AUSTRALIAN TRACK AND FIELD COACHES ASSOCIATION (ATFCA) GOVERNANCE POLICY
In developing this policy document, guidance has been taken from the following publications:
- “OECD Principles of Corporate Governance”, a publication published in 2004 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is recognised from within the international business community as world’s best practice. (Australia is a member of the OECD.)
- Australian Standard AS 8000 – 2003 “Good Governance Principles” which pre-dates the updated guidelines above, but is still consistent with that document.
- Australian and New Zealand Handbook HB 248:2010 “Guidelines for managing risk in sport and recreation organizations”, which provides updated guidance within an Appendix that is consistent with the above two documents.
While we have not used material from the Australian Sports Commission Guidelines “Sports Governance Principles, March 2012, this policy is not inconsistent with the general principles outlined in that document.
Those responsible for the governance of a sporting organisation hold that position in trust on behalf of their members and are expected both in law and in good conscience to apply ‘best practice’ in their endeavours.
Governance is the system by which organisations are directed, controlled and held to account. It encompasses the authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control, which is exercised within the organisation. Its main purpose is to improve the overall performance of an organisation for the benefit of its members.
Governance can be good or bad. Good governance means that the organisation will actually perform in a way that is consistent with its objectives and with the wishes of its members and will, therefore, be likely to achieve those objectives. Accordingly, good governance activities will necessarily include:
- Setting the direction.
- Managing risks.
- Delegating authority and setting accountabilities.
- Monitoring outcomes.
It is the board which determines, and is ultimately responsible for, the quality of the organisation governance. The organisation should ensure its board members are aware of their obligations and responsibilities and have the necessary skills and knowledge to govern competently. If necessary, the organisation should consider providing all or some board members with the opportunity to acquire additional skills via, for example, a national or regional organisation for directors.
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD GOVERNANCE
The principles, under which the governance of ATFCA is to be guided, are as follows:
- Board members provide their independent views and opinions and use objective assessment.
- The organisation is forward looking and operates in accordance with policies and plans.
- There is an ethical, accountable and transparent culture with appropriate information disclosed to its members and other stakeholders.
- Risks are understood and consistent with the risk attitude.
- Board members properly declare and manage actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in decision-making when in a position to influence outcomes.
- Through its risk management activities the organisation, including the governance system has sufficient resilience to survive sudden change.
- The governance system helps rather than hinders the organisation, responds to change and is not overly complex.
ELEMENTS OF THE GOVERNANCE SYSTEM
To meet these principles, the ATFCA Board of management is to ensure that the ATFCA governance system comprises the following key elements:
- A form of constitution or empowering document (which may be a legislated instrument for a statutory organisation).
- A registered address.
- A controlling board, established in accordance with the empowering document and with such subcommittees as may be necessary to ensure sound surveillance of key aspects of the organisation.
- Policies consistent with the empowering document.
- An endorsed strategic plan.
- Formal management delegations.
- Properly controlled bank accounts.
- Audited financial records.
- Annual reporting.
- Appropriate records of decisions.
- Receipt of information critical to organisational performance and risk management.
- Access to expertise.
ATFCA ROLE AND GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE
The role of the ATFCA as set out in the Memorandum of Association is to:
- Promote coaching in Australia so as to improve the quality of performance and the level of participation in track and field athletics;
- Manage the assets and the liabilities and obligations of the Association known as Australian Track and Field Coaches Association;
- Encourage involvement in the total development and improvement in coaching standards in track and field athletics in every level;
- Encourage the accreditation, training and testing of persons to become qualified coaches and to arrange for the proper regulation of such activities;
- Develop the coaching of track and field athletics within clubs, schools, universities, colleges of education and any other institutions;
In terms of the governance structure, there are five facets, within which ATFCA operates:
- Members of ATFCA – who are the primary beneficiaries of the services to be provided and who elect the Directors of the Board. Membership of the Association is drawn from the following:
- Ordinary Members, the number of which shall be unlimited. (Note – Ordinary membership is open to any person interested in any area of endeavour related to the coaching task. There are no requirements for any membership applicant to be an accredited coach.);
- Honorary Special Members, the number of which shall be limited at the Association’s discretion;
- Elected Honorary Life Members.
- ATFCA Board of Management – who are either elected by the members’ State Delegates to the Annual General Meeting, or in accordance with the Constitution, are appointed as representatives of Little Athletics Australia and Athletics Australia, to the Board to GOVERN the organisation on their behalf. Elected members of the Board comprise the President, Director of Administration, Director of Sponsorship and Marketing, and the Director of Finance. The ATFCA Executive Director is an ex officio member of the Board.
