The running of SchoolKit Clinics is guided by a set of six foundation principles. These principles address the expectations and obligations of the many different parties involved. It is essential to the success of SchoolKit Clinics that all professional personnel involved fully understand the foundation principles and are committed to them.
Foundation Principle #6 – Framework for Governance
A governance framework for SchoolKit Clinics is agreed before clinics begin and all participants recognise and respect the importance of working within that framework. This involves an understanding of processes involved, and accountability.
A governance framework is an important and necessary aspect of SchoolKit Clinics to ensure decisions are made in the best possible manner and the implementation of agreed strategies is managed effectively.
Agreement between education and health professionals about the nature of the governance framework is particularly necessary for SchoolKit Clinics, as the two sectors are very different and the context of each school and health service is different.
Under the governance framework, the aims, roles and responsibilities of participants need to be clear and defined. This means it is clearly understood who will arrange clinic meetings, who will lead and facilitate clinics, how decisions will be arrived at, who will take primary responsibility for follow-up, who will address problems or conflicts as they arise, and so on. A clearly defined structure also aids in developing accountability as well as providing a structure for feedback and a benchmark against which to evaluate outcomes.
A governance framework defines the scope of SchoolKit Clinics, i.e. what decisions the clinic team is empowered to make and act on. It also sets clear parameters for what information is shared, how, and with whom.
A clear governance framework addresses a number of critical considerations that must be accommodated in SchoolKit Clinics:
- Protecting the privacy of other children and young people – expertise gathered through working with other children and young people, and their carers and families, is discussed generically and without identifying the individuals concerned;
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), changes to disability care and the dissolution of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) – proposed changes to disability service structures may change aspects of looking after a child with complex, multiple needs, increasing reliance on a multidisciplinary clinic;
- Private therapists – direct involvement in the clinics, or at least clear and open communication allows for optimal benefits for private therapy input;
- Differing personalities and agendas – with clear leadership and structuring of responsibilities problematic situations are avoided (e.g. one person dominating clinics, conflicts between individuals).
A mutually agreed governance framework acts to ensure that SchoolKit Clinics are aligned to the multiple interests of the various participants (from their different sectors) and ensures effective cooperation and quality care for young people and their families and carers.