As a major initiative we need to ensure a coherent arrangement for overseeing this project.
In terms of governance, we will have:
- A project board to oversee the overall project development and management
- A virtual reference group to advise and ensure the project is grounded
- A delivery group involving key people coordinating the main activities for the project
Ultimately, and once there is a large enough Open government civil society movement in place across the nations we need to ensure that the governance is opened up to greater citizen oversight, nominations and elections. Initially however, the governance arrangements have been designed to satisfy funder requirements for oversight of project finances, staffing and programme development.
- Made up of one representative from each core funded partner organisation (SCVO, Involve, WCVA, NIEL), two representatives from the UK open government network steering group, and a representative from Big Lottery Fund UK.
- The Board will be chaired by SCVO's Deputy Chief Executive, and it will meet once a quarter via videoconference and twice per year physically.
- Secretariat functions, hosting Board meetings, will all be covered by SCVO's overall programme management.
- The Board will be asked to consider and approve governing precepts, such as dispute resolution, and regularly review the development and issues arising from the risk register.
- Open Government Pioneers is not an organisation per se and so will not have a constitution as such, but will establish agreed principles for conduct and public, and internal, behaviours and so on.
- The Board Meetings would will involve cross partner representation (this is for each partner to decide whether their Project Manager also sits on the Board or another person from their organisation. Individual governance may require that these people are different).
- The Board will also have some Significant Others (one of whom will be Big Lottery Fund) – we will decide together who these are in the Set Up phase. The Significant Others will be involved consistently on the Board for the duration of the project, not in an ad hoc way. We want them to know the programme, for them to be thoughtful about it, for them to feel they have a vested interest in its evolution and success.
What has the Project Board been discussing recently? Agendas and minutes.
Virtual reference group
- This Group will be made up of people who are involved or represented in the programme as supporters
- We would like to have national government partners represented through this group.
- The project board will make decisions about who else to invite on the group be during the Set Up phase.
- This Group may also include evaluation experts, people with technical and digital skills and interest, as well as people who work on the ground within project partner organisations.
- The function of the Reference Group will be to inform and critique programme focus and progress; help solve issue arising; have creative input into the programme so it really is developed with the people who are on the ground delivering it and those who stand to benefit from it.
- The Reference Group will also meet once a quarter, generally on the same day as the Board.
- SCVO with partner input will manage recruitment to the Group, agenda, the hosting of meetings and secretariat functions arising.
- The Programme Management function of Open Government Pioneers sits in between the quarterly Board and Reference Group on the one hand, and the day to day, month on month overseeing of delivery on the other. It will link all aspects of the overall programme together.
- The Delivery Group (DG) will be led by an overall Project Director, hosted by SCVO, who will report directly to the Chair of the Project Board. The DG is made up of all the partner Project Managers, and SCVO's Project Director will lead on ‘chairing’ that Group, but, we might also rotate the Chair too by agreement. Programme Management Meetings will be scheduled twice monthly, and will take place digitally (Skype) and in person.
- The Chair of the Project Board, will then be briefed on the outcome of these meetings by the Project Director. A scheme of delegation will be agreed with the Board, to guide where the Chair can resolve issues and opportunities brought by the Delivery Group or where it is necessary to escalate it to a decision by the full board. Actions can be taken accordingly in a timely fashion.