While nuts-and-bolts decisions about how to comply with legal regulations, improve the information infrastructure, and keep data secure are critical, frequently, the most difficult aspect of information sharing is the human dimension–—getting people to agree to share information and ensuring that an initial enthusiasm translates into a sustained commitment to work together. Once you and your partners have agreed on the aims and objectives of your information sharing initiative, it is essential to develop a well-defined governance structure in order to realize your shared mission.

A governance framework for information sharing initiatives typically: a) states the mission and responsibilities of the interorganizational partnership; b) assigns responsibility for management and oversight of the initiative; c) defines the roles and responsibilities of the partner organizations; and d) lays out a process for monitoring the progress of the group or amending any responsibilities. Frameworks can also include methods for financing the activities of the group and measures for ensuring accountability.

This module describes the use of governing bodies, information sharing agreements and executive orders to fulfill these functions and solidify cooperation between agencies.