Auditor, membership fees, by-law changes etc.


4. Role Of The Treasurer

Whilst all P&C members must be mindful of complying with financial accountability requirements, this is the Treasurer’s primary responsibility. The Treasurer receives and deposits monies, maintains records, draws cheques* and presents accounts.

The Treasurer also ensures that all funds held and handled by P&C are properly and openly accounted for as the Treasurer is responsible for all funds held in the name of the P&C Association. This includes all P&C Association committees. This does not mean that the Treasurer must undertake the actual bookkeeping themselves but they must ensure that the various sub-committee financial records have been kept to the Treasurer’s satisfaction. The Treasurer is a signatory on the P&C accounts and should not delegate this responsibility.

The Treasurer should encourage members to understand the state of the P&C Association finances. The Treasurer must ensure a case book or books are kept, recording all financial transactions of the P&C Association.

Planning, budgeting and cash flow

A budget is a planning document to estimate the income and expenditure of the organisation for a given period (usually the financial year of the P&C Association). The budget is a statement of intention rather than of fact and can be altered at any time, with due notice given by way of the Agenda, by majority vote, after its initial ratification at a general or special meeting.

Budget estimates are founded on past economic performance, adjusted to anticipate the probable effect any special projects or one-off events. Once the overall budget has been approved, it is helpful to break the budget estimates with actual income and expenditure levels at regular interval throughout the year. This comparison allows the Treasurer to recommend changes to the budget so that it more accurately reflects the real financial situation of the P&C association. These changes, in turn, allow the association to amend its fundraising or expenditure plans for the year.

Note: The P&C Association budget is separate from the school’s budget.

Surplus funds

The Treasurer makes recommendations about surplus funds. Surplus funds may be lodged as term deposits with any financial institution that has full trustee status.

Audit

The financial accounts of the P&C Association must be submitted to an independent audit each year.

The Treasurer produces a full statement of financial position declaring all funds held in the name of the P&C Association, including those of sub-committees, along with the Secretary who presents the Minute book of the same period to the Auditor. After completion of the audit the financial statements, with all signed certificates appended, are to be presented at the Annual General Meeting for approval and adoption.

Appointing an auditor

You must appoint the auditor at the P&C Association’s Annual General Meeting.

The auditor does not need to be a qualified professional. The auditor must possess appropriate skills and experience in auditing and financial record management together with an appreciation of the issues of probity as they relate to the role of association auditor. The auditor must not have or appear to have any conflict of interest arising, for example, from a personal or business relationship with an Officer of the association and must be prepared to swear that the records are a true and correct statement of the information provided by the Treasurer.

To meet reporting requirements under their Prescribed Constitution, the Treasurer of incorporated associations should ensure that copies of the audited accounts, signed by the President and Treasurer, are forwarded to the Federation of P&C Associations of NSW within one month of the AGM at which they were presented. By undertaking to send the records to P&C Federation the need for incorporated P&C Associations to publicly record their financial statements is fulfilled.

The Treasurer is responsible for the handing over of all financial records to the incoming Treasurer should the Annual General Meeting result in a new Treasurer being elected.

There are many useful conventions which should be followed when dealing in financial matters and the role of the Treasurer will be made easier if all P&C members appreciate and understand that rules and protocols are to be complied with.

Proper accounting procedures have two purposes:

  1. They prevent loss and fraud. You might trust everyone in your association, but accounting procedures will tell you if the wrong thing is happening and where.
  2. To protect the P&C Association Executive. Good accounting of P&C funds ensures financial propriety.

Cheques
  • Never sign blank cheques.
  • Ensure that the P&C Association has resolved to expend the monies before drawing a cheque. No motion, no payment.
  • Do not make cheques out to cash.
  • Ensure all cheques are marked ‘Not Negotiable’
  • Cheque signatories should sight all supporting documents; ensure they are correctly drawn to the payee and there is agreement between the amount on the invoice and the amount on the cheque before signing cheques.
  • Monitor that payment are approved for appropriate purposes.
  • Two members of the same family should not, as a general rule, act as signatories.
  • Where possible, cheque signatories should not counter-sign a cheque drawn in their favour.
  • The school Principal should not be a signatory to P&C bank accounts.
  • Employees of the association should not be a signatory to the association or sub-committee bank accounts.

