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Blog Highlight: Team Formations: SART Advisory Councils

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To end our month on team formations, I’m going to close out with the Advisory Council component that some teams use to meet needs that exceed the boundaries of a traditional or Sub-committee SART. The Advisory Council function as a panel of individuals who provides oversight and information without necessarily being a named agency in a SART memorandum of understanding or attending regular SART meetings.

Advisory Councils meet on a schedule determined by the team with the council; this can be as frequently as monthly or as infrequently as yearly. The role of the Advisory Council is to provide oversight and feedback to the work of the rest of the team. For example, it’s typically not appropriate to have a single victim/survivor attend a SART with the sole role of providing feedback on the SART’s work as they cannot enact systems change or provide all perspectives of victims/survivors in your communities. However, putting together an Advisory Council of victims/survivors to twice yearly review the work of the team and offer input or perspectives is an excellent option for many teams.

The Advisory Council is also useful for communities that have a large number of law enforcement, advocacy, or medical agencies that may not have the resources to send a representative every month to the SART meeting, but still want the opportunity to offer feedback on the work. The Advisory Council is really effective for teams that are trying to establish themselves, those with high numbers of interested parties who want to be part of the team but can’t effect direct change to practice and policy, and/or those looking for more input from community or service providers. The advisory council typically needs a coordinator, facilitator, or reporter to coordinate with the members of the full team.

That’s our month on some varying styles of SART work! By now, you already know: what matters most is that we are engaging in a continuous improvement process to change experiences and outcomes for the victims/survivors in our communities.