On this page
This section describes the governance mechanisms which enable FVRICs to provide strategic leadership and drive system integration and development. These include:
- effective cross sector engagement and co-ordinating arrangements to ensure the required level of knowledge and influence within the local service system
- key governance mechanisms providing connections between regional and statewide work to ensure strong alignment between local work and statewide policy priorities and input by FVRICs into statewide policy discussions.
Governance arrangements to support integration across the local area (horizontal integration)
A key success factor for FVRICs is the active participation by members in planning and implementing initiatives. Governance arrangements for FVRICs need to be representative, inclusive, and actively support transparent and participatory decision-making.
Although there may be some variation across areas in the way FVRICs operate, the following guidance is provided to achieve a level of statewide consistency and effectiveness.
Each FVRIC should develop and maintain a partnership agreement documenting how the FVRIC operates at the local level. It is expected that the partnership agreement will be developed in consultation with, and approved by, FVRIC members, including the auspice agency.
The guidance provided below details the content to be included in the partnership agreement.
A common sense of purpose is a critical to the success of FVRICs. All members and stakeholders need to be clear about the purpose of the FVRIC, which needs to be clearly articulated as strategic leadership and system development. The roles and responsibilities of member agencies should be described in the partnership agreement.
Each FVRIC needs to address all five Strategic Priorities described in these guidelines, and all activities need to be clearly linked to one or more of these priorities.
FVRICs are expected to maintain a listing of current membership.
Membership of FVRICs must include cross sector representation to ensure that the strategic leadership of the FVRIC is informed and enabled by knowledge of practice and service development challenges and opportunities across all the service sectors that intersect with family violence.
Agency representatives should have sufficient seniority and capacity to represent their agency to:
- contribute knowledge and expertise about their service/service sector and practice issues
- make commitments to partnership arrangements on behalf of their agency
- advocate for and drive FVRIC agreed priorities within their organisation
- negotiate the provision of relevant organisational data in support of the FVRIC’s strategic planning process
- share information about FVRIC activities and initiatives with their agency.
The following sectors should be represented in the core membership of FVRICs:
- specialist family violence services
- perpetrator services (men’s specialist family violence services)
- child and family services
- The Orange Door1
- sexual assault services
- Multidisciplinary Centres (MDCs)
- Victoria Police
- Child Protection
- court services and community legal services
- Aboriginal community-controlled organisations
- Housing and homelessness services
- Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug (AoD) services
- community and women’s health services
- the DFFH Area (see below for further detail)
FVRICs are also expected to engage with other sectors and services including multicultural services, disability services, health services, maternal and child health services, early childhood services, education services, elder abuse services, community legal services and local government services. If these services are not included in the formal membership of the FVRIC it is important that there is engagement through other mechanisms.
- The Orange Door is a key component of the service system and it is important that there is strong engagement between the FVRIC and The Orange Door to support decision-making about local system issues. The Orange Door hub manager and service system navigator are key roles within an area, and it is anticipated that The Orange Door will be represented appropriately on the FVRIC. Where there is an executive group for the FVRIC it is appropriate for the hub manager to represent The Orange Door in this group.
The DFFH Area
A collaborative and dynamic relationship between the FVRIC and the DFFH Area supports the strategic leadership of the FVRIC.
- DFFH Area participation in the FVRIC as a core member ensures strong connection to local planning and governance processes across sectors, and that the FVRIC is kept informed about policy and program developments in the area. Where possible, the DFFH Area will facilitate access to relevant data to support the work of the FVRIC.
- Insights and intelligence on the implementation and delivery of reform related initiatives generated through the FVRIC provide an important contribution to the identification of issues and opportunities within the area. The contract management role of the DFFH Area is described in the reporting requirements section.
In addition to formal membership, the FVRIC should ensure appropriate engagement across the service system. Stakeholder mapping should be undertaken, and active linkages with other regional networks and key positions established. These include, but are not limited to:
- Child and Family Services Alliances
- Risk Assessment and Management Panels (RAMPs)
- Multidisciplinary Centres (MDCs)
- Local Area Service Networks (homelessness)
- Dhelk Dja Regional Action Group
- Specialist family violence advisors (mental health, AoD, disability and any other)
- AoD Catchment Planning Group/networks
- Local Mental Health Alliance/networks
- Primary Health Networks
- Elder Abuse services
- Prevention of Violence Against Women Partnerships
- Local government services/network
- Regional contacts in relevant government departments including Department of Justice and Community Safety, Department of Education and Training, etc.
