Late in 2012 I had the privilege of attending a Haven; Home, Safe all-staff day. Apart from the organisation of the day and the smooth and innovative technological aspect, I was impressed by the energy and creativity in the room. At one stage the executive team and I, representing the Board, formed a panel to answer staff questions. Most of the questions were operational and I thought I was going to get away without having to contribute. Then came the question: ‘What were the key achievements of the Board for the year?’
It seems like a simple question. I took a moment to reflect and said that the Board’s role is to set broad directions for the organisation and to then review outcomes and risks; and that the most significant achievement of the Board was those great things done by Haven; Home, Safe staff under the Chief Executive’s leadership within that framework. I have reflected on the question and the answer since. The answer was accurate but a bit of a cop-out. At its March 2013 strategic planning day, the Board considered its role, performance and relationship with company operations.
The Board has clear corporate responsibility for strategic direction, risk management, prudential oversight and company outcomes. It does not determine operational strategies in addressing the needs of the homeless and those in housing stress or in the development of housing stock. It employs a Chief Executive who is acknowledged as an international leader in the field to do that and he has built a talented, focused and cohesive team to work with him to develop and implement strategies.
Elsewhere the Treasurer reports on the company’s financial status, a key element of our capacity to address risk and seize opportunities for the future. The Chief Executive reports on our achievements in the year just past and on the challenges and directions he forsees as he leads his team and the company forward.
The great position Haven; Home, Safe is in and the ongoing service provided to those in the community who are most in need as we pursue national, state and local strategies, is based on work done by the Chief Executive with this and previous Boards over the years, in setting clear purpose, effective strategies and sound processes. It is further enhanced by the partnerships we have in, and the support we receive from, the community. The contribution from Bendigo for Homeless Youth, the proceeds from the Glass Slipper Ball and partnership with the Myer Family Trust and the Yugilbar Foundation are clear and recent examples.
The Board is focused on ensuring that Haven; Home, Safe remains in a good position to carry on with confidence; that the Chief Executive and his team can continue working to effectively develop and implement the strategies that will be needed in the future.
The Board will do all it can during its stewardship to guide, support and provide a sound framework for the ongoing growth and effectiveness of the company for years to come.