Effective governance has long been recognized as a key success factor in planning and implementing information sharing and technology projects and initiatives. Additionally, governance structures allow for proper strategic planning, coordination and decisionmaking around key public safety areas, such as interoperability, emergency planning, and homeland security. In SEARCH’s work with justice and public safety agencies undertaking these efforts, SEARCH advocates and provides support, guidance, and resources for developing governance structures.
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Generally, “governance” refers to the creation of a formally organized structure that ensures principal participants, stakeholders, and users are appropriately involved in a project or are focused on a particular public safety area or process improvement.
Defining this governing body or structure, whether by executive order, statute, informal organization or by a memorandum of understanding, ensures a place at the table for all relevant agencies and users and formalizes and ensures equality in decision-making.
- How does the term “governance” apply to information sharing projects?
- How does the term “governance” apply to interoperability efforts?
Need advice on governance for your agency’s or jurisdiction’s effort? Want resource materials? SEARCH is here to help through a variety of tools, resources and publications:
- Download our publication, Governance Structures, Roles and Responsibilities
- Download this SEARCH Justice IT Brief, Measuring Progress: A Summary of Key Milestones In Support of Justice Integration (Milestone #1 is Institutionalize a Governance Structure)
- Six Steps to Creating a Project Decisionmaking Structure , an excerpt from the Law Enforcement Tech Guide
- Download and use this Justice Information Sharing Federation Participation Agreement template. With this modifiable Word document, jurisdictions can prepare a memorandum of understanding for participants in a justice information sharing federation. The agreement formally establishes the governance, responsibilities, and obligations of federation participants.
- Listen to this SEARCH podcast, in which a captain with the Fargo (North Dakota) Police Department discusses long-term governance of regional CAD/RMS projects
- Download sample project decisionmaking structures
(Note: The following sample decisionmaking structures have either a law enforcement or public safety focus, but can be applied to other types of agencies, such as justice or prosecution. Coming soon will be more broad-based governance structure examples.)
– Use Structure 1 if your agency is large (100+ sworn officers), your project is large (involving multiple technologies or a technology that affects multiple units or the entire department), or if your project is a regional effort (involving multiple agencies and/or jurisdictions)
– Use Structure 2 if your agency is small- to medium-sized (fewer than 100 sworn officers), your project is narrowly focused (for a large agency, perhaps it is a project within a specific unit), or financial limitations restrict the amount of human resources that can be allocated to project planning
– Use Structure 3 if your agency or region is considering establishing a decision-making structure to address a larger public safety process area like interoperable communications, regional emergency planning, or regional homeland security
- Download these governance resources from SAFECOM for public safety communications: