Susan Pascoe Appointed Head of Newly Formed Community Directors Council
22 September 2017 at 5:21 pm
Outgoing commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Susan Pascoe AM, has been appointed head of the newly formed Community Directors Council.
The council is a new advisory arm of the Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA), an enterprise of Our Community, that serves as a governance network for the Australian not-for-profit sector.
The Community Directors Council was formed to foster the development of the ICDA’s curriculum and programs, while also representing the interests of community directors.
Pascoe accepted the role of chair after serving as the commissioner for the ACNC since its inception in 2012, with her time at the national charity regulator ending on 30 September.
Our Community chair and Reserve Bank member Carol Schwartz AM said Pascoe’s expertise was a perfect fit for the council.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Susan has agreed to chair this very important council, which will continue ICDA’s important work to reshape not-for-profit governance,” Schwartz said.
“We’re very fortunate to have secured the support of the most respected regulator in the country to head up this new body.”
The group managing director of Our Community, Denis Moriarty, also said he was pleased to see Pascoe appointed to the council, and help directors be better equipped to face a growing set of governance, funding, and political challenges.
“At the moment, we don’t have enough people effectively trained to take up the challenges of a tough funding environment, rising time commitments, and increasing governance requirements,” Moriarty said.
“The council will help us ensure the training we provide for board members and senior staff managing community organisations remains the most relevant, practical and affordable in the country.
“Susan is well placed to reshape our agenda and to address the current and emerging challenges that community directors are facing.”
Pascoe told Pro Bono News she accepted the role so she could develop the capabilities of community directors in the not-for-profit sector.
One of the ways she plans to do this is through ICDA’s Diploma of Business (Governance), Australia’s only recognised diploma-level governance qualification.
“I’ve always been impressed by the work done by Our Community, [which have been] servicing tens of thousands of not for profits across Australia,” Pascoe said.
“But also, one of the things that has been an ongoing issue within the ACNC, is meeting the governance needs of the charities. Because really on a daily basis, new people are taking up board roles.
“And there’s this ongoing need for education to ensure there’s good governance in the sector. So this strikes me as a great initiative to strengthen the Diploma of Business (Governance) which is already there, and which was designed by Our Community and tailored for the not-for-profit sector.”
She said the council’s initial priorities would be to consult with other stakeholders in the sector, and to review the effectiveness of the ICDA’s diploma credential.
“I’m really pleased that the intention is to develop the board from some of the key groups in the not-for-profit sector, from the sports groups to the education groups and so on.
“I think it will be really helpful to draw on their experience and advice on whether there are targeted needs in some of those sub-sectors. And if there are, we can tailor the credential accordingly.
“That would be something useful to start with, and then I think over time it would be useful to see how graduates of the credential have found it and if there are any ways in which they can see it can be improved… and to ensure it is a quality credential that meets the needs of the sector.”
Pascoe said there were also a number of key challenges faced by community directors, which the council would look to address.
“We had a meeting here in Sydney with some of the Sydney-based charities [on Thursday] and pretty much every time we meet with them they talk about the challenges of having a stable funding stream. That’s always an ongoing challenge, so sustainability is a main concern,” she said.
“And then I think there’s the challenge of the amount of regulation they’ve got to comply with, particularly if you are operating across state borders…or are international with their focus.
“There’s also the changes in the way that government is funding [organisations, while] most people applaud these changes, increasingly the funding beneficiaries, whether they be aged care or people with disabilities, have a very different delivery model [which affects] these charities.
“So there’s a lot of changes happening for them and they need to keep abreast of that and be well placed to deal with it.”