Section XIV: Working Groups

A. Purpose

  1. Working groups of the Council may be created by the Council as it determines a need for a standing body of experts in a particular issue area. Working groups differ from standing committees in that 1) they are populated with acknowledged experts in a given topic area and 2) their members may be reappointed indefinitely so that their expertise remains available to the Council. Working groups differ from task forces in that their charge is ongoing and not (necessarily) time-limited. Working Groups are advisory to the Council and may be created and disbanded by the Council as appropriate.
  2. Working groups are responsible for the following:
    1. Responding in a timely fashion to requests from the Council for background information and recommendations on matters relating to the group’s area of expertise.
    2. Scanning the environment and tracking issues that may be of interest or concern to archivists, and recommending (either proactively or in response to a query from the Council) whether SAA should respond to an issue.
    3. Preparing drafts (for Executive Committee or Council approval) of background or position papers, statements, and/or other documents relating to the group’s issue(s) area.
    4. Contributing to the education of SAA members and staff on the set of issues assigned to them.
    5. Bringing to the Council’s attention areas in which collaboration with other organizations may advance SAA’s efforts related to the set of issues assigned to them.
  3. Working groups may have short-term and mid-term measurable tasks and assignments; they always have a long-term advisory role.

B. Membership

  1. Working groups are composed of acknowledged experts in the issue areas assigned to them. In recognition that the type of expertise needed on a working group may be in short supply, there is no set term length for participation; members serve at the pleasure of the SAA Council. Nonmembers of SAA may be appointed, based on their expertise.
  2. Working groups have no fixed size. The Council may adjust membership according to the availability of expertise and the group’s anticipated workload. The vice president/president-elect, on behalf of the Council and with the recommendation of the working group, makes new appointments and terminates appointments, including those of the chair(s), as needed.
  3. Unlike other positions within SAA, there is no prohibition against a member of the Council serving on a working group. Sitting members of Council do not typically serve as chair of a working group unless a compelling reason exists for them to do so.
  4. To encourage participation in the work of a working group by those who seek to gain expertise in that area, interns may be appointed to working groups. Interns, who are appointed by the vice president/president-elect in consultation with the chair, serve as nonvoting members for a term of one year and are expected to attend the SAA Annual Meeting and assist in the work of the group throughout the year.
  5. The process for the removal of a non-participating working group member is specified in the Policy for Removing a Non-Participating Member from a Council-Appointed Group.

C. Consultation and Reporting

  1. Working groups work closely with their Council liaisons and the executive director to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of the Council. In certain cases, when time is of the essence, working groups may communicate directly with the Executive Committee.
  2. Working groups, like all SAA groups, are required to present an annual report for review by the Council. The chair is responsible for coordinating the submission of an annual report, which must be filed with the SAA executive director within ninety days of the close of the Annual Meeting. Annual reports must use the Council Report Template. The annual report should be a brief summary of the working group’s activities in the preceding year and may raise issues or questions about which the working group desires Council feedback.

D. Meetings and External Resources

  1. Working groups typically meet in person at the Annual Meeting. The chair prepares and distributes in advance an agenda for the meeting. Working group chairs request space (on a timetable established and publicized by the executive director) for an  in-person meeting at the conference hotel, travel and accommodations for which are the responsibility of working group members.
  2. The standard expectation is that the a working group’s work outside of the annual meeting will be done utilizing emails, conference calls (supported by the SAA office) and free tools. SAA support for in-person mid-year meetings of working groups is severely restricted due to the limited availability of financial resources. Working group chairs should discuss requests for such funding with their Council liaison and the executive director.
  3. If a working group wishes to seek resources (whether cash or in kind) from any source outside SAA, Executive Committee approval must be obtained in every instance before approaching the source. Proposals should be routed through the executive director and Council liaison, with sufficient time for consideration by the Executive Committee, which will respond within thirty days.

Adopted by the Council: January 2012
Revised: July 2013