WHAT IS A BOARD?
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF BOARDS?
Board members are “custodians” of an organisation on behalf of its members and stakeholders. It’s not the job of the board to run or manage the organisation. The board’s role is to focus on the vision, mission, values and strategic plan -- in essence, what the organisation stands for, rather than what the organisation does. The board makes sure an organisation stays focused on its purpose, meets its funding requirements and is protected by overseeing financial and legal requirements. The difference between governance and management is sometimes described as being like steering a boat vs rowing it and the role of the board is to have "noses in, fingers out".
WHAT SORT OF ORGANISATIONS HAVE BOARDS?
All incorporated bodies have boards -- even Westpac, NRMA and the like. Here are some community organisations governed by boards that people who use drugs may be interested in:
Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP)
Positive Life (for people who are HIV positive)
ACON (LGBTI health organisation)
The Gender Centre (caring for transgender and gender diverse people)
Phoebe House (rehab for women and children)
WHAT KIND OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS ARE NUAA LOOKING FOR?
We’re looking for peers who may currently use drugs or have used drugs in the past, and others who support NUAA’s aims and objectives. We want people who are passionate, and willing to participate in governance. People with special skills are very welcome. The NUAA Board includes experts such as lawyers, accountants, educators, researchers and administrators. NUAA Board members have come from a variety of backgrounds but lived experience, dedication to NUAA’s goals and a willingness to get stuck in and work are huge assets
NUAA members who have no experience with Boards or administration, but are keen to learn, are invited to become involved and gain new skills in becoming an effective Board member.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO COMMIT TO?
You are elected to the NUAA Board of Governance for a period of one year but may be re-elected as often as NUAA members vote for you. The NUAA Board meets monthly for 2-3 hours at the NUAA offices in Surry Hills. It is estimated that realistically, attending the monthly board meetings, plus sitting on working parties, attending events at NUAA or on behalf of NUAA and reading documents to prepare for meetings probably works out at about 2 hours per week. You may have a larger workload if you hold a position like Chair, Secretary or Treasurer.
HOW ARE NUAA BOARD MEMBERS CHOSEN?
Nomination papers are sent out with the AGM papers every spring. Using that form, NUAA member can nominate themselves or a NUAA member can nominate another member if the person agrees. Another member must support or “second” the nomination.
Nominees then attend the AGM and speak about why they should be on the board. Members at the AGM then endorse the board or take part in a vote if there are more nominations than there are positions.
Board positions like Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are then decided based on skills and experience by the elected board at their first meeting.