Section 1: Organization of the Penta ID Network
1. The Penta ID Network
The Penta ID Network brings together clinicians, scientists and researchers from across the world who share a common vision to be at the forefront of clinical science that improves prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infection in children. Members of the Network share expertise to develop and deliver international research and training programmes. The Network offers a unique opportunity for multi-disciplinary networking and peer-to-peer collaboration internationally. The Network is coordinated centrally by the Penta Foundation in Italy.
There are currently six scientific working groups and two further working groups in the Network. Scientific working groups are made up of members of the Network working together to achieve specified goals in defined areas. These working groups report on their activity at Penta scientific meetings.
The current Penta working groups are:
- Blood-borne viruses
- Severe bacterial infections & AMR
- Infection in pregnancy & vertical transmission
- Fungal infection
- Clinical pharmacology
- Basic science
- Early career researchers
Scientific working groups have a lead and deputy lead, with meetings held as determined by the working groups.
A clear and robust organizational structure can help all involved to act in the best interests of the Network. The principles of good governance are centered around accountability, transparency, responsibility, disclosure and organizational relationships among all stakeholders. For a Network, it is important the leadership of the Network is shared and does not depend on one person.
Success of a Network depends on leadership and governance, enabling the Network to function effectively, grow and become sustainable. A clear, transparent, and effective organizational structure can help establish the public image and credibility of an organization by exhibiting transparency, accountability, and responsibility.
The Network is the biggest asset of Penta, and it must be fully supported to achieve its potential.
3. Rationale for reviewing the organization of the Network
We want to ensure the Penta ID Network has the organizational structure in place to allow for flexible, collaborative, and effective working. The Network has grown steadily, with now more than 300 members, who are taking a more active role in leading priority areas and the science of the Network.
The reasons for reviewing the current structure of the Penta ID Network are outlined below:
- Need for transparency and accountability – The organizational structure of the Network is not clear to all Network members, Penta Foundation staff or partners. There is a lack of understanding around where decisions are made and by whom. A clear structure and decision-making process is needed to encourage Network Members to contribute and collaborate and ensure all voices are equally heard. This has been a top cited issue by Members in meetings and surveys over 2019-2021.
- Support structural growth – In recent years, the Penta Foundation with the support of the Penta ID Network has successfully procured a variety of funded projects, leading to an increase in responsibilities. To support these changes and growth, structural changes are needed around more formal reporting, accounting, and evaluation.
- Enabling Network communication – Network Members have reported that there is no clear route to input into Penta decision-making, strategy implementation, scientific working groups, new and ongoing projects, or activities. Reporting and communication lines need to be opened to allow for collaborative activity to take place.
- Reduce conflicts of interests – The Penta Foundation Board of Directors and Leaders of the Scientific Working Groups are frequently the same people, which has a potential impact on accountability, the ability to raise and resolve issues, track performance, and measure the impact of the Network.
- Facilitate the realization of the strategy – In 2020, the Penta Foundation launched its five-year strategy, centered around the development and strengthening of the Network, to ensure its sustainability for the future. To take this strategy forward, we need to support the Network and its members to commit time and resources by ensuring the appropriate structure is in place.
For the Penta ID Network to flourish, continue to grow and make a real difference to child health it is important to ensure that the Network is well-managed with clear transparent and accountable leadership and governance of its own. It is equally important to ensure the structure and procedures put in place do not create unnecessary bureaucracy and facilitate an efficient working culture.
4. Consultation on the organization of the Network
The Penta Foundation are opening this web-based consultation to all members of the Penta ID Network. We would like your feedback on the proposal for the new structure of the Penta ID Network.
To participate in this consultation, please review Section 2: Proposed new organization of the Penta ID Network document and submit your feedback using the online Consultation Feedback Form. The Consultation is open from 18 October to 8 November 2021.
