Good governance has long been recognized as a key success factor in planning and implementing information sharing and technology projects and initiatives. Additionally, governance structures allow for proper strategic planning, coordination and decision-making around key public safety areas, such as interoperability, emergency planning, and homeland security. In SEARCH's work with justice and public safety agencies undertaking these efforts, SEARCH advocates and provides support, guidance, and resources for developing governance structures.

Interoperability Continuum Element Baseline Assessment Subelement
Decision-making Groups
Strategic Planning

Generally, governance refers to the creation of a formally organized structure that ensures principal participants, stakeholders, and users are appropriately involved in a project or are focused on a particular public safety area or process improvement.

Defining this governing body or structure, whether by executive order, statute, informal organization or by a memorandum of understanding, ensures a place at the table for all relevant agencies and users and formalizes and ensures equality in decisionmaking.

Need advice on governance for your agency's or jurisdiction's effort? Want resource materials? SEARCH is here to help through a variety of tools, resources and publications:

  • Download our publication, Governance Structures, Roles and Responsibilities
  • Download this SEARCH Justice IT Brief, Measuring Progress: A Summary of Key Milestones In Support of Justice Integration (Milestone #1 is Institutionalize a Governance Structure)
  • Download a keynote address given at a SEARCH symposium, Integrated Justice Information Systems Planning and Implementation: Organizing for Change, that addresses governance structures
  • Six Steps to Creating a Project Decisionmaking Structure, an excerpt from the Law Enforcement Tech Guide
  • Download sample project decisionmaking structures
    (Note: The following sample decisionmaking structures have either a law enforcement or public safety focus, but can be applied to other types of agencies, such as justice or prosecution. Coming soon will be more broad-based governance structure examples.)
    - Use Structure 1 if your agency is large (100+ sworn officers), your project is large (involving multiple technologies or a technology that affects multiple units or the entire department), or if your project is a regional effort (involving multiple agencies and/or jurisdictions)
    - Use Structure 2 if your agency is small- to medium-sized (fewer than 100 sworn officers), your project is narrowly focused (for a large agency, perhaps it is a project within a specific unit), or financial limitations restrict the amount of human resources that can be allocated to project planning
    - Use Structure 3 if your agency or region is considering establishing a decision-making structure to address a larger public safety process area like interoperable communications, regional emergency planning, or regional homeland security
  • Have a question about developing governance structures? Contact one of our experts now!
  • Want to schedule technical assistance on governance issues?