Northumbria Region U3A

Working Groups


For some time, Northumbria Region U3A has had a number of hard-working ‘Sub Committees’ which undertook, successfully, several relevant tasks on behalf of the Trustees. However, most appeared to be ‘permanent’ and somewhat ad hoc in the way which they were established, recruited members, defined or adopted terms of reference and understood their role (especially in accountability and financial matters). The Northumbria Region U3A Trustees have decided to replace Sub Committees with Working Groups.

A Working Group is defined as ‘a group of knowledgeable individuals working together to achieve specific goals’. The Groups focus on discussion or activity around a specific subject area. The lifespan of a Working Group can last anywhere between a few weeks and a year. When the assigned task is completed and the goals have been achieved, Working Groups disband. Therefore, some organisations have renamed them ‘Task and Finish Groups’.

Basic principles
All Northumbria Region U3A Working Groups should …
Have a clearly defined and agreed specific task (eg Three Year Plan WG, Parliamentary Study Day WG, Summer School WG)
Like most other U3A initiatives, be self-financing (but using other financial and ‘in kind’ resources, as appropriate)
Include at least one Trustee as a member (as the prime link between the Group and Trustees, but not necessarily as the convenor or chair)
Submit Terms of Reference, Membership and Timespan (including final date) to Trustees, for approval.

Monitoring the success of Working Groups
When a Working Group has completed the identified task, the Trustees plan to evaluate and learn from each experience …
Were the goals and objectives clearly expressed, known and understood?
What were the tangible results of the completed task?
What effects did the results have?
Were any unexpected results – desirable or otherwise – observed?
What methods and techniques were used to achieve the results?
Was there an effective use of both internal and external available resources?
The work of all Groups could be evaluated together, prior to each AGM.

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