Governing institutions governance institutions are

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Governing institutions Governance institutions are made up of both formal mechanisms (such as policies, rules, regulations, constitutions, legal and judicial systems) and informal ways of doing things (such as taboos, gender norms, religious beliefs, values, kinship and marriage systems) (Hunt and Smith 2006). The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) analysis of the shortlisted 2012 IGA applications showed that 95 per cent of organisations held board meetings, and all organisations had their accounts audited, held annual general meetings and produced annual financial reports (if required). They also had clearly outlined and documented internal dispute resolution processes … [and] ‘all organisations outlined mechanisms and processes for resolving external complaints’ (RA 2013). The NPY Women’s Council’s approach to service development is an example of how Aboriginal cultures intertwines with good corporate governance: it is Kulikatinyi (considering something over a long period of time) Nyakuakatinyi (looking for something as one goes along) 5.38 OVERCOMING INDIGENOUS DISADVANTAGE 2014
Palyaalkatinyi (making something as one goes along). RA (2013) notes that the ‘process ensures that services developed and delivered by the Women’s Council are continually reviewed and improved’. Good corporate governance that is coupled with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural values, relationships and systems of authority produces governing order and good outcomes (Hunt and Smith 2007; Hunt et al. 2008). The IGA shortlisted organisations were flexible in their approaches to dispute resolution and decision making, but were supported with clearly outlined and established processes. Approaches included ‘mediation, traditional law and cultural practices, codes of conduct and informal discussions’ for internal disputes, with external disputes primarily addressed via formal processes’ (RA 2013). Good governing institutions do not just spontaneously arise. They are the result of often lengthy processes of developing capacity and leadership, and ongoing training and development (see ‘Capacity building’ below). Good governing institutions support ‘board and staff training and development … [and] compulsory governance training for board members’ (RA 2006). Leadership Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders are critical to the development of a strong governance culture. While there is a specific cultural aspect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, leadership often requires people to walk confidently and with influence in two worlds — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous leadership (AILC 2013). RA (2013) attributes the success of the Yiriman project to the strength of the elders, who form the governance group ‘ … the elders have been very clear about why they established the project and what they want to achieve’. Leadership needs to be nurtured and leaders require training and support to help them fulfil their responsibilities. Sustained leadership requires succession planning, so new people can take over from current leaders over time. The AIHW analysis of shortlisted applicants

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