If you decide to team up with others for your monitoring project, you should clarify from the outset the responsibilities of each partner and the manner in which you will resolve conflicts that may arise amongst the various partners.

A 'network agreement' may be helpful for this purpose:

A network agreement for policy monitoring

Building a network of organisations to further your monitoring objectives can be a challenging task. It means creating and maintaining relationships of trust between multiple players who often have diverse needs, capacities and interests. It also calls for strong management skills to coordinate activities, facilitate joint ownership and decision making, manage conflict and foster ongoing alignment among stakeholders.

Aim: To create a clear and detailed agreement for cooperation of your network.

Context: This is a useful tool to consider when you want to boost your potential to work together effectively as a network. An agreement can be developed collaboratively with the various stakeholders contributing to and commenting on the contents. It can then be formalised and signed by all members as an indication of their commitment to it.

Key points that should be clarified in a network agreement include:

  1. Network objectives: the concrete objectives your network agrees to work towards achieving.
  2. Guiding principles: the basic principle all members agree to uphold and advance.
  3. Decision-making: how decisions will be made and the different levels and methods of decision-making.
  4. Coordination: who will coordinate the network and what decisions lie within and beyond their mandate.
  5. Roles: precise roles for each member of the network.
  6. Delegation: procedures to ensure clear and fair delegation of tasks.
  7. Authority: who has the authority to do what.
  8. Accountability: who is accountable to whom.
  9. Reporting: who reports to whom and procedures to ensure reporting happens as and when it should.
  10. Financial matters: who is responsible for financial management and accountability and the rules that apply to dealing with funds.
  11. Conflict: how to deal with conflict among members.
  12. Conduct: a code of conduct for practices and forms of behaviour for meetings and other interaction between members.
  13. Recourse: what action will be taken if the agreement is breached.
  14. Review: how and when you will review your cooperation and adjust the agreement if necessary.

Source: CAFOD, Christian Aid and Trocaire (2007) Monitoring Government Policies: A toolkit for civil rights organisations in Africa: p.35.