* Note that references to cheque also include electronic banking.

Payments
  • All accounts should be paid by cheque, expect for small payments from petty cash.
  • Support all payments with invoices, receipts or dockets.
  • Mark all paid invoices with a “paid” stamp and cheque number.

Receipts
  • Issues receipts in sequential date order as per takings.
  • Ensure two independent people are responsible for collecting and counting money. Likewise, at the end of the collection period, counting should occur in the company of at least two members and the amount verified, in writing, by each member involved in the count.
  • Issue receipts to people responsible for collecting and counting money.

Banking

Check that the amount banked corresponds with the receipt totals.
Bank money daily or secure in a fireproof safe if you are not able to bank on the day. (Your cash may not be insured if you do not make an effort to secure it adequately.)

Cash books (computerised bookkeeping package or manual)

Keep cash books up to date. The cash book should be totalled and balanced at the end of each month.
Match the sequence of entries in the cash book with the sequence of receipts and cheque payments.
Figures must never be erased with white-out. If you make an error in your cash book, receipt book or cheque butts, rule a line through the incorrect figure and write the correct figure next to it.

Reporting

The Treasurer must present a report in the form of an income and expenditure statement together with a reconciled bank statement for each and every P&C meeting. Where a Treasurer is not able to attend a meeting the Treasurer’s Report should be provided to the President prior to the meeting for tabling to the members.


5. Role of the Principal in P&C Associations


Is the Principal a member of the P&C?

Yes - The Principal is an ex officio member of the P&C Association. That is, the Principal is automatically a member of the P&C Association because they are the school’s Principal.

Is the Principal required to pay the membership fee to the P&C Association?

No - The Principal is not required to pay a membership fee to the P&C Association but most choose to pay the membership fee.

Is the Principal allowed to vote?

Yes - The rights of the Principal in the P&C Association are the same as for any other member. The Principal is entitled to vote and to move and second motions at a meeting and engage in debate. The exception to this is where the Principal is recognised as the Returning Officer at the P&C Association’s Annual General Meeting.

Can the Principal stand for an Office Bearers position?

No - As an ex-officio member the Principal cannot stand for election to an office bearer position. Consequently this is why the Principal is often invited to act as an association Returning Officer. The Principal cannot be a signatory to a P&C bank account.

What is the role of the Principal in a P&C Meeting?

The Principal’s role in a P&C meeting is to table a written report to each meeting, respond to questions arising and offer advice on the Department of Education guidelines. Where a Principal is not able to attend a meeting of the P&C Association it is suitable to have a Principal’s representative from the Staff attend on their behalf.

What is the Role of the School Principal on Sub-Committees?

The Principal is ex officio a member of the P&C Association and its sub-committees.

Can a Principal tell a P&C Association meeting what they can discuss?

As an ex officio member the Principal does not have a right of veto or the right to gag P&C Association or sub-committee discussions. However, it is incumbent on the principal to highlight disparities between P&C Association/sub-committee discussions and Department of Education policy.

Do we need to give the Principal notice of every meeting?

The Principal as ex officio member must be given notice of every P&C Association General, Special and AGM as well as sub-committee meeting.

Our Principal is unable to attend our meeting do we need to reschedule?

The Principals inability to attend a meeting is not adequate grounds to postpone or cancel any P&C Association/sub-committee meeting. However it may limit access to the meeting facility.


6. Sub-committees


Is it required for our P&C Association to have sub-committees?

No. Each P&C Association can decide to have sub-committees if they feel they are required.

Why do P&C Associations have sub-committees?

Sub-committees are formed by a P&C Association to undertake specific planning and/or management tasks on behalf of the P&C Association.

Are there different types of sub-committees?

Yes, there are two types of sub-committees.

  • Ad-hoc: These sub-committees are formed to acquit specific tasks, such as a fete. These subcommittees cease to exist after the task is finished. The rules of the sub-committee, including elections for positions are confirmed and elected at a General or Special Meeting of the P&C Association.
  • Standing: These sub-committees have an ongoing role, such as an OOSH, Canteen, Uniform or Band sub-committee. The rules of the sub-committee, including elections for positions are confirmed and elected annually at the Annual General Meeting of the P&C Association.

