Sample operating guidelines


Operating Guidelines


This document describes the purposes and procedures agreed upon by the members of the [WORKING GROUP]. It has been drafted to help the [WORKING GROUP] meet its legislatively assigned tasks in a timely, deliberate, and constructive manner.


The goal of the [WORKING GROUP] is to develop [PROJECT GOAL OR PURPOSE]. A successful outcome of our [WORKING GROUP] deliberations will be:



The members of the [WORKING GROUP] are:

Name:                                     Affiliation:                              Island:
First Member
Second Member

[WORKING GROUP] Operations Team:

An Operations Team exists to help expedite logistics, finances, and management of the [WORKING GROUP] comprised of the following individuals: 

Name:                                     Function:
First Member
Second Member

Roles and Responsibilities:


Only duly appointed members may participate in decision making for the [WORKING GROUP].


To ensure that the viewpoints of our constituencies are fully and consistently articulated, and to help build trust and momentum, [WORKING GROUP] members commit to make their best efforts to: 

  • Attend all scheduled task force meetings;
  • Stay for the duration of meetings;
  • Be prepared to participate fully in the [WORKING GROUP] sessions;
  • Keep their various constituents regularly updated on substantive issues prior to/and or subsequent to participation in [WORKING GROUP] meetings;
  • Communicate their concerns regarding scheduled agenda items to a designated Operations Team member prior to scheduled meetings if they are unable to attend;
  • Communicate travel or schedule conflicts to a designated Operations Team member as soon as such conflict is known; and
  • Review proceedings of the meetings prior to voting to approve or amend same.

The Operations Team:

The Operations Team will serve the [WORKING GROUP] members by planning and scheduling task force meetings, developing and posting agendas, assisting with scheduling presentations by resource persons of interest, facilitating logistics for site visits, maintaining a [WORKING GROUP] website, preparing and distributing minutes of task force meetings and stakeholder sessions, and coordinating [WORKING GROUP] responses to media, legislative, and other external inquiries.


  • Provide general administrative support for the [WORKING GROUP] activities;
  • Provide logistics for the [WORKING GROUP] meetings, including securing meeting sites and arranging meals;
  • Coordinate and fund travel for the following [WORKING GROUP] members. [LIST OTHERS, IF APPROPRIATE];
  • Facilitate the invitation and appearance of technical experts or other [WORKING GROUP] identified resource persons to attend scheduled [WORKING GROUP] meetings;
  • Facilitate the communication needs of the task force, such as drafting and distributing [WORKING GROUP] letters;
  • Facilitate the implementation of [WORKING GROUP]-approved actions that fulfill the task force’s responsibilities as spelled out in [REFERENCE ENABLING ACT OR LEGISLATION];
  • Prepare reports required by [REFERENCE ENABLING ACT or LEGISLATION]; and
  • Fund the co-facilitators.

The Co-Facilitators:

Co-Facilitators will assist the Operations Team prepare for and manage meetings, help identify issues and interests, help narrow options, and, to the greatest extent possible, facilitate achieving consensus among the Task Force members. They will do this by:

  • Encouraging that the fullest possible range of perspectives are brought to bear on all discussions, including the perspectives of those affected by the decisions or policies at issue;
  • Ensuring that no one individual or group is allowed to dominate the discussion to the disadvantage of others;
  • Remaining impartial on the substance of issues being discussed, while proactively ensuring that members collectively decide which issues are discussed and which recommendations are considered;
  • Ensuring that members of the [WORKING GROUP] understand that they cannot use the facilitators to influence the substantive outcome and agreements being sought;
  • Encouraging members of the [WORKING GROUP] to build and maintain consensus;
  • Encouraging the fullest disclosure and exchange of information that is vital to finding solutions.


With flexibility, and subject to revisions, we intend to meet on the following dates in 20___:

Operating Principles/Guidelines:

The success of our efforts will depend, to a large extent, on our ability to achieve mutual understandings and reach agreements that transcend our personal interests. To maximize our prospects for success, we agree to the following courtesies and process agreements:

  • We will listen with care and sensitivity to the full range of all members’ interests.
  • We will share factual, technical, or scientific information that will help lead to agreements.
  • We will not monopolize discussions or dominate the floor.
  • We will seek and develop recommendations that are responsive to our legislative mandate.
  • We will refrain from disparaging remarks or personal attacks on individuals inside of or external to the [WORKING GROUP].
  • We will remain open to new ideas.
  • We will offer possible alternatives when we cannot agree with a particular idea.
  • We will communicate and coordinate with our own constituencies.
  • We will attend all meetings on time and stay for the duration of the meetings.
  • We will participate in good faith.
  • We will discuss our positions on matters of the [WORKING GROUP] interest and agree on how to characterize those positions as a group before communicating them to parties external to the [WORKING GROUP].
  • We will set aside a period for comments from non-[WORKING GROUP] members at the end of the business meetings as time permits.

Consensus Decision Making:

Consensus decisions are decisions that all of us can support, or minimally, for which there is “no objection.” Consensus is most likely to emerge if it is based on a thorough understanding of each others’ interests and concerns.


We will not make representations on behalf of the [WORKING GROUP] to media or public officials that have not been vetted by the group (or unless this prerogative is delegated to members of the Operations Team).

Work Groups:

We agree that smaller work groups may be formed to develop options, or packages of options, to address or improve the definition of certain issues and to assist with drafting of written products related to the [WORKING GROUP] work. Any participant of the [WORKING GROUP] will be able to participate in any work group should they choose. Working groups will be afforded opportunities to conduct their efforts within the agendas of duly noticed meetings in a manner consistent with Sunshine Law requirements.

Work groups will report back to the main body at regular intervals to ensure that their efforts are in accord with the collectively determined tasks.

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