About COLAB Community

(Working Document)
Terms of Reference with proposed changes first draft 9.10.19

1. Context

In the years leading up to the end of 2017, various groups in the community had been collaborating in different ways in the social and community sector and achieving great outcomes.  In acknowledgement of this rich history of collaboration in the region, the Te Puke social sector community decided to formalise a group that focused on working together as a community.  Prior to the establishment of CO-LAB there were two forums (Te Puke Community Forum and Collaborate) that shared a similar vision. With the support of local funders, a workshop was organised (known as the ‘Vision to Reality’ workshop) with the aim of drawing out a shared vision for Te Puke. With community agreement to move forward together, a further workshop was organised to articulate what collaboration looked like for Te Puke.  From this workshop, was the establishment of CO-LAB. At this point facilitation support was sourced through an external agency.  

The group was named CO-LAB to represent not only ‘Collaboration’ but to also acknowledge that there is a focus on working in partnership, i.e. ‘CO’, and that it is a group where ideas can be tested and trialed, i.e. LAB.

Colab in an informal collective that will work collaboratively to achieve positive long term sustainable outcomes for the wider Te Puke Community. 

2. Vision

VISION: Our community is Thriving, Connected and Supported.  

PURPOSE: Together, we move as one, and support our community to live with abundance, into the future


  1. United Voice
  2. Efficiency
  3. Shared Resources
  4. Positive Community Outcomes
  5. Increased Sustainability

3. Objectives

The overall objective of CO-LAB is to address the unmet (social – delete?) needs within the Te Puke Community.  More specifically, we aim to:

  1. Connect and network to be aware of all the resources that are available for our community.  
  2. Collaborate and work together to achieve better outcomes for our community.
  3. Create initiatives to build a stronger community.
  4. Communicate for the community in a position of advocacy, particularly for those who are not heard.

4. Areas of Focus

Following discussions as a group, areas of focus were developed to support decision-making on project work, and funding allocation.  These areas were identified as being areas of common interest across the membership of CO-LAB, therefore supporting the opportunity to work together.  The focus areas include:

  1. Youth Engagement & Development
  2. Housing
  3. Community Connection and Cohesion
  4. Responding to local trends and opportunities

These areas of priority are to be reviewed annually, and are subject to change with the agreement of COLAB.

5. Values

  • Honesty
  • Openness & Transparency
  • Trusting Others
  • Being Trustworthy
  • Respectfulness
  • Commitment
  • Bravery
  • Solutions Focused
  • Attentive Listeners
  • Thoughtful Responders
  • Being Inclusive
  • Enhancing Mana
  • Adding Value
  • Being Intentional
  • Graciousness

6. Te Tiriti o Waitangi

CO-LAB understands Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a partnership between Māori and the Crown.  We acknowledge that in the context of CO-LAB, this partnership includes mutual honour, respect, and mana, to enable both cultures to participate and work together effectively. CO-LAB will work to protect and honour te ao Māori through the following actions:

  • Inclusion of Māori membership in CO-LAB
  • Inclusion of Māori voice in CO-LAB planning
  • Commitment to considering Māori needs in all projects undertaken by CO-LAB
  • Commitment to professional development in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and understanding Te Ao Māori
  • Commitment to further learning of the historical landscape of the Te Puke region

7. Diversity

CO-LAB is committed to ensuring that the group is open, accessible and supportive to the diverse community that resides in Te Puke and will work to be inclusive in all its activities, projects and communications.  Partnerships with the diverse ethnic communities of Te Puke is encouraged.

8. Membership

  1. Membership consists of Te Puke social service organisations, through their chosen representative. 
  2. Membership is also inclusive of organisations external to Te Puke, providing they have responsibility and interests to deliver services that support the social wellbeing of the community.
  3. One individual can represent multiple organisations in recognition that community members bring with them a variety of affiliations.  
  4. Applications for membership can be made by interested community organisations, individuals, and businesses.   These will be received by the group, case by case, to determine alignment of shared vision and objectives.  
  5. A member can opt out without judgment and without needing to give a reason by notifying the facilitator in writing, and will be offered an exit interview.  
  6. Membership is reviewed annually and is at no charge.