What is the working relationship between sub-committees and the P&C Association?

Sub-committee have delegated authority as outlined in the rules put in place by the P&C Association and are fully accountable to the P&C Association. Each sub-committee must operate within the rules set by the P&C Association.

Does the sub-committee report to the P&C Association?

Yes. The sub-committee needs to table a written report to each P&C Association’s general meeting.

Does a sub-committee “own” their own money?

No. All monies belong to the P&C Association. All expenditure is approved by a resolution of the P&C Association.

Does a sub-committee have their own President?

No. The head of the sub-committee is known as the Convenor or Chairperson. The sub-committee is governed by the P&C Association’s Constitution and the rules set by the P&C Association.


7. P&C Association Membership


Who is eligible to be a member of our P&C Association?
  • All parents and guardians of students enrolled at the school.
  • All citizens within the school community.
  • The Principal of the school, or the Principal’s nominee, shall be a member, ex officio, of the P&C Association and its sub-committees.
  • School staff may become members of the P&C Association.
  • Employees of the P&C Association can be a member; however, they will need to understand the Conflict of Interests and be aware of potential conflicts when attending and participating in a meeting.
How do people become members of our P&C Association?

By paying the prescribed annual subscription (membership fee) to the Treasurer or nominee and their name recorded in the register of members. The register of members is updated at the close of a General Meeting and the close of the Annual General Meeting.

Do P&C Associations charge a membership fee?

Yes. Each P&C Association has an annual subscription (membership fee) payable for those individuals who meet the membership criteria and wish to be a member. A financial member is able to participate in the democratic decision making processes of the P&C Association.

Is the amount payable for Membership in the Constitution?

Yes. The two Ministerial approved constitutions, under which your P&C Association may operate: the Standard P&C Association Constitution or Prescribed Constitution for Incorporated Associations, provides for the annual subscription to be not less than fifty cents. The amount of the annual subscription must be recorded in the by-laws of your P&C Association.

What amount should we charge?

Each P&C Association may set the annual subscription (membership fee) to an amount they think appropriate, typically ranging between $1-00 through to $10-00, however, it must not be less than fifty cents. The annual subscription (membership fee) is per member per person.

If I attend a P&C Association meeting regularly and don’t pay am I a member?

No. You will only be considered an observer and will not be able to participate in the procedures of the meeting. Only a financial member can participate in the democratic decision making processes of a P&C Association. It is the discretion of the chairperson to allow you to participate during the meeting.

Do I need to have proof that I paid my annual subscription (membership fee)?

Yes. The treasurer will issue you a receipt once you have paid your annual subscription and you must retain this receipt for the membership period as proof of payment.

I’m a Life Member do I need to still pay?

Yes. If you wish to participate in the democratic decision making processes of a P&C Association you will need to pay the annual subscription (membership fee). Life membership is an honorarium bestowed on you by the P&C Association. It does not entitle you to participate in the P&C Association as a member unless you are a financial member and have paid the annual subscription (membership fee).

Is the Principal a member of the P&C Association?

Yes. The Principal is always a member by virtue of their role as an ex officio member.

Does this preclude the Principal from paying the fee?

No. Many P&C Associations advise that their Principal as a member would pay the annual subscription (membership fee) just like all other members.

I am a new member and have paid my annual subscription (membership fee) for the first time at this meeting, can I vote?

No. A new member who pays their annual subscription (membership fee) for the first time at a P&C Association General or Annual General Meeting will not be eligible to vote at that meeting due to the register of members only being updated after each general meeting of the P&C Association. Once the register of members is updated they are considered a P&C Association member for voting purposes at the next P&C Association meeting.

What if I pay my annual subscription (membership fee) between meetings?

Annual subscription (membership fee) paid to the Treasurer between meetings, will only be recognised as financial at the close of the next P&C Association General Meeting when the register of members is updated, and the person will be able to vote at all P&C Association meetings thereafter.

How long is my annual subscription (membership fee) valid for?

Once annual subscription (membership fee) is paid and the register of members is updated, the members will remain current until the rise (close) of the next Annual General Meeting.

What is the membership year?

