Information for setting up a Working Group or Special Interest Group

Following the definition of Working Groups (WGs) and Special Interest Groups (SIGs), this page further describes what we (the Society of Research Software Engineering) ask for and provide for each external group. As WGs are considered to have a closer relationship with the Society there are extra provisions and requirements beyond SIGs. We’ve put this information together to reflect the Charity Governance Code sections 2.4 and 2.5, that is: to ensure that all volunteers are properly recruited, supported and supervised, and that any subsidiary organisations reflect our values and are consistent with our charitable purpose. 

We therefore ask each WG and SIG to write a Terms of Reference that will lay out the general purpose and aim of the group, as well as details on how it will operate and work with the Society. We will try to make the process of writing this document as easy as possible, by providing templates and asking trustees to contribute to each document. 


Each WG and SIG will need to have some governance policies in place to follow the Charity Governance Code sections 2.4.4 and 2.5 ( :

2.4.4 – If the charity has volunteers, the board makes sure there are proper arrangements for their recruitment, support and supervision.

2.5.2 – The board recognises, respects and welcomes diverse, different and, at times, conflicting trustee views.

2.5.3 – The board provides oversight and direction to the charity and provides support and constructive challenge to the organisation and where they exist staff and volunteers.

2.5.4 – The board supports any staff or volunteers to feel confident and able to provide the information, advice and feedback necessary to the board.

To help WG and SIGs meet these responsibilities we will provide access to all the governance documents that we use ourselves to manage the Society. These include but are not limited to: 

  1. Event Code of Conduct
  2. Trustee Code of Conduct
  3. Complaints and Grievance Policy
  4. EDI Training Materials (from ACAS)
  5. EDI Policy
  6. Conflict of Interest Policy
  7. Complaints and Grievance Policy

All of these policies can be found on the Policy page.

Although each WG and SIG is free to write their own policies we do expect these governance documents to be in place and so we encourage the use of our own policies to make this process as easy as possible. We ask for details on how these policies will be used, and how they will be applied to volunteers and committee members to be included within the Terms of Reference.

Publicity and Communication

To aid the establishment and reach of each WG and SIG we will provide access to the following publicity and communication channels:

  1. Website
  2. Society Newsletter
  3. Slack
  4. Twitter
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Mailing List

Together these means of communication can broadcast and advertise the efforts of the WG or SIG to a large and diverse audience. Our Twitter profile has over 5000 followers and makes approximately 58,000 impressions per month. There are over 3000 people in our Slack workspace. 

We will also create a dedicated page for your WG or SIG on our website, which on average reaches 1,000 people per month, so you can have a maintained and established homepage without paying any overhead costs. We can also provide you with a dedicated email address and space within our Google Drive to store documents.

We ask that you regularly update and keep in touch with the Society trustees, firstly so that we can include your progress in our annual report and monthly newsletter. Secondly, so that we can provide any advice or information you might need, and help put you in touch with our contacts across the community and with stakeholders such as the UKRI.


For Working Groups we will dedicate an annual budget for events and activities, allowing you to work directly with the Society Treasurer and Vice-Treasurer without having to apply for funding each time. This will make it easier for the group to plan and run activities without having to wait for the trustees to approve each application. 

For Special Interest Groups we do not currently offer the same level of independence of funding, and therefore ask that you continue to submit an application through the funding and initiatives policy form. However, since we have already agreed to support your SIG we will endeavour to speed your application through the voting process as much as we can.

Terms of Reference

To formalise how your WG or SIG will operate and use the resources offered by the Society we ask that you write a Terms of Reference document. As previously stated we will make this as easy to do as we can, by asking one of our trustees to work with you in writing this document, and by providing you with template documents that can quickly be personalised. 

The Terms of Reference document should follow the Charity Governance Code section 4.5.3 (

4.5.3 – The board makes sure that its committees have suitable terms of reference and membership and that:

  1. The terms of reference are reviewed regularly
  2. The committee membership is refreshed regularly and does not rely too much on particular people
  3. Committee members recognise that the board has ultimate responsibility.

The template for Working Groups is available here and the template for a SIG is available here. Each document should include information on how the group will organise it’s activities and committee, as well as how it will abide by the Society’s constitution and meet the Charity Commission’s requirement that there be a public benefit. For working groups we also ask that you provide information on how you will meet the Society’s financial and reporting requirements, and whether you will provide any discount for fee’d events to Society members. These questions and sections are all included in the provided templates.


We hope this information provides you with all the details you need to establish a WG or SIG, and that you choose to work with the Society for the benefit of all our members and the RSE community. Should you have any questions or concerns please get in touch by emailing the trustees ([email protected]). To start creating a WG or SIG please email the trustees with your proposal or suggestion and we will get back to you as soon as possible.