Instructions for SCs, WGs, and TFs

This page contains information and Instructions for SCs, WGs, and TFs on the:

  1. Group structure (Business operation & management, Demand for services, Guidelines & standards).
  2. Definitions.
  3. Group Life Cycle (Formation, Operation, Disestablishment).
  4. Terms of Reference.

Animal recording involves the collection of data, the storage of data and its use for a range of purposes.
The activities of ICAR Groups are directed to support the strategic directions of ICAR.
The draft mission of ICAR is to provide information and services that benefit member organisations.

The three means by which the draft strategic plan suggests ICAR will achieve this mission are:


  • BUSINESS OPERATION & MANAGEMENT – Providing information and services that help member organisations to operate and manage their businesses.
  • DEMAND FOR SERVICES – Providing information and services that promote the benefits of recording and evaluation, thereby increasing the demand for the services provided by ICAR member organisations.
  • GUIDELINES & STANDARDS – Providing and standards that facilitate the provision of services and exchange of information by member organisations.

Information and services which could assist member organisations are those which focus on:

  • Efficiency with which recording service is provided – covering aspects of costs, design of systems and trade-off’s with accuracy, benchmarks and comparisons between members.
  • Impact of new technologies on service quality, service costs and potential for introduction of new services based on their use.
  • Benefits from animal recording – covering uses for animal records (Breeding, Quality Assurance, Nutrition, Animal Health, Environmental Management, Research) ways of increasing farmer benefits from use of animal records, understanding reasons why farmers use animal records and how they benefit from animal records.
  • Mechanisms for sharing cost of keeping animal records – thus making it cheaper for the farmer to keep animal records.
    Educating policy makers on costs and benefits of uses for animal records thus minimising loss of cost sharing with State agencies
  • Quality assurance.
  • Identification systems.
  • Data models.
  • Codes for common data – Breeds, Manufacturers, Devices, Sires etc
  • Trait definitions.
  • Recording systems.
  • Genetic evaluations.
  • International genetic evaluations.
  • Equipment and devices.


ICAR under its constitution has the power to establish Sub-Committees, Working Groups and Task Forces. The distinction between these three categories of group is summarised in the following table.










Working Group



Task Force

Time period of operation Long term – permanent. Long term – until assigned task is complete. Long term – permanent orShort term – to complete specific task.
Steering Committee INTERBULL

Members May have own members Same as ICAR Same as ICAR
Financial control Manages own finances – only in case of INTERBULL Financed, where agreed, via ICAR Secretariat Financed, where agreed, via ICAR Secretariat
Services Provides to members Develops and recommends Develops and recommends

Appointed by ICAR Board Appointed by ICAR Board


Common attributes include:
Membership of Group – appointed by ICAR Board.
Terms of Reference – determined by ICAR Board after consultation with ICAR members.


Each of the Group types has the same life cycle of formation, operation and disestablishment.


New groups are formed by the ICAR Board in response to a need identified by the member organisations. The steps involved in the formation of a Group include:

  • Identification of an Issue. Member organisations in conjunction with Board members identify an issue that has not been previously addressed and cannot be adequately addressed by existing Group and is of sufficient interest to justify ICAR taking further action.
  • Appointment of Convenor. The Board typically appoints a convenor whose main tasks are to develop Terms of Reference for the Group. It is not uncommon that the convenor would later become the Chairperson for the group, although this should not be taken for granted.
  • Approval of Terms of Reference. The Executive Board approves the Terms of Reference. These are advised to member organisations.
  • Appointment of Members. The ICAR Executive Board usually in response to nominations appoints members to the Group.

Once the Group has been formed it commences operation. Operational activities include:

  • Meetings – Group members meet to develop, review and discuss progress on work plans for the achievement of their terms of reference. These meetings may be face-to-face or via electronic and other media.
    Consultation – Groups are usually required by their terms of reference to consult with different parties. This consultation can be by survey, meeting or other form of contact. The consultation process typically involves ICAR member organisations or organisations with an interest in ICAR activities.
  • Research and Investigation – Groups are often required to conduct detailed technical research and investigations. This work is usually conducted by or under the supervision of one of the members of the Group. This work may be contracted to third parties. Where the funding for this research is provided by ICAR then the contract is always between ICAR and the research organisation. Where the research is not funded by ICAR then any contracts must still first be approved by the President of ICAR.
  • Reporting – Groups are required to report as directed by their terms of reference. Minimal requirements are for reporting to the General Assembly at the biennial meetings. Reporting to member organisations is generally via the ICAR secretariat.
  • Recommendation – Groups typically are required by their terms of reference to examine issues and make recommendations to the Board of ICAR. These recommendations are to be well supported by quality research and investigation and can lead to changes in the International Agreement of recording practises.

The ICAR Board may disestablish groups on the following grounds:

  • Completed Work – the objectives contained in the terms of reference have been achieved.
  • Inactive – the Group has been inactive for an unreasonably long period of time and efforts to revive activity have been unsuccessful.
  • Issue no longer relevant – the objectives established in the terms of reference are no longer relevant.
  • Recommendation of Group – the Group have examined the issues contained in their terms of reference and recommend to the ICAR Board that further work by the Group is not likely to achieve the objectives set for the Group.


The terms of reference for a Group should address the following topics:

  • Type – whether the Group is a Sub-Committee, Working Group or Task Force.
  • Purpose – a brief statement of the purpose for which the Group has been formed. Typically this will be a one or two sentence statement of the general intent behind the formation of the Group.
  • Objectives – a statement of the specific outcomes which the Group is expected to bring about. Typically these objectives should have the attributes of measure, level and time.
  • Tasks – a list of activities which the Group is expected to undertake and complete in the process of achieving the objectives.
    Reporting – specification of the formal reporting responsibilities of the Group.
  • Membership – specification of either who the members are or the process by which members will be appointed to the Group.
  • Relationship with other Groups – specification of the relationship that exists between this and other ICAR Groups

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