Request for Proposals: Project Facilitator for Inter-Agency Collaboration Initiative

Posted: September 17, 2012 Deadline for Submissions: 5:00 pm Tuesday October 9, 2012 Scope: Toronto Neighbourhood Centres (TNC) is a network of 34 multi-service community agencies across Toronto (see for details on the TNC association). The TNC is seeking a consultant to provide Project Facilitation services to oversee the successful implementation of a 3-year Trilliumfunded project to develop processes and tools supporting effective multi-agency collaboration. This initiative will provide the 34 TNC member agencies, and other stakeholders, opportunities to develop their collaborative capacity in the six areas of: • • • • • • Collaborative service integration; Network-level HR practices; Building successful consortia; Expanding back office integration & joint purchasing; Social enterprise for low-income communities, and; Stewarding successful mergers.

The consultant will require demonstrated skills and expertise in the areas of facilitation and group process, project management in complex network settings, event management, organizational capacity building, and adult learning. The successful applicant will also require strong communication and writing skills. The consultant will be required to provide the following deliverables: • organize and coordinate all aspects of the yearly "Collective Spark" forums providing opportunities for TNC members, and other community agency representatives, to learn about promising practices, generate new thinking and make new connections; organize and provide the overall direction and administrative supports for the effective functioning of two inter-agency workgroups and their respective pilot projects each year. This includes the facilitation of group formation, developing detailed terms of reference, implementing a fair and transparent process to contract with in-house (i.e. secondments of staff from within


• •

TNC member agencies) and/or external consultants to support the research and action agenda of the workgroup, and ensuring the ongoing communications and documentation for the pilot project activities; integrate Developmental Evaluation processes and reporting with the project activities; identify and direct a web-designer to construct the project's "Online sandbox tools" (document-posting/sharing and discussion group functions to be added to the current TNC website), then animate and monitor these online tools to advance the project's engagement and communication objectives; develop and implement a project workplan (in collaboration with the project's Steering Committee, and the TNC's Executive Director) that ensures all project activities are carried out in a fashion that maximizes project success and impact.

A more detailed summary of the TNC's Trillium Project "Reorganizing for Shared Impact and Sustainability" is appended to this posting. Terms: The full contract is for $20,000 per year, over three years (with an initial one-year contract to be extended to three years assuming satisfactory completion of year-one project deliverables). The rate of remuneration for this contract is $50/hr plus HST - or $400/day including HST, for a total of 50 days per year, or approximately one day per week, on average. Submission of Proposals: Interested applicants should submit their proposal, outlining previous experience that relates to this project, references, and a short statement on their interest in this work, to the TNC Executive Director, Rob Howarth, via email at Deadline for submissions is 5:00 pm on Tuesday October 9, 2012


DETAILED PROJECT DESCRIPTION The Toronto Neighbourhood Centres' "Reorganizing for Shared Impact and Sustainability" initiative will assist thirty-four neighbourhood centres in Toronto to explore new collective approaches to organizing their assets in ways that enhance each members' organizational sustainability and community impact. The project will discover, develop and disseminate practices that support collaborative practice in six areas: 1) Collaborative service integration: Identifying practical strategies that groups of organizations can use to move beyond information-sharing, networking and joint projects, to a fuller scale of service integration that expands both service capacity and community impact. 2) Network-level HR practices: HR managers will pilot system-level HR strategies designed to overcome individual organizational barriers to advancement for emerging leaders by treating networks of community agencies as a broad workforce. 3) Building successful consortia: Identifying planning tools and processes that support consortium bidding and management of large-scale (e.g. city-wide) service contracts in a multi-partner context. This work will build upon consortium projects pioneered by TNC members over the last two years. This planning will in turn position the network to respond to regional RFP opportunities that emerge over the project period. 4) Expanding back office integration & joint purchasing: Neighbourhood centres have developed effective and adaptive capacity by consolidating their back office functions at a local level. This initiative will study strategies to expand these models to leverage this existing back-office capacity for: a) local networks of community organizations, and b) regional or city wide back office services. This initiative will also include surveying neighbourhood centres to identify their current purchasing and contract arrangements for supplies and services, and identifying opportunities for more efficient joint purchasing and contracting. 5) Social enterprise for low-income communities: This initiative will develop a social enterprise planning processes (e.g. vision, principles, audit tools, case studies) that is uniquely suited to the opportunities and constraints facing organizations working with community members that have limited economic means, including incomes and access to capital. 6) Stewarding successful mergers: 3

This work will examine the current literature and case studies of recent organizational mergers of multi-service community-based organizations to identify the conditions and supports contributing to successful mergers, as well as tools for assessing the outcomes achieved via mergers in terms of increased agency capacity and community impact.


ACTIVITIES 1) Collective Spark Forums: Annual events for community agency Board members, executive staff, and emerging leaders to learn about innovative approaches to the project themes (via guest presenters), and to initiate new connections with organizations interested in pursuing these initiatives. These forums will be primarily attended by representatives from multi-service neighbourhood centres, but will also be open to other interested community-based organizations in Toronto, including settlement service organizations, community health centres and smaller community groups. 2) Action Templates for Reorganization: Each year, 10-30 agency representatives will work in 2 groups on 2 of the 6 project areas to develop action templates for reorganization which provided a road map to advance collective strategies that improve impact and sustainability. These templates will include: a) summary of research on related leading-edge tools and strategies; b) creative vision and anticipated impacts of proposed reorganization; c) implementation plan outlining roles and commitments of participating organizations; d) developmental evaluation strategy to assist in reflection and learning as the collaboration proceeds; e) communication plan for disseminating learnings and tools to other interested leaders and organizations These workgroups will receive tailored support by TNC In-House and External Consultants. Emerging leaders and senior staff from within TNC member agencies will be seconded as in-house consulting expertise, freed up from their regular duties to conduct research, convene interagency groups, and steward pilot projects to advance the six collaborative practices areas. They will also work with the Project Facilitator to reflect upon and document their learning together. 3) Developmental Evaluation: Project implementation will be integrated with a Developmental Evaluation process via the role of a Developmental Facilitator, which combines project facilitation and developmental evaluation functions. 4) Online Sandbox: The online sandbox will be a place for neighbourhood centre leaders to discover new ideas, play around with resources, and propose new constructions that others may be attracted to. Project blogs written by the In-House Consultants and the Developmental Facilitator will track ongoing reflections and learning from our Developmental Evaluation. Promising practices, tools, templates and case studies will be posted as 5

they are identified and developed. Quarterly newsletters will communicate to project stakeholders and invite them to bring their own ideas to the sandbox.