tip of the week

April 2020

Virtual Board Meetings Should Still be Confidential

April 23/2020

A couple of weeks ago I was talking about the differences between policies and procedures. I made the distinction between understanding the purpose of the policy and simply applying a procedure.  If you did not see that tip, what I was talking about was having two people approve an expenditure. It was important to understand that the policy was not to have two cheque signers, because then you would have no policy if the expenditure was not paid with a cheque. Having two cheque signers was just a procedure that implements the policy -- not the policy itself. 

Now I see the same thing coming up with confidential board meetings. Because we are not meeting in person, we run the risk of having the meeting overheard by others. We still have the policy that board meetings are confidential – what we don’t have is the procedure to hold the meeting in a room with only board members in attendance. 

Now that we are having virtual meetings, how are board members making sure that no one else overhears these meetings? Board members need to understand that confidentiality is still the policy and the chair of the board should remind the members.

I have been talking about how your spouse is not on the board for decades. Now it is possible that since the meeting is happening on your computer in your house, that your spouse is hearing all the details of the board meeting. The policy remains that only board members attend board meetings. So, if the meeting is virtual, board members need to make sure that no one else in their house is hearing anything confidential.