Darwin Seniors Computer Club
Committee Manual

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  1. Responsibilities of the Committee.
  2. Delegation of Responsibilities
  3. Committee Procedures
  4. Office-Bearer Duties
  5. Communications

Discussions on this page are invited here.

1. Responsibilities of the Committee

According to our Constitution, the 'object' of our Club (that is, the reason for its existance) is -

To help seniors and people with disabilities use and enjoy communication and information technologies (i.e. computers and the Internet).

According to this same Constitution, the Club’s Management Committee exists to give practical expression to this object. In effect, our Committee exists tomake sure that the desired help actually happens.

To achieve this Club object, the Constitution gives the Committee total responsibility and authority for all aspects of the Club except the running of General Meetings. Specifically:-

· The Committee has no jurisdiction over the running of Club General Meetings (that is, the three types of meetings called in accordance with the Constitution - Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings). The Constitution specifies that these three types of meetings are to be controlled by the meetings' chairman and/or by vote of the members present;

· Other than this, and limited only by what is lawful, the Committee has absolute and unfettered authority over all aspects of the Club’s activities.  This includes the setting of Membership fees, choosing of projects, and the running of Monthly Meetings. In effect, the Committee has one primary job, namely, to choose how the Club is to help seniors and disabilities.

It is most important at this point to note that our Consitution does not specify how we have to provide the necessary help. So far as it is concerned, the Club can do this through lessons, by handing out free computers, by writing letters to the editor in newspapers, or any other way that seems a good idea at the time. It is entirely up to the Committee of the moment to choose.

Just because yesterday's Committee decided that the Club should provide computer lessons, that is no reason why today's should necessarily do so too.

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2. Delegation of Responsibilities

The Constitution delegates certain tasks to individual Committee members. For example, the task of chairing meetings is delegated to the President, and the task of collecting money to the Treasurer. Other than such 'built-in' delegations, however, the Committee will almost certainly need to delegate most of its functions to other people if it it is to fulfill its role of helping seniors and disabilities.

There are two ways to look at this:

First of all: our Consitution says the Club's object is to help seniors etc.. That is, the 'Club' exists to provide the help, not the Committee! The job of the Committee is not to provide the help itself, but rather to make sure that the Club, as a whole, does so.  The committee is thus the planner and the organizer, not the 'doer'.)

Secondly, and in any event: unless the Committee decides that the Club is to do little or nothing, the job of providing effective help is just too big for a small group of people meeting only once a month for an hour or two. Each project of help to be undertaken by the Club requires planning, implementation, supervision and review. This is too great a burden to be undertaken by a Committee by itself in only two hours a month.

The Constitution gives permission for the Committee to delegate most of its tasks to others. It specifically allows for creation of sub-committees, which are to consist of at least one Committee member, plus two or more other people.
In addition, tasks can be delegated to individual people, who may or may not be Committee members.

In each and every case, the Committee remains responsible for delegated tasks. That is, while it may ask others to undertake a particular task, it remains the Committee's responsibility to ensure that the task is done effectively and efficiently. In this context -

  • 'Effectively' means: the task is done usefully - it delivered the desired results, within the desired timeframe;
  • 'Efficiently' means: it was done in economical fashion, within budget.

The Committee's tasks may therefore be defined as follows -

  • The Committee's primary object is to help the Club achieve its object. To do this, it must find and choose methods of allowing the Club to help seniors and people with disabilities. We may call each method of providing help as a 'project'. We can break this single major task into five subordinate tasks:-
    1. Gather Potential Projects: Firstly, the Committee has to commission investigations into possible projects of help (or passively wait for projects to be submitted for consideration);
    2. Choose Projects: Then it has to prioritize as between them, and decide which projects are to be undertaken now, and which postponed to the future;
    3. Allocated Resources: Next, it has to allocate necessary resources to each chosen project. This specifically includes allocating someone to run each project, and possibly some money and/or facilities.
    4. Ensure Feedback: Then it has to obtain feedback on results, so that it can learn whether each project has been successful in promoting the Club's object;
    5. Review Feedback: And finally, it must review each project's success, to learn what can be learned, and to improve future projects.

