Governance for community organisations

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The term 'governance' refers to a not for profit community organisation's board and its collective legal responsibility as an incorporated association, company limited by guarantee or cooperative, according to the organisation's rules. Essential elements of good governance are;

  • good governance structure
  • good policies, processes and procedures
  • the right mix of people on boards or committees of management.

To find accurate, up to date information about your legislative requirements use the:

Governance Capability Framework

The Community Sector Governance Capability Framework describes the broad capabilities required by people on Boards or Committees of Management in community sector organisations. It provides Board or Committee members with a common language for the knowledge and skills that are critical for the stewardship of an organisation, and also includes knowledge and skills required for particular roles on the Board, such as that of Board Chair.

Case studies on how to use the Governance Capability Framework

The organisations listed below have implemented components of the Governance Capability Framework and have agreed to share their experience in the case studies below. These organisations were selected for their diversity to demonstrate the Framework’s application to not for profit organisations, large and small, providing services to a cross section of Victorians.

Governance Capability Framework Facilitators Tools

The Facilitators Tools have been developed for use by a facilitator who could be the Board Chair or another member of the Board who has an interest in governance, or might be someone brought in by the Board to coordinate and assist a review of governance capabilities.

Pathways to participation on community boards and committees

The research project, 'Pathways to Participation on Community Boards and Committees' sought to identify the strategies which organisations used to ensure that a range of skill sets are available to support their operation and functioning. The summary report below provides an overview of the key findings and a listing of organisations that provide governance resourcing, training and support to the not for profit sector.

Additional websites to assist with governance

Governance structure

Some of the governance structure issues to consider are; the legal structure of your organisation, the development of an organisational constitution and the development of an organisational charter.


The governing body of an incorporated association is called a "Board", a "Committee of Management" (CoM) or a "Council". Legally, an incorporated association must have rules relating to the Board.


Policies, procedures and processes

Policies are agreed sets of rules and procedures with a common purpose that are critical to good governance. Your organisation's policies should provide information about what you do and, in some cases, what you don't. It is the responsibility of the Board to ensure that policies are developed that; best meet the needs of your organisation's clients and staff, reflect the values, belief and philosophy of your organisation and are relevant in terms of current legislation and regulation.

Financial responsibility and accountability 

Strategic planning

Risk management and occupational health and safety

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