There is no one right way to organise a steering group as management structures and cultures will vary between and within different sectors of employment, It is however, important to have a representative group to steer and drive your action forward. It is also possible to utilise an existing working group or groups to carry out the functions of a steering group as described here,
Some users of the Management Standards approach have set up multiple sub- groups of the main steering group that reflect their specific organisational structure. For example, an organisation may have specific directorates or I departments that have semi-autonomous management structures in such cases the use of sub-groups to steer the process is appropriate.
Who should be part of a steering group?
Typical members of a steering group are:
- senior management;
- employee representative;
- trade union representative;
- health and safety manager;
- human resources representative;
- occupational health person;
- line manager.
What are the key activities of a steering group?
Their main function is to oversee and facilitate the Management Standards project, acting as a project management group or board. Key activities include:
- project naming;
- project management;
- securing and managing resources;
- managing communications;
- monitoring progress;
- approving action plans;
- generating and approving management reports.
Top tips from users:
- Have people with the capacity to do actions that result from steering group meetings
- Have someone on the group with project management experience
- The Unions need to be involved
- The 'steering group' is key; it should have individuals who are keen to make a contribution and make the project work
- You need a team who can be mutually supportive
"If a structured steering group is used to drive the project, resources can be kept to a reasonable level."
Wrexham Borough Council
Key roles within the steering group
There are normally two key roles within a steering group:
The 'Project Champion':
- represents the project at board level;
- updates the board on progress;
- ensures the project is adequately resourced;
- is typically an HR director or Facilities director, depending on the organisational structure. These positions normally have responsibility for sickness absence and/or health and safety.
The 'Day-to-Day Champion':
- takes the role of project manager;
- organises and facilitates meetings;
- documents decisions, to provide an audit trail;
- keeps the project on schedule and on budget;
- is typically a health and safety manager or, in some cases, an occupational health or HR professional.
After you have set up a steering group, the project should be planned, resources allocated and communications strategies set out with details of how you will engage with staff.
There is a more detailed guide to setting up and running steering groups here.