Review of Agency Governance and Function
Nucleus has been retained by numerous government and non-government organisations to review structure, composition and function of Boards and Committees of Management. Tasks have generally included establishment of roles and responsibilities for directors and managers, clarification of operating policies and procedures, reporting regimes, risk management and monitoring standards and critical indicators of organisational performance.
Nucleus is regularly retained by Boards from across the community sector to develop and run training in key areas of governance function. Popular topics have included Good Governance, Strategic Planning, Stakeholder Engagement, Financial Assessment and Management, Quality and Risk Management, and Partnerships and Strategic Alliances. Training programs and content are tailored to specific needs at each agency and where requested follow up provided to consolidate learning and practice change.
Nucleus has been engaged by numerous Boards to provide advice on matters including acquisitions, mergers or service divestment. Examples have included:
- Market assessment, risk and financial analysis of the establishment of a new private hospital for Healthscope Limited
- Establishment of a new national peak body to represent the interests of all sectors within the Deaf and hearing impaired community
- Sale of a commercial business operated under the auspices of a major charity
- Establishing the feasibility of a merger between organisations to generate economies of scale
- Decommissioning non-core services and transitioning clients to more appropriate providers.
Board and Executive Mentoring
One-on-one or small group mentoring (for Board Presidents, Treasurers, CEOs or senior executives) provides support for individuals critical to the success of an organisation. Nucleus offers a specialised mentoring service, each assignment specifically tailored with clear goals in line with the aspirations of the individual and the organisation’s strategic direction and operational priorities. The benefits of mentoring can include building confidence and enhancing leadership skills and performance, fast tracking achievements against the strategic plan, developing talent, increasing retention of key people, and/or managing succession in a structured way.
Development of a Good Governance Guide and a Governance Tool Kit
Development of a kit to provide small to medium sized voluntary groups and committees with a series of checklists for important areas of good governance. The kit provides essential information on how to effectively govern small organisations so they can deliver more successful programs and address any issues which may arise. Components of the kit include key governance policies and procedures, a governance operating model, director position descriptions, board skills audit, induction programs and governance effectiveness evaluation.
Nucleus has undertaken executive recruitment for a number of agencies, usually at the CEO, CFO or service management levels. Tasks that may be included in recruitment assignments include development of position and person descriptions; applicant briefing packages; advertisements and/or executive search; short listing and interviewing; negotiation of remuneration package; and development of KPIs and a performance review framework. Nucleus prides itself on finding the ideal candidate, not only in terms of expertise and skills but also in terms of philosophical framework, commitment to the agency and shared values. This is achieved through comprehensive research prior to commencement of search and rigorous evaluation of candidates. A thorough understanding of the relevant sector is vital to ensure the best match between employee and employer.
Risk Management Plans
To ensure sustainability and delivery against strategic plans, many Boards develop risk management plans as a key tool in governance function. Nucleus has been engaged to develop risk management plans for a number of agencies, with critical content including regulatory compliance, business continuity, financial capacity, reputation, service configuration and operational standards. All plans prepared by Nucleus include monitoring schedules, risk response options and contingency actions.
Partnerships and Memoranda of Understanding
Partnerships are increasingly seen as ways to extend influence and multiply impact. Nucleus has worked with a range of organisations to develop or cement partnerships including:
- In recognition of the need to increase effectiveness of international development activities which focus specifically on people with disability, CBM Australia and the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne formed a partnership to focus on operational research and capacity development in overseas countries. Shortly after formation, the partnership experienced significant growth and Nucleus was appointed to develop a formal governance structure to underpin ongoing sustainability.
- The City of Melbourne appointed Nucleus to develop a governance and management structure for the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre. The structure needed to reflect the strong sense of community ownership in the Centre, the interests of co-located services (eg maternal and child health) and Council’s responsibilities as the property owner.
Board Recruitment Service
Nucleus designed and implemented a pilot project to engage professional associations (e.g. the NSW Law Society) in offering their members an opportunity to serve on the Board of an NGO. A review of Board structure and function was undertaken at participating NGOs and requisite skills/experience identified. Then, in a limited exercise, over 100 applications were secured from specific business disciplines, screened against requirements and where appropriate placed into a participating organisation. The project also involved research to increase understanding of ways to improve the effectiveness of Board member recruitment within the community sector and examine scope for an external professional recruitment service.