Help is Coming for Half A Million Board Members of Community Organisations
New Zealand would not function without the tireless work of the more than 114,000 non-government organisations (NGOs), charities and community groups that operate across all sectors: caring for older people, fighting fires, surf lifesaving, and organising education, religion, sport and arts events are just some examples.
Click on the National Action Plan for Community Governance that was released today (further info below).
Research has consistently shown that the capability and capacity of boards and committees in the community sector is variable both across sectors and between regions. These governance roles are rewarding but can be difficult. Independent director and Chair of the Community Governance Steering Group, Mele Wendt knows that many in the community sector are facing unprecedented challenges and opportunities for innovation due to the repercussions of COVID-19. “Good governance in the community sector has never been so important as boards navigate the future of their organisations” she says.
COVID-19 has made the governance role even more demanding. The Time to Shine survey of 1400 community organisations found that a substantial majority of participants (74%) had experienced or were expecting reduced funding. Improving governance was one of the key areas identified to support the community sector navigate its future. In addressing this need the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) has been collaborating with the Community Governance Steering Group to develop a National Action Plan for Community Governance. The Plan presents a range of practical solutions to the pressures and opportunities that present themselves from a governance point of view across the community sector.
One hundred and fifty people contributed more than 1000 hours to co-design the actions that make up the Plan. Seven co-design sprints were held between March and June 2020: six that were focused on each of the six general outcome areas (outlined below) and a Māori governance sprint. From each sprint, two or three actions were identified and plans to put them into place were created. The collaboration process was managed by Zoom meetings and were mostly conducted during the lockdown period caused by COVID-19.
The National Action Plan has been developed around six outcome areas, which were commonly identified to boost community governance capability:
- All community governance group members will have basic governance skills.
- All community governance groups apply their basic skills.
- Everyone values community governance.
- There is a strong pipeline of diverse, talented community governors.
- Best practice in community governance is shared and enhanced.
- Effective Chairs are supported and have opportunities for development.
- All kaitiaki exhibit and role model the right behaviours
“The National Action Plan has been designed to be free of duplication and focuses on practical tools to amplify what the sector is already doing and to fill vital gaps. Every action in the plan has been created to address our shared goal that all community organisations are well governed” Jo Cribb, Programme Manager.
Implementation of the Plan has begun and is gaining momentum through a wide acceptance that the community sector needs governance support to drive innovation and strategic advice, through and post Covid 19.
“If Covid 19 has taught us anything, it is that together we are stronger. The community sector now has a renewed sense of togetherness fuelled by digital connectivity and a revitalised sense of value and purpose. With this action plan we will strengthen the sector to continue delivering vital services to the communities that depend on us” Jo Cribb concluded.