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Collective or Super Governance


Collective or Super Governance

The emergence of initiatives such as the Integrated Family Health Centre and the new Auckland Governance structure have the potential to achieve efficiencies within the organisations as well as to bring improved services to the constituents they serve. The devolving and reshaping of the current structure will take time and I am sure there will be considerable debate and differing views expressed as each initiative is advanced.

The structure of the new governing bodies that will be formed to oversee such initiatives is going to be critical to the success of each.

This term “Collective or Super Governance” is being used. It could imply selecting people already serving on boards under the current structure. It could also imply the responsibility for the wider range of activities and the overseeing of a much larger organisation. Whatever the meaning the shaping of the governance team and the forming of the Board will play a vital role.

A quick survey on suggests that the so called “Old Boys Network” is alive and well. That’s worrying. Why because the appointment of directors/trustees to these new boards brings with the appointment considerably more responsibility than before. It calls for a team of independent professionals, people whose ‘collective wisdom’ is extensive.

Board members need therefore to be selected on the basis of the contribution they can make, not only on the networks they have. Competencies, skill-sets, experience and experts of each and every candidate will require careful vetting and balancing.

So often in the past we have seen more than one accountant or lawyer on a board without other specialist fields represented. The composition of these new and very powerful boards needs to reflect the various disciplines associated with the strategic intent of each organisation and if there are areas that need strengthening the Board should have the right to co-opt an appropriate person. So often the number of directors is set in concrete in the founding document rather than after considering the abilities of the collective team. More importantly the appointment of the Chair and his or her ability to facilitate meetings, to consistently communicate with the shareholders and stakeholders, and to act as the face of the organisation calls for a person dedicated to the cause.

Lets hope these ‘Super’ boards will embrace the key principals of governance and ‘lift the veil of mystic’ that so often shrouds their activities, and in doing so see them adopt an open communication policy where stakeholders and the public feel well informed and begin building a high degree of confidence and trust with the Board and with its aims and objectives.