Identify a shared operational vision and goals for the MTSC. This process is crucial, and sufficient time is required for it. Consultation with all of the key players involved is essential.

Investigate various collaboration models, taking into account factors such as the complexity of each model and the various legal and tax implications of each model. Flexibility is needed to consider all the options regarding the collaboration model adopted. Some of the possible co-location models to consider are listed in Box A8.

Research possible governance models for the consortium (see Box A9 below). This involves deciding on the most effective way that the MTSC will be managed by the board or executive management committee. Organisational governance relates to the vision and mission, strategic organisational activities, decision making processes, and the practices and principles under which the MTSC will operate (Earles et al., 2005)

Box A8: Some co-location models
The lead agency model: a large organisation manages the centre and holds the lease for the building in which all the agencies are co-located. It is supported by the management committees of the smaller organisations which sub-lease the building from the larger organisation. The Toowoomba MTSC pilot is an example of this model.

The cooperative model: a formal non-trading cooperative is established which is managed by a board, made up of members from each organisation. Each organisation is an incorporated association but operates collectively with the others. The Caboolture MTSC pilot is an example of this model.

The amalgamation model: a number of agencies with a common focus and philosophy merge to create a new organisation which is managed by a committee made up of one representative from the agencies involved. The Mackay MTSC pilot is an example of this type of model.

The forming a company model: a consortium is formed and a formal agreement is established about the role of each agency, the vision and mission for the MTSC and so on. A company is formed to administer the building in which the agencies are co-located. Each organisation pays rent to the company, which holds the building lease. 

Develop a business case or proposal that compares the different models and their benefits and risks. Agree on the model which will work best and best fits the spirit and intention of the consortium.

Box A9: Resources for selecing and developing your collaboration model

Several short case studies of collaborations in Queensland, including the Brisbane Homelessness Service Centre referred to above, can be found at:
http://www.communitydoor.org.au/node/134

For information on forming cooperatives and incorporated associations in Queensland see:
https://www.qld.gov.au/law/your-rights/consumer-rights-complaints-and-scams/consumer-advice-rights-and-responsibilities

Tip: It can be useful to visit already established one stop shops or shared service centres to gather first hand insights into the establishment and operation of a MTSC and the various collaboration models adopted.

Consult staff, volunteers, and others who will be affected by the new partnership arrangement. Identify the benefits of the initiative for target groups. Ideally the agencies would be closed down for one day a month during the establishment step so that they can take part in face to face planning and reporting meetings. This would provide an opportunity for staff to:

  • Express their fears and concerns.
  • Work through the issues raised.
  • Clarify what is happening with the proposed partnership.
  • Feel informed and included in the process.
  • Develop a shared understanding of the model used in the collaboration.

Reassure staff, volunteers and management committee members of the services involved about the benefits of the collaboration and how they will work with each other in the new arrangement. The benefits must be communicated clearly to everyone who is affected. The benefits must outweigh the losses involved, such as loss of autonomy and identity.

Conduct effective team building for the organisations involved, as well as ongoing relationship strengthening of the services and the committees which are establishing the MTSC. Undertaking a visioning process is effective here. Some of the issues that will need to be worked through during the establishment phase include loss of organisational autonomy,
potential power inequalities, and how the lines of communication and reporting will work in practice.

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