Governance & the Role of the Board

The Board is the sole supervisory body of Family Life (the ‘Agency’) operating under the rules of the Constitution.  The agency is a non-profit, Company Limited by Guarantee governed by a voluntary Board.

Family Life knows the importance of a strong board, and has worked hard to achieve a balance of experienced and new board members, seeking board members who can offer diverse skills, experience and knowledge to the organisation.

The Department of Human Services website features a case study on Family Life – Strong Board underpins growth for Family Life.  The case study can be found here.

Governance model

The Family Life Board operates to the following corporate governance model:

  • Constitution and governance charter
  • Defining governance roles
  • Improving Board process
  • Continuous improvement

Key Board functions

The Constitution gives power to the Board to:

  • Control and manage the business affairs of the Company.
  • Perform all such acts and things as appear to the Board to be essential for the proper management of the business of the Company.
  • Exercise all such powers and functions as may be exercised by the Company.

The Role of the Board

In essence, the principal role of the Board is to:

  • Give vision and leadership to the Agency
  • Review and maintain the Agency mission
  • Formulate policies for the community service of Family Life
  • Ensure that these policies are delivered efficiently and effectively
  • Maintain an overall control of the operation of Family Life, including ensuring financial management and viability.
  • In performing these roles, the Board must be mindful of the accountability requirements of funding bodies including state and federal governments.

The Board Structure

The Board comprise a minimum of nine and a maximum of 13 Board members.

Board members are nominated and appointed for the expertise they can bring to the Agency, with this expertise then directed through the sub-board structure.

A succession planning strategy is in place to enrol expertise through the sub-board structure and occasional working groups.

The appointment and termination of Board members and the proceedings at Board meetings are well defined in the Constitution.

The following terms of the Constitution are relevant for particular mention:

  • A person appointed to a casual vacancy of the Board shall be a member of the Company
  • The quorum at a meeting of the Board is one half of the members of the Board in office, including at least one office bearer
  • The Board shall meet at least three times in each year at such places and such times as the Board may determine
  • The Chairperson or any three Board members may at any time summon a meeting of the Board
  • Current practice is for the Board to meet monthly
  • The office bearers comprise a Chairperson, two Vice-Chairpersons, a Secretary and a Treasurer.  The role of each office bearer is described in the Constitution in rather broad terms and in a manner consistent with positions held in other similar organisations.

Criteria for Board eligibility includes:

  • Membership of Family Life
  • Evidence of commitment to the mission and strategic directions of the organisation
  • Capacity to commit the time and resources needed for high engagement
  • Profile in the communities served by the Agency
  • Signed commitment to the Agency code of ethics

Skills Mix

The Board seeks to ensure that its membership includes a relevant mix of skills and experience in the law, government, finance, welfare, technology and community.

For additional details about the Board including their tenure, duties and responsibilities, please click here to see the Family Life Constitution.