Government Relations

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As a recipient of government funding, the board should ensure that it and the agency staff establish and maintain a positive relationship with government.

Positive government relations requires year-round, two-way sharing of information to educate and inform the government department(s) the agency deals with and vice versa.

The Manitoba government requires a variety of information from the agencies to whom it provides funding. As a source of funds, the government has an obligation to be fully aware of the way those funds are used, and to ensure that their use is consistent with the policy direction established and expressed in the mission and goals of the Department Education and Early Childhood Learning. Board members and staff may find it interesting to review the mission and goals.

It is for this purpose that the department requires each agency receiving funding to provide specific financial, service and agency information. These reporting requirements include audited financial statements, year-end reports, staffing reports and interim financial statements. The department also requires agency information that may include such things as an agency history, operating information and structure, board of directors listing, by-laws, personnel policies, and program and service descriptions.

Ongoing dialogue between the staff of the agency and government staff will ensure that modifications to information requirements are made that are reasonable and effective for both parties.

There is an ongoing focus, both within each agency and the government departments that fund them, to receive improved decision-making information. The importance of this accountability is emphasized by the service and reporting requirements associated with the receipt of monies. The application of professional management processes in the non-profit social services sector is receiving ever-increasing attention.

As was discussed in the previous section Legal Accountability, the mission of a non-profit organization is recognized as a legitimate use of community resources and implies the responsibility of each board member to safeguard the organization’s assets in the interest of the funding sources. As a function of this trusteeship, it is the obligation of a board member or trustee to be responsible for carrying out this public trust.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Learning expects funded agencies to provide services and to monitor the needs of the clients it serves. The sharing of service information and financial information is critical in order for the agencies to work with the department to influence government programs and legislation where, and when, appropriate and to ensure reasonable consideration during the budgeting of funds to the agencies.

The department expects the boards of the agencies it funds to accept the responsibilities and perform the functions of a governing board. In return, the board of directors should expect the government to support its agency fairly and within the policy direction of the government.