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ADVICE AND SUPPORT

Providing advice and support for Coordinators and Committees/Boards is a major part of the Network and Network Coordinator's role. This can be simply an accessible, friendly voice on the other end of the phone to help unpack an issue, through to targeted support if a neighbourhood house runs into difficulty.

General governance and operational advice and support

The Network Coordinator provides general governance and management advice and support. This will vary with each neighbourhood house and might include:

  • providing examples of policies and procedures

  • linking staff and/or committee members of neighbourhood houses with similar programs/challenges

  • providing links to information about particular topics

  • advice on community development activity

The Network does not provide Industrial Relations, Workplace Health and Safety, or legal advice. However, information about relevant organisations and agencies working in those areas can be provided if required.

Governance orientation and support

The Network Coordinator provides a sector orientation to new and existing committees and boards, as well as general governance advice and information.

 

Orientation includes:

  • information about the Network and what it offers

  • information about the neighbourhood house sector

  • compliance requirements

  • roles and responsibilities of the committee/board of governance

​This can be done at a regular committee/board meeting, or at a separate session. More targeted governance training can also be provided.

 

The Network Coordinator also assists committees/boards with developing good governance processes, attending committee/board meetings if required.

Governance training

As we know, good governance is critical to the success of any Neighbourhood House. When the governance isn't working well, at best it adds little or no value to the House activity; at worst it presents a significant risk to the ongoing operations of the House, and can be its downfall. How well does your committee/board function? Do you feel that you work well together and add value collectively to your organisation? Or are you just a 'rubber stamp'?

 

The Network can deliver governance training that builds on the basic information provided in the Governance Orientation, and provides the opportunity for discussion about issues the committee/board may be facing, and collective problem solving. It is an opportunity for more experienced committee/board members to share their wisdom, and also hear about the challenges of coming onto the committee/board with little or no governance background.

Training will be based around the principles of good governance for NFPs​, and tailored to your needs.

 

The Network cannot offer mediation or conflict resolution for committees/boards; however, links to relevant resources can be provided. 

Orientation and support for new Coordinators

The Neighbourhood House Coordinator role is diverse and complex. People new to the position usually find that it takes at least 12 months to feel like they know what they are doing! 

 

The Network provides support to new Coordinators, including an Orientation Handbook. The Network Coordinator will meet with you as required. Where possible (and wanted), new Coordinators are linked to an experienced Coordinator from one of the other neighbourhood houses in the Network.

New Coordinators are encouraged to attend Network meetings and workshops to help them forge links with the other Neighbourhood Houses in their region.

Strategic and risk planning

The Network provides Strategic Planning workshops for boards and committees. Network Coordinator, Trish Curtis, is experienced in strategic and business planning, and has worked with a number of Neighbourhood Houses, Learn Locals and other organisations to develop their strategic direction and plans. 

Good risk planning and management is essential to any Neighbourhood House, but is an area that is sometimes overlooked or avoided. Many organisations focus on the operational risks, such as worker safety, but don't consider and plan for the organisational risks, such as loss of funding.

The Network provides a basic risk planning workshop that will assist Committees/Boards and management in assessing the organisational 'risk appetite', identify the key elements for a useful Risk Policy, and identify the key organisational risks.

Chair Forums

Chair Forums are run online every six weeks in partnership with our neighbouring Network, the Goulburn North East Association of Community Centres (GNEACC).

 

These Forums are a way for chairs and other committee members to meet with their colleagues from other neighbourhood houses across the Hume Region, share challenges and issues, and develop networks and supports at a local level. They also get an update on what's happening at a state-wide level from the Network Coordinators.

Professional development

The Network organises and runs some professional development throughout the year. This includes a basic financial workshop for committees, and Cultural Competency training, both of which are demand dependent. We also link members to the wide range of professional development offered by other organisations, including Our Community, Justice Connect, NHVic and BoardPro.

Monthly newsletter

The Network emails out a newsletter at the beginning of each month to Coordinators, Chairs and a range of stakeholders. The newsletter includes news about the activity of our members, governance information, links to useful resources, and ideas and innovations. One of the aims of the newsletter is to highlight to a broader audience the work our members are doing in their local communities, and how neighbourhood houses are contributing to community building and resilience.

Network members are encouraged to submit articles about programs, projects and other activities they are running at their neighbourhood house.

Financial Health Checks

The Network offers a Financial Health Check which runs through a series of ratios and measures using your annual audited financial reports (as presented at your AGM). The check highlights areas that might need some follow up and additional information, and also identifies any 'red flags'. The check is completely confidential, and the results are discussed only with the Coordinator and/or committee members.

Coordinator recruitment assistance

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ADVOCACY AND COLLABORATION

NETWORK-WIDE PROJECTS

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