Monday, February 17, 2014

Board Evaluation: Southcare’s Co-Design Story



Last week Jeff Simper, an external consultant facilitated a workshop with the Board and Senior Management of Southcare for the purpose of assisting us to co-design a Board Evaluation Process. The workshop was part of a process that had commenced nine months earlier and included a literature search of policies, processes and tools that can be used for Board Evaluation.
This information was extensive and raised the question of 'how much is too much' and are we best to engage the Board in the development of an evaluation process. With this in mind the suggestion was to co-design an approach to Board Evaluation. The following sets out a brief overview of the purpose for Board Evaluation and Southcare’s co-design story.

Board Evaluation
The aim of a board evaluation is to assess how well the board has done its job and identify areas where improvements could be made. The board considers the ongoing development and improvements of its own performance as critical inputs to effective governance. Some benefits of Board Evaluation include:
  • Can be a catalyst that leads to positive adjustments in how the board operates
  • Contributes to a growth of culture and a sense of shared accountability and collegiate character of the Board
  • Opportunity to explore the effectiveness of the interaction between the board and management.
  • Identify areas for improving compliance and other reporting requirements. 

Southcare’s Co-Design Story
Prior to the workshop the external consultant ensured Board and Senior Management where provided with an excellent paper by Carter and Atkinson on Evaluating Board Performance: A  Guide for Company Directors. A pre-workshop meeting was held with the Chair, Treasurer, CEO and external consultant to identify expectations, ensure shared understanding of the process (in particular that the process was focused on the Boards collective performance as opposed to individual performance) and determine what ‘success’ would look like.


The Workshop
The process included
  • Establishing  Board and Senior Management Expectations
  • Board Evaluations – being clear about the purpose
  • Pitfalls in monitoring Board performance
  • Role and Purpose of Directors
  • Design of Evaluation Process:1.      Design Principles 
    2.      Components of evaluation process 
    3.      Process Steps
·         Next Steps
Southcare is well on the way to implementing a tool that will enable the Board to evaluate its own performance to improve Board effectiveness and therefore improving the performance of Southcare. 

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