The mechanisms for establishing and maintaining these linkages will be determined locally. Given the cross-sector membership of the FVRIC, many of these strategic linkages will be supported by FVRIC member agencies.
The FVRIC should establish structures and processes that enable all stakeholders to participate in ways which reflect their role in the service system and support their participating in the activities of the FVRIC.
Given the importance of effective collaboration, it is important that the agreed roles and processes within the FVRIC prevent any one individual or agency from exercising undue influence in decision-making.
There are significant differences across DFFH Areas in terms of the size and complexity of the service system which presents different opportunities and challenges for the governance of FVRICs. Where there are a larger number of services and regional stakeholders, the FVRIC may need to consider categories of membership and various arrangements to focus effort on the different FVRIC activities and priorities.
Arrangements that should be considered include:
- working groups established to undertake specific projects and initiatives
- establishment of cross-sector communities of practice
- networking and communications to maintain strategic linkages with relevant networks and regional governance arrangements.
- members’ meetings convened in local government areas
All FVRICs need to have efficient and transparent decision-making processes, with clarity about how decisions are made.
Given the extensive cross-sector membership requirements for FVRICs, and large number of member agencies in most FVRICs, there may need to be delegation to particular roles and members to support specific functions and decisions on behalf of the FVRIC. These decision-making processes should be set out in the partnership agreement.
It is expected that DFFH Area representative/s will participate in the FVRIC as non-voting members. This also applies to any other departmental representatives. The FVRIC should determine whether The Orange Door Manager is a voting or non-voting member.
The FVRIC determines the function and frequency of meetings with members, how meetings are conducted, including decision-making processes, quorum and voting rights. Meetings should be held at least quarterly.
Meeting processes need to support active participation and meaningful contribution by all members.
Routine communication processes need to ensure that all member agencies are kept informed of the various activities of the FVRIC and associated working groups.
An induction process should be available for new members of the FVRIC to ensure that all members have a sound understanding of the purpose and operation of the FVRIC.
Any conflicts should be resolved by the parties concerned where possible. Failing this, the chair, PSA and auspice agency representatives should work together to find an acceptable resolution. If the conflict cannot be resolved within the FVRIC, the DFFH Area should be notified.
The requirements for strategic planning are set out in the strategic planning and annual action planning section.
Refer to the reporting requirements for FVRICs section.
The strategic leadership potential of the FVRIC is directly related to the quality of engagement with member agencies and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders. As effective governance is critical to the success of FVRICs, governance development is a strategic priority.
Strategic plans and annual action plans need to include objectives and actions to ensure effective cross-sector governance arrangements are maintained to support the achievement of FVRIC objectives.
At least every two years a review of the governance arrangements and partnership agreement should be undertaken by the FVRIC, to ensure that they continue to support the effective operation of the FVRIC. This should include a review of the effectiveness of the chair. See further details in the description of the role and term of the chair in Appendix 2.
FVRICs may choose to utilise VicHealth’s partnerships analysis tool checklist to assess their success in promoting collaboration and commitment to working in partnership.
Below is a summary of the key roles and responsibilities within the FVRIC, and how they work together to ensure the FVRIC is effective and accountable. Additional detail on these key roles is provided at Appendix 2.
Active participation by the members of the FVRIC is a key success factor for FVRICs. It is expected that all member agencies and their representatives commit to working collaboratively to achieve the priorities of the FVRIC and participate in FVRIC meetings, relevant working groups and activities.
The work of the FVRIC is supported by the chair and the PSA. Working closely together these two roles are responsible for fostering a commitment to collaboration and innovation within the FVRIC and maintaining a focus on objectives as described in the Strategic Plan. The chair is elected or appointed by the FVRIC and is accountable to the FVRIC.
Principal Strategic Advisor (PSA)
The PSA is employed by the FVRIC auspice agency to lead and support the work of the FVRIC. The PSA works closely with the FVRIC chair to ensure that the FVRIC provides strategic leadership within the local service system, and functions according to the partnership agreement. By agreement with the chair and auspice agency, the PSA may represent the FVRIC in various local and statewide forums.
