The Ealing Advice Forum will endeavour to be the point of contact for information, consultation and communication on all advice and information issues that are relevant and important to the advice and information providers in the borough. It will strive at all times to place the interests and views of its members and their client groups high on the agenda in the borough and, where relevant, at a regional and national level. This will include maintaining some communication with the work of the London Borough of Ealing and raising issues of concern to members/officers of the Council.
The work of the forum may include the development of partnerships for the purpose of service delivery and/or for bids for funding or commissions.
Terms of Reference
1 .The forum shall meet at least once every two months.
2. The forum membership shall be open to all advice providers in the borough. The forum may invite other relevant participants to its meetings as and when appropriate.
Membership shall also be open to providers not based in LB Ealing but who provide advice to significant numbers of residents from Ealing.
Agencies must complete a membership application form (see Appendix 1) and agree to abide by the Terms of Reference. New applications for membership will be presented to the Forum for agreement
3. The forum shall elect a chair and/or vice chair whose remit will be agreed by the forum. The forum will also agree the term that a chair/vice chair will serve. The Forum shall elect a Steering Group of five members (including the Chair of the Forum) who shall serve the same term of office as the Chair.
4. Meetings may include a presentation or training session on subject areas agreed by the forum.
5. The forum may establish individual working groups at various times, these groups will draw up their own terms of reference around their working remit. Communication between the working group and the wider forum will be maintained and the working group remains a full part of the wider forum.
6. The forum shall appoint a lead agency that will apply for funding to administer the forum. The lead agency shall:
- set up and maintain a database of members
- facilitate and arrange venues for meetings
- prepare and circulate agendas and minutes to forum members and other relevant parties as agreed by the forum.
- co-ordinate, review and keep the Ealing Advice Directory up to date
7. The Forum will review its role and its membership annually and will agree priorities and a work programme for the next year.
8. The Forum will proactively seek to ensure diversity within its membership and to ensure its make up is reflective of all communities providing advice within the borough of Ealing.
9. The forum may undertake other tasks that are consistent with the aims of the forum, which may include:
- capacity building
- awareness raising events
- workshops, seminars or conferences
- training sessions
- focus groups
The forum shall have the power to seek funding, engage external agencies, where appropriate, usually through the lead agency, to deliver or facilitate any or all of the above activities
10. The forum shall in all of its activities, aim to keep the views of services users/clients paramount, consistent with its mission statement
11. Members of the Forum shall work in a strategic, dynamic and co-operative manner, based on mutual respect, equality, honesty and openness, for the benefit of the Forum rather than just representing or promoting the views or interests of their own organisation.
12. The Forum shall have the power to develop partnerships for the purpose of service delivery or for bids for funding or commissions. Where the Forum agrees the establishment of such partnerships it may require potential partners to undergo a process of ‘due diligence’ to ensure the quality of service, financial stability, sustainability and suitability of the member.
- All bids, partnerships and consortia and membership thereof shall be approved by the Forum. Any Forum member who is involved in a rival bid must declare the conflict of interest and leave the meeting whilst and discussion on the bid takes place
- The Forum/partners shall agree who shall be the lead partner
- All partners will be expected to sign up to and agree to adhere to the EAF partnership agreement (see Appendix 2 for draft template) which sets out the terms of the partnership, the duties of the lead partner, the partner agency(ies) and sanctions should the terms of the agreement be not met or breached
13. Where a member is in breach of the Terms of Reference or carries out significant other action that is to the detriment of the Forum, the Forum shall have the power to suspend the agency from membership for up to two meetings or in very serious cases remove that agency from membership.
Where such an allegation arises the Forum shall appoint a panel of three members to investigate and hear both sides of the case. The panel shall report its decision to the next meeting of the Forum.