The concept of individual industry working groups has been driven by the need to provide a space for the private sector to share learning, pool resources and provide feedback to various government agencies and among sector actors.
Industry Work Groups are a new initiative of the International Trade Council.
General Purpose of a Working Group
- Affords the opportunity to share expertise, contacts and resources
- Provides official feedback on legislation
- Publishes and shares industry specific tender opportunities, news and working papers
- Assists in the cross-promoting member conferences, seminars, webinars and events
- Improves social risk management practices within the sector
- Promote awareness of the sector across all industries and service sectors by developing an open dialog with relevant local, regional and national authorities as well as international organisations.
- Provides a platform to raise sector wide issues with appropriate government agencies
- Provides general networking opportunities
Composition of a Working Group
A Working Group may be proposed by a sufficient number of Members belonging to the same industry or operating in complementary sectors*. Members may also include relevant educational subject matter or community experts.
Each Working Group nominates one coordinator and one or more vice-coordinators, who must be Members of the ITC. Nominations are renewed once every two years and are to be approved by the Board of ITC.
*Complementary sectors may be defined as suppliers to an industry sector (e.g. An IT solution provider to the healthcare sector may be invited to participate in a healthcare-oriented Working Group)
Responsibilities of Working Group Members
Strategy and Indicator Development
- Set boundaries and / or determine areas of focus for strategy development
- Review research on effective strategies (regionally and nationally)
- Use data to inform identification of common strategies and ongoing refinement
- Determine how the working group will measure progress and success
- Develop action plans (i.e., specific monthly tasks and who will take them on) for each strategy identified
- Coordinate activities among working group member agencies and others in the community
- Identify funding sources and local agencies to support and/or execute strategies
- Identify other resources (e.g., materials, volunteers) needed to implement strategies
- Provide progress updates to the Steering Committee and respond to their feedback
- Attend monthly 2-hour meetings (potentially 1-hour after strategies are selected and implemented)
- Commit to 6-12 months of Working Group membership
- Review pre-read materials prior to meetings and come prepared for engaged discussion, active listening, and respectful dialogue
- Support research and outreach between meetings as needed and agreed-upon
Typical Size of a Working Group
The optimum size of a working group may be determined by the Group’s coordinator and vice-coordinator.
Organisation of the Activities of a Working Group
The Working Group may autonomously organise its activities provided that ITC managers are informed and kept updated with the activities of the Working Group at all times and that the activities of the Working Group are always coordinated with the ITC managers, particularly in view also of the calendar of events.
Meetings of the Working Group
Meetings of the Working Group should be organised periodically. The Members attending the Working Group meetings should all be current with the annual membership fee. Attendance by non-Members should be allowed only for get-to-know purposes. Non-Members may be invited as speakers or contributors.
The ITC Head Office can assist with the provision of free online video conferencing tools (including the training in the use of said tools) for Working Group Participants.
Meeting Planning and Execution
The below guide is meant to give a generic outline of the steps for planning and executing working group meetings. This is not meant to be a rigid guide and it may be adapted to circumstances and momentum by regularly revisiting and updating the process and divisions of labour required to fulfil it.
|Schedule meeting date and location (schedule 3-4 months of meetings at a time so that members can plan to attend)||1 month before meeting|
|Maintain current contact list of Working Group members, including reaching out to members with low attendance||On-going|
|Send calendar invite to members for meetings (you might have to ask someone at the ITC Head Office to send the actual Outlook invite)||3-4 weeks before meeting|
|Create meeting agenda||2-3 weeks before meeting|
|Hold call with co-chairs to review progress, meeting agenda, get feedback||1 week before meeting|
|Create meeting material (may be a ppt, memo, copies of reports, etc.)||1-2 weeks before meeting|
|Email any pre-read material/ meeting reminder to Working Group (including asking for / reminding of homework assignments)||3-5 business days before meeting|
|Finalise meeting logistics: conference line, attendee lists, printing of materials||1-2 days before meeting|
|Take attendance||During meeting|
|Take notes in Working Group meeting on meeting agenda|
|Facilitate meeting, if needed|
|Outline clear next steps at end of meeting for WG to agree upon|
|Immediately after meeting|
|Take photo of whiteboard/flip charts for reference if needed||Day of meeting if possible|
|Quickly have a debrief with co-chairs to capture immediate reactions/next steps|
1. The decisions made in the meeting
2. Homework assignments
3. Any questions that arose
|After the meeting|
|Email follow-up to members with thanks, next meeting date, homework, material, etc. (should come from what was written down immediately following meeting, but you may want to reference notes taken during meeting to be sure)||2-5 days after meeting|
|Email or phone contact with those who didn’t attend||2-5 days after meeting|
|Update master Working Group planning spreadsheet, if needed (e.g., new decisions on strategies, new contacts, etc.)||3-7 days after meeting|
|Answer questions from Working Group members between meetings||Ongoing|
|Schedule and conduct additional relevant conversations to build relationships, answer research questions, make connections, etc.||Ongoing|
|Using Working Group meeting agenda and notes taken on agenda, document the following for the Working Group co-chairs to report to the ITC Head Office:
1. Major decisions
2. Next steps
3. Questions or asks for ITC Head Office
Success (an anecdotal story, a piece of data, something the group is just excited about)
|Document ITC Head Office action on the report (e.g., answers to questions, suggestions, feedback) to share at next Working Group meeting||Ongoing|
Promotion of the Working Group
The Working Group coordinator agrees and coordinates with the ITC’s Head Office any activity which may have external visibility (including seminars and other activities whose attendance/ audience is not restricted to the Working Group Members only).
Other Tools Available for to ITC Working Groups
To optimise the coordination, the Working Group may avail of the following tools provided by the ITC free of charge:
- Any specific industry mailing list data held by the ITC
- Web conferencing platform
- Audio conferencing platforms
- Online collaboration tools
- Dedicated email news group
- Moderator to assist with online group sessions (where appropriate)
In the operations of the Working Group, no other operational or financial commitment should be required by the ITC (provided that ITC managers may decide to provide assistance if deemed useful within the purposes of the ITC).