It is a good idea that each committee of an organisation (AKA team, working group or sub-group) be clearly defined in writing. This promotes understanding of who is in the group, what they aim to achieve, and how they intend to go about doing it. Below is a basic template of what such a committee charter or definition sheet might include for you to customise.
Committee Terms of Reference
[Official name of the committee or working group]
- [Name, Roles / Responsibilities (e.g. chair, secretary, treasurer, report to the board) – Contact Information]
- [Specific outputs required/requested from the committee]
Scope / Jurisdiction
[What are the bounds of responsibility and authority of the this sub-group? What do they need to address and what is outside their area of concern? What can they decide on and what needs higher authority approval?]
Guidance from the Board / Lead Group
[Initial direction and suggestions from the board and/or larger group]
Resources and Budget
[E.g. equipment, materials, rooms, funds available to the committee]
[Decision-making technique, e.g. consensus, 2/3 or majority vote, chair’s authority, etc. Relationships of authority within the group and with the greater organisation.]
- Relationships to other committees
- How communications outside of meetings will be conducted, e.g. email list, Skype, Slack
- Where shared information, such as plans and contact information, will be stored
- Related policies / by-laws
- How reporting back to the organization will be conducted
- History of the committee
- Schedule or meetings and/or other important timelines
- Information about specific committee projects
Your Committee Should Use Feedback Frames
Do you find it challenging to reach agreement in large meetings?
Does your group struggle with prioritising issues and options?
You need Feedback Frames: the perfect large group decision making tool!