On a typical Wednesday, this will be the first meeting of the Society members will attend, and is typically the first meeting of the society any member will be introduced to. While often quick, this meeting is the most important to the functioning of the society. It is where motions of society governance are passed and where the general committee is held to account by the membership.
Private business is also the venue where the society holds important administrative tasks. On the third meeting of the year, the society votes on Auditorial rulings of the previous year, where nominations for the General Committee are announced at the end of the current term of the Committee, and where Honorary and Life members are elected.
The order of business shall commence in the following fashion:
The meeting opens when the individual selected by the general committee to chair the meeting has taken the chair, and following this the record secretary shall read the minutes of the last private business meeting. Once these have been approved and signed, the treasurer shall read out any fines which are owed by members to the society.
The librarian will open the floor to questions for the general committee. These questions must be put to the Chair in the following fashion:
“Mr/Madam Chair, I should like to ask the [Officer in question, eg, auditor]”
Or, if the question is a general question of the Committee
“Mr/Madam Chair, I should like to ask the Auditor…”
Similarly, answers must be given by the officer questioned:
“Mr/Madam chair, in answer to the question given by”
Questions, in accordance with the laws, must be brief, not invite opinion, and relate directly to the business of the officer. This means, essentially, the questions which are asked must be on points of fact relating specifically to the business of the society. Questions must be asked in a manner which does not invite opinion, or therefore must be specific. For example, the question “Madam Chair, I should like to ask the Auditor why X.XX was chosen as a guest of the society” is indicative of a question which does not invite opinion, while the question “Madam Chair, I should like to ask the Auditor if it is immoral for X.XX to be chosen as a guest of the society” would be considered against standing orders as it invites opinion.
Question time may continue for no longer than 10 minutes, which is kept by the librarian.
Following question time, the order of business proceeds to the reading of reports. Reports provide the society with an overview of the various activity of the society as well are mandated from time to time to be given to ensure the smooth running of the society.
Following Question time, the Record secretary will place motions to be raised on notice. Motions which are not privileged must be put on notice for at least a week to be debated by the society. To place a motion on notice, the motion must be read by the Member moving the motion at private business, following which it must be presented to the Record Secretary in writing.
Following a motion being placed on notice, it will be debated at the meeting the following week, where it will be voted on. If the motions is a motion to amend the laws of the society, the motion must be passed again at the meeting following the debate.
General business is the generic forum in which the society discusses any items which are otherwise on the agenda of Private Business.
Following general business, motions to be discussed are discussed and voted on, following which any fines accrued are announced before the meeting is adjourned.