Effective governance and management 2015-2016

Effective governance by a well-informed Board

The Board continues to foster a practice of reflection and learning. The TU participated in the Australian Association Benchmarking Survey. The results from this self-assessment are benchmarked against an average Australian Association. The TU scored a high 174 which is well above the average Australian Association score of 124.

The Board also held an external facilitated review day in January. This was a day devoted to self-evaluation and planning. Initiatives developed from this process include the development of board Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), implementation of a cloud-based information sharing system for board members, strategies
for stakeholder engagement and agenda revision to facilitate ‘big picture’ discussion.

In collaboration with staff the Board also endorsed and published a new strategic plan for the TU covering the period 2016-2019. The 3 priority areas are:

  • Effectively communicate and strategically deploy our organisational identities
  • Build a constituency for change in tenant law and practice within the context of social justice
  • Create a strong, viable and sustainable organisation

The Board received a comprehensive report against the previous strategic plan in August 2015 and February 2016 and bi-monthly office reports. The Board continues to indicate its satisfaction with the information it receives.

Financial solvency and risk management

The Board Finance Committee met 10 times this year. Comprehensive regular financial reports were provided to the Finance Committee and the Board. The Finance Committee commissioned a paper on fundraising options and successfully applied for fundraising status.

Possible financial risks continue to be identified and mitigation strategies put in place.

Implications of the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) payment is monitored to ensure compliance.

We continue to regularly monitor our Risk Management Plan and updated it this year.

In a tightening financial environment we implemented cost saving measures including participating in bulk buying schemes for off-site storage and stationery purchases.

Best practice polices and procedures

We continue to review and update our polices and procedures in the light of changes to laws, regulations and best practice in the not-for-profit sector. We are 100 per cent compliant with the NACLC Accreditation Standards and maintain our Registered Training Organisation status.

Our Strategic Technology Officer continues to ensure that staff have access to IT resources that support our work internally and externally. We upgraded our electronic mail and calendar system.

We also continue to provide a remote locum service to regional TAAS.

The Board has begun a process of reviewing the TU’s current governance structure with the view to making a recommendation for change to members in 2017.

Regular performance monitoring

Our fortnightly staff meetings continue to be an effective mechanism for regular review of the organisational performance as a whole.

Staff receive monthly supervision and an annual performance appraisal based on their work plans.

Staff learning and development

We are committed to ensuring that our staff undertake learning and development that enhances our effectiveness as an organisation and effectiveness with working with tenants and our stakeholders.

Over the year staff attended training on topics including:

  • Advocacy Strategies
  • Compliance Requirements Affecting Blended/Online Learning
  • Discrimination and Employment Law
  • Estate Planning – Discretionary Trusts, Companies and Powers of Attorney (Substantive Law)
  • Housing Capital in the 21st century
  • Housing economics for non-economists
  • How to write an opinion column
  • Leadership
  • Legal ethics
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Older women and homelessness
  • Planning for non-planners
  • Practical steps to make mediation
  • effective and more cost effective
  • Project management
  • Strata Law Reforms
  • Strategy Workshop on Organising
  • Supervision of Legal Services
  • Supporting Aboriginal people in the
  • Justice System
  • UK Bedroom Tax
  • User Experience Design

TU staff also attended conferences & seminars:

  • CLCNSW Quarterlies
  • National CLC Conference
  • NCOSS Festival for Civil Society

Cultural Safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and clients.

The TU works to achieve cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The TU takes cultural safety to mean ‘an environment that is spiritually, socially and emotionally safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge of denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of learning together’.

We adopted our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety Policy in February 2016. We continue to take actions to implement the policy.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan is being finalised through extensive consultation with our Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the Koori TAASs. The artworks done for us by Pauline Syron Coxson and Laurance Magik Denis (Millmullian) graces the TU office walls, and digital versions have been used in our publications including
this Annual Report.

We annually hold Sorry Day and NAIDOC Week events for all staff, and prioritise Aboriginal organisations in procurement of services.


> TU Annual Report 2015-2016 contents