The chairperson has the most important role to play in making sure that the meetings run smoothly. Even a good chairperson will find the task exhausting unless the role is respected by all members.
The chairperson is elected in line with the rules set out in the constitution. The secretary should be able to provide you with a copy. The constitution is very important because it sets out the procedures that govern the work of your community council.
The chairperson's role is to make sure that decisions are taken on all of the items that are on the agenda. This usually means that they have to make judgements about how much time to spend on each agenda item. It also means that they may sometimes have to bring speakers back to the agenda and encourage people to make their contributions short and to the point.
The chairperson should:
- encourage fair play
- stay in charge
- remain neutral
- control the agenda and time keeping
- introduce agenda items one at a time
- be familiar with and introduce all agenda items
- have an overview of the tasks of the meeting
- help to clarify tasks
- take responsibility for what it wants to accomplish
- help the group to carry out its tasks
- run through the agenda at the beginning to prepare the meeting for business
- arrange in advance for members to take ownership of some items
- keep track of the time and summarise the meeting at the end