SECTION ONE: MEMBERSHIP
1.1 Membership Criteria
Membership on the District of Parry Sound “Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee” (DPSDVCC) is open to any agency or organization that works in some capacity with, or on behalf of, survivors/victims of partner abuse and sexual violence or their family members, and/or perpetrators of partner abuse and sexual violence.
All agencies and organizations belonging to the DPSDVCC will be commonly referred to as “member agencies”.
Each member agency has one (1) vote in any formal decision-making procedures. “Section Three” of this document includes additional information about such procedures.
1.2 Representation on the DPSDVCC
Each member agency is required to name one (1) designated representative who will be responsible for exercising her/his agency’s decision-making and voting privileges in accordance with the procedures outlined in these “Terms of Reference”. Accordingly, the designated representative should have an appropriate level of decision-making authority within her/his organization, or should have timely access to the person/persons in the organization with such authority, in order to facilitate effective and efficient decision-making at DPSDVCC meetings.
Every member agency is encouraged to identify an alternate representative to speak for the organization when the designated representative must miss one or more regularly-scheduled committee or sub-committee meetings during the year. Selecting an alternate representative is offered as an option and should not be considered a requirement for member agencies. Each member agency has the right and responsibility to determine whether or not an alternate representative is required.
In those instances when the alternate representative attends a committee or sub-committee meeting in lieu of the designated representative, s/he will be responsible for exercising her/his agency’s decision-making and voting privileges in accordance with the procedures outlined in these “Terms of Reference”.
Each designated representative is asked to confirm the name, job title, and contact information for the alternate at the beginning of her/his term-of-office, or on an annual basis when s/he chooses to serve multiple terms.
Additional Agency Representation:
Member agencies are welcome to send additional personnel to committee or sub-committee meetings on a regular or occasional basis in accordance with their interests and resources. Additional agency personnel are welcome to observe, share information, and/or contribute to discussions; however, they shall not have any decision-making or voting authority on behalf of their respective organizations.
The Chairs/Co-Chairs of the DPSDVCC and its sub-committees may limit agency representation and participation, aside from the designated representative and alternate, when necessary.
Other committees, councils, and associations which address issues closely related to the mandate of the DPSDVCC and/or which work with people vulnerable to and impacted by partner abuse and sexual violence are each invited to select a representative to serve as a designated liaison between the committee and their respective group. Whenever possible, it is suggested that liaisons have an interest in and/or experience with issues relating to violence and abuse.
Any of the aforementioned groups may approach the DPSDVCC to request such an association; alternately, the DPSDVCC may reach out to such groups to explore representation options. The DPSDVCC is particularly interested in liaising with committees, councils, and associations involved with older persons, children, persons with disabilities, and Aboriginal persons.
Designated liaisons may identify an alternate liaison to further facilitate involvement with, and contributions to, the DPSDVCC. When it is not possible to maintain designated or alternate liaison positions with a particular group, the DPSDVCC will make every effort to establish and maintain communication with the group (e.g., sharing meeting minutes and other information; exchanging reports, newsletters, and/or updates; contributing to and/or supporting projects).
1.3 Term of Office
Designated Representatives and Designated Liaisons:
A minimum one-year (1-year) term-of-office is preferred for designated (and alternative) representatives and designated liaisons. It is also suggested that designated representatives and liaisons serve multiple terms-of-office whenever possible, as it takes some time to develop a familiarity with the DPSDVCC’s operations and activities. A minimum term-of-office, with the option of multiple terms, also promotes consistent agency representation and internal stability within the committee.
It is understood that limited resources, workload issues, and staffing may impact the ability of member agencies to make commitments for specific terms-of-office for their designated representatives and/or liaisons. In addition, while there is no maximum number of terms-of-office for designated representatives and/or liaisons, the DPSDVCC does encourage turn-over, when possible, to prevent stagnation within the committee, and to promote interest and awareness of the DPSDVCC and its activities throughout member agencies and other district organizations.
