Much of Equinet’s work takes place in thematic working groups, which bring together expert staff from equality bodies across Europe to share experience and good practice. Each member organisation can nominate one staff member and one alternate staff member per working group.
There are currently five Equinet working groups focusing on:
Members of these working groups work closely together on the implementation of a work plan which is adopted by the Equinet General Assembly every year. It is proposed by the Equinet Board, with inputs from the working group members themselves. The working group members meet and communicate with each other regularly (the default frequency is two meetings annually for each working group, with electronic communication between meetings) in order to share their experiences and good practices and discuss questions relevant to their field of work. This process provides an opportunity for peer learning and at the same time helps Equinet to collect and produce facts-based information from its members and thematic reports relating to their work.
Each Working Group is coordinated by a Moderator who is an expert of one of the Equinet Member organizations with a commitment to and broad knowledge in the field of focus of the related Working Group. There is a preference for the Moderator of the Policy Formation Working Group to be a member of the Equinet Board if possible.
Each Working Group shall have a member of the Equinet Board as a liaison person who is regularly updated by the Moderator about the activities of the Working Group and can pass on such information to the whole of the Equinet Board.
The position of Working Group Moderator is voluntary and unpaid. Indicatively, Moderators are generally expected to dedicate around 10 days a year to their Working Group.
The role of the Moderator is to lead the development of the detailed annual plan of activities for the working group and support its rolling out in close collaboration with the working group members, the Equinet Secretariat and the Equinet Board. This detailed plan of activities will also take into account the objectives set out in the Annual Work Plan of Equinet (approved by Members at the AGM) for the year and the four-year Strategic Plan.
Among other duties, the Moderator will:
Nomination of the Working Group Moderator
The moderator is a member of staff of one of the Equinet member equality bodies and is appointed by the Equinet Board for the renewable term of 2 years, with a maximum of two terms.
At the time of updating the list of their representatives in various Equinet working groups, all Equinet member equality bodies may also nominate a staff member for the position of moderator for the specific working group they are a member of. An equality body can nominate a moderator for a maximum of two working groups. The nomination has to include a short CV of the candidate, a brief description of their motivation to lead the working group and a statement from the head of the equality body agreeing to their candidacy and the eventual working time to be dedicated to the moderator function. At the start of their term the moderator has to hold a minimum one year experience, having attended minimum two meetings, as a member of the working group in question.
Members of the working group are consulted anonymously to assess the applications received for the moderator function and select their preferred candidate. The working group’s preference is communicated to the Equinet Board.
The Equinet Board appoints moderators with a simple majority following a review of the candidacies. The decision on appointment shall include a justification and explanation in case of deviating from the expressed preference of the working group. In exceptional circumstances the Equinet Board may decide to appoint two candidates as co-moderators.
Assessment and termination of the moderator function
Members of the working group are consulted anonymously on an annual basis to assess the performance of the incumbent moderator. The results of this assessment are shared with the Equinet Board, flagging in particular any serious issues, complaints or concerns raised. The Equinet Board may decide to terminate the appointment of the moderator on grounds of substantiated and grave complaints against the moderator, including complaints communicated through the annual assessment of the moderator’s performance, or if they deem that due to the moderator’s actionable conduct there is an immediate and real risk of not delivering the outputs included in the work plan.
Responsibilities linked to the moderator function will be automatically terminated when the person is no longer working at the equality body (as an employee and/or in an elected function).
In case of termination, the Equinet Board may appoint an acting moderator for the remainder of the year if it deems this necessary for the good delivery of the work plan. The acting moderator is appointed in a simplified procedure, following a proposal by the Equinet Secretariat and in consultation with the equality body of the proposed acting moderator.