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INTEREST GROUPS

To Enable groups of people, who are not at present well represented in the power structures of an organisation, it may be a useful idea to form Interest Groups. It is wise to set them up as formally as possible with very clear guidelines that every one understands.

So formalise the following terms of reference:

a. The criteria for membership;
b. The aims of the group;
c. Who the group reports back to, the method of reporting back and the type of information to be reported back;
d. The degree and scope of influence the group will have on the organisation;
e. The level of confidentiality within the group;
f. The level of responsibility the organisation will maintain for its own education about the issues facing the group;
g. The methods of response to be given by the organisation to issues raised by the group;
h. The support given and needed so that members can attend the group regularly;
i. The meeting guidelines, such as when, where, how often and how long the group will meet.

What is crucial here is that the organisation does not see the setting up of an interest group as dumping the problem or that the group should be grateful that they are meeting and shouldn't make any demands.
Structures that enable respect, accountability and information flow are essential if Equal Opportunities are to become a reality.

Nadeau, J, & Sanders, S., " "Equal Opportunities Policies: The Cuckoo in the Nest or the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg?" -- Problems Encountered and Lessons Learned; ISSUES IN VOLUNTARY AND NON-PROFIT MANAGEMENT; Eds. J. Batsleer, C. Cornforth, & R. Paton. Published by Addison Wesley, London, 1992.