Models of clerking teams

Clerking or convening committees

The role of clerk (or convenor) of nominations committees, trustees, finance committees, premises committees and so on is essentially the same as for a whole meeting. The Quaker business method works in much the same way no matter how large or small the group, though the degree of formality may be adjusted for small groups compared with larger meetings.

If this is your role as a new clerk, you may be disappointed to discover you don’t get an assistant, and only in some contexts will there be enough members in the group to allow for co-clerking. Your committee is advised to ask one of your group to act as elder – though this can be rotated of course. Some committees will have already chosen the clerk/convenor from among their number -the role doesn’t always come via the traditional nomination-appointment route. This gives you some flexibility to share the role round the group or divide up the associated tasks with the others.

However, for some specialised committees the clerk’s role is rather heavier than it is for the rest of the group. The convenor of a nominations committee may well be the main person to contact those whose names are suggested for a role, and it will be that person who reports back to the group and keeps a clear eye on how things are progressing (or not) for every post that is currently vacant. The convenor is likely to be the person writing regular reports and presenting them at the business meetings who have the authority to appoint.

The clerk to trustees will need some training in order to be on top of specialised topics connected to employment, safeguarding, data protection and so on. This is true of clerks of other Quaker charities. Role descriptions for these more specific clerkships should be available to prospective clerks/convenors – this isn’t the place to go into detail.