Governance and Member Support Initiative in the ACCH Sector

The Sector Governance Network

The network met in Adelaide on 18-19 April and over the two days considered;

1. The history of establishing this initiative

2. Overview of the proposed work plan

3. A presentation from Linda Powell, OATSIH first assistant Secretary

4. Affiliate Governance Member Support

5. Governance Training and development

6. National Principles and Guidelines on Good Governance

The following key National Principles and Guidelines on Good Governance are currently under consideration by the network and will be the platform on which this project is built;

Principle 1.
An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by formally recognising the principles of community control over the supply of services delivered by the organisation to the community.

Principle 2.

An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by understanding their role – what they are responsible for and what they have to do.

Principle 3.
An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by making sure the organisation does what it has been set up to do.

Principle 4.
An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by working effectively both as individuals and as a team.

Principle 5.
An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by exercising effective control.

Principle 6.
An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by behaving with integrity – showing their honesty and having strong ethical principles.

Principle 7.
An effective Board will provide good governance and leadership by being open and accountable.

 Future communiqués

Over the next few months we will be bringing NACCHO members up to date with this initiative.

NACCHO has advertised for a National Governance Project Officer and hopefully have that person on board by the end of May

Download Job Description

Background to project

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, requested that the Capacity Development Branch of the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) establish a Governance Enhancement Working Group in late 2010.

At the first meeting in December 2010, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health (ACCH) representatives proposed that NACCHO undertake a governance Scoping Study to guide future Working Group discussions. They suggested that the study could be the initial phase of an overall ACCH sector-wide and led Governance Enhancement Initiative.

NACCHO submitted a proposal for the Governance Scoping Study in late December and were commissioned to proceed with it by the Capacity Development Branch of OATSIH in January 2011. The aim of the study was to identify existing “models” of good practice in governance within the ACCH Sector.

The final report was submitted to OATISIH on February 22, 2011, having gained ACCH Sector endorsement. It was subsequently presented and discussed at the second Governance Enhancement Working Group meeting on February 28, 2011 in Brisbane.

The study identified clear and multiple examples of good practice in governance in ACCH organisations.

They were organised into overarching elements of good practice and components of good practice in relation to seven specific Board operation

 It also outlined what contributed to and detracted from the implementation and maintenance of good practice in governance in the ACCH Sector.

 It was clear that enhancing good governance in the ACCH Sector needs to occur within a more conducive and supportive environment to ensure that existing good practice occurs more consistently within and across ACCH organisations.

This environment would be characterised by sector-wide coordination of a proactive approach that was core-funded, and based on collaboration, early identification of concerns and sector-determined intervention strategies to support and strengthen organisations.

The report outlined the following five recommendations that would ensure this occurred :

Recommendation 1 – Policy, legal and funding reform: Policy flexibility is required to enable legal and funding reform at the highest level that creates a more conducive and supportive environment for enhancing good practice in governance.

Recommendation 2 – Core funding for Governance and Member Support: OATSIH needs to commit funding to establish and maintain Governance and Member Support  in each NACCHO Affiliate that:

–          Offers within Sector specialist expertise in governance

–          Has a discretionary budget that enables Affiliates to engage relevant and high quality external support on a needs-basis

–          Can negotiate access to OATSIH panel, but have exemption regarding procurement.

Recommendation 3 – The role of NACCHO: NACCHO’s role is to lobby and negotiate for policy reform, facilitate partnerships that contribute to governance enhancement in the Sector and coordinate a Sector Governance Network involving all Affiliates; this work needs to be appropriately resourced.

Recommendation 4 – Good governance guiding principles for the ACCH Sector: The ACCH Sector needs to be resourced to create a national set of guiding principles for good governance in the Sector.

Recommendation 5 – An ACCH Sector governance training unit: The ACCH Sector needs to be resourced to establish an ACCH Sector governance training unit that strengthens the governance capacity of local communities.

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