Governance Manual

The Need for Good Governance

Good Governance, two little words full of meaning that should be at the heart of all the work undertaken by your board/committee and your subcommittees. The Good Governance Health Check guides users through the essential concepts, principles and activities needed to ensure a healthy and productive organisation.

Most incorporated Associations are small, volunteer-driven organisations, with limited resources and in need of practical guidance to meet the many challenges of the modern not-for-profit environment. The Health Check contained within this Handbook will give you a snapshot of your Association’s governance health status and will identify areas where improvement is needed.

Levels of understanding and familiarity will vary amongst your board members according to the purpose, structure, scale and sophistication of your organisation, but the Health Check can be applied to any incorporated entity. And – to help you work smarter not harder – we’ve included a Toolbox full of simple tips, techniques, templates and examples to help your organisation on its governance journey.

The Handbook is divided into 11 sections, starting with the big picture and moving through the detail of specific areas of operation. Each section contains Questions and Toolbox tips, techniques and examples. Carefully read each question and the explanation. If you can confidently answer “yes”, then tick the box. If the answer is “no” or you don’t know, then leave it blank for now.

You’ll get most value from the Good Governance Health Check if you’re completely honest. Most questions are objective – they ask for evidence of something factual or tangible. When the question asks if you have a particular plan or policy or procedure, only say yes if you can actually put your hands on an example or on the finished item. Some questions are subjective – they ask for an opinion or perception. Glossing over problem areas puts your organisation at further risk and means you miss out on important opportunities to diagnose issues and work out solutions. Honesty is the best policy!

After you’ve answered all the questions for that section, review your answers. If you find blank check boxes then you have the start of your Good Governance To Do list. It’s simple! Good Governance is complex, but the step-by-step Health Check breaks it down into bite size chunks and makes it do-able. At the end of each section you’ll find the Toolbox. It contains tips, techniques and examples relevant to that particular topic. You can work through the Checklist and Toolbox one section at a time or you can come back to the Toolbox after you’ve answered all the questions in all sections.

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