The Secretariat is vital in any company because in several countries the Company
Secretary is the only member of the company whom the law recognises. It is secretariat who is responsible for complying with all the legal requirements imposed on
limited companies. One might find this strange when in real life; the Secretary is
subordinate to the Directors. However, in the eyes of the law, directors can,
theoretically, be dismissed by the shareholders at any Annual General Meeting of the
company and so a person more permanently installed has to be the point of contact for
the authorities such as the tax collectors and registrar of companies.
In a company the secretariat also contains the human resources or
personnel department and the importance of this function cannot be over-stated. First
of all, when you become responsible for hiring, promoting and even firing members
of staff, you will be dealing with a person’s career, which almost certainly will be a
major factor in his or her life. In almost every country in the world there
are laws relating to employment. In the UK there are Employment Protection Acts
and Redundancy Payment Acts as well as other statutes relating to Sexual and Racial
There are legal niceties such as ‘Constructive Dismissal’ which prevent you from
making changes to an employee’s working conditions ‘… which go to the root of the
contract of employment’. You cannot, for example in most countries, suddenly decide
to switch your agency staff from an overtime scheme to a shift-working system
without their consent.
In essence, large or small, a business entity must take its selection, employment and
promotion of its staff very seriously indeed. It is important to be professional
not only to the outside world but to survive, that same professionalism must operate
within the organization.