Chair/Co-chairs: (beginning on January 1, 2011)
A minimum two-year (2-year) term-of-office is preferred for the Chair/Co-Chairs of the DPSDVCC. Multiple terms are encouraged to promote internal stability and ensure that the Chair(s) have sufficient time to acclimatize to their responsibilities.
When the DPSDVCC elects Co-Chairs, their terms-of-office will be staggered in order to protect the internal stability of the committee and promote effective succession planning.
The Chair/Co-Chair may serve a maximum of two (2) consecutive terms or four (4) consecutive years. Individuals interested in continuing to serve as a Chair/Co-Chair after the aforementioned time period may return to the position after a two-year (2-year) absence.
SECTION TWO: COMMITTEE STRUCTURE
2.1 Committee Composition
The DPSDVCC is comprised of member agencies and organizations that work in some capacity with, or on behalf of, survivors/victims of partner abuse and sexual violence or their family members, and/or perpetrators of partner abuse and sexual violence.
Representation from agencies and organizations that work with, or on behalf of, older persons, children, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal persons, and other marginalized populations who are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse, is welcomed and encouraged.
2.2 Committee Coordinator
As funding permits, the DPSDVCC will hire a “Committee Coordinator” who will provide administrative and project support to the committee in accordance with her/his job description.
2.3 Steering Committee
The “Steering Committee” is responsible for co-ordinating and overseeing the activities and work completed by the DPSDVCC. It is comprised of the Chair of the DPSDVCC plus two (2) additional representatives from different member agencies. Alternately, it can also be comprised of two (2) Co-Chairs plus one (1) additional representative from a different member agency.
The Chair/Co-Chairs is elected by majority vote of the designated representatives for a two-year (2-year) term-of-office. Additional “Steering Committee” members are recruited on a volunteer basis. While not required, it is also suggested that “Steering Committee” member(s) consider assuming the position of Chair/Co-Chair in the future.
The “Steering Committee” functions to:
- provide leadership, direction, support, and assistance to the DPSDVCC, in keeping with its mandate
- provide financial oversight and ensure transparency in all financial matters pertaining to the activities and projects of the DPSDVCC
- liaise with funding bodies on behalf of the DPSDVCC, in cooperation with the committee’s lead agency/agencies
- provide direction and support to the Committee Coordinator and any other personnel contracted to provide services directly to, or on behalf of, the DPSDVCC, in cooperation with the committee’s lead agency/agencies (N.B., It is understood that the lead agency/agencies has the right and responsibility to fulfill all necessary human-resource management activities in relation to any project staff hired by the agency/agencies on behalf of, or in consultation with, the DPSDVCC.)
- promote the fair distribution of tasks among representatives
In addition, the “Steering Committee” and Committee Coordinator will develop and distribute a report or newsletter summarizing the activities planned, in progress, and completed by the DPSDVCC, on an annual or semi-annual basis. These reports will be distributed to all member agencies and interested parties (e.g., funding bodies; municipal, provincial, and federal contacts) via e-mail.
“Sub-committees” will be established when necessary for the efficient and effective completion of committee activities and projects, and will function on either a permanent or ad hoc basis. Permanent sub-committees will function according to these “Terms of Reference”, and ad hoc sub-committees will complete tasks assigned by the “Steering Committee” or the DPSDVCC.
This is comprised of the Committee Coordinator plus a minimum of two (2) designated representatives from different agencies, and is responsible for:
- coordinating membership outreach and recruitment initiatives
- ensuring the completion and timely processing of “Application for Membership” forms
- distributing the “Statement of Commitment” to designated and alternate representatives
- confirming the names and contact information for designated and alternate representatives
- preparing, updating, and distributing a DPSDVCC membership list (including the names of member agencies, and contact information for designated and alternate representatives) on at least an annual basis
- preparing and distributing orientation packages to new DPSDVCC members, as necessary
- monitoring agency attendance and participation in accordance with the DPSDVCC “Terms of Reference” and “Statement of Commitment”, or as directed by the “Steering Committee”
SECTION THREE: DECISION-MAKING PROCEDURES
Quorum for any given meeting of the DPSDVCC is considered to be member agencies present – assuming that at least four (4) different member agencies are represented at the table.
