Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Administration and Management (PA-AM) 4: Community and Provider Engagement

The agency fosters a culture of community responsiveness by:
  1. conducting public outreach and education;
  2. engaging a diverse group of stakeholders in collaborative, purposeful, and ongoing partnership; and
  3. incorporating recommendations from collaborative efforts into its organizational decision-making related to regulatory processes, risk management, quality improvement, and long-term planning activities.

Interpretation

For state-administered agencies, there is a role for both the central and regional offices in effectively engaging relevant stakeholders. While it will be the responsibility of the central office to provide leadership in this area, the regional offices need to establish similar relationships with relevant stakeholders in their jurisdiction.  Efforts at the regional level should complement the state-wide approach, while focusing on those stakeholders and issues that are most relevant to their region and its residents.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

 Through sound administration and effective management, the agency achieves its mission and strategic goals; assures appropriate use of public resources for the public good; and remains responsive to the needs of the communities it serves. 
Examples: For state agencies providing child and family services, community and provider engagement can include involving stakeholders in developing and monitoring the State Child & Family Services Plan as well as participating in both the assessment and improvement phase of the Federal Child and Family Service Reviews.

Examples: Stakeholders can include, but are not limited to: the courts, legal system, and law-enforcement officials;  tribes and tribal organizations; individuals and families; internal staff; community-based agencies including mental health, substance use, and domestic violence service providers; state and local governments; advocacy and professional organizations; health care providers; educators;  representatives from communities of faith; business community representatives; other public agencies and providers; contracted providers; and the media. 
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Summary of public outreach and education activities
  • List of stakeholder groups/entities
  • Assessment of existing and potential community partners 
  • Community and provider engagement plan 
  • Stakeholder advisory group bios 
  • Communications plan and/or procedures for responding to critical incidents 
  • Description of collaborative efforts or written agreements with tribes or tribal representatives 
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • List of regional stakeholder groups/entities
  • Assessment of existing and potential regional community partners
  • Regional community and provider engagement plan
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Informational materials available in communities served 
  • Documentation of: 
    1. Collaboration with stakeholders (e.g. meeting minutes, agenda, correspondence, etc.)
    2. Decisions made and/or actions taken in response to stakeholder feedback (e.g. progress/data reports) 
  • Training curricula and materials for:
    1. Stakeholder training, as applicable 
    2. Staff training related to engaging and collaborating with consumers 
    3. Consumer training and/or other supports to facilitate their active involvement 
  • Stakeholder advisory group meeting minutes 
  • Communications plan/procedures training curricula and materials 
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of training on the communications plan/procedures for responding to critical incidents 
  • Evidence of collaboration with tribes or tribal representatives 
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Informational materials available in communities served 
  • Documentation of: 
    1. Collaboration with stakeholders (e.g. meeting notices, agendas, and minutes; correspondence; etc.) 
    2. Decisions made and/or actions taken in response to stakeholder feedback (e.g. progress/data reports) 
  • Training curricula and materials for:
    1. Stakeholder training, as applicable 
    2. Staff training related to collaborating with consumers 
    3. Consumer training and/or other supports to facilitate their active involvement
No On-Site Activities

PA-AM 4.01

The agency’s public outreach and education activities include:
  1. regularly providing the public with clear, timely, and accurate information about the agency’s mission, programs, activities, service recipients, and finances;
  2. informing the public of the positive impact agency programs are having on the community and its residents;  and
  3. fostering a positive relationships with the local media.
Examples: Ongoing communication with the public and the media provides an opportunity for the agency to communicate information on its initiatives, policy and advocacy efforts, proactive problem solving efforts, and stories of success. This cultivates a working relationship with the media and builds public awareness of the positive work being done by the agency, which can mobilize public support for policy issues or changes that impact the agency’s work.  

For example, child and family services agencies can inform local communities about progress towards reducing racial and ethnic treatment disparities to strengthen partnerships and sustain collective work to address racial disproportionality.

PA-AM 4.02

The agency assesses its existing relationships with key community partners, both existing and potential, and develops an assessment-based community and provider engagement plan that: 
  1. outlines community and provider engagement goals and strategies for achieving them;
  2. allocates sufficient resources to support community and provider engagement initiatives; 
  3. establishes centralized oversight and coordination when the agency has partners in different communities or jurisdictions; and
  4. includes mechanisms for monitoring progress towards meeting engagement goals.

Interpretation

Community and provider engagement goals should be incorporated into the agency’s long-term plan (PA-AM 3.02).
Examples: Various structures may be in place to sustain community and provider engagement and the model(s) chosen will vary based on the agency’s community partnership goals. Examples of mechanisms to facilitate community and provider engagement include, but are not limited to:
  1. work groups;
  2. advisory boards;
  3. decision-making boards;
  4. memoranda of understanding;
  5. systems of care;
  6. quality improvement structures;
  7. collaborative contract monitoring procedures;
  8. long-term planning structures; and
  9. case-level service delivery teams.

PA-AM 4.03

The agency communicates and collaborates with stakeholders by:
  1. establishing a shared purpose and goals for partnership;
  2. setting clear guidelines for participation including defined roles, resource expectations, rules of engagement, and dispute resolution;
  3. identifying and addressing the needs of participating stakeholders, including  training resources;
  4. documenting all important decisions; and 
  5. developing clear mechanisms for frequent, ongoing, two-way communication.

PA-AM 4.04

The agency encourages active consumer participation in advisory activities by:
  1. partnering with local consumer or advocacy groups to reach consumers and encourage their involvement;
  2. training agency staff on strategies for partnering with consumers in advisory activities;
  3. developing outreach and informational materials that target consumers and provide them with information necessary to make an informed decision about participating;
  4. creating an environment that welcomes consumers and values their voice; and
  5. offering trauma-informed training and mentorship to consumers participating in advisory activities.

PA-AM 4.05

The agency fosters community responsiveness by establishing and maintaining a stakeholder advisory group or groups that include representatives of:
  1. relevant community groups;
  2. consumers;
  3. families;
  4. service providers;
  5. advocates; and 
  6. others with an interest in the success of the agency at achieving its mission or purpose.
NA State-administered agency regional office

PA-AM 4.06

The agency:
  1. incorporates recommendations of advisory and collaborative efforts into its risk management, quality improvement, and long-term planning activities; and 
  2. periodically reports back to its partners on decisions made and actions taken.

PA-AM 4.07

Personnel receive training on the agency’s communications plan and/or procedures for responding to critical incidents, including position-specific communication guidelines for responding to inquiries from the media and the public. 

PA-AM 4.08

Child and family services agencies have formal partnerships with area tribes or tribal representatives that include:
  1. ongoing collaboration and information sharing;
  2. Tribal involvement in staff and resource family training; and
  3. consultation with Tribal representatives on policy and practice issues.
NA The agency does not provide child and family services.