- The ATFCA Executive Committee (President, Director for Administration and Director for Finance) – who, in addition to their role as Board Directors, perform designated management roles (e.g. Finance Director) through their election to a specific position on the Board. In this role, the Executive operate differently and must distinguish between their role as a Director of the Board and their designated role. This latter role is to MANAGE the day-to-day affairs of the Association specific to the responsibilities of their Portfolio. In fulfilling this role, the Executive must:
- Distinguish their responsibilities from that of the Executive Director, who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the property and affairs of ATFCA overall; and
- Operate within the confines of ATFCA endorsed policy and approved Budgets.
- ATFCA Employees who are appointed by the Board to MANAGE OR ADMINISTER the affairs of the organisation on a day-to-day basis, in accordance with the endorsed policies of the Association and expenditure allocations.
- ATFCA State Branch Committees who are elected by members from within their State membership. Although operating as independent organisations, these Committees, as non-incorporated Bodies, are bound by the Constitution and policies of ATFCA. Their responsibilities include the planning and delivery of ATFCA coach education clinics, seminars as well as coach education courses at (ATFCA) Levels 1, 2 and 3, and in some States/Territories, the Introduction to Coaching Course. State Committees also consider major issues (including proposed amendments to the Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association, and General Rules) for deliberation and voting at the ATFCA Annual General Meetings, and provide up to two delegates each to this forum.
Where these five facets sit within ATFCA’s governance structure is demonstrated in the following diagram:
Nomination for a position on the ATFCA Board can be made from either the ATFCA Executive (in the case of existing Board members) or from State Branch Committees. While there is no Constitutional limit on the number of representatives per State on the ATFCA Board, good governance suggests that the wider the representation, the more likely the Board will bring a broader perspective to discussions on strategic issues facing ATFCA.
It is important that the roles of each remain discrete and the delineation between the roles of the ATFCA Board Directors in governing the organisation and the roles of designated Board Directors in fulfilling their responsibilities in managing their portfolios are clearly defined.
The management of the property and affairs of the Association between meetings of the Board of Management is vested in the Executive Committee comprising the President, Director for Administration and the Director for Finance.
The ATFCA Board may delegate responsibility for tasks or roles to specific individuals or committees. However, the Board cannot delegate Board authority. A committee or person may recommend a preferred decision to the Board, but the Board, on behalf of its members, must take the decision.
ATFCA BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES
In terms of governance, the responsibilities of the ATFCA Board include:
- Establishing ATFCA’s strategic direction and policies;
- Interacting with key stakeholders to inform them of achievements and to ensure that they have input into the determination of strategic goals and direction;
- Reviewing ATFCA organisational performance against measureable (annual) targets and evaluating progress towards strategic objectives;
- Reporting back to stakeholders at the AGM;
- Appointing, setting performance targets for evaluating the performance of and rewarding as appropriate, ATFCA staff;
- Monitoring ATFCA staff and the organisation’s compliance with relevant Federal and State/Territory government legislation, and with ATFCA’s own policies;
- Providing advice and direction to staff as required;
- Managing risk to ATFCA, including the establishment of a risk management plan; and
- Evaluating its effectiveness as a Board.
ATFCA acknowledges the fact that regular reviews of its governance procedures including the Association’s Constitution and By-Laws is necessary to maintain its relevance and maintain compliance with the Associations Incorporation Act.
The ATFCA President is responsible for the review of all governance issues within ATFCA including:
- Reviewing the ATFCA Constitution and By-Laws in relation to its compliance with the Associations Incorporation Act
- Reviewing the ATFCA Constitution and By-Laws to eliminate any anomalies and ensure its relevance to current requirements
- Provide suggested changes to the ATFCA Board for consideration
This role inherently includes undertaking such tasks as keeping up-to-date with government legislation and changes to the Associations Incorporation Act and Model /Rules, identifying any areas that need to be included in the Constitution and By-Laws, and providing feedback and recommendations to the ATFCA Board regarding inclusions in the Constitution and By-Laws. The ATFCA President will be assisted in this regard by the Executive Director, ATFCA.
Reviews should be undertaken at least once every 12 months. However, the ATFCA Board may determine that a review may be required to be undertaken immediately in regard to a specific governance matters.