1st Steering Committee Meeting

Read this material beforehand, but complete it as soon as possible after the meeting

This meeting should tackle key issues, such as:

  • Appoint a temporary chairperson who will make sure that everybody gets to be heard and nobody will dominate the proceedings
  • Discuss the objectives of your community project within the group.
  • Come to general consensus of aims.
  • Write these aims down and sign them to signify that the group accepts them.

An example of this is the charter process of the SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Community Program (SEC), which you can find HERE.

The example of the Energy Co-operative on the Aran Islands (Comharchuman Fuinnimh Oiléain Árainn) are a good example of a set of aims for a community energy organisation.

Key questions to be answered are:

  • Is the community group a non-profit?
  • Does the community group intend to have member-shareholders?
  • Is it focussed solely on renewable energy generation?
  • Will it engage in energy conservation projects?
  • Will the group work on wider sustainability initiatives (smart travel, recycling, waste reduction…)?
  • In which geographical area will the group operate?
  • Will the group be open to everyone within that area?
  • Are there any land-owning restrictions to participation?
  • Will the organisation member shareholding?
  • Will election of board members be based on one-person-one-vote or by size of shareholding?

Some decisions can only provisionally made but the geography, the focus, and the degree of openness are key and should be made at the initial meeting. Bear in mind that trusted community organisations are open to all, have a clear focus and a defined geography.

The meeting should identify two people who will put in the time to examine the two appropriate structures of Community Organisation: Company Limited by Guarantee, and Co-operative. There is a good resource for community groups to help decide on appropriate corporate structures – HERE

This is a guide from The Wheel for proper governance of community organisations – HERE

The meeting should also recruit members to bring its membership up to a minimum of seven adults. These will have to commit to participating at meetings once a month. 

Similarly, identify someone to prepare for a stakeholder map at the next meeting. This is a process whereby the committee members find out who else they know who has relevant skills, has a policy or decision-making role in the area, or is connected with other community groups: there is a useful stakeholder mapping tool – HERE