Setting Up Subcommittees and Working Groups

It is common practice for the governing body to set up subcommittees and/or working groups (or panels, taskforces, etc). These can provide an excellent opportunity to involve other people from within and outside the organisation; experts or advisors, users or clients, paid staff or volunteers. They can be particularly useful for potential new members for the governing body. 
 

Any decisions made by subcommittees or working groups need to be approved by the whole governing body...

 
The function of a standing subcommittee is to tackle, as a smaller group, detailed planning or policy development in a specific area, for example, audit or employment. The function of a working group is to do the same for more time-limited projects, for example, fundraising events or campaigns. Any decisions made by subcommittees or working groups need to be approved by the whole governing body since the governing body is accountable for them.
 
To ensure that everyone knows what is going on and that the governing body is accountable, every subcommittee needs up to date terms of reference that clearly describe its:
 
  • Remit (purpose)
  • Membership
  • Responsibilities and powers (what they can decide)
  • Reporting procedures
  • Relationship to the governing body.