Neighbourhood House Good Practice Guide

The Guide

Download a printable Neighbourhood House Good Practice Guide here.

How Does the Good Practice Guide Work?

The GPG Self-Assessment is an ongoing process that will ensure the structure and practices of the neighbourhood house are sustainable and will assist in delivering a high quality service to the community. The process consists of the following steps:

  1. Form a self assessment working group or "Good Practice Team" (This may not be the same people for each practice area.)
  2. Using the Self Assessment Worksheet 1 identify strengths, opportunities and actions for improvement required against each standard, (an example is provided on page 13).
  3. Using the Self Assessment Worksheet 2 monitor and evaluate processes in achieving each practice area, (an example is provided on page 15).
  4. Feed priority actions identified into the organisation's Strategic, Annual and/or Work Plans.
  5. Provide feedback to the Committee of Governance, staff, volunteers and members and other relevant organisations and individuals on the practice learning's from the GPG self assessment. Celebrate!!
Step by Step Good Practice Guide

1. Form a Self Assessment Working Group or Good Practice Team

Decide who will be involved. Committee members, House Co-ordinator/Manager, staff, volunteers, participants - it is important to have a group that is representative of the house and that committees and staff work jointly on the standards. The Good Practice Team may not be the same for each practice area. A team of three to five people is recommended.

2. Work through the Standards using Worksheet 1

Begin by choosing the Practice Area and its Standards where the House operates well, so as to get used to using Worksheet 1. Once the team have developed confidence in the process, move on to those Practice Areas and Standards which may be more challenging.

  1. Choose a Practice Area and consider the first standard;
  2. Identify existing policies, plans, documentation and practices for this standard;
  3. Note this evidence and where it is kept (both hard copy and electronic copy);
  4. Then (if needed) identify opportunities and actions required for improvement to meet the standard. If the house doesn't have the evidence or the team needs help, seek assistance from the NH networker, other houses or ANHLC;
  5. Next prioritise any actions for improvement as high, medium or low. When prioritising actions consider both their strategic impact and their urgency;
  6. Identify who is responsible for carrying the action forward noting that the Committee of Governance has overall responsibility for governance issues with the Manager/Coordinator having responsibility for management and delivery actions;
  7. Consider the next standard (this is an iterative process) i.e.: go back to step 2.1 and repeat the process to complete all the standards in the practice area;
  8. Ideally, complete all the standards in one practice area at one time;
  9. Monitor and evaluate processes for achieving each practice area as below.

3. Monitor and Evaluate Your Processes using Worksheet 2

At the completion of each Practice Area, use Worksheet 2 to review and reflect on processes in achieving and maintaining each practice area and its associated standards. This stage is for the GPG team to self assess and identify how the organisation monitors and evaluates processes and effectiveness in achieving each practice area. Identify opportunities and actions required for improvement.

4. Develop Action Plans

Integrate identified actions for improvement into the other planning processes developed in the House – especially the strategic and annual plans and work plans. Identify who will be responsible for completing the action. This will ensure actions are followed through. The GPG team should develop a review process to ensure that actions that may have received a lower priority will be put forward for action in future.

5. Provide Feedback on the Practice Learnings from your GPG Self Assessment

Use the completion of the GPG Self Assessment tool to promote that the House has good practices. Promote the completion of the GPG self assessment to the wider community e.g. a press release with photograph of the Good Practice Guide Team / activity in the House. Acknowledge, communicate and celebrate the completion of the self assessment. Thank the people involved in the process for their time, effort and goodwill!

Auspiced Houses

It is recognised that some houses are auspiced by other organisations. Please refer to Appendix 1 for NHCP Guidelines and the role of a community committee within auspiced NH&LCs. When using the GPG examine your practice based on your current governance arrangements?

Please Note: Practice area 1 Governance, Standard 1 may not apply