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Governance principles and practices in children's centres

Six principles have been developed to apply in the governance of all children’s centres and children and family centres.

Governing groups provide leadership

In practice this means:

  • contributing to the development of the centre vision and putting it into practice
  • building multiple ownership of the centre’s vision, values, planning and programs and services
  • complying with legislative requirements
  • contributing to a culture of quality and continuous improvement
  • establishing a welcoming and positive culture in which all people feel they can participate
  • supporting relationship building and the trust and respect of all involved in determining and meeting agreed objectives
  • encouraging cross-government, interagency, non-government, children, family and community voices
  • supporting members to make their best contribution by providing training in meeting, communication and consultation skills
  • establishing family friendly structures and processes that enable a strong community voice and enhance community capacity and social capital.

Governing groups are accountable to their communities

In practice this means:

  • informing the community about decisions made, and where appropriate involving them in making the decisions
  • providing training in meeting, communication and consultation skills
  • having systems in place to ensure standards and policies are adhered to
  • reporting against the objectives and directions of strategic plans
  • reporting to the community and government on the financial status and the quality of programs and services delivered.

Decision making and management processes of governing groups are public and explicit

In practice this means:

  • documenting roles and responsibilities of members of each governing group
  • documenting committee and working group functions, membership and meeting procedures
  • communicating decisions to stakeholders
  • encouraging and supporting staff, parents and stakeholders to participate in decision making.

All members of the governing groups act with integrity

In practice this means:

  • the interests of children and their families are paramount
  • acting in the interests of the children’s centre
  • acting ethically and impartially using the Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector as a guide
  • all stakeholders have information and the opportunity to have their voice heard.

Governing groups have stewardship of the centre

In practice this means:

  • documentation of operational policies
  • regular meetings to address matters in a timely way
  • improving access to and coordination of high quality services, including a single entry point and clear referral pathways
  • using every opportunity to enhance the centre and its programs, and support the staff and volunteers who provide them
  • supporting integrated service planning and program delivery using the outcomes framework (PDF 140 KB).

Governing group business is conducted efficiently

In practice this means:

  • developing governance procedures
  • training on how to raise and resolve issues
  • flexibility in centre policies to enable timely responses to emerging issues
  • simple meeting procedures that encourage everyone’s contribution
  • annual review of governance group operations to identify opportunities for improvement
  • ensuring effective use of resources
  • using data and information to inform decisions and direction.

Children's centres team

Phone: 8226 3845
Email: DECD.ChildrensCentres [at] sa.gov.au