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An online tool to improve the governance of community legal centres

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An online tool to improve the governance of community legal centres

I'm excited about this tool and its level of sophistication using readily available software. It promises to improve our capability in supporting community legal centre boards.
Lauren Draffen Capacity Building Coordinator, Community Legal Centres New South Wales (CLC NSW)

CLCNSW is the peak body for all 39 community legal centres in NSW. It supports and represents its member centres in government and community forums.

An interactive tool to assist boards to build governance capability

CLCNSW sought to better understand its members’ boards’ collective governance skills and to develop best-practice resources to help each board develop the right skills for its context. As part of our Community Partnership Scheme, which delivers discounted consulting services to organisations that otherwise may not have access to them, Nous developed a governance skills assessment and benchmarking tool for CLCNSW.

We developed technology on a human scale

Nous worked with CLCNSW to develop an effective, bespoke skills assessment and benchmarking tool. We:

  1. interviewed board members to understand community legal centres’ unique governance challenges
  2. asked board members to indicate the extent to which they agreed with statements about an effective board’s attributes
  1. surveyed board members to obtain feedback about the tool’s content and user experience.

Our innovative tool used Google Forms for the online assessment of board members and Google Sheets to gather data in a macro-enabled workbook. A report generator draws results from the spreadsheet and calculates individual and average scores across different quartiles. The tool then generates a nine-page report of results for each board along with supporting background documents.

Our tool is driving improvement in community legal centre boards

NSW community legal centre boards now have a purpose-built interactive tool to assess and understand their governance performance, processes and behaviours; and benchmark them against others.

The Nous project team is currently implementing the tool across the state and will share the outcomes with other community legal centres nationally.

What you can learn from CLC NSW

  • Listen to and learn about what is working in governance to drive improvement.
  • Understand the specific challenges of your organisation and sector to ensure governance principles are applied appropriately.
  • Conduct user testing to ensure a solution will be adopted regardless of its simplicity.

Key people in this project

All people

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