Networks are the internal and external contacts and relationships workers develop to support their work in the organisation. These can be at client level, as well as at a broader organisational level, and the contact person may be whoever sits in a particular role, or a specific person who has relevant skills and knowledge.
Networks don't just happen. Your role may include developing new networks and maintaining contacts within existing networks. The table below demonstrates how informal and formal networks may be structured and maintained.
(purpose or need)
(position or role)
|Share information about a current youth issue in your area||Youth care outreach worker||Irregular||Emails, informal meeting at local café|
|Identify funding opportunities||Senior manager, BDO, Project Officers||Monthly||Formal meeting, tabled reports, business cases
The basic principles underlying effective communication in networking include:
- clear systems for interaction with each other (who does what and when)
- clear systems for the dissemination of information such as written, verbal, visual or electronic
- maintenance activities, such as set meetings or informal catch-ups with network contacts.
Any agency or organisation can have extensive and multidimensional networks. For communities and disability services workers, these could include:
- HACC agencies in the region
- peak bodies, e.g. Youth Affairs Network Qld, Multicultural Mental Health Network, QCOSS (Queensland Council of Social Services)
- a range of people from the local community – Neighbourhood Progress Association, Goodna Interagency meeting
- agencies from the same service delivery sector – Youth Advisory Council
- related agencies – Intergovernmental agency coordinating committee
- funding bodies/peak organisations.
Identify organisational networks and strategies used to maintain networks.