Governance Reform & Strengthening


Governance Templates Explained

The NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke, led a “Governance Workshop” at the 2015 NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM held in Terrigal. This Workshop was very well attended.

The Chairperson spoke to hard copies of Discussion documents that had been provided to all Delegates and Observers who attended the Members’ Conference.  These were a template, de-identified ACCHO Constitution for incorporation under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), and a complementary template de-identified Charter of Corporate Governance for ACCHOs.

Delegates from ACCHOs engaged in a spirited and informed discussion about a range of governance issues and welcomed the thrust for governance reform.  They wanted the hard copy documents distributed as e-copies.  The NACCHO Chairperson did so via email to all NACCHO Members in early January 2016.

This presents our analysis of current best practice.  The Constitution proposes a set of “Objects” that we believe are relevant to ACCHOs in the contemporary operating environment of competition from other providers and changes/reforms in the primary health care system, as well as in aged care, mental health and disabilities. The Constitution includes provisions that aim to reduce the risk of common causes of governance failures.  NACCHO’s Secretariat is willing to assist any Member Service that would like to transition its incorporation under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

This complements the template Constitution.  It spells out useful guidelines and rules relating to how Boards work, roles and responsibilities of key office bearers, a Code of Conduct that addresses appropriate behaviours of Directors and conflicts of interest,  relationships between the Board and the CEO, the roles and functions of a Company Secretary, and productivity improvements to enhance the quality and effectiveness of Board meetings.

At the request of NACCHO Members at Terrigal, NACCHO is also working on a “cultural governance framework” to complement these two template documents, to ensure that the values and characteristics of Aboriginal Community Control are adequately reflected in the corporate governance processes of our Sector.

Strengthening Governance through Constitutional Reform should be reinforced by periodic review of each ACCHO’s supporting Policies and Procedures.  Accordingly, NACCHO’s Secretariat has been working to develop ‘best practice’ template, de-identified Finance and Human Resources Policy and Procedures Manuals.  These were also circulated to all NACCHO Members by email by the NACCHO Chairperson early in January 2016.

Now they also are on the NACCHO website.

NACCHO has drawn upon experience from several jurisdictions over the years to generate this Manual, which we believe presents a comprehensive, best practice guide that ACCHOs could review, and then make their own choices to adopt, adapt or put aside.  What we have presented is hopefully a useful, comprehensive guide that can assist with your own ACCHO’s organisation continuous quality improvement. The template identifies where your own ACCHO can change the names/positions of staff accountable for approving/authorising/ implementing particular policies or procedures.

NACCHO has once again drawn upon experience from several jurisdictions over the years to generate this Manual, and we have highlighted clauses and sections within clauses where individual state/territory legislation will need to be reflected for jurisdictional-specific accuracy.  Arrangements between the ACCHOs as an employer and the employees of an ACCHO will of course vary widely, so what we have presented is hopefully a useful, comprehensive guide that can assist with your own ACCHO’s organisation continuous quality improvement.