Section 2: Proposed new organization of the Penta ID Network
1. Organization of the Network
The proposed structure for the Penta ID Network is outlined in the Figure below. A short description of the Board, Committees and Working Groups follows. Please review this document prior to providing feedback in the Consultation Feedback Form.
Figure 1: Proposed structure of the Penta ID Network
2. Description of Board, Committees and Working Groups
2.1 Board of Directors
The Board of Directors governs and oversees the affairs of the Penta Foundation and the Penta ID Network. It is responsible for providing overall policy and strategic direction to Penta. The Board provides the Network with strong and sustained leadership that supports the development and implementation of the workplan, safeguards and oversees assets and ensures they are applied to intended purposes in accordance with the overall strategy. The Board is working to expand and diversify membership by recruiting new members from different backgrounds.
- Meetings: Every two months online and bi-annually face to face
- Reporting: Annual report of Penta activities published
2.2 External Advisory Committee
An External Advisory Committee made up of independent globally recognized scientists, industrialists, patient advocates and other experts to provide advice to facilitate the strategic management of the Penta ID Network. The Committee would ensure relevance and rigour of the scientific strategy by benchmarking against the state of the art, ensure the research agenda addresses global health needs, encourage greater inclusion and transparency and supporting Network sustainability and expansion. Representation from diverse groups will help to create a vibrant culture for the Network to develop. This Committee will receive no compensation other than reasonable expenses.
- Meetings: Annual meetings
- Reporting: Annual report to the Board of Directors
2.3 Steering Committee
The Steering Committee provides an opportunity for working group leads from across all working groups with the opportunity to inform and discuss new developments, projects, initiatives, and coordinate activities across disciplines/clinical areas to eradicate silo working. The Committee aims to facilitate a coherent approach to new grant applications and projects, whilst ensuring the scientific rigour of applications, projects, programmes and activities undertaken by Penta. The Committee will communicate funding calls and proposals in development to the Board of Directors and review scientific findings to ensure these are used to advance knowledge. The Committee will be composed of working group leads who are not members of the Board of Directors. The Committee receives no compensation other than reasonable expenses.
- Meetings: Periodic meetings
- Reporting: Every six months to the Board of Directors
2.4 Working Groups
The Working Groups will include Members of the Penta ID Network who are working together to achieve specified goals, as defined in each working group’s strategy. Working groups are domain-specific and membership is multidisciplinary. Working groups coordinate their own activities and identify funding calls they wish to apply for and report this information to the Steering Committee. Each Working Group is chaired by a leader who is responsible for reporting on the group’s progress and is also accountable to its participants. Members of the Board of Directors may act as advisors to the working groups. New working groups may be developed as the need arises within the Network. The working groups receives no compensation other than reasonable expenses.
- Meetings: Determined by working groups (suggested quarterly)
- Reporting: Every 6 months to the Steering Committee
2.5 Penta Foundation Staff
The Penta Foundation staff group is headed by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), who are accountable to the Board of Directors. The SLT is supported by staff comprising both scientific and non-scientific personnel working collectively as a team. The staff group lead and coordinate Penta’s projects and activities and develop systems and policies to ensure efficiency and effectiveness across all activities and ensure these are on track to achieve the mission of Penta.
- Meetings: Bi-weekly staff meetings
- Reporting: Every 2 months to the Board of Directors
3. Expected benefits and outcomes
It is expected that implementation of the new Penta ID Network organizational structure will support:
- A clear governance structure of the Network
- Clearer reporting lines and decision-making processes
- More transparent and effective working and communication
- Reducing any apparent conflicts of interests between Groups
- Ability to track progress and monitor evaluate impact
- Opportunity for Network Member’s to grow professionally
- Opportunity for wider Network engagement
4. Completing the feedback form
We would be very grateful if you would participate in this consultation by completing the online Consultation Feedback Form by 12 November 2021.
All responses will be collated and presented to the Board of Directors to refine the organization of the Penta ID Network. We aim to implement changes to the Penta ID Network organization in early 2022.