9. Expectations of Working Together

  • We operate according to our values.
  • We get involved and we commit to adding value.
  • We are intentional about attending or keeping up to date with meetings we have missed.
  • We give timely responses to communications.
  • We are brave about bringing up issues for group resolution.
  • We choose to believe the best of each other, speak well of one another and of CO-LAB as a whole.
  • We understand that life happens; we will have each other’s back to keep the momentum of COLAB.
  • We celebrate together.
  • We give a legacy of mana to those who follow.

If a member is no longer fulfilling their expectations they can be approached by the facilitator and offered support to meet expectations, or if they choose they can opt out of membership without judgment.

Working Groups:

Working groups will be formed to advance work in each of Co-Lab’s identified priority areas.  When required a working group more may also be formed to undertake a specific activities and /or projects.  In this instance the working group will disband once the work is completed. 

Working groups will comprise Co-Lab members who have an interest and or expertise in focus area or issue.  CoLab members may join one or more of the working groups. 

 Working group meetings will be minuted and the Minutes will be made available to the wider membership via the shared file.  A representative from each working group will provide an update to the membership at the bi monthly Co-Lab meetings.  

Steering Group:

A Steering Group will be appointed to oversee and guide operational activity. They will also provide direction and support to the Coordinator.  The Steering Group will comprise representatives from each of the focus areas. As agreed other members maybe co-opted to the Steering Group in order to provide specific advisory expertise to ensure CO-LAB’s objectives and/ or obligations are met. 

10. Meeting Arrangements

  • The group intends to meet regularly as determined by the group.  
  • The facilitator is responsible for engaging a person to organise meetings.  
  • The facilitator will produce an annual schedule of meetings and provide two weeks advanced notice of any changes to the schedule.
  • Additional meetings may be arranged on a needs basis, dependent on the direction of the Forum and the scope of strategic focus e.g. consultation meeting to prepare for a submission, co-writing a funding application, undertaking professional development as a group, or project specific working groups.
  • It is each member’s responsibility to ensure their vote and or view is communicated to the relevant group if they wish to ensure their positon is heard.

11. Member Participation and Decision Making 

  • Decisions are by made by consensus where possible. 
  • In good faith, organisations not represented at meetings will have the opportunity for input prior to a decision being finalised.  Key decisions will be communicated within seven working days of the CO-LAB meeting. An allowance of a further seven working days will be provided for any feedback on decisions.
  • Where consensus cannot be formed, an online voting process will be undertaken.
  • If voting is required, it is one vote per member organisation present during the discussion and time of voting.  Where more than one vote is received from an organisation, only the first vote will be counted. It is up to each organisation to manage their internal discussions leading to a vote.
  • Where a member has membership as an individual, they are entitled to one vote.
  • The facilitator is responsible for conducting all voting and overseeing voting conditions.
  • Lack of voting response will be seen as an abstaining vote, and will not be counted for or against.
  • Where important decisions are tabled on the agenda, the facilitator will communicate the need for attendance.
  • Any decisions will be made known to those who are absent through the meeting minutes.  
  • CoLab acknowledges at times members may not be able to be actively involved in CO-Lab activity.  There is the option to opt in and out according to the personal and professional commitment.
  • It is the responsibility of each CO-LAB member to advise the group directly or (via the Coordinator when are not going to be activity involved in CO-LAB for a period.  
  •   Members will endeavour to respond to emails and complete tasks within  the agreed timeframes to ensure projects are not impeded

12. Communications and Information management

The Co -Lab Coordinator is responsible for the general communications of the group including:

  • Maintaining member data base /contact lists
  • Collation and storage of documentation
  • Maintaining minutes
  • Developing agenda for meetings
  • Official communications (following consultation and direction of CO-LAB)

Working parties/group will appoint a spokesperson to take responsibility for media based activities and to represent the Group on the Steering Group.??  Co Lab will appoint a media spokespeople to represent CO-LAB (or delegated representative by the CO-LAB group for a specific purpose).  Feedback on internal communications goes back to the facilitator for communication to COLAB. Please only use the ‘Reply All’ for positive encouragements when necessary. Please be mindful of the timing of sending communications to the group or its members out of normal working hours.  Any intellectual property developed by the group will be openly sourced for wider use at no cost. Member logos are not required on documentation. CO-LAB will work to develop branding in the future.

