Terms of reference

Revised February 2013

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Introduction

Whittlesea Community Futures (WCF) Partnership is a group of organizations with shared commitment and goals working together, with the community, to improve opportunities for the people of Whittlesea.

Background to the WCF Partnership

The City of Whittlesea is the second largest growing municipality in Victoria. The estimated population for 2013 is 176,593 and is projected to grow to over 249,800 over the next ten years1. The City of Whittlesea is the third most multicultural municipality in Victoria with one third of its population being born overseas and 43% speaking a language other than English2. The general population remains younger than the Melbourne average and has a higher proportion of households with children, making 56% of the total population2. At the same time, there is also a significant growth observed in the ageing population as well which clearly demonstrates the need for service delivery in both ends of the spectrum.

The rapid transformation of Whittlesea in to a growth corridor of metropolitan significance has stretched its services and infrastructure to its limits. The gap between demand and supply of human service delivery and infrastructure needs has widened ever since. A more consorted effort and a partnership approach are needed from Federal, State and Local Government as well as from range of Community Service organisations to cater to the ever growing demand.

The imperative to increase investment in human services in the City of Whittlesea was identified in the 'Strategic Plan for Human Service Delivery, 2003' report. A wide range of agencies contributed to the report which found a severe lack of human service infrastructure across a spectrum of needs in the City of Whittlesea.

In response to this growing demand, the City of Whittlesea joined together in a substantial partnership with over 40 human services agencies, community-based organisations and state government departments to deliver the Whittlesea Community Futures (WCF) Project. The vision of the WCF partnership is to create a connected inclusive community that shapes its own future. Since its inception in 2006, WCF has steadily evolved in to a strong partnership of multidisciplinary agencies and earned a good reputation as a cross sectoral and united planning and advocacy body of the Whittlesea Community.

Vision Statement

A connected and inclusive community that shapes its own future.

This is to be achieved through developing innovative service models, joint planning and pursuing resources for services and facilities that provide improved support for the City of Whittlesea community.

Strategic Objectives of the WCF Partnership

All member agencies are committed, in principle, to work collaboratively within the limits of their own policies and practices, for the best outcome of the City of Whittlesea community.

The strategic objectives are:

  • To provide leadership and guidance to the members of WCF and to the wider sectors in City of Whittlesea on human services related issues.
  • To be a platform for advocacy, collaborative planning, service system development and collective action.
  • To promote strategic alliances and prevent duplication.
  • To develop a 'Human Services Strategy' for the City of Whittlesea and take collective responsibility in delivering the strategy.
  • To collate and channel knowledge and information that will influence policy development and advocacy for systemic improvements.
  • To advocate for resources, both financial and non-financial, to strengthen the service delivery of the sector in City of Whittlesea and leveraging the use of resources through collaborative approaches.

Membership

  • Membership of the full partnership of WCF is open to all human service organizations, and State & Federal Government Departments, providing services to City of Whittlesea community who have signed the Partnership Commitment.
  • Members who have signed the Partnership Commitment will nominate a representative from their agency to participate in the decision making of WCF.
  • The Partnership Commitment will be renewed every three years.
  • Organizations that have not signed the Partnership Commitment are warmly encouraged to participate in WCF activities, receive correspondence and attend WCF meetings.

Governance

The WCF Full Partnership

  • Is chaired by the 'Director of Community Services' of the City of Whittlesea or by a nominated member by the Chair.
  • Is the driving force of the partnership and provides strategic guidance for the clusters.
  • Decision making at meetings will be facilitated by the Chair and be by consensus. Where there is no consensus reached, a voting on the issue will be called and the decision will be made by simple majority. Agencies who have signed the Whittlesea Community Futures commitment will be eligible to vote.
  • To facilitate simple decisions of the Partnership in-between meetings a list of one representative from each member agency (as per the nominee listed on the Partnership Commitment) will be maintained. Correspondence with the representatives will be by via email, with the decision made by a simple majority of the representatives, facilitated by the Chair.
  • For more complex/controversial matters either the issue will be deferred to the next meeting, or if required an extraordinary meeting will be called.