Membership year for the P&C Association is from the rise (close) of one Annual General Meeting until the rise (close) of the next Annual General Meeting. The register of members is updated at the close of the Annual General Meeting and members remain current until the rise (close) of the next Annual General Meeting.

Who updates the register of members?

The Secretary or Secretary’s nominee records the names on the register of members after each general meeting of people who have paid their membership fee since the last general meeting.

Must I be a financial member to be nominated for a position with the P&C?

Yes. A person must be a financial member and their name is to appear on the register of members to be nominated and accept the nomination for any position for Officer Bearer or member of the Executive Committee of a P&C Association.

Can P&C Association employees be nominated for Office Bearer or Member of the Executive Committee positions?

No. Employees or persons considered to be employees e.g. ongoing contractor, of a P&C Association cannot be nominated or hold an Office Bearer or be a member of the Executive Committee. Employees can only be members of the P&C Association.

Can P&C Association employees be nominated for sub-committed positions?

Yes. Employees can be a member of a sub-committee where they are not employed e.g. a Canteen employee can be a member of the Uniform Shop subcommittee.

I work as a Canteen Supervisor can I hold an Office Bearer position or be a member of the Executive Committee?

A Canteen Supervisor in a paid position cannot hold an Office Bearer position or be a member of the Executive Committee. A Canteen Supervisor who is a volunteer can hold an Office Bearer position or be a member of the Executive Committee.

I hold an Office Bearer or Executive Committee member position and I have changed my working role, I am now Acting Principal, what do I do?

You will need to resign from the Office Bearer or Executive Committee position, in writing. An Acting Principal is an ex-officio member of a P&C Association and all its sub-committees, and cannot hold an Office Bearer position or be a member of the Executive Committee. This will create a casual vacancy and can be filled by a ballot of the members of the P&C Association at any general meeting.

I am an Office Bearer or Executive Committee member and have taken on the paid position as an employee of the P&C Association, what should I do?

You will need to resign from the Office Bearer or Executive Committee position, in writing, before the application process begins. This ensures clear transparency to the employment process. The vacated position creates a casual vacancy, which can be filled at a general meeting.

To become a member are there any forms to be filled out?

P&C Associations can use a membership interest form if they choose. Sample Membership Interest Form. Also available at www.pandc.org.au/faqs.


8. Annual General Meeting


Do we have to hold an AGM?

Yes. Each P&C Association is required, by the Constitution it operates under to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM).

When is our AGM?

Yearly. The AGM is held according to your P&C Association’s by-laws. The by-laws will state the time and date for the AGM.

Do we advertise the AGM?

Yes. The AGM must be advertised to the school community at least 14 days prior to being held. The notice should include the Agenda items including a list of the positions to be elected.

Does an AGM have a quorum?

Yes. The quorum is five if you have less than 50 financial members and 11 where you have more than 50 members.

What is an Audit Report?

An audit report is the presentation of the annual report and balance sheet of the P&C Association’s activities. An AGM cannot occur until the Auditor’s Report is tabled.

We haven’t got an Audit Report?

Stop. No Auditors report available at the time of the AGM requires that the meeting must be closed and reconvened when Auditors report is finalised. No elections shall occur until the report is tabled.

When is the Auditor appointed?

The auditor for the following year is determined at the AGM?

What other reports get tabled to an AGM?

The AGM consists of the President’s Annual Report, the Treasurer’s Annual Report and any other Annual Reports required.

What other documents belong at the AGM?

Lots. You should have copies of the Constitution, the by-laws and the policies and rules of the P&C Association at every meeting, AGM included.

Is the AGM where office bearers get elected?

Yes. The office bearer and executive positions get elected at the AGM. As well as representative positions such as; School Finance/Merit Panels/Feeder school committee/School Welfare/Uniform
sub-committee/Fundraising sub-committee/OOSH sub-committee/Canteen sub-committee.

Who can be elected to a position?

Only financial P&C members are eligible to stand and be elected to a position.

Who conducts the ballot?

The ballot is conducted by the Returning Officer. The Principal is often invited to take this role otherwise it is determined by the meeting and is to be undertaken by someone who plays no part in the election (i.e. does not intend to stand for a position nor wishes to cast a vote).

Are there any restrictions on holding a position?

