The instructions in the handbooks are fairly clear. There is a proposed organization of the family history work in the Ward based around the functions of the Ward Council. Unlike the Ward Mission Leader, the Ward Family History Consultant or in some cases, Consultants, work with and through the High Priest Group Leader. Since the Family History Consultants do not participate in the Ward Council, they rely entirely upon the High Priest Group Leader, with input from the Bishop and the rest of the Ward Council to direct the Family History work in the Ward.
There is new training for the High Priest Group Leader on LDS.org Essentially, the High Priest Group Leader coordinates the Ward Council's efforts to encourage temple and family history work in the ward. He should also direct the work of the Consultants. OK, so now we have two parts of the Ward Family History effort that rely on the direct involvement of the High Priest Group Leader in the program. It is the responsibility of the High Priest Group Leader to facilitate discussions in Ward Council about the Family History work and he is accountable to the Bishop. It is up to the High Priest Group Leader to work with the Ward Council to develop a plan for implementing family history support activities in the Ward and teach and direct the Ward Family History Consultants.
Key to this whole organization is the direct involvement of the High Priest Group Leader in family history. Here is where I see the program failing to function as I travel around the country and visit various Wards. Even if there is an active Family History Consultant (or even more than one) in the Ward, I have yet to meet a High Priest Group Leader who was personally involved in family history. I am sure they exist, but I have yet to meet one. I have probably been to eight or ten different Wards in the past year or so. In every case, I have asked directly about the status of Family History in the Ward. Most commonly, the answer is that "we are not holding a family history class right now." This tells me that the High Priest Group Leader and the rest of the Ward leaders have not been trained. Family History work in the Ward is far more than simply "holding a class" during Sunday School time. If you watch the instructional videos, you will soon see how different the program is supposed to function from the reality in many Wards.
One of the major challenges from the standpoint of the Ward Family History Consultants is the perception that they need to have a "classroom" or better yet, a computer center, to carry on their work. I have seen one or two Wards that have relied on laptop computers brought into the meetings by the members and set up in any available space. I have heard of Stake Leaders refusing to allow the Family History Consultants any space to function. In short, Family History is place at the absolute bottom of the priorities in the Ward. Family History is facilitated by having a dedicated Family History Center, but that is not essential. The program should be taken to the members in their homes or other convenient locations and not have the members attend another class on the program. Family History work in the Ward is essentially mentoring, not just or only classroom teaching.
The way Family History work is laid out in the handbooks and online is inspired and should lead to a dramatic increase in family history activity in the Wards. I see Wards that are struggling to provide meaningful callings to all of their members when they do not have any family history activity to speak of. Here is a link to a video that illustrates what I am writing about.
Family History work, including Temple work, is not "just one more thing" added onto the High Priest Group Leaders full plate of activities. It is the core of his responsibility. Many of the other problems and challenges, including missionary work, will go more smoothly with a functioning family history program in the Ward. But the key to this happening is a fully functional High Priest Group Leader who captures the vision of the importance of family history and becomes personally involved.