Terms of reference

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Background and context

The Whittlesea Early Years Partnership (WEYP) has evolved from the Best Start Partnership 2003-2006, which had its origins in the City of Whittlesea's Children's Services Network.

In 2010 WEYP broadened its scope to participate within the Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership (WCF), and is one of the key priority areas "Child and Family" cluster it incorporates the Best Start Program and is linked to the Municipal Early Years Plan (MEYP) of the City of Whittlesea.

The City of Whittlesea (CoW) auspices the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) funding on behalf of WEYP and employs (and manages) the Partnership Facilitator role.

The Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership

The Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership’s purpose is to build strong, resilient communities and to address disadvantage, through actively engaging and involving communities, and so to improve outcomes for children, families, aged and young people in the City of Whittlesea.

Purpose of the Whittlesea Early Years Partnership

The purpose of the WEYP is to:

  • Improve the health, development, learning and well-being of children in the Whittlesea municipality from pregnancy through to nine years of age.
  • Engage with and seek the participation of agencies that provide services to children in the City of Whittlesea.
  • To work with and advocate for children, families, services and the community.
  • To foster inclusive, responsive and supportive environments for children.
  • To develop a WEYP Action Plan that conforms to the Municipal Early Years Plan and the Whittlesea Community Futures Family and Children Cluster Terms of Reference & Plan.

Vision for the Whittlesea Early Years Partnership

All children in the City of Whittlesea will have optimal opportunity for language, cognitive, physical and emotional development in a community that has the capacity to be inclusive, to support all families and to help all children thrive.

Values of the Whittlesea Early Years Partnership

The Whittlesea Early Years Partnership’s values and principals are:

Values

  • Social inclusivity
  • Collaboration of services to ensure that sustainable seamless service provision is accessible to the whole community
  • Practice based evidence and flexible ways of working
  • Family strengths, family resilience, and celebrating and preserving the family

Principles

  • The WEYP accepts the UNICEF principles as a framework for action on building Child Friendly Cities.
  • That all parents want the best for their children
  • That partner agencies have individual strengths and a diversity of interests
  • The mutual development and training of members is essential
  • Learning and adapting to change is vital

Participants in the Partnership

Membership is inclusive and may be drawn from a wide range of services as noted below. Partners are expected to attend meeting, or provide apologies . It is acknowledged that membership involves a commitment of time and resources.

Roles and responsibilities

  • City of Whittlesea
    • Fund holder
    • Employs and manages the facilitator
    • Accountable/reports to DEECD for Best Start funding
  • Facilitator
    • Connector (parents-parents, parents-services, services-services)
    • Acts on behalf of the partnership
    • Monitors Action Plan and Working Groups
    • Facilitates the partnership, call meetings
    • Leadership
    • Administrator - compiles agenda, records and distributes minutes, completes DEECD reporting
  • Chairperson
    • Elected from current WEYP membership (other than DEECD or Council) for 12 month period and voting to take place at end of calendar year
    • Chair to act as Public Representative (advocate) & as a spokesperson/signatory
    • Will chair bi monthly partnership meetings, sign off on minutes, input to agenda, monitor Action Plan
    • Will act as WCF Cluster lead (Family and Children), representing WEYP at bi monthly meetings and other appropriate forums
  • Partners
    • May be executive and/or members, each member has generic roles and self-defined roles
    • Feed back partner decisions and implications to their members
    • Can accept delegated role as Partnership representative
    • Generic roles include:
      - Action planning
      - Working Groups
      - Communication and strategy
      - Knowledge transfer
      - Community engagement activities e.g. Expo
      - Workforce strengthening/ shared education
      - Administration and support

Frequency/Location of Meetings

This will be determined within the WEYP Action Plan, but the whole Partnership will meet at least six times per year.

Meetings will be at Council, and will be chaired by a nominated agency partner.

Attendance is important, and members will endeavour to send a deputy if they cannot attend. If a representative does not attend three (3) consecutive meetings without advising the Chairperson (or WEYP Facilitator), a request for substitute agency representative will be made.

The decisions of the partnership will be reached by consensus, and will be consistent with the WEYP Action Plan. Decisions will require a quorum, which will be one third of the membership plus one and will be recorded in the WEYP meeting minutes.

Chair

The partnership chair will selected amongst the agency members and be rotated on an annual basis.

Working groups

Working groups are a recommended strategy of the WEYP, particularly to stimulate involvement of parents. Finalisation of working groups will be a component of the action planning phase and include establishment of clear terms of reference, reporting and evaluation processes. Agency Partners are required to ensure representation and participation in the working groups in an effort to progress identified priorities agreed through WEYP's Action Plan.

References

  • Municipal Early Years Plan
  • WEYP Action Plan
  • Whittlesea Community Futures Terms of Reference and Plan

Appendix - Members or potential members

  • Family Services
    • CPS
    • Anglicare
    • Kildonan
  • EPIC
  • Norparrin
  • Yarra Plenty Regional Library
  • The Smith Family
  • Centacare
  • Melbourne Citymission
  • Northern Hospital
  • Specialist Children's Services
  • State Services
    • DEECD – schools and early years services
    • DHS
    • Mental Health/CAMHS
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services
  • City of Whittlesea Services – MCH, SPPI Playgroups, Family Services
  • Try Youth
  • Housing
  • Health Services
    • Alcohol and other drugs
    • GPs
    • Plenty Valley Community Health
  • Child Care
  • Community /Parents
  • Combined Churches or Interfaith Network Group

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