The Deed of Declaration in 1784 required the annual election of a Secretary of the Conference. The Secretaries, including the first, Thomas Coke, and Jabez Bunting, often served for a number of years, and in WM the office was combined with a circuit or another connexional appointment. The Secretary was always a minister and a member of the Legal Hundred.
In PM the Secretary was a circuit minister appointed annually simply to minute the Conference proceedings. There was also a 'General Secretary of the Church and Secretary of the General Committee' separated from circuit work and in office for five years. The UMC appointed annually from 1911 a layman as their Conference secretary, the constituent groups having previously had differing practices. After Methodist Union Edwin Finch was, in 1937, the first to be elected to the office of Secretary without other circuit or connexional appointment. The Conference Office was located in Westminster Central Hall from then until it moved to 25 Marylebone Road in 1995. The designation 'Conference Office' first appeared on the stations in 1943.
From 2003, following the Report on Leadership in the Methodist Church, to the Conference of 2002, the Secretary of the Conference also had the concurrent title and responsibilities of General Secretary of the Methodist Church, until this latter office was discontinued in 2015.
The office of Assistant Secretary of the Conference has become a significant part of the official three-person senior leadership structure, alongside the Connexional Secretary, reporting to the Secretary of the Conference as the senior leader and deputising for him or her in a wide range of activities.