Governance is the thinking, planning and purpose of an organisation. It is the transparent leadership directing your organisation's culture and vision. Good governance does not always guarantee success, however poor governance will lead to failure.
Incorporation | Constitution | Bylaws or regulations | Policies | Child safeguarding | Planning
When a group becomes incorporated, it becomes a separate legal entity which is able to do things in its own name and relieves the members of the committee and the club from liability for authorised acts of the club. This is one of the foremost protection devices available to clubs. Noting that incorporation does not prevent actions of negligence against individual members in all circumstances.
Benefits of incorporating
Incorporation provides protection to individual members in certain situations and gives your organisation the right to;
- Sign contracts
- Lease premises
- Operate bank accounts
- Receive grant monies from Local and Federal government
What is a constitution?
A constitution is a basic set of rules for the daily and long term running of your club or group. It details the name, objects, methods of management and other conditions under which your club or group operates. It also provides members and non-members the club’s purpose and values in which it seeks to uphold. A constitution is required to become an incorporated club/group.
Why do we need a constitution?
- Explain to members and non-members what your group is about
- Provide guidelines for the daily running of your group
- Help to sort out internal problems
- Are a legal necessity if your group wishes to become incorporated
- Can help in seeking resources from other organisations, such as a government agency
By-laws or regulations
Game or competition rules
- Sit beneath the constitution
- Must not contradict the constitution
- Are not law and can be changed by the committee as per constitution instructions
- May include finer details of club management policies.
- Sit beneath the constitution and the by-laws
- Must not contradict the by-laws or constitution
- Can be changed to suit the season, age group, special needs, adapted games, special competitions, etc. (as per constitution instructions)
- Check with your SSA or local Association, they may already have game or competition rules in place that you can also adapt
- Policies are useful to use as support documents for managing day to day issues.
- A Member Protection policy is an important and core document that acts as a backbone and links to various other policies.
- State and National Bodies will have a selection of policies that your club can use or adapt.
Everyone can play a part in keeping children safe whilst having fun and getting active in their community. It is essential everyone involved with delivering sport understands the important legal and governance responsibilities they have in relation to child safety. This includes boards, committees, administrators, volunteers, coaches, parents and participants. There should be a zero tolerance for any behaviour that puts the well-being of children and young people at risk.
Child safety is not just about Working with Children checks but also ensuring that simple steps are taken to create a safe, fun environment that protects both children and volunteers. Child safe organisations embed child safety into leadership and culture, actively involve children and families and have many measures in place to safeguard children. It's important for clubs to check:
Australia held a Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013-2017, which included sport and recreation organisations. The Commission identified 10 elements of a child safe organisation:
- Child safety is embedded in sport club leadership, governance and culture
- Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
- Families and communities are informed and involved
- Equity is promoted and diversity respected
- People working with children are suitable and supported
- Processes to respond to complaints of child sexual abuse are child focused
- Staff and volunteers are continually trained and educated
- Physical and online environments minimise opportunities for abuse to occur
- Child safe standards are continually improved and reviewed
- Policies and procedures document how your sport organisation is child safe.
* When it comes to policy, it's important for clubs to check Child safe standards that may be required in your state or territory. Currently there are national child safe principles developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission and there are also child safe standards and principles in other states and territories.
Check your specific state or territory information here: Play by the rules WA laws
More information and ideas to assist your club can be found here: Play by the rules/childsafeguarding
Planning is the key to the future for all sporting and recreation clubs within their respective committees, and a club plan is an important tool that can assist financial sustainability, meeting and identifying new strategic objectives whilst playing an important role in facility development.
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic Planning for sporting clubs or organisations is:
A way to gain consensus – sharing and working towards a vision for the future which can develop cohesion amongst members
A tool which enables club members to focus on specific outcomes
A tool that allows and encourages an opportunity for ownership by the club
An opportunity for development of the club’s purpose and autonomy
A dynamic and ongoing process where goals are ‘time framed’ to ensure a sense of achievement
An avenue for the club to define its challenges and prepare to address them
A management tool to be used for effective interaction with external bodies.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is simply the strategy to achieve the ‘business’ objectives of the organisation. A business plan prepared for the club will need to include evidence of potential income generation. The business plan should clearly identify all the important facts about the organisation, its history, the current financial position, the objectives and the ‘business’ activities to be undertaken.
A club may undertake a business plan for a range of purposes. For example: