Working Groups Procedure

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Adopted by the Board on 25th February 2015.

This document seeks to:

  • Clarify the relationship between Working Groups, Central and the Board.
  • Define specific roles to manage the work of each Working Group.
  • Suggest some best working practices for Working Groups.


Working Groups are designed to focus on particular areas/topics, keeping the traffic on Central at a manageable level, encouraging participation in forming and progressing the objectives of Freegle. They are open to all Volunteers. The current Groups and their remits can be found at Working Groups.

2. Remit

Authority in Freegle is delegated from Members to the Board, with Central acting as a general discussion forum. Working Groups have devolved responsibility from the Board, in accordance with each of their remits, to deal with specific areas of work. The Board, Central or Group members can ask a Group to consider a topic and come up with a recommendation.

After discussing a topic, a Group may produce a proposal. The Document Approval Policy details how various documents are approved. Proposals for ways of working or projects should follow the same process as a written procedure.

3. Membership

Membership of the Working Groups is open to all Volunteers who have joined Central. To join a Group, Volunteers should apply via the Group's joining or registation page. After being confirmed as a current Volunteer, the application to the Group will be approved.

4. Roles within Working Groups

In order to help the Group manage its work, the following roles should be adopted. Each Working Group will be different as Freegle is made up of a diverse collection of Volunteers, however these roles and their basic definitions will provide each Group with a foundation for accomplishing work.

4.1 Coordinator

The Working Group Coordinator is responsible for the following tasks:

  • Maintain a Task List for the work of the Group
  • Help keep Task List subjects 'live' by prompting discussion and ensuring that points made don't get lost.
  • Draw up conclusions to discussions of Task List items, running polls where necessary and informing the Board as appropriate.
  • Check and update the Task List regularly to keep the Group within priorities agreed.
  • Ensure that group discussions focus on the remit of that Group.
  • Help the Group function as a team.
  • Identify topics and issues raised on Central and bring those topics to the Group if appropriate to the remit of the Group.
  • Notify Central via "Start of topic" mails when discussion is starting to which people may wish to contribute.
  • Compile a monthly report summarising activities of the Group, posting this to Central and archiving on the Wiki.
4.2 Additional Roles

A Group Coordinator and Volunteers may appoint additional roles to fulfill the remit of that Working Group. If an additional role significantly alters the operation of the Group, this additional role should be first approved by the Board.

Roles could include Task Leader (to lead a specific task) or Group Secretary (for group reports and helping with Task List maintenance).

4.3 Board Observer

The Board will appoint an Observer for each Working Group who will be the primary communication conduit between Board and the Group. More specifically, when the Board needs to communicate with the Group in an official capacity, that communication shall pass from the Observer to the Group Coordinator.

Directors may also participate on Groups in a personal capacity, like any other Volunteer.

4.4 Appointment of Working Group Roles

Roles will be open to all Volunteers. Required skills should be considered when appointing these roles. Appointment to the Coordinator role is either via consensus (if there is one candidate on which the Group agrees) or a poll of members of the Group. Other roles can be appointed by the Coordinator in cooperation with the members of that Group.

4.5 Termination of Working Group Roles
  • 1. A role holder can stand down at any time by informing the Group.
  • 2. If Volunteers feel the roles are not being fulfilled then they should try to work with the role holder to help or failing that, the Board should be contacted to assist.
  • 3. In extremis, group Volunteers can call for a vote of no confidence to be run on the Group to retain or remove the person.

5. Working Practices

The following working practices have proven effective and are suggested.

5.1 Task Lists

Each Group should maintain a task list in a Google Spreadsheet. This Task List is managed by the Coordinator for that Group. The links to each list can be found at Task Lists.

5.2 Working Group Polls

Discussions on matters within Freegle can often continue at length as we want to make sure that opinions are heard and everyone fairly considered.

Polls are required for final decisions/recommendations, with a simple majority deciding the vote. These final polls should be live for at least 5 days and that length of time clearly announced.

If a discussion is particularly long a Group straw poll (or interim poll) can be useful. A time frame of one week for discussion and up to one week for a poll is often effective. These interim/straw polls results are not binding, however they can often clarify where the Group as a majority stands on a matter and move a decision forward more efficiently.

5.3 Monthly Reports

Working Groups should produce a report each month regarding the topics being discussed and work progressed over the past month. These reports should be posted on the Wiki and sent to Central.

5.4 Topic Notification Emails to Central

In addition to the monthly report, in order to avoid disenfranchising Volunteers, the Coordinator is responsible for sending Start of Topic Notification Emails to Central for significant topics, and might consider also informing Central when a final poll is being run.

6. Links