Winners and finalists of the 2022 Indigenous Governance Awards talk about the importance of developing the next generation of leaders and how succession planning takes place in their organisation...
- 01 Understanding governance
- 02 Culture and governance
- 03 Getting Started
- 04 Leadership
05 Governing the organisation
- 5.0 Governing the organisation
- 5.1 Roles, responsibilities and rights of a governing body
- 5.2 Accountability: what is it, to whom and how?
- 5.3 Decision making by the governing body
- 5.4 Governing finances and resources
- 5.5 Communicating
- 5.6 Future planning
- 5.7 Building capacity and confidence for governing bodies
- 5.8 Case Studies
- 06 Rules and policies
- 07 Management and staff
08 Disputes and complaints
- 8.0 Disputes and complaints
- 8.1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous approaches
- 8.2 Core principles and skills for dispute and complaint resolution
- 8.3 Disputes and complaints about governance
- 8.4 Your members: Dealing with disputes and complaints
- 8.5 Organisations: dealing with internal disputes and complaints
- 8.6 Practical guidelines and approaches
- 8.7 Case Studies
- 09 Governance for nation rebuilding
- Governance Stories
- Useful links
- Preview new Toolkit
07 Management and staff
Louise Smith and Lynette Bullen, members of Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly from Bourke, NSW. Image, Wayne Quilliam.
What would your local footy team be like if it had a great coach but no players? Or your players didn’t know which position to play on the field, and the captain and coach were fighting on the sidelines?
If a footy team practices hard, develops its skills, knows the rules of the game, and works as a team—and if the coach and captain communicate well and have a strategic game plan—then it has a better chance of winning the game.
It is the same for any organisation.
An organisation is only as good as its employees—the managers and staff members—and its ‘internal culture’ that encourages them to work together and with the governing body to get things done for the organisation’s members.
This set of internal relationships is one of the most problematic for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.
Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around the country are working to revitalise their organisations, and tackling fundamental questions such as:
- What kind of management do we need?
- How should the top manager and the governing body work together?
- How can all our staff contribute to effective, legitimate governance?
-How can we support managers and staff to help us meet the challenges of our rapidly changing environment?
This topic gives you information and ideas about how to develop and support excellence in your management and staff members. You will also find several tools to help you monitor and evaluate their work.
Topic 9 includes more detailed information on the important relationship between an organisation and its nation or community members.
If governance is the art of steering the direction, management is the art of organising to get there.
The size of the management team in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations may be small, but managers often have to take on a wide range of roles and responsibilities, and have to be able to call upon intercultural skills and experience.
7.1.1 What is management and why is it important?
Definition: Management is about obtaining, coordinating and using resources—human, financial, natural, technical and cultural—to accomplish a goal in accordance with set policies, rules and plans. Management can also refer to the people who manage or ‘handle’ this task.
Management within an organisation has many parts, but there are several core areas of ongoing work that are perhaps the most important ones:
Obtaining and making the best use of resources to achieve the set plan and goals.
Coordinating to achieve long- and short-term plans and goals.
Inspiring and getting others to help achieve plans and goals.
Checking progress to see if the plans and goals need changing.
Designing new options and solutions to better achieve plans and goals.
Determining what needs to be done under instructions and delegation from the governing body.
Managers have a number of functions including monitoring, planning, organising and motivating.
Managers, as a team, have a critical leadership role in the administration of an organisation and in supporting the overall leadership role of the governing body.
‘Best’ or ‘better’ practice for your management simply means what is ‘best’ for your organisation and its members in the context of your cultural, service and legal functions and goals.
It includes having sound administrative and management systems and rules that everyone can work within to get things done properly.
It also means building an atmosphere within your organisation—and internal culture—that encourages trust, honesty and relationships of respect through all levels of the organisation and with members.
You know you have a problem with the management of your organisation when there is:
- a high turnover
- internal conflicts and factions among staff members
- low productivity
- poor implementation and reporting of decisions to the governing body
- confusion over roles
- no policies, procedures or evaluation processes to resolve these matters.
Are there management problems in your organisation? Complete this quick check-up to help you find out.
7.1.2 Top managers: what do they do?
Getting the desired outcomes from the work of the organisation is the responsbility of the ‘top manager’, sometimes called the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or General Manager.
The top manager works directly with, and under instructions and delegation from the governing body of the organisation. He or she is the critical link between the governing body and staff of the organisation.
To do a good job, a top manager in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation needs to be able to achieve the goals of the organisation and create a well-performing workplace.
To do a good job the top manager needs to:
Achieve the goals of the organisation
Achieve a well-performing workplace
Make sure the structure, roles and responsibilities of the governing body are understood and supported.
Respect the rights and roles of the governing body. Establish systems that support the effective composition, size and capacities of the governing body so it can adequately do its job.
Recognise and publicise the respective roles and powers of the governing body and top manager or management.
Develop clear procedures for implementing the division of roles between the governing body and management.
Encourage confidence, commitment and professionalism in the staff.
Decide and publicise who is doing what job.
Have action plans, manuals, policies and other written materials ready for everyone to read.
Be responsible for leading the work of the organization.
Be responsible for the performance of staff, including resolving conflict and undertaking individual performance evaluation of all staff members.
Help the governing body and the community develop a clear vision and goal.
Have regular meetings with the governing body. Have regular staff meetings with minutes spelling out actions, review and follow-up. Communicate and feedback to community members.
Plan for the future so that senior employees are replaced quickly without too much disruption.
