Terms of reference for Task Forces
Task Forces are instruments to solve a specific, time limited task. They represent a way for Europeana Network Association (ENA) to influence the operation, policy, strategy and direction of the Europeana Initiative.
Task Forces formally belong to the ENA communities, depending on their focus and topic of interest.
A Community is a group of ENA members that work together to cultivate and share knowledge, expertise and best practices around a specific area of common interest that is relevant for Europeana. Every community has a Steering Group as a representative body, composed of a community manager performing an organisational role, and a community chair and co-chair. The community chair and co-chair have a representative role and are responsible for mobilizing and leading the community members on behalf of the ENA Management Board (MB) and Members Council (MC). They are also responsible for the communication process - including Task Force-related - between the community and the MB and the MC. The community manager and the chair consult issues and make decisions together regarding the community work and steering of the community Task Force activities.
Task Forces run for a limited period of time (usually six to nine months) and result in the delivery of a set of publishable recommendations on their respective subjects.
Initiative: Task Force proposal should come from ENA members, either from within the ENA communities focusing on specific community-related needs, or from outside of the community framework addressing needs of the Network at large, and be submitted through the following form.
Membership : (x10 people maximum)
All Task Force members need to be ENA members.
The Task Force is constituted as follows:
- The chair
- 1 Members Council representative
- 1 Europeana Office representative
- 4 to 6 Europeana Network Association members appointed by the chair
- 2 open seats for Network Association members; call for participation is currently circulated through the Network newsletter. If more than 2 Association members volunteer, it is up to the Chair to select and complete his TF constituency.
Evaluation process: Financial limitations and organisational as well as administrative requirements imply that only a limited number of Task Forces can be supported and monitored every year. A selection process is, therefore, necessary to evaluate Task Forces’ objectives and relevance:
- The proposal should be submitted to the community chair directly in case the proposal comes from within the community, or via the Network Secretariat (Europeana Foundation staff) in case the Task Force does not explicitly fit within any community.
- The community Steering Group reviews the proposal, and if necessary, requests additional clarifications from the proposer. The Group also requests comments from the Foundation’s appropriate staff on practical implementation of the projected outcomes and may subsequently ask for adjustments to the Task Force proposal.
- Based on these consultations, and if in agreement with the Steering group, the chair/vice-chair approaches the MB with a request for a formal approval. The MB assesses the available budget assigned to the specific community.
- The MB can request additional adjustments to the proposal. If there are reasonable resources available for the TF to run and the MB has no additional concerns in relation to the proposal, the MB approves the proposal.
- On behalf of the community, the community chair or vice-chair informs the MC about the approval.
Recommendations development: Task Forces accomplish most of their work either virtually or through a maximum of two physical meetings. Task Forces use Basecamp, an online project coordination tool as a coordination platform. They are overseen by the Members Council and supported by the Network Association Coordinator in the Network Secretariat.
Evaluation process of interim and final results: Task Force demonstrates its work progress in form of a mid-term and final blog published on Pro website (via the Secretariat). Beside the blogs, the Task Force is required to deliver its final recommendations in form of a report. The Secretariat communicates the report to the MC via Basecamp. The Councillors have a period of one month to provide feedback to the submitted report, and the Task Force chair or the Councillor that belongs to the Task Force should be available to address any queries. The review of the report needs to be done by the Councillors in a formal and objective manner, not necessarily based on specific expertise. The Council can request changes to the report and the Task Force chair is required to incorporate the changes to it within one month following the review. If there are no objections, and if the requested changes have been implemented, the report is considered approved
Timeframe and recommendations implementation: Within a sufficient time frame and in light of given possibilities, the final report should include an evaluation of the Europeana Foundation staff on how the Task Force results can be implemented in Europeana’s operation or policy, including a timeline of implementation. The final recommendations of the Task Force should be communicated by the MB to the Foundation and to the European Commission, and published on Europeana Pro website.
Communication: Task Force members are encouraged to disseminate and promote their recommendations through (Europeana Pro) blogs, social medias (Twitter, LinkedIn), and communication with relevant stakeholders and communities. Task Forces are also encouraged to publish their recommendations in sector-related journals or submit them as conference papers.
- Task Force members are reimbursed for travel and accommodation expenses of two physical meetings at most, with a negotiable budget of up to a maximum of € 5,000.
- Proposals for a physical meeting must be approved by the Network Coordinator in advance of any booking.
- Expenses will be reimbursed on an individual basis, according to the Europeana reimbursement rules, and only if a filled-in attendance form is presented to the Network Coordinator within one week following the meeting. Note that costs for catering and venue hire cannot be covered; these have to be covered by the hosting institution. Any expenses other than travel and subsistence costs will have to be approved by the Network Coordinator in advance.
Roles and Responsibilities
Chair proposes the Task Force, oversees its activities and makes sure the recommendations are delivered, actionable, reviewed, approved and published. He/She provides information on Task Force progress through the mid-term report, and updates upon request.
Members Council representative maintains the link between the Task Force and the Association. He/She is also responsible for updating the Members Council about Task Force progress at meetings and, if necessary after liaising with the Management Board, prompting the Task Force to meet its objectives in case these are not being met. The Members Council representative is also involved in the TF peer-review of the final recommendations.
Europeana office representative acts as the liaison between the Task Force and the Network Coordinator and provides admin support to the Task Force. Concretely, he/she:
- Ensures all members of the Task Force are registered as Association members and makes sure the Task Force membership list is kept up to date
- Informs the Network Coordinator in advance of the dates and location of physical Task Force meetings, for approval
- Makes sure the attendance form is signed for every meeting
- Updates the Network Coordinator on progress after each meeting and liaise with Europeana Office
- Ensures the Task Force abides by the reimbursement rules and remains within budget
- Makes sure the Task Force uses Basecamp as its sole platform for communications
- Ensures the Task Force dedicated page on Europeana Pro is being kept up-to-date
Network Association Coordinator aligns and coordinates communications between the Association, Members Council, and Task Force Chairs; helps coordinate meetings; supports financial planning; makes sure recommendations are being peer-reviewed; reports Task Force updates/outcomes to the Association.