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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

Community Groups, Managing Expectations of the Group, Sponsors and Service Providers to work as a Partnership.

Name of Leader:

Peter Metcalfe

Names of Participants:

Ross Cutler, Roy Murray-Prior, Irene Kernot, Scott Ledger, Paul O’Hare, John Miur, Mark Collins, Sally-Ann Henderson, Sam Simpson, Vanessa Hood, Nathalie, Greg Mills, Kim Jones, David Ellement and Cheryl Sisson.

Main points of discussion

  • What were some issue that arise when the expectations have not been expressed?
  • Mistrust between the group, sponsors and services providers.
  • Expectations were brought across from past experience; including the way facilitators operate with the group.
  • The focus is on getting the $s and not negotiating what the group, sponsors and service provider can achieve jointly.
  • People are selective about what they hear when it comes to others expectations.
  • Groups will speak with the sponsor once they require additional funds.
  • Group participation declines, members and providers become disinterested.
  • Expectations are discovered down the track and well beyond the group. This includes the level of reporting and accountability, admin requirements and reporting.
  • The expectations are beyond why the group was formed.

What are some the processes that can be used to align expectations?

  • Contracts or memorandums of understanding established to create clarity around the expectations of each party.
  • One contract was a tick a box approach were each party ticked off on what they would provide and what they expected inn return. Comment was that this was somewhat constraining and didn’t always cover all the expectations.
  • Ensuring a common language is developed amongst all partners to ensure they are talking about the same thing.
  • Having a discussion about the expectations once the goal or purpose of the group had been established.
  • The expectations need to be in a written form to enable them to be reviewed over time.
  • Review the expectations and ground truth these against the groups goals.
  • The group, service providers and sponsors all have different expectations these need to be listed and then negotiated amongst these groups.

The group service provider and sponsors need to start with the end in mind.

The expectations of the group, service provider and sponsors are the basis from which the performance of the group is measured. It was suggested by a self confessed pragmatist that the funders or sponsors expectation must be met first. “Satisfy the person who pays first”.

What skills do grower groups; service providers and sponsors need to ensure that the expectations are explicit?

  • New skills and processes are required to draw out the expectations and negotiate these between the partners.
  • The review of expectations needs to take place at least each year, some times more frequently particularly with large projects and complex projects.
  • If expectations are reviewed over a very short time frame there is a risk that the project is fluid and can be change at will.

Key learnings

  • The establishment of partnerships and collaboration is not allocated sufficient resources to ensure the expectations are managed and negotiated through time to meet the needs of the players involved.
  • There are skills that need to be developed in this area to ensure a true partnership can be formed.
  • The concepts of partnerships are expensive, but when resourced appropriately can deliver significant benefits to all players involved.
  • The promotion of the extensive development of partnerships between groups, sponsors and service providers needs to consider the level of resources required to achieve this if its to be implemented widely.

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