Employ staff members that are well trained and enthusiastic.
Manage the finances and be accountable for how money is spent.
Lay a solid foundation of financial management and reporting systems, including training for the governing body and staff.
Make changes to the organisation that might improve how it performs.
Involve staff in planning and reviews.
Make sure people follow the policies and rules developed for the organisation by the governing body.
Ensure policies and rules are well known and there are workable processes for implementing and reporting on progress.
Ensure communication between community members and the organisation.
Communicate clearly and effectively with everyone. Explore innovative media and cultural language formats. Integrate cultural values and communication styles into processes, so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel comfortable in the organisation.
By doing these tasks well, effective managers contribute to effective organisational governance.
Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are designing innovative ways of handling this complex set of management functions for their nation and community members.
Some groups are ‘contracting out’ administrative and management roles so they can get on with their cultural and community development work.
Martumili Artists is a hugely successful enterprise of artists from six communities throughout the Pilbara region of Western Australia. They made a conscious decision not to incorporate. Their administration is managed by the Shire of East Pilbara, which also helps them with accommodation and offices. The artists wanted a buffer against the overwhelming workload of managing and reporting on funds, and their Martu elders wanted to govern their ‘unincorporated’ organisation strategically, without engaging in the complexity of the administrative sides of legislated governance.
Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation elders and staff Cecil “Crocodile” Johnson and Jangala Rice. Image, Wayne Quilliam
Good communication, trust and mutual respect between a governing body and its senior management are essential for effective governance.
Without these factors, an organisation may begin to travel in directions that are contrary to the governing body’s overall vision and policies.
Management may be performing well, but not adequately informing the governing body of risks and outcomes.
This means the governing body will be poorly informed, make ill-informed decisions, or become marginalised and ineffective in governing the organisation.
7.2.1 A partnership with separate powers
Girringun Aboriginal Corporation was awarded Highly Commended Category A in the 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards. Here CEO Phil Rist discusses the value of a close relationship between the Board and CEO.
A challenging issue for many organisations is where the governing body’s work stops and that of management begins.
The way the governing body and top manager treat each other’s respective powers does more to affect the quality of leadership and governance in an organisation than just about anything else.
In too many organisations you see senior managers operating as if they are the governing body, unilaterally making decisions, developing governance policies or setting strategic directions without the proper delegation to do so.
And just as often you can see members of the governing body side-stepping their managers and going directly to staff with instructions, or interfering in the day-to-day running of the organisation.
This simply undermines effective governance, confuses staff, subjects them to partisan politics, and brings the organisation as a whole into disrepute.
This is why it is important to clearly define (in written policy documents) the complementary roles, responsibilities and powers of the governing body and the top manager.
This is usually referred to as a ‘separation of powers’. But the term ‘separation of powers’ is a misleading one and should more accurately be called a partnership of powers, as detailed below.
The top manager is dependent on the governing body for:
- authority to function and manage the organisation
- governance leadership of the organisation
- cultural advice and mentoring
- steering the future direction and strategic goals
- representation of members’ concerns, rights and interests
- the collective wisdom it can bring to decisions and planning.
The governing body depends on their top manager to:
- exercise corporate leadership by building a successful team of staff and volunteers
- assist them to make use of their precious time most efficiently
- provide sound information, reports, risk management and options
- contribute valuable input in policy making and decisions
- carry out the day-to-day management of the organisation.
Both sets of roles need to be performed well in order for an organisation to be successful.
In other words, what is required is not so much a separation of powers, but a close working partnership between management and the governing body that is based on a clear understanding of what they each bring to the organisation.
Ngnowar Aerwah Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC) was a Finalist in Category A of the 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards. Here, board members Philomena Hunter and Janet Gallagher outline the different services NAAC offers and how the staff, CEO and board support each other.
Warlpiri and non-Warlpiri people are involved in the management and daily activities of the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC). This video talks about the importance of good relationships to maintain WYDAC’s two-way governance. This takes into account Warlpiri laws, culture, language and aspirations as well as knowledge on corporate governance.
Interviews and hires the top manager.
Contracted to operate under instructions and delegation from the governing body.
Accountable to members who s/elected them.
Accountable to governing body.
Oversights and reviews the work performance of the top manager.
Supports the governing body to undertake self-evaluation of their governance performance and to participate in developing governance capacity. Oversees and reviews the work performance of staff.
Sets the overall strategic direction for the organisation.
Implements the overall strategic directions.
Makes and approves governance and other overall policies.
Supports the governing body in developing policies. Implements policies made by the governing body.
Provides input into and approves overall annual budget.
Provides financial information, reports and plans for approval. Operates under delegation for daily authority.
Provides input into approves business plan.
Develops and implements the business plan.
Makes key decisions about major capital expenditure, investment.
Makes decisions about expenditure and investment under delegation.
Seeks feedback, consults with and report to members for decision-making and strategic direction.
Communicates with members and staff on activities, progress and outcomes.
It is important to be realistic about what is possible.
Focusing on an absolute ‘separation of powers’ won’t work in many communities where organisations simply have to make the most of scarce resources, and the talent and experience they have among their own community members who often wear many different hats. For example, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff member in an organisation may also be on its governing body, as well as several other committees, reference groups or working groups. At the same time, they may be a traditional owner with legal rights and interests, a royalty recipient, a native title claimant and the manager of a project.
These relationships are not static and overlap. There is no ‘one right way’ to negotiate them.
But a good starting point for building a sound working relationship between the governing body and management and staff is to:
