The purpose of this policy is to provide a clear blueprint for the organisation, running and maintenance of ASH Coop working groups. It is acknowledged that individual working groups may differ significantly from each other with respect to their function, however all working groups share common vital characteristics. This policy details those characteristics and from them seeks to establish consistent operating patterns across all groups.

What is a working group?

  1. A group of members working together to complete an area of co-op work
  2. Has a policy which contains agreements about:
    • how the group works together
    • what the aim of the group is
    • what resources are available to do the work
  3. Each group reports back to the co-op about what it is doing and any extra support it needs
  4. The co-op elects working group co-ordinators to organise each working group

What is a co-ordinator?

  1. A co-ordinator makes sure the group is completing all of its tasks.
  2. They may complete work within the group, but should not be doing all of the work, the co-ordinator role is one of delegating and organising the workload
  3. They do this by ensuring that group members have the necessary:
    • Skills
    • Tools
    • Knowledge
  4. They also inform the co-op of how much support the group needs:-some groups will need lots of volunteers -while others will only require a few
  5. Co-ordinators will also oversee group spending, monitoring and reporting how much of the groups budget has been spent over the year

Co-ordinator Responsibilities

  1. Co-ordinators are expected to report back to the co-op at least every 3 months with:
    • What the group has been doing
    • What the group is doing next
    • What practical tasks members can volunteer for in the group
    • Whether the group needs more volunteers
  2. Each group should organise an open meeting at least once a year, which should offer an opportunity for members to find out about the group, reflect on lessons learned and review the policy, identifying ideas and ways to improve the group
  3. If a working group co-ordinator has been in their role for three consecutive years or more, they must begin working towards handing group co-ordination over to another member
  4. Long serving co-ordinators may continue to participate in the working group, but co-ordination is a role that needs to be rotated to ensure skills and power do not become stranded on any one members shoulders
  5. If a co-ordinator doesn’t meet the responsibilities outlined above, they will be removed and nominations will be sought for a new co-ordinator. This is not intended to be punitive, but to enable the co-op to move forward when co-ordinators stop communicating or step back unexpectedly

Member Responsibilities

  1. All members are expected to participate in at least one working group
  2. Members are expected to remain flexible, being involved in groups that they are interested in but remaining open to helping other groups where there is a need for more support
  3. All members should be committed to treat all personal or sensitive information encountered in the course of volunteering in confidence, and sign an agreement outlining this commitment
  4. If any member is failing to meet these responsibilities, the co-op will contact them to find out what skills, training or other factors are keeping them from finding a way of participating in community

Working Groups and the Committee

  1. The Committee is currently comprised of all of the working group co-ordinators
  2. The co-op has adopted a standing practice of the committee not meeting regularly, with all decisions going through the GM, and day to day management organised by working groups
  3. Each year, after the committee elections, the Secretary will call a meeting of the committee
  4. The purpose of this meeting will be to reflect on and reconfirm the delegation of decision making to the GM for the year ahead, and check in to identify any areas of work that are not currently being covered effectively across the existing working groups