Rules or Constitution and Committee of Governance Meetings
The composition of the committee, meeting procedures, a definition of membership and other matters are prescribed in the organisation Constitution or Rules.
The organisation may also have other internal policies which guide the conduct of the committee. See below for examples of these documents including a sample constitution or set of rules specifically for neighbourhood houses. It is based on the Model Rules and fully compliant with all current requirements of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012.
For more on constitutions or rules visit the Not For Profit Law/Justice Connect website
Mission and Vision
The mission and/or purpose of an organisation shapes the nature of the organisation and the services, programs and activities provided. The mission and vision unite the focus and efforts of an organisation and define the outcomes to be achieved.
Clarity of roles and responsibilities for Committee of Governance Members and the Coordinator is vital to ensure a well functioning organisation.
Here are some templates that help define the key roles, levels of accountability and responsibility of the committee of governance members and the house manager. These examples can be modified to suit the specific needs of your organisation.
For more on the governance role of committees see Appendix 2 of the DHHS NH Coordination Program Guidelines on the DHHS website.
For a great summary of key areas of responsibility for commitees of governance see the Not For Profit Law information paper 'New to a board or committee'
Effective strategic planning is the key to providing the framework and focus for the energy and resources of the organisation.
The preparation of your strategic plan requires stakeholder consultation to ensure the plan reflects the needs of your community. Involvement of the Committee of Governance and key staff in the planning process can assist in buy in and increasing the effectiveness of your Committee through shared ownership of the strategic direction of the organisation and informed decision making.
Business planning is an important component of strategic planning. A good business plan details the expected income and expenditure for a given year that will be required to achieve the strategic goals of the organisation. A business plan will also identify a variety of factors that will influence financial outcomes for the organisation such as changing local demographics, new competitors, legislative and regulatory change.
Policies and Procedures
An effective organisation has relevant policies and procedures to embed and ensure compliance with statutory and legislative obligations.
Policies and procedures also support the fair and equitable treatment of all staff and house participants and consistency in practice. Policies and procedures guide key personnel in acceptable work and behavioural practices and decision making.
Here is a range of sample policies in the key areas of Finance, Staffing & Volunteers, Governance and Operations.
Staffing & Volunteers, Governance and Operations policies coming soon. Stay tuned!!
The Neighbourhood House Committee of Governance is the employer of the house staff. Usually the Committee delegates the responsibility for day to day staff management to the Coordinator or Manager. The committee and staff in the Neighbourhood House must comply with a range of industrial regulation and legislation.
All Neighbourhood Houses that signed on to a Neighbourhood House sector collective agreement must comply with the terms and conditions of that agreement.
NHACE Agreement 2008 (pdf, 278KB)
NHACE Agreement 2007 (pdf, 459KB)
Neighbourhood Houses not signed on to a NH sector collective agreement or where applicable, covered by their auspicing / managing organisation's agreement, are governed by the award system.
SCHCADS Award (pdf, 1MB)
For specialist community sector industrial relations and human resources management advice contact Jobs Australia.
Risk and Insurance
The identification and management of risk is a key role of the governance of an organisation.
The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) has a range of resources on risk management. Visit their website for FAQs, templates and other materials.
Neighbourhood Houses that receive Neighbourhood House Coordination Program (NHCP) Funding are provided a range of insurance policies by VMIA (Victorian Managed Insurance Authority). These include Public Liability cover. Visit the VMIA wesbite for further information on the Community Sector Organisation insurance program.
Some Neighbourhood Houses also need to organise building and contents insurance. If your building is leased or provided to you by another organisation such as local government or a church group, check with them first to see if you are already covered.
WorkCover insurance covers employers for the cost of benefits if employees are injured or become ill because of their work. It is compulsory for most Victorian employers including Neighbourhood House Committees of Governance.
Generally, you must have a WorkCover Insurance Policy if you employ workers and you expect to pay more than $7,500 a year in remuneration (this includes wages, benefits and superannuation).
For more information go to the WorkSafe website
Ongoing professional development for staff, volunteers and Committee of Governance members ensures key personnel have the skills, knowledge and experience to perform well in their roles.
NHVic runs a Professional Development Program specifically for Neighbourhood House committees and staff. Visit the NHVic website for details.