Advice on choosing a structure for policy-making at your centre
We have a multi-layered organization with a board of trustees, staff, and volunteers, and in the early days it was difficult to make decisions on policy (or matters that effect other circles of people) that would be supported by the whole organization. We realized we needed a model to get group buy in and empower people to feel part of the decision-making process, and also to be able to move forward even without full consensus.
We chose to use the Sociocracy model (previously called Dynamic self-governance), and it has been transformative for our process. The model embraces consent rather than consensus. We ask ourselves “Is this good enough for now, and safe enough to try?” and even if one person isn’t fully in support of a policy that is proposed, they can often still give their consent, and say “I can go along with this”. When a new policy is implemented there is also a date set when we will review it to see if it’s still working. The sociocracy model is also great for our multi-layers because we have an uplink and a downlink between layers. I.e. someone on the staff will attend board meetings to make sure the decisions made there are good for the staff, and a board member will attend staff meetings.