#8 J.A.N.E. and a confounding factor!

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With Blogs needing to be about points of common interest you may question why I would write a Blog titled JANE!

Well for those who are the most observant you will note that it isn’t how my name is spelt (Jayne) so the Blog is not about me! You will be most pleased to learn that it is in fact most relevant for the content of this Blog.

As usual I will refer to children as pat of my exemplar demonstration but my sentiments are for the whole of society- the Australian Blueprint.

In this Consequences Blog #8 I also share the third breakthrough of the Social Connect platform. Having previously explained the first breakthrough and key principle of adequate resources (Blog#6) and second breakthrough of Leadership as a notable missing link (Blog#7) In this Blog I introduce the third breakthrough and a confounding factor. As a confounding factor the third breakthrough has both a negative and positive interface which is presented as – fragmentation.
At this stage you may be questioning what has JANE and/or fragmentation as a confounding factor possibly got to do with you?

I’ll start with JANE, which as an acronym stands for ‘Joint Accountability No Entity’. It is used to describe something that resembles an organization (my pet title is a puff of smoke), something, which makes decisions particularly around expenditure of public funds but has no legal status or standard probity for public funds. The perfect example of this was the UK Sure Start reform but the concept has commonly been used in many parts of the world just not always described as a JANE.

The concept of JANE’s as reported in Standard 9 was an attempt to cope with fragmentation for complex social issues within the UK.

JANE’s are at their most use when the governance arrangement required is sufficient for the outcome and/or purpose to be achieved. To create another legal layer or entity with overheads and unnecessary demands is not always the most cost effective way to move forward. The JANE approach is of course not always the tidiest hence its alignment with fragmentation.

Fragmentation is not always good and vice versa fragmentation is not always bad. In the case of complex social issues if there is no clarity of outcomes the decision making for funding can be most intangible. this was evident in the Commonwealth community service tendering process enquiry (Blog#7) where nobody gained. Fragmentation in this case would be described as negative. Fragmentation at its best and most positive is when emergence and systemic change is taking place. A great example of this is the early implementation of an outcomes framework across an organization where benchmarks of returns may not be evident for some years. Given time the benefit to the end user (such as parents being more connected with their community) begins to positively impact on society across health education and social care spectrum. Such an opportunity of flexibility and spontaneity brings much gain.

Having experienced a JANE in action I became quite interested in the tension that exits between positive and negative fragmentation and my current PhD research is exploring this confounding factor making it important enough to become the third breakthrough of the Social Connect platform.

I propose that fragmentation is a breakthrough because if the balance can be found between demands of governance structure and spontaneity the tension is worth straddling. By being innovative enough emergence can occur which in return equates to long-term systemic change. With a focus on clear outcomes and purpose then surely we are setting the right foundations for long-term systemic change be it across individuals, communities, organisations, or Australia itself. With a shared reason for change it also means we can be more collaborative.

Enjoying my role as a social Engineer I experience many collaborations and at times what I would refer to as unofficial JANE’s embracing fragmentation as a positive. A perfect example of such a ‘JANE’ is Child Friendly Communities Australia (CFca), which was formed in April 2013 to respond to a growing interest in the practical application of the principles of the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Framework and with a focus on Australian communities. CFca has been formed to create practical conversation about local responses to this framework and to provide resources and encouragement for local communities seeking to take the next step towards fully realizing the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child in their locality. Just imagine if every location took this step Australia would be one step closer to fulfilling its overarching outcomes framework and #AusWeWant(Australian Blueprint).

This leads me to question why aren’t there more collaborating JANE’s or groups such as CFca collaborating to achieve these broad outcomes?

In a recent article SVA Ben McAlpine reminds the reader of the mistakes that can often occur around collaboration. Reflecting on these six most common collaboration mistakes there is something in being able to welcome the positive fragmentation for collaboration whilst placing structures like JANE’s to combat any negative impact. Fragmentation is most important and will only stay as a breakthrough if whatever governance structures used can be flexible and open to emergence, just like the CFca example.

I am always keen to encourage and promote fragmentation as a positive confounding factor to encourage emergence. My usual end of blog call to action is not only just about being good but next time you interact with something that is fragmented please question is there room for a JANE or how much spontaneity can be tolerated? It’s worth doing as you may be on the cusp of emerging change – hopefully long-term!

Enjoy!

References

Consequences Blog#6: Engineering for Social Purpose

Consequences Blog #7: Is leadership the only missing link?

Standard 9 https://www.frc.org.uk/Our-Work/Publications/ASB/FRS-9-Associates-and-Joint-Ventures-File.pdf

http://www.childfriendlyca.org.au

UNICEF: http://childfriendlycities.org/

#AusWeWant http://www.communitycouncil.com.au/

https://www.socialventures.com.au/sva-quarterly/collaboration-six-mistakes-to-avoid/

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