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3. Committee Procedures
To ensure effective use of the Committee's limited time together (i.e. 1-2 hours a month maximum), the following guidelines are needed:
  1. The Committee does not do anything at all by itself except:
    • Set policy regarding Club activities;
    • Review activities of individual Committee Officers and Members;
    • Commission feasibility studies of possible projects (i.e. activities designed to achieve Club object);
    • Choose between (set priorities for) Club Projects ;
    • Allocate resources to Club Projects (including managers, money and facilities);
    • Review the performance of Club Projects.
  2. All Club activities to be under the management of either a sub-committee, a specific Committee Officer or Member, or a specific Project Leader (who can be a Club member or employee);
  3. Committee time is to be spent:
    • Reviewing minutes of previous meeting;
    • Reviewing reports of Committee members (inc. chairmen of sub-committees);
    • Reviewing reports of Project leaders;
    • Setting priorities for future actions and allocating tasks.
  4. So far as is possible, all issues are to be raised as motions - that is, formal questions that can be decided by vote of either a 'yes' or 'no'.
  5. Discussion of questions raised informally - that is, other than as a motion - may be terminated by the Chairman at any time, unless in the meantime it is formalized into a motion.
  6. Motions do not need a seconder unless the Chairman requires otherwise;
  7. All motions may be declared a passed or lost by the Chairman at any time, except that any Committee member can immediately insist on a formal vote;
  8. The Chairman of the Committee is to be regarded as a 'working or executive Chairman' - that is, he/she may speak to and vote on all motions.

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4. Office-Bearer Duties

Certain office-bearer positions are defined by the Constitution; others are defined by day-to-day administrative needs. Together, they are as follows -

Title Duties Holder Backup
President Prepare agendas, chair meetings, organise coffee, provide leadership within Committee and Club. Reports to Committee. Jim Anne
Vice-President Undertake special (pizza) project (?) Ken,
Public Officer Communicate with Government Jim
Secretary Organise, Receive, send and file correspondence, record minutes, place advertisements, reorganise. Reports to Committee. Anne -
Treasurer Receive monies, pay bills, maintain Club books, provide Tim Tams, arrange for audits,  prepare budget for consideration by Committee. Reports to Committee. Anne Anne
Memberships Record new memberships and renewals on database, inc. Receipt number; prepare membership cards and post/deliver to members; file membership forms. Reports to Committee. Anne -
Procedures Determination of order and procedures according to constitution, committee recommendations and weather. Document, legalise, interpret and describe systematic organisational events. Lamaan Barbara
Beginners' Training Takes beginners' booking; coordinates activities of beginner teachers. Reg -
Webmaster  Responsible for all matters to do with website and email addresses.  Jim Lamaan
Newsletter Responsible for all matters to do with newsletter. Anne Anne
Computer Maintenance Responsible for all matters to do with Club computers. Michael Vic

An Office-bearer Manual is to be prepared for each Office-bearer detailing the office duties as defined by the Constitution (if any), by Law (if any), or by Committee decision (if any), or by custom (i.e. as performed by the holder).

5. Communications

At present, staying in touch with each other (as a Committee) can be difficult. Email addresses cease working; mail boxes get full, and documents written in one version of Office cannot be opened in another. To get around such problems, the following solutions are adopted:
  • Website and Email Management: all matters to do with the Club's website (www.training-my-computer.com) and associated emails are under the control of the webmaster.
  • Office-Bearer Emails: an email address is maintained for each office-bearer. Emails to these addresses always go to the current office-bearer - including temporary office-bearer if applicable. Emails received into these addresses may be cleaned of spam, but are otherwise kept permanently. Office-bearers may download copies of emails into their own email clients, but must not delete the originals on the server.
  • Administration Emails: These email addresses are for receiving emails where the ultimate receiving office-bearer is unknown.
  • Personal Emails: An email address is maintained for each Committee member, and for each project leader. Email addresses may also be maintained for some volunteers if needed. Individuals may have more than one email address if needed (at the discretion of a member of the Executive Committee). Individuals may keep or delete their emails as they see fit.The format for each address will be: firstname.surname @ training-my-computer.com. You can set emails to download into your personal email client if you like, automatically be forward to another email account (e.g. a Hotmail or Yahoo account), or you can read them online.
Email Account Name
President @ training-my-computer.com Permanent email address for President
Secretary @ training-my-computer.com Permanent email address for Secretary
Treasurer @ training-my-computer.com Permanent email address for Treasurer
Memberships @ training-my-computer.com Permanent email address for Membership Secretary
Malak-Room @ training-my-computer.com Permanent email address for Malak Roomminder Coordinator
Webmaster @ training-my-computer.com Permanent email address for Webmaster
Admin @ training-my-computer.com Address for receiving general enquiries off the website. Goes to President or Secretary for redirection if necessary to relevant person.
DSCC @ training-my-computer.com The Official Email Address of Club. Goes to President or Secretary for redirection if necessary to relevant person.

All papers and information to be shared around amongst Committee members are to be written in HTML, and passed to the Webmaster (Jim) for posting on the Club's website.  The procedure is as follows:
  • Papers or notices are to be written in HTML. This can be done easily using a WYSIWYG editor such as Kompozer, downloadable free at www.download.com.  (To use Kompozer, first install it, then run it, and then type in whatever you want to type. Formatting can be done using format controls which work just like those in Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.) The file you create saves as an HTML file, which can then be sent to Jim for inclusion in a website.
  •  Once posted, a notification is sent to each Committee Member's personal email address.
  • When you receive your email notification, you can visit the website, read the message there, and place a comment on the same page.

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