Advisory boards are essential for gaining input from stakeholders and establishing collaborations with the community.
- They are a way to connect more with the geographic and cultural communities served by the program.
- Connection to a wide variety of senior and health services, and
- consumer groups will give the program valuable feedback and provide opportunities for public education and referral to OIB services.
Board members are volunteers, and it is suggested that their period of service have a maximum length. For example, service terms may be 2-years with a limit of two consecutive terms.
The length of time should be long enough for them to learn about the OIB program, so they can provide guidance based on understanding, but not so long their ideas become stale.
- It is helpful to stagger term expiration. Experienced council members will be able to give quality feedback as the new ones become acclimatized.
- As positions open, new members can be selected for their expertise in areas where the OIB program can most benefit.
- New members might also be recommended by outgoing council representatives.
Consumer and stakeholder feedback is vital to the effective implementation of the OIB program. Multiple methods will be used to obtain that feedback, including advisory boards comprised of representatives from identified stakeholder groups, such as consumers; community partners; consumers’ family members; and persons with specialized knowledge about community resources, aging, or vision loss. An advisory board specific to OIB is encouraged.
The advisory board will have a clearly defined mission and purpose and will participate in the quality assurance process. Members will have defined roles and terms of service, and a plan for appointing members and voting will be in place.
The OIB staff will educate the advisory board members about the program and its funding sources and requirements. The OIB program manager will facilitate exposure to the staff, consumers, and, where applicable, to facilities. The OIB program manager will report program evaluation results to the board and give feedback about how input from the board is used. Advisory board members will receive specific information about current and proposed programmatic goals and objectives and give feedback to the program about its strategic plan.
The OIB staff will facilitate the advisory board activities, as needed. The OIB staff will arrange a meeting place and transportation support for members. OIB staff will assist in identifying and securing training for board members about confidentiality issues, identifying and addressing potential conflicts of interest, and developing a code of ethics for board members. OIB staff will provide assistance, as needed, to develop an agenda, take and distribute minutes from the meetings, and devise action plans. Boards will meet at least twice each year.
Any agency that does not implement best practices will have a plan in place to move toward best practices that includes an expeditious timetable and benchmarks.
It is unacceptable to ignore feedback from the advisory board. It is unacceptable to withhold information from the advisory board regarding program evaluation outcomes, progress toward meeting goals, or major factors or changes influencing the program.
Some advisory boards serve as liaisons with consumers. When boards provide this service, consumers must have a mechanism to communicate with board members. OIB-specific advisory boards are valuable for obtaining consumer feedback. However, OIB advisory boards should only be utilized when the OIB program is committed to providing the board with necessary education and support.