Quorum is required for all decisions requiring formal confirmation of consensus or vote as noted in the minutes (e.g., approval of minutes, projects, and activities; budgetary decisions).
3.2 Decision-Making Practices
Adequate and appropriate information-sharing and discussion will precede any formal decision-making process, as determined by the Chair/Co-Chairs in consultation with the committee at large. Whenever possible, designated representatives will be notified in advance of critical decisions which are pending or planned (e.g., approval of projects, budgetary decisions).
Ideally, decisions shall be made by consensus at all committee and sub-committee meetings.
A formal voting procedure will be used in the event that consensus cannot be achieved and/or time limitations restrict or interfere with effective consensus building. As previously noted, each member agency has one (1) vote in formal decision-making processes as exercised by the respective designated representative or alternate representative (for those occasions when the designated representative is absent).
Assuming quorum has been reached, all decisions receiving majority approval by vote (i.e., the approval of 50% plus one) are considered approved.
In the event of a tie vote, the decision will be deferred to the next committee meeting.
3.3 Proxy Decision-Making
No proxy voting or decision-making is permitted. The committee may, however, use alternate processes (e.g., tele-conferencing, e-mail polls) to facilitate effective and efficient decision-making in relation to critical issues (e.g., when a budgetary decision/vote is required and the associated committee meeting has been cancelled due to inclement weather).
SECTION FOUR: RESPONSIBILITIES
4.1 Member Agencies
Member agencies are required to identify one (1) designated agency representative who is responsible for exercising her/his member agency’s decision-making and voting privileges in accordance with the procedures outlined in these “Terms of Reference”.
In addition, member agencies are asked to:
- facilitate their respective designated representative’s ability to attend committee and sub-committee meetings, and support this person’s involvement with and contributions to the DPSDVCC in accordance with their agency’s mandate and available resources
- facilitate the designated representative’s ability to contribute to discussions and make decisions relevant to the committee on behalf of her/his agency and in accordance with the agency’s mandate (i.e., either confirm the designated representative’s decision-making authority and/or facilitate timely access to persons with this authority to ensure efficient decision-making practices for the DPSDVCC)
- confirm, via the designated representative, whether or not an alternate representative will participate in committee meetings and activities on occasion
- replace their designated and alternate representatives, when necessary
4.2 Designated Representatives
In addition to attending the regularly-scheduled and special meetings of the DPSDVCC in accordance with the committee’s stated commitment to inter-agency cooperation and collaboration, each designated representative is responsible for the following during her/his term-of-office:
- serving as the liaison between her/his organization and the DPSDVCC, by promoting two-way communication and sharing information on an ongoing basis
- confirming whether or not the agency has, or will have, an alternate representative; and if so, facilitating the alternate representative’s introduction to the committee and its activities
- participating in committee discussions and contributing to committee tasks, activities, and projects in a concrete manner during the term-of-office (e.g., through information-sharing, recruitment initiatives, networking, activities designed to increase public awareness of the DPSDVCC, and educational initiatives)
- promoting the DPSDVCC and its activities within her/his own agency, through work-related networks, and with colleagues and community contacts (e.g., distributing information about upcoming events and training opportunities sponsored by the committee)
Each designated representative is also encouraged to contribute to at least one (1) specific project or activity per year within the constraints and parameters of her/his agency’s mandate and resources.
- reviewing minutes, agendas, and other materials distributed prior to committee meetings
- responding to requests for participation or feedback in accordance with identified timelines and/or in a timely manner, including calls for input via e-mail or tele-conferencing
- sending regrets when unable to attend a meeting, and confirming whether or not the alternate representative will be attending; or, forwarding comments, suggestions, and input regarding relevant agenda items to the Chair/Co-chairs or Committee Coordinator as requested, prior to any scheduled meeting
- ensuring that the alternate representative is familiar with the purpose, projects, and activities of the DPSDVCC and any relevant sub-committees, and is able to appropriately represent the agency, when necessary (e.g., by sharing agendas, minutes, and/or other materials with the alternate representative on an ongoing basis)
- identifying any real or perceived conflicts-of-interest which may impact on participation or contributions to DPSDVCC discussions and activities at the onset of the term-of-office, and, as necessary, during her/his ongoing involvement with the committee
4.3 Alternate Representatives
The alternate representative may attend any regular or special meetings of the DPSDVCC (or its sub-committees) in lieu of the designated representative, when necessary. This person will be asked to exercise appropriate decision-making authority on behalf of her/his agency in accordance with any directions or instructions received from the designated representative.
