The definition of ‘good governance’ has shifted in recent times to incorporate learnings from the IT environment, from start-up culture, and from new methods of community organisation. There is also a broadening awareness of social responsibility and recognition of the necessity to work together to solve social problems, especially where fees and funding from traditional sources seem increasingly difficult to come by.
Governance in the community sector has had to become both bigger and smaller. It is smaller in the model of lean governance that requires only ‘just enough’ decision-making process and structure, triggered ‘just in time’, and that create value from stakeholders’ perspectives. It is larger in the scope of the network governance required in response to rapid social, economic, political and technological changes. Governance cannot just be about ‘what the board does’ but must be a lean, agile, integrated framework of control systems — reaching out from the board to the whole organisation, and past that, through to upstream and downstream stakeholders, and the larger community. And not only for risk management and compliance, which remain necessary objects of governance process — but to drive improved performance in providing needed, wanted services to clients for the same or less cost.