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Act 4, 2018 – Act anent The Recording of Business in Church Courts, Boards and Committee of the Church. (As amended by Act 7, 2024 – Amending Act 4, Class 2, 2018)

The General Assembly, recognising the need to revise and update regulations for preparing and storing records electronically, enact and ordain as follows regarding the records of all Church Courts, General Assembly Boards and Committees, and congregational Finance Committees.

1. Recording of Business. All minutes and records which are prepared electronically on personal or office computer shall be printed out on A4 size paper.

1.1 The minutes of each meeting shall record the day, the date, and the year on which the meeting took place.

1.2 All pages within the record of each meeting shall be numbered consecutively in the ‘page x of y’ format, with the numbering of the pages in the record of the following meeting restarting at page number one.

1.3 All page of the minutes, with the exception of the last page, shall be initialled by Moderator/Chairman/Convener or Clerk adjacent to the page number.

1.4 Blank spaces left on the last page of the minute where there is insufficient text to fill the page shall be line-crossed horizontally, vertically and diagonally.

1.5 The reverse side of pages which contain no text shall be marked ‘this page was intentionally left blank’.

1.6 The final page of the minute shall be signed by the Moderator/Chairman/Convener and the Clerk. The minutes of meetings at which a temporary appointment has been made regarding Moderator/Chairman/Convener or Clerk shall be signed by the permanent appointee and the temporary appointee in each case.

1.7 All Church Courts, Boards and Committees shall comply with relevant Data Protection laws and regulations as appropriate.

2. Confidential Business. In the course of meetings where a detailed record is necessary for items of business which have been held in private, a separate record book shall be held in which such a detailed record can be stored with the permanent records of the relevant court. This separate record book shall be referenced in the regular minute book so that the separate record is easily tracked.

3. Printed Copies. Individual members of a court requesting personal copies of minutes shall receive them only at the discretion of the relevant court, who shall take into consideration the need to limit the number of copies in circulation when the nature of the business is private, such as meetings of Kirk Sessions, and when confidential matters, such as cases of discipline, have been discussed.

4. Filing of Records. Once the minutes have been approved and have been signed by the Moderator/Chairman/Convener and Clerk, the pages shall be inserted and secured in an Ergogrip or similar standard 4-ring A4 binder in normal book page order. This binder shall be the only record of business of meetings of the court.

4.1 Minor manuscript adjustments such as spelling errors shall be initialled by the Moderator/Chairman/Convener and Clerk; if any substantial adjustments have to be made, a revised ‘clean copy’ shall be produced. The use of correction fluids such as tippex shall be avoided.

4.2 All minutes and records of Church Courts and Congregational Finance Committees shall be transferred from the Ergogrip or similar 4-ring A4 binder to hardcover sewn-bound format for the permanent record on a regular basis. This shall be done at least every five years.

4.3 All minutes and records shall be stored electronically and backed up to an external drive or cloud space for secure, long-term storage.

5. Storage of Records. The General Assembly instruct Presbyteries, Kirk Sessions, Deacons Courts and Finance Committees to identify a suitable public archive for storage of records and to pass records of churches within their bounds to the public storage where the records are 100 or more years of age with the proviso that Presbyteries are permitted at their discretion to pass records which are less than 100 years old to the same public storage. They further instruct Presbyteries to ensure that (i) where records are being kept locally, they ensure the place of storage is known, suitable and secure; and (ii) that where no suitable storage is available for records not deposited in a public archive such records are passed to the church offices in Edinburgh for storage until such time as they are eligible for storage in a public archive.

Act 5, Class 2, 2002 and Act 15, Class 2, 2016 are hereby repealed.