WCF Clusters

  • Four 'clusters' for the following priorities are operating under the umbrella of WCF Partnership; Family & Children, Youth, Positive Ageing, and CALD Communities.
  • The clusters are led by the 'cluster leaders', who, in the absence of the cluster's own governance arrangements, are selected by the Partnership from member agencies.
  • Clusters are working groups under the strategic guidance of the WCF Full Partnership.
  • Clusters may consist of WCF member and WCF non-member agencies working together with shared commitments and goals on a priority.

The Status of Clusters and Relationship to the WCF Full Partnership

  • Each cluster is part of the Whittlesea Community Futures Full Partnership, works in conjunction with it, and derives strength from the wider partnership.
  • The cluster lead and on his/her absence a delegate and/or WCFs project officer will update the WCFs full partnership on the views and developments of the cluster.
  • The WCFs full partnership will provide its inputs to the cluster for its consideration.
  • The cluster has a collaborative relationship with the full partnership and aligns itself with the strategic directions and values of the full WCF partnership.
  • The cluster provides leadership and guidance on its priority issue to the WCF full partnership.
  • The cluster lead and on his/her absence a delegate and/or the WCF project officer will share and inform the discussions of the full WCFs partnership to the cluster.
  • Clusters may make recommendations to and/or request action of the full Partnership within their updates at meetings. The partnership will provide a response to the cluster via the cluster lead/delegate.

Strategic Plan

  • Is a living document.
  • Project Officer in conjunction with each cluster will capture new and emerging issues and set priorities for the cluster annually.
  • Project Officer in conjunction with each cluster will maintain an ongoing audit of the Strategic Plan.
  • Each cluster will submit annual cluster action plan audit and reviewed priorities to full Partnership for endorsement at a time that suitable for the clusters.

Correspondence on behalf of Partnership

All correspondence on behalf of the Partnership will be managed by the Project Officer in conjunction with the Chair.

Request for letters of support

Agencies may request a letter from the Partnership to support advocacy efforts and funding submissions being lodged. Any request for such a letter of support will be directed to the Project Officer. Any letters issued on behalf of the partnership will be tabled at the next full partnership meeting.

Meeting time & venue

The WCF Full Partnership will meet on a quarterly basis. The dates of the meeting will be announced well in advance. Reminders will be sent before every meeting. The meetings are usually on a Monday from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. City of Whittlesea is responsible for convening the WCF full partnership meetings.

The meetings will be held at a Council venue and members will be informed well in advance.

Any changes will be notified to the members early.

Agendas

  • Each meeting will include the following standing agenda items
    • Updates from each cluster
    • Emerging issues
    • Advocacy update (from other partners and Council's Executive Manager, Advocacy)
    • Future agenda items/focus for upcoming meetings
  • The Project Officer will call for agenda items from members prior to each meeting.

Additional special focused meetings may be call by the Project Officer as appropriate.

Meeting times of the WCF Clusters are decided by the clusters themselves.

Method of Communication

All members in the membership list, together with other agencies requesting to receive correspondence, will receive all WCF partnership communications via email and any other information passed on by the members of the WCF Partnership.

Review of Terms of Reference

Terms of reference will be reviewed every three years by the full partnership.

Next due to be reviewed: May 2016.

Further information & details

Please contact Thiyagerajah Abarajitha (Abi), Whittlesea Community Futures Project Officer of City of Whittlesea for further information on Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership.

  • Thiyagerajah Abarajitha (Abi)
    Whittlesea Community Futures Project Officer
    City of Whittlesea

    Phone: (03) 9217 2524
    Mobile: 0457 877 726
    Fax: (03) 9409 9869
    TTY: (03) 9217 2420
    Email: thiyagerajah.abarajitha@whittlesea.vic.gov.au
    Web Address: www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au
    Street Address: Civic Centre, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang 3752 (Melway 183 A10)
    Postal Address: Locked Bag 1, Bundoora MDC 3083

References

1 City of Whittlesea Population Forecast
2 City of Whittlesea Community Profile

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