New governance toolkit for organisations supporting migrants and refugees

The Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA) is the peak body representing the vast majority of settlement agencies across Australia providing direct services and support to people of migrant and refugee backgrounds.

It has created a new toolkit to guide and explain the various laws, rules and regulations that govern organisations in Australia to help settlement services and community organisations which support people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Many operating in the settlement sector are small, community-based groups with little or no funding, and many are run mostly or entirely by volunteers. These people have often arrived in Australia as migrants or refugees themselves. Through their experiences and through accompanying others in their communities on their settlement journeys’, they have become
highly skilled in helping new arrivals to adjust to life in Australia.

This toolkit aims to help make setting up and running such organisations as clear and easy as possible, so that the people involved can focus their passion and energy on helping people to settle well, in order to make the most of the opportunities that life in Australia has to offer.

10 top tips for good governance 

  1. Be clear about why your organisation exists and what it’s trying to achieve, and make sure everyone involved has the same understanding.
  2. Be clear about your own role in the organisation, and make sure everyone else’s role is clear and understood.
  3. Keep a close eye on the organisation’s finances – this is the responsibility of all members of the management committee or board!
  4. Any decisions you make about the organisation must be based on your duties and responsibilities as a member of the management committee or board.
  5. Read your organisation’s constitution regularly, and make sure your committee or board follows it.
  6. Always do what you think is best for the organisation, even if this means disagreeing with other members of the committee.
  7. If your organisation receives government funding, make sure your organisation is using the money according to what is in the funding agreement(s).
  8. Work as a team with the other members of the committee or board.
  9. Be open and honest about any conflicts of interest that may occur in your role while you are a committee member.
  10. Always act in the best interests of your organisation

View the Settlement Council of Australia Governance Toolkit here (PDF).