The alternate representative is also welcome to attend regular or special meetings with the designated representative, serve on a sub-committee on an ongoing basis, and/or contribute to specific projects and activities of the DPSDVCC, in accordance with her/his interests and as time and resources permit.
In keeping with these responsibilities, alternate representatives are encouraged to review agendas, minutes, and any other relevant committee materials on an ongoing basis.
The Chair/Co-Chairs will provide leadership and direction to the DPSDVCC during the two-year (2-year) term-of-office. Specifically, the Chair/Co-Chairs is responsible for the following:
- presiding over regular and special meetings of the DPSDVCC, and facilitating effective information-sharing and decision-making during these meetings
- monitoring and addressing any real or perceived conflicts-of-interest in accordance with approved procedures
- providing direction and support to the Committee Coordinator, in conjunction with the committee’s lead agency/agencies
- liaising with the Committee Coordinator to ensure that agendas are prepared and distributed prior to regular and special meetings of the DPSDVCC
- promoting and facilitating annual and long-term planning for the committee, with particular attention to overseeing the implementation of yearly and multi-year projects, in accordance with the committee’s mandate
- supporting and assisting with funding searches and the preparation of funding proposals, as directed by the committee and in cooperation with the committee’s lead agency/agencies
- liaising with funding bodies, in cooperation with the committee’s lead agency/agencies
- supporting and facilitating timely decision-making with respect to financial and budgetary matters
- hiring project staff, when appropriate, and providing project oversight and management in cooperation with the committee’s lead agency/agencies
- ensuring that project reports are completed and submitted in a timely manner and in accordance with the requirements of respective funding bodies
- promoting positive working relationships between the various committee member agencies and their representatives, and addressing and helping to resolve any conflicts or problems in a timely and respectful manner
- liaising with media representatives on behalf of the committee, unless otherwise delegated
SECTION FIVE: ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION
Designated representatives and liaisons are encouraged to attend both committee and relevant sub-committee meetings on a regular basis in order to promote the internal stability of the DPSDVCC, ensure efficient decision-making practices, and facilitate the timely completion of tasks and activities. It is, however, understood that workload constraints, resource limitations, and travel requirements may make it difficult for representatives to attend meetings on occasion.
The DPSDVCC recognizes that member agencies and their representatives may contribute to and/or participate in committee activities in many different ways – including, but not limited to, attending events, serving on sub-committees, and submitting input via e-mail.
In order to ensure that the DPSDVCC is able to fulfill its mandate in an effective manner, attendance, participation, and contributions to the committee by all member agencies will be reviewed by the “Membership Sub-Committee” on an annual basis.
When a designated representative has missed three (3) consecutive committee meetings during the year without notice or explanation, and/or has missed 80% of the committee or relevant sub-committee meetings held in any given year, and/or has failed to maintain contact with the DPSDVCC or contribute to its activities in any way for six (6) consecutive months:
- the Chair/Co-Chair will contact the designated representative to “check in” with her/him regarding her/his interest and ability to continue in the role; and,
- a letter will be sent to the executive director of the member agency (in those instances when the designated member is not the executive director) requesting clarification of the agency’s interest in maintaining its membership with DPSDVCC.
In the event that there is no response from the designated representative or member agency in question, the Chair/Co-Chairs will send a second letter to the executive director to: inform her/him that agency membership has been temporarily “put on hold”; and, invite the agency to rejoin the DPSDVCC at any time in the future should its circumstances change. All such contacts will reflect the committee’s interest in building positive, cooperative, inter-agency relationships, and to bringing the agency and its representative “back to the table” in the future.