The P&C Association’s by-laws will indicate if there are any restrictions such as tenure for any representative position.

Can one person hold more than one office bearer position?

No.

Can two members of the same family be office bearers at the same time?

Yes.

Can school staff be members of the P&C Association?

Yes.

Can P&C Association employees be members of the P&C Association?

Yes.

Can P&C employees be elected to Officer Bearer positions?

No. P&C Association employees cannot hold an office bearer or executive position.

When do the roles change hands?

Immediately. Once the Returning Officer declares the ballots the office bearers commence their roles.

When do we present the AGM minutes for approval?

The minutes of the AGM are presented for acceptance at either the next AGM or the next general meeting. Minutes are required to be circulated to members.

We didn’t fill all of our positions?

Not to worry. This makes the positions casual vacancies and you should place them on the Agenda for all meetings until members nominate to the roles. Make sure to promote the position and the duties to the whole school community.


9. Meeting Agenda


Do we need an Agenda?

Yes. A P&C Association has business that it needs to attend to when it meets such as tabling of reports, member register update and discussions and decision making. This activity is all able to be tabled on the Agenda.

Do we have to follow the Agenda?

Yes. The Secretary in consultation with the President set the Agenda and its purpose is to ensure that the work of the P&C Association gets attended to. Agendas help the meeting be productive and purposeful.

Is there one set Agenda for all P&C Associations?

No. The Agenda can be established to best suit the needs of the meeting and the members. While there is often no change to an order of business the P&C Association undertakes sometimes you may wish to schedule items according to what is better for the group, for example a guest speaker may be invited to speak early in the meeting.

Is there an Agenda that P&C Federation recommends?

Yes. The following is a typical order of business for P&C Associations. While it may not specifically suit every community it allows for the business of the P&C Association to be addressed;

Opening
  • Call meeting to order, welcome current members and introduce new members.
  • Welcome to country may be included as decided by the members.
  • Record attendance and apologies, and introduce any visitors.
  • Conflict of Interest Declaration.
Minutes

Read and confirm Minutes of the previous meeting.

Business Arising

Attend to any business arising from the previous meeting as indicated in the Minutes.

Correspondence

Share and notify of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing.

Reports
  • Treasurer
  • Uniform
  • Representatives
  • Fundraising committees
  • Principal
  • Others

General Business
  • Discuss suggestions, ideas referred to and from committees.
  • Provide talks and presentations on particular subjects. These should be recorded in the minutes.
  • Deal with motions on notice. Identify motions to be discussed at the next meeting (and therefore placed on the next Agenda)
Closing
  • Announce date of next meeting.
  • Close meeting, indicating the time.
If I want to place something on the Agenda how can I do that?

Financial members of the P&C Association should submit their request to the Secretary in writing. The Secretary will place the item on the Agenda where it is most appropriate to be discussed.


10. Meeting Minutes


What are minutes?

Minutes are a record of the actions and business of a meeting. Minutes contain agenda items, all motions including who moved and seconded the motion and how the meeting voted – if the motion was carried or lost, this is then a resolution of the meeting. Minutes will contain the names of those people in attendance as well as record the apologies tabled for those members who notified they were not able to attend.

Why do we have to take minutes of a meeting?

Minutes serve as a record of what occurred and are a reference material for members. Every P&C Association meeting, including sub-committees will need to have minutes taken. The minutes are recorded at a meeting for both governance and historical purposes, your P&C Association should save a copy of their minutes in a ledger. As well, minutes are depended upon to undertake the annual audit process.

Should conversations be included in the minutes?

No. The minutes should not include a capture of general conversations by members. The minutes should be in a formal format such as A4 paper with agenda item subheadings such as; time, date, location of meeting, attendance, apologies, the identity of the Chairperson and formal decisions.

What if the secretary is absent from the meeting?

The Secretary should ensure that the minutes of the previous meeting are supplied. The meeting should nominate someone to take the minutes of that meeting.

Who gets the minutes?

Members are entitled to receive the minutes of the P&C Association. The Secretary should ensure that copies of the minutes of the previous meeting are available. These can be emailed or print distributed to members. Non-members should be encouraged to join the P&C Association if they would like to be privy to the details of the meetings. A general update (summary) can be provided to the school community on the P&C Association activities by way of a newsletter.