CoLab members will be able to access all key documents via Shared File.  The Co Lab membership list will only be shared with another party with the consent of the membership.   Members will respect the confidentiality of other members and not shared info that is deemed either confidentiality and or commercially sensitive. 

13. Mitigation of Risk

Confidentiality is not agreed upon by members, care is to be taken with notices, i.e. “Share what you are happy to be shared”.  There is to be no disclosure of particular individuals/clients.  

Any conflict of interest and or perceived conflict of interest is to be declared as soon as practical.  The Coordinator will record the declared conflict in the Conflict Register. (?)

The group is to operate to its values.  There is to be group approval of any reports or evaluations as per the processes set out in section 11 – Decision Making.  The work of CO-LAB is to be spread to smaller groups, with specific tasks ??

14. Resolution of Conflict

The group agrees to interactions based on group values.  Should conflict arise, a request can be made to the facilitator within 14 calendar days to arrange for neutral mediation by a mediator agreed upon by the parties, and – if both groups agree to solve issues in good faith.  Should a party choose not to enter the Resolution of Conflict process, the matter ends and CO-LAB will not engage further.

If conflict should arise with the facilitator of the group, a designated representative of COLAB will contact the facilitator’s management, or if necessary governance to establish a resolution process.   At any time the facilitator of the group can self evaluate to stand aside or take a break with no prejudice.

15 Management of Funds

An external organisation appointed by CO-LAB will hold funds on behalf of the group.  Use of the funds is through the Co-LaB decision-making process as outlined in section 10. The group shall endeavour to use all available funds in a timely manner. 

CoLab acknowledges that funding opportunities are such that Co-Lab members may compete for the same funding as other member organisations and/or by Co-Lab as an entity. Accordingly CoLab will endeavour to cooperate where possible, negotiate to avoid duplication and support other groups where possible.  

 Meeting funding and reporting requirements will be responsibility of the Funder holder and monitored by the steering Group.  All CO-LAB funding will be monitored by the Steering will be transparent with any funders, and they are welcome to attend COLAB meetings.

Under the direction of the steering group the Coordinator will prepare and submit funding applications on behalf of the CoLab membership. This may include  applications for operational activity, projects and or for specific activities for CoLab members. Every endeavour will be made to support the members to advance their identified priorities and projects. 

16. Relationships with other similar groups

From time to time CO-LAB may develop key relationships with other collaborative networks that will support the goals of this group.  When there are occasions of shared interest, the scope of collaboration will be defined.  The other group will be included and invited to participate in CO-LAB meetings through representation, to avoid duplication and/or competition with other groups. As an act of good faith, when it is known that another group plans an activity, anyone in a position to advance this idea will engage with the original group.

17. Review

CO-LAB will work to review the collaboration biennially, unless the group decided there was a need before this time. The review will be led by the CO-LAB facilitator, but may be delegated to another member or another trained facilitator. Activities will be reviewed upon completion by the relevant working group, and reported back to the wider CO-LAB group.  An annual review of the project streams of CO-LAB will take place, led by the CO-LAB facilitator.  This review may lead to redirection of CO-LAB. The Terms of Reference will be reviewed annually.

18. Agreement

As a member of the Group, my organisation agrees to engage within the parameters as outlined within the Terms of Reference.  As a representative of my organisation, I understand that this agreement is not a legally binding agreement.  It is a Terms of Reference set in place to assist the smooth running of the Group, as a fair, equitable, and good faith collective.





Areas the TOR meeting identified as needing attention:

• Decision Making- Quorum
• Communication: Comms protocol, consistent language, alignment of messages,
• Review and evaluation processes
• Steering groups and Co coordinator to be added to the ToR
• Roles and relationships – who is responsible to who
• Treaty of Waitangi – “making our statements real”
• Tensions- multiple and at times these are compounded by the competitive funding structures
• Co Lab Structure Formal vs informal,
• Member involvement/participation
• Community Led Development
• Steering group and working groups to be added in