SECTION SIX: COMMITTEE OPERATIONS AND MEETINGS
6.1 Meeting Schedule and Structure
The DPSDVCC will meet on a regular basis to address and fulfill its mandate, coordinate and oversee projects, and complete specific tasks and activities. Typically, the committee meets eight (8) times per year for approximately one and one half (1.5) hours per meeting.
Minutes from the previous meeting and the agenda for the upcoming meeting will be distributed to designated representatives in advance via e-mail. Whenever possible, urgent business items will be highlighted in the agenda to ensure that each representative has sufficient opportunity to solicit input from colleagues, confirm her/his agency’s position on such matters, and/or submit input in advance of the meeting.
As time allows, voluntary updates are encouraged at the end of each meeting when designated representatives have new information, conference updates, relevant research or resource information, and/or interesting and meaningful statistics to share with committee members.
On occasion, guests (e.g., presenters; consultants; staff from funding bodies; municipal, provincial, or federal politicians; representatives from agencies who are considering membership in the DPSDVCC) may be invited to attend committee and/or sub-committee meetings.
Other individuals (e.g., new executive directors; senior managers or alternates from member agencies who want to learn more about the DPSDVCC; students completing placements at member agencies; members of the judiciary; representatives from groups or organizations who are completing research or are involved in projects relevant to the DPSDVCC mandate) may also request permission to attend committee and/or sub-committee meetings.
6.2 Conflict of Interest
For the purpose of these “Terms of Reference”, real or perceived “conflict-of-interest” is defined as any instance or circumstance where the individual or agency in question stands to realize a concrete advantage (e.g., financial benefits) as a result of the issue being discussed and/or the decision(s) being made by the DPSDVCC. For example, when a member agency is seeking a “letter of support” from the committee for a funding proposal which will directly and exclusively benefit its organization, the designated representative of this agency is in a position of real or perceived conflict-of-interest.
It is understood that member agencies and/or their representatives may sometimes find themselves in real or perceived conflicts-of-interest during their involvement with the DPSDVCC. Accordingly, all designated and alternate representatives are responsible for identifying such conflicts-of-interest to the DPSDVCC at the onset of their respective terms, and, if necessary, during their ongoing involvement with the committee.
Any committee member may respectfully raise questions or seek additional information about a real or perceived conflict-of-interest involving another member agency or representative in the event that the designated representative in question fails to do so. Any such questions or issues should be explored in a direct and forthright manner either with the Chair/Co-Chairs or with the membership at large during the next scheduled DPSDVCC meeting.
When necessary, the “Steering Committee” has the right and responsibility to rule on any real or perceived conflict-of-interest. In those instances when the Chair/Co-Chair is involved in the aforementioned conflict-of-interest, the membership at large has the right and responsibility to rule on this matter.
In the event that a member agency, designated representative, or alternative representative is in a position of real or perceived conflict-of-interest in relation to a specific issue or business item:
- The designated and/or alternate agency representative has the option to remain in the room and at the table during any discussions pertaining to the issue. Alternately, the individual(s) may withdraw from the table or leave the room (if preferred).
- While in the room and at the table, the designated and/or alternate representative is welcome to participate and contribute to discussion of the issue as invited by the Chair/Co-Chairs.
- The designated and/or alternate representative may not, however, participate in committee decision-making procedures, including discussions to build consensus on the issue and any subsequent voting activities.
6.3 Meeting Decorum
In keeping with the DPSDVCC’s approved “Vision Statement”, “Statement of Purpose”, “Statement of Values and Beliefs”, and “Principles of Action”, all designated and alternate representatives are asked to demonstrate a commitment to mutual respect and effective collaboration when involved with, or working on behalf of, the committee.
In particular, member agencies and their respective representatives are most likely to benefit from their involvement with the DPSDVCC when they work together to identify and address the challenges facing the community and the people they serve in a pro-active, solution-focused, and cooperative manner.
Approved: April 20, 2011