How long do we keep the minutes for?

You should keep the minutes of your P&C Association forever. Keep a ledger and paste a copy of the minutes, signed by the President and Secretary after they have been received by the meeting as correct record. This is also a convenient way to be able to revisit minutes and to be able to pass materials on when Office bearers change.

What are draft minutes?

Minutes are in draft form until they are passed at the following general meeting. Any minutes published between meetings are considered draft.

The draft minutes are incorrect how do we rectify this?

Draft minutes can be corrected at the next general meeting by proposing a motion to amend the information. This needs to be voted on by the members. Thus the amended minutes will be included in the archives.


11. Special Meetings


What is a special meeting?

Special meetings, or extraordinary meetings as they are sometimes called, provide a P&C Association with an opportunity to discuss one or more specific matters which cannot be dealt with at the next scheduled general meeting because of urgency or some other declared reason.

Is a special meeting the same as a general meeting?

No. Special meetings can only deal with business of which notice has been given. While apologies can be accepted at a special meeting no other formal business such as the minutes of the preceding meeting, correspondence, reports or general business can occur at this time.

Who can call a special meeting?

The Executive or at least ten members of the P&C Association may request a special meeting be held. Requests for special meetings should be submitted to the Secretary in writing and should refer to the specific matter which will be raised and discussed. Once the request for a special meeting is received by the Secretary a special meeting must be held within one month.

How much notice is required for a special meeting?

The Secretary must ensure that all existing financial members receive at least seven clear days notice of any special meeting. The special meeting notice will indicate the time and place of the meeting as well as the specific business which will be transacted at the meeting.

Who presides at a special meeting?

As in the case of general meetings and Annual General Meetings the President should preside.


12. P&C Association monies


Does the School Principal have authority over P&C Association funds?

The school Principal has no authority over P&C Association funds. They are welcome, as an ex-officio member of the P&C Association to contribute to general discussions about expenditure. The Principal may identify to the P&C Association any expenditure which is considered to be unconstitutional, illegal or contrary to Department of Education policy and practices.

Can the P&C Association ask the Principal for a list of things needed to be funded?

Yes. It is a good idea to find out via the Principal’s Report tabled to your P&C Association meeting what type of projects or items are planned for the school. The P&C Association can then consider if they would like to be involved or support funding of any of the events or items.

Who owns the P&C Association money?

Funds raised by P&C Association belong to the organisation.

What happens with the money of the P&C Association?

Monies raised by a P&C Association should be used to further the aims and objectives of the P&C Association; this is in accordance with the Constitution. Monies of the P&C Association shall be expended by resolution of a general meeting.

Do we have our own bank account?

Yes. All funds of the P&C Association must be deposited in the bank account of the P&C Association.

Who at the school can accept donations from the P&C Association?

Only the Principal has the authority to accept, on behalf of the school, a contribution, donation, etc. from a parents' organisation.

Are P&C Associations allowed to have surplus funds?

P&C Associations are allowed to have surplus funds, they need to ensure they have operational funds available for the immediate future or they could be saving for a large future project.

Are P&C Associations required to hand any surplus monies to the school at the end of the calendar year?

P&C Associations are not required to hand over surplus funds to schools at the end of each year. P&C Association donate funds for specific purposes by resolution of a meeting to the school.


13. Involvement in School Ceremonies


Should P&C Associations be involved in School Ceremonies?

As the official representative of parents and community in the school, the P&C Association should be involved in all ceremonial and special occasions at the school. These cover such things as the opening of a new school or of new buildings, libraries, etc. in established schools, Education Week, sports days, centenaries, and community events in which the school is involved. On such occasions the P&C Association will of course act with the Principal in co-ordinating parental involvement.

Does the President have to attend all of the events?

No. Your P&C Association may elect representatives to attend specific events on their behalf. This may indeed by the President but it is also suitable to choose who represents your P&C Association from within your membership. Invitations to events should be placed on the agenda of your next meeting for discussion.


14. Quorum


What is a quorum?

Quorum is a term that simply means the number of members of a group required to be present.

Does a quorum apply to our P&C Association?

Yes.

What is the quorum for our meetings?

