Chapter 8 » 8.23

Governance and management of the centrally managed work

The work of committees and staff

It is the role of the standing committees, particularly the central committees, to use their leadings and discernment to advise Britain Yearly Meeting Trustees and Meeting for Sufferings on policies and priorities for their work. In so doing they should draw on the experience, knowledge and concerns of area meetings and, where appropriate, representative councils so that local Friends are involved in the process.

Committees need to be aware of the different roles they may play in responding to items on their agendas. Central committees determine policies and priorities for their areas of responsibility within the limits described in 7.03. Their role is to determine the work to be done and ensure that it is manageable without attempting to do it themselves. Those who carry out the work may be functional committees, working groups, volunteers or staff, or combinations of these. Central committees primarily delegate work to staff, whose responsibility is to undertake the work under the co-ordination of Management Meeting. Other standing committees, functional committees, ad hoc committees and working groups may do more of their own work without much direct staff involvement. Committees that do undertake work themselves need to ensure it is done in partnership with staff, who have the responsibility to co-ordinate its management.

The close working partnership between staff and committee members brings a wide range of talents and experience to bear on our work. Committee members need to remain free of routine administrative tasks if they are to have the time to exercise their important decision-making functions. However, committee members also need to be aware of how their decisions might affect, unsettle or fulfil staff members involved. In turn, members of staff have to be aware of the delicate tension of being in a position of knowledge and ensuring that their committees benefit from their experience and preparation whilst leaving committees in a position to make consequent decisions freely.

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