Winners and finalists of the 2022 Indigenous Governance Awards talk about the importance of developing the next generation of leaders and how succession planning takes place in their organisation...
- 01 Understanding governance
- 02 Culture and governance
- 03 Getting Started
- 04 Leadership
05 Governing the organisation
- 5.0 Governing the organisation
- 5.1 Roles, responsibilities and rights of a governing body
- 5.2 Accountability: what is it, to whom and how?
- 5.3 Decision making by the governing body
- 5.4 Governing finances and resources
- 5.5 Communicating
- 5.6 Future planning
- 5.7 Building capacity and confidence for governing bodies
- 5.8 Case Studies
- 06 Rules and policies
- 07 Management and staff
08 Disputes and complaints
- 8.0 Disputes and complaints
- 8.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous approaches
- 8.2 Core principles and skills for dispute and complaint resolution
- 8.3 Disputes and complaints about governance
- 8.4 Your members: Dealing with disputes and complaints
- 8.5 Organisations: dealing with internal disputes and complaints
- 8.6 Practical guidelines and approaches
- 8.7 Case Studies
- 09 Governance for nation rebuilding
- Governance Stories
- Useful links
- Preview new Toolkit
Managing and maintaining relationships with professionals
These are some general guidelines that your organisation, community or group can use when engaging external professional expertise.
- Identify good experts. Check the professional websites of the people you want to engage so you can read and evaluate their code of conduct and ethics guidelines.
- Use your existing networks and ask other communities to find out about people’s previous experience with the same professionals.
- Above all, check references of the professionals you want to engage. Conduct a face-to-face interview where possible, and ask for samples of their previous work.
- Choose someone who’s keen. Look for individuals who show a genuine interest in your organisation and community, who are committed to spending the time that you need on your projects, and who want a long-term relationship.
- Engage people who have a proven track record in working on the issue, and in writing reports in a style that is easily accessible to your members.
- Balance cost with efficiency. Remember that university academics—whose overheads are normally covered by their institutions—usually cost much less than consultants, but a consultant may work more quickly and efficiently.
- Establish effective contracts or other forms of agreements. These may vary according to whether the work is voluntary or paid. You may have to call for competitive bids; however, you may get better value by engaging someone who costs more but has experience and expertise in dealing with a particular issue, or has worked with the community for a long time.
- If possible, start with a small contract or project as a test run, with the understanding that good work and relationships will lead to larger projects or assignments.
- Develop clear terms of reference in the contract right from the start, including specific deliverables, methodologies and timelines.
- Keep the contractor fully informed. Give the expert the protocols that will be used when consulting with members or stakeholders, and your organisation’s policies and codes of conduct.
- Get agreement on the content of reports. When a written report is required, ensure that the contract or agreement states that the expert should discuss the contents with management before writing the report.
- Ensure that the costs of the work meet industry standards. Competitive bids may help but it is also wise to check daily rates and the time estimated for each task.
- Check who is doing the work—senior or junior experts. Clarify in the contract the time allocated for the senior and junior experts. Also clarify how much they will contribute to training and mentoring people within your organisation or community.
- State a maximum cost for the work. If there are extensions or additions to the work, make sure these are confirmed in writing and that a new cost is firmly established.
- Make someone in your organisation responsible. Allocate a specific person in your organisation or group to monitor the contract or agreement.
- Conduct a face-to-face exit interview. As well as a written report, it can be helpful to have a face-to-face exit interview with key leaders, management and the expert to discuss their findings.
- Get feedback from the expert. When the work is finished, get feedback from the expert about the whole process and, if applicable, how they think it could have been improved. Also get feedback from the members of your organisation or community who were involved.
Adapted from Graham, J and Bassett, M. 2005. Building Sustainable Communities: Good Practices and Tools for Community Economic Development, Institute on Governance, Canada.