Governance Structuew

Governance Structuew

Establishing an effective governance structure is another key process in an information management plan. This is especially critical if multiple stakeholders with competing information needs are involved. A governance structure clearly lays out the level of authority and processes and procedures whereby strategic and key operational decisions are made. Proper governance of information management outlines the relationship among the multiple stakeholders, the decision-making process and how issues are resolved. It ensures that ongoing implementation continues to support the strategy agreed upon by the stakeholders.


Public agencies encounter frequent changes in administration that affect policy, processes and priorities. Governance structures can help manage change so that changes in your management of information are based on evaluation of the overall impact relative to the organization’s mission and vision rather than on the current direction of political winds.


Information Management Advisory Committee

Within individual agencies, information management staff should be at the table with program and policy staff to understand agency needs and be a part of the discussion to improve service delivery through the use of technology. One process that helps information management staff maintain close and positive relationships with public child welfare staff is through the development and maintenance of an information management advisory committee that includes child welfare staff. Whenever changes to the technological or information management structures are considered, the impact is most felt by the child welfare staff. These staff members are responsible for supplying data to the system and are an important group of stakeholders who need information to help them improve their practice.

  • The information management advisory committee should consist of program and policy staff from all areas of the agency, IT representatives and representation from the highest levels in leadership, all of whom has a highly developed information management sensibility.
  • The committee could also include representatives from local jurisdictions, private providers or other stakeholders involved in any of the agency’s information management processes.
  • The advisory committee will create clear communication messages to all staff about the purpose and benefits of any system project to demonstrate the project’s value, build momentum, generate enthusiasm and facilitate a bi-directional flow of information exchange and feedback.
  • The members of the advisory committee will provide guidance on the structure of the information management system and help create buy-in from local staff as to the importance of complete and accurate data entry into the IT system.

Level of Authority

There is a strong need to develop multi-sector opportunities for data sharing to reduce the overall reporting burden on the children, youth and families that are served and to increase efficiencies within our child and family serving systems (health, mental health, education and public child welfare). Using different systems governed by varying policies and regulations and the lack of uniform data elements creates a slow and cumbersome process when public child welfare agencies need to provide data to external stakeholders. Agency leaders setting a strategy for effective information management must envision a future for the exchange of public child welfare data across systems and beyond current boundaries.


So that there is efficient and effective information management, overall responsibility for oversight and implementation of the IM strategic plan should be vested at the highest possible level, optimally at the cabinet level of the state, county or tribe. This model is known as the Federated Governance Model. This governance structure maintains the authority of agencies to manage program specific information management strategies. Technology functions that are common across systems are managed at the highest level. This model supports the premise that programmatic needs drive technology decisions.


Potential benefits of a centralized strategy structured in a federated governance model include:

  • Statewide cross-systems standards that promote the direct electronic communication between individual agency systems.
  • Cross-system single sign on among various data repositories that allows state, local or tribal users access to shared
  • information about children and families accessing different service domains.
  • Approaches that support a wide variety of applications that can evolve as technologies continue to advance.
  • Enabling communication to internal and external stakeholders to promote an open and accountable government system.

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