How We Work: Governance

Some history of Memorandum of Understanding, Memorandum of Agreement, membership agreements, EKIOC commitments etc.

Throughout the history of Everykid there has been discussion about some sort of written understanding between the members that would:

  • prevent confusion and conflict among the collaboration’s partners
  • support accountability among partners by clearly defining roles, responsibilities, expectations and decision making process
  • ensure that the coalition survives changes in environment or key people,
  • serve as a structure around which the partnership can adapt and grow.
  • help each partner to have a clear understanding of the collaboration, their role in it, what is expected of them and what they can expect from the rest of the group
  • provide an agreed to process that allowed members to be added or removed
  • gave a basis for more formalized agreements between subsets of members that were undertaking a collaborative service (e.g.. Triple P and sharing/alignment of staff, budgets, leadership, action planning etc )

The issue has always been where an agreed to documents should fall on the spectrum that ranges from a simple statement of collaboration philosophy (a shared understanding) to a formalized contract.  This issue has been further complicated by:

  • Everykid being made up of members who act as individual citizens and -if employed by an agency -as agency representatives.
  • Everykid being organized into Tables with different levels of agency staff and volunteers -Lead Table, Work Groups, informal supporters to action, volunteers, …
  • members at Lead Table, representing agency administration, prudently hesitating to sign any document that does or could infer a commitment to sharing decision making power, financial or human resources etc over any specified time period.

Perhaps we are trying to make a one size fits all when the best solution might be to tailor these to the contribution that each table or member is committing to make.  Maybe we need:

  • an overall one for all who commit to the achievement of the 6 goes and that is similar to the 2004 doc
  • one that references the Governance document for the Lead Table
  • one for each Work Group that references the priority being acted on (Terms of Reference) and outlines member expectations and
  • for Work Groups implementing shared services, a more formalized agreement that specifies what a member is committing to program, personnel, finance and facility such as the Triple P agreement attached.

The document 2013 draft MOU is a modification of one drafted several years ago and is based on hits found by Googling “agreements between coalition members”   Some of these are massive.  It reflects what the literature suggests are key components of a base document to sustain working together.  In my view we already have much of these components in our Terms of Reference and Governance materials which could be referenced.  We also are unique in that we have a history that provides precedent that many don’t have.

Where from here is best to enhance sustainability and processes of collaboration?

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