A statement seeking advice and involvement from ministers from the chair of trustees and the focaliser/head of OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation

This is to report that we had an initial conversation with an external consultant, who has no previous connections with OneSpirit, on 18 January. There was enough rapport to agree to move forward to the next step, which would include describing a clearer framework in order to agree on a contract for the necessary aspects of purpose, process, and payment.

We did not agree to go any further than to expand into a deeper shared understanding of what this framework could include. Once this is established and agreed, we would then move to a firm contract.

The exact wording of the initial inquiry sent to the consultant follows at the bottom of this note.

The next step is for a contract to be made that would include what the consultant, working with a colleague, would do with the information gathered; how they would present their recommendations to the organization; where the conversations would take place; and related practical matters.

We said to the consultant that this very initial process would be reported in iConnect, and that we’d seek feedback from our ministers at this point. Our intention is that this process can be experienced as trustworthy and inclusive, as far as appropriate, in its setting up.

If any ministers would like to comment on the framing below, we would welcome that. If we can make it work, we would also like to include one or two ministers who would like to use the opportunity to have ‘listening conversations’ with the consultant as part of this process of finalising the framework. In this way we could mutually shape the process itself, its purpose and its parameters. The consultants will then share their recommendations with the trustees.

It is our hope, shared with the consultant, that this approach will allow a learning process that is as deep, meaningful and creative for the organization as possible, bearing in mind the concerns that have been raised, and the organisation’s desire to learn from this and to take any necessary actions that follow from it.

The consultant confirmed that they would work with a colleague so as to strengthen the robustness of the listening; that the work would be supervised; and that the ‘listening conversations’ would be open to those who wish to express concerns or talk about their experiences of the organization or any individual in its leadership team.

Please contact Lindsay who will pass your email to Cathy Slow if you wish to comment or help with the contracting. Please be in touch by the end of the day on Thursday 2 February.

With thanks

Cathy Slow (chair of trustees) and Nicola Coombe (focaliser), on behalf of the trustee and focaliser teams

__________________________
Wording of initial inquiry to the consultant:

“A broad initial scoping of this work could include:

> the provision of a space through an individual or a panel into which individuals with grievances about the organisation could speak, and processes through which concerns could be addressed, including possibly guiding the person towards OneSpirit’s existing grievance processes, or other processes;

> the possibility of seeking the input of existing staff or other role holders;

> offering suggestions, having heard the issues, to the organisation for processes or practices going forward to address conflict, boundaries, role holders etc.”

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