Staff network: Terms of reference template


These terms of reference will help to ensure our staff network can successfully meet the needs of its members.

This document is a live, working document, and members should agree any changes via consultation. It is the responsibility of the executive committee to ensure all changes are via consultation and that all members can annually review the terms of reference.

Purpose of the staff network

Purpose and vision of your staff network

Aims and objectives

Aims and objectives of your staff network and its meetings.


Current number of staff network members. Include your membership criteria for new members, for example, open, closed or a mixture of both.

Executive committee

Your executive committee (key roles), for example, chair, deputy chair, secretariat, finance officer, and any others.

Also include the duration of the roles. For example, elections for roles take place every 12 months at the annual general meeting.

Frequency of meetings

Frequency of meetings as agreed by your members.

Annual general meeting

One of the network meetings should be an annual general meeting to:

  • agree roles for election and process
  • review terms of reference
  • review and plan annual work (action plan), activities, budget
  • review chair’s annual report.


For the staff network meeting to be quorate, five members or a quarter of the membership (whatever is greater) should attend. The chair or deputy chair must also be present.


Include how your staff network will conduct its secretariat/administration responsibilities, for example:

  • any secretariat support from your network’s key roles
  • how your papers, including draft agendas will be set and distributed to members and other attendees in advance of each meeting
  • the recording and circulating of minutes
  • whether contacting members will be necessary between meetings for advice and agreement on matters arising should the need occur
  • the person responsible for monitoring agreed meeting actions.


Outline the formal reporting structure in your organisation, for example, your staff networks reporting line. Clarify what the reporting requirements will be and the form they will take.

Conduct of the network

Include the behaviours and confidentiality expected of your network members. For example:

  • Our staff network meetings will operate within a safe space and treat all members with dignity and respect. Confidentiality of members and their views will enable open and honest discussion.
  • All materials and information shared should be confidential, unless otherwise stated. Members will not disclose information or written material (such as agendas, minutes, discussion papers or other documents) to other parties, unless otherwise directed by the chair.


Describe how the network’s complaint process works.

For example, any complaints received will recorded and reviewed by the executive committee but excluding any members directly involved in the subject of the complaint.

Resolution should be swift and agreed by a majority of the executive committee with the complainant informed appropriately.

If necessary, the executive committee should seek support from the wider organisation, for example, HR, where appropriate.