This is found in your Constitution. The rule is as follows; Where the association has a current membership of 50 or more, the quorum at all meetings of that association shall be 11 members. Where the association has a current membership of less than 50, the quorum shall be set according to the rules of the association but shall not be less than five.

We cannot achieve quorum at our meeting what do we do?

If after 15 minutes of the advertised start time you do not have quorum then you cannot meet. At the next meeting if you don’t realise quorum again contact P&C Federation and have a discussion about increasing parent engagement.

If we don’t have five members in total are we still a P&C Association?

No. The Constitution your P&C Association operates under states; your association shall be dissolved if the number of members falls below the quorum or the school to which the association is attached is closed. Keep in mind closure or dissolution is the last resort! Please exhaust every strategy available to you before taking this dramatic course of action.

What can we do to get quorum?

Promote the benefits of the P&C Association. Try an open letter to the school community highlighting the need for members and meeting attendance.

The letter should be a positive and proud statement about the leadership parents can exercise as partners with teachers in the schooling process. It should also identify the benefits that children directly receive by their parents and greater school community being involved in the P&C Association.

It is important that school communities are reminded of the contribution that P&C Associations make. People are always pleased to provide assistance where they can so keep the meetings to a reasonable amount and don’t commit to more than what can be successfully managed by your volunteers at any one time. Be sure to also look at different mediums to engage potential members such as newsletters, social media, e-bulletins and the like.


15. Signatories


Who should be the signatories to the P&C Association’s bank accounts?

Signatories to all P&C association accounts are the Office Bearers of the P&C Association.

All financial transactions of the P&C Association where money is to be expended are to be signed by two of the Officers of the P&C Association. The Officers are the President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer and Secretary. Financial transactions include cheques and online banking activities.

Can the sub-committee Convenor Sign Cheques?

No. No one other than two of the Office bearers can sign off cheques or make bank authorities on behalf of the P&C Association.

Can the Principal sign cheques?

No. The Principal is an ex officio member of the P&C Association and cannot hold an office bearer position.

Can our P&C Association employee sign cheques?

No. A paid employee of the P&C Association such as the Canteen Convener or Outside Of School Hours Care Director cannot be officers of the P&C Association and therefore cannot be signatories to any accounts.

Does there always have to be two signatories?

Yes. The Constitution your P&C Association operates under clearly identifies that two Office Bearers will operate the accounts of the P&C Association.

Can family members be signatories on the P&C Association accounts?

Two members of the same family should not, as a general rule, act as signatories. Where it is unavoidable the family members should disclose this relationship to the Auditor each year.


16. Alcohol and P&C Association events


The service of alcohol at P&C Association events is restricted by a number of factors.

Functions held on the school site – permission from principal

If an event is being held on the school premises permission must be sought from the Principal, as the site manager, for the sale or service of alcohol at the school site. There are guidelines set out in the Department of Education (DoE) Drugs in school policy which can be found on the DoE website under policies.

The policy states the following in terms of alcohol and events:
The consumption of alcohol is not permitted at any school function (including those conducted outside school premises) at any time when school students, from any school, are present. A school function is any function organised by the school and/or in the name of the school and applies to all types of functions including dances, farewells, sporting fixtures and barbecues.

Community groups may be permitted to consume alcohol on school premises outside school hours consistent with the requirements in Community Use of School Facilities, Policy and Implementation Procedures.

Legislative requirements for the service or sale of alcohol at events

For events at which alcohol is being sold or served there is a legal requirement for a Liquor Licence to be held. The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing allows for a Limited Licence for single functions to be applied for, this is required whether selling or serving alcohol at events. An application for a limited licence is made under the Liquor Act 2007. Significant fines apply to bodies selling or serving alcohol without an approved licence.

If your event has complimentary drinks included as part of a meal, entry fee or other payment your P&C Association is required to obtain a liquor licence. It is suggested that where alcohol is proposed to be consumed, a P&C Association should contact the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.

Licensing and Qualification requirements

The licensee or a person nominated by the licensee must be present at all times to supervise at the function. The licensee and all persons (this includes volunteers) who serve liquor must have completed an approved Responsible Service of Alcohol course.

Your P&C Association must be aware of all obligations including trading hour restrictions, Under 18’s, Signage, and sale restrictions.

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