The auspice agency receives funding from FSV and is responsible for providing the infrastructure and administrative support to the FVRIC, including the employment of the PSA, delivery of activity reports and the acquittal of funding through its service agreement with DFFH.
The auspice agency representative must not seek to exercise undue control in the FVRIC. The auspice agency has a single vote and should not direct the PSA to act against decisions or direction endorsed by the FVRIC membership. If the auspice agency also provides the chair, a deputy chair from another agency should be appointed to work with the chair and PSA to support the operation of the FVRIC.
The auspice agency is required to ensure interim arrangements are in place that adequately support the FVRIC and associated PSA functions to continue during any PSA vacancy and leave periods.
Leadership agreement describing how the key roles work together to support the work of the FVRIC
Accountability for the performance of the FVRIC, including alignment with these guidelines and the partnership agreement rests with the administrative executive.
Given the shared leadership functions and intersecting responsibilities of the auspice agency, FVRIC chair, and PSA, it is recommended that a ‘leadership agreement’ is developed to describe how these three roles work together to support the FVRIC. This agreement should include:
- appointment processes for both the chair and the PSA
- supervision and performance management arrangements for the chair and PSA
- how each role will contribute to meeting reporting and accountability requirements for the FVRIC
- allocated responsibilities for representing the FVRIC
- conflict resolution processes.
Governance arrangements to connect with statewide policy and program development (vertical integration)
While the key focus of FVRICs is to drive system improvements at the local level, mechanisms are required to ensure that the detailed knowledge and insights emerging from this work inform statewide planning and policy development processes.
FSV carries primary responsibility for the implementation of the family violence reform agenda, and the development of the family violence response system.
Routine engagement between FVRICs and FSV supports:
- the alignment of FVRIC activities with statewide policy and reform priorities
- the sharing of knowledge and insights emerging from local implementation and system development to inform that statewide policy development and program planning undertaken by FSV.
It is important that there is a collaborative and dynamic relationship between the FVRIC and FSV. The arrangements supporting this engagement are described below, including:
- FVRICs’ obligations to provide information to FSV
- the role of the Statewide Family Violence Integration Advisory Committee (SFVIAC) in supporting routine dialogue and knowledge exchange between FVRICs and with FSV and other state level bodies.
FSV supports FVRICs to achieve their objectives by:
- maintaining regular engagement with FVRICs through the SFVIAC to ensure the ongoing information exchange including advice on policy priorities and reform initiatives driven through FSV
- facilitating FVRIC representation on appropriate statewide working groups
- where possible, facilitating access to data and information relevant to the objectives of FVRICs and the SFVIAC
- providing feedback on issues papers submitted by the SFVIAC in relation to the work of FVRICs
- facilitating connections between the SFVIAC and other government departments on matters relevant to the family violence reform agenda and FVRIC activities
- ensuring that DFFH Areas are kept informed of FSV’s priorities relevant to the work of FVRICs.
The SFVIAC is the mechanism which supports dialogue and knowledge exchange between FVRICs and with FSV and other state level bodies. The SFVIAC comprises all the PSAs, who work together to:
- ensure regular information exchange and knowledge building across FVRICs
- identify statewide issues and inform statewide policy and program development
- engage with FSV and other state government departments
- engage with relevant family violence peaks (Safe and Equal, and NTV) and other statewide sector bodies.
The SFVIAC is supported by a Secretariat of three PSAs elected by the SFVIAC. The Secretariat supports the work of the SFVIAC by co-ordinating requests from statewide bodies, collating information and co-ordinating the work of the SFVIAC.
It is recommended that the SFVIAC develop and maintain a work plan outlining key engagements and projects.
The SFVIAC is required to provide FSV with an Annual Overview of Key Achievements across FVRICs and key issues and opportunities relevant to statewide policy and planning which have been identified through the work of FVRICs. This report is to be submitted to FSV by 30 November each year.
In addition, it is important that PSAs report regularly to their FVRIC on the activities of the SFVIAC.
The system leadership role of the FVRIC requires engagement across sectors, including AoD, Mental Health, justice, housing, health, education, Victorian Police, Children Youth and Families, etc.
FVRICs may need to foster relationships with regional and area contacts in various departments and government agencies to support the local implementation of specific family violence related initiatives.
The SVFIAC may also provide advice on the design of statewide policy and program initiatives led by other departments which impact on the family violence service system and FVRICs may also support implementation of these initiatives at the local level.