What is an MOU?

A memorandum of understanding or MOU is a documented agreement that sets out how a partnership arrangement  will operate. It enables all parties to the collaborative activity see that they are agreeing to the same thing, and provides a solid reference to go back to should disagreements arise. It must be remembered that MOUs are non-legally binding documents however they provide necessary structure to the collaborative process and help ensure no unreal expectations arise.

A simple MOU may be used where there is a low level of complexity associated with the collaborative arrangement. For example: where two organisations decide to work collaboratively, adhering to an agreed set of principles, to achieve a common objective such as improved, culturally appropriate service delivery.

However complex and or long term collaborations require substantial documented corroboration to clearly outline roles and responsibilities and offset risks to partnering organisations. In these circumstances it is best to support the MOU with a briefing note that outlines the history of and reasons for the collaboration and a documented partnership agreement including a risk management plan. This is of particular importance where the services agreeing to the collaboration are not the legal entities of their organisations: for example, when local services agreed to partner but must have final sign off from their parent organisation.

Use the Potential Collaboration Check List to assess the level of risk to your organisation arising from the proposed collaboration. The more categories and potential risks that apply in your circumstances the more substantial your documentation needs to be.

Elements of an MOU

Even a simple MOU should contain several basic elements. These include:

  • The names of the collaborating partners.
  • The objective of the collaboration
  • The principles that will establish the practice framework.
  • The things that the parties have reached agreement on. This can be a few dot points in the MOU itself, or a reference to a Partnership Agreement that outlines:
    • The role of each party
    • Responsibilities of each party
    • Tasks to be undertaken by each party
    • Quality and performance monitoring or performance management
    • Agreed protocols or policies and procedures
    • Risk management
    • Rights and safeguards (such as intellectual property, confidentiality, privacy)
    • Resource use arrangements
    • Reporting and accountability
  • The duration of the MOU.
  • A dispute resolution process.
  • The role of the MOU – noting that the document is non-legally binding but provides the principles that underpin the collaboration and outlines the timeframe and the areas of commitment.
  • Signatures of Collaboration partners and signatures of witnesses.

 

The Logan Project charts the journey of the city's aspiring singers and musicians as they work together to create a new, positive narrative for their city. Logan, Queensland has had a reputation for doing it tough, with high unemployment and sensationalised reports of racial tensions between...
The Centre for Applied Disability Research and National Disability Services Qld warmly invite you to an informal breakfast to discuss the current state of disability research in Australia and ways we can work together to develop effective strategies for knowledge translation about 'what works, for...
COTA logo
COTA (Council on the Ageing) Queensland is a state-based organisation committed to advancing the rights, needs and interests of people as they age in Queensland. They work to create a more just, equitable and caring community in which older people are actively involved and have access to...
Snaicc logo
Family Matters – kids safe in culture, not in care is a national initiative working in partnership with the non-government sector (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and mainstream non-government agencies). It uses community engagement, systemic change, and communication strategies...
Indigenous business month logo
October marks the launch of the Inaugural Indigenous Business month. This is an initiative of the 2015 Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass Alumni where there are a number of events planned across the country. The aim of these events are celebrate and raise the profile of the Indigenous business...
Community
Brisbane North PHN is establishing a Clinical Council and Community Advisory Committee to engage local clinicians and the community in the planning processes of the PHN. Both of these bodies will bring together key local stakeholders to assist the PHN with strategic input, planning and...
QCOSS has just completed the first of two rounds of workshops in Mitchelton (Brisbane North), South Brisbane (Brisbane South), and Inala (Brisbane South West) engaging with service providers to establish Local Level Alliances in preparation for the roll out of Child and Family Connect funding (...
QCOSS has just completed the first of two rounds of workshops in Mitchelton (Brisbane North), South Brisbane (Brisbane South), and Inala (Brisbane South West) engaging with service providers to establish Local Level Alliances in preparation for the roll out of Child and Family Connect funding (...
Not for Profit Governance and Performance Study This study reveals that more than 30 per cent of Australia’s not for profit organisations have discussed mergers in the past year and many more organisations are exploring and engaging in cross-sector collaboration. Respondents included directors from...
The Community page on the Australian Department of Human Services website is now live. You can access it here The Community section focuses on providing the relevant information and resources for community groups, representative bodies, welfare organisations and advocacy groups who support...

Pages

Report
Author: 
Anne Curson, Queensland Council of Social Service

This month QCOSS releases the Rethinking Resources: Case Studies of Financial Resilience from Community Services report, in which community organisations from Queensland share...

Collaboration
Author: 
Jane Geltch, National Disability Services

Just like the three billy goats gruff, organisations seeking to get to greener pastures by using the bridge of collaboration also encounter a troll. Well actually they encounter three trolls: the trolls of control, competition and commitment.

This is the analogy offered by...

SVA logo
Author: 
Tiffany Tento, Queensland Council of Social Service

The latest edition of Social Ventures Australia’s (SVA’s) consulting quarterly explores not for profit partnerships and collaboration: what works and why; how to partner; and how to facilitate collaboration.

As well as the lead article, there are case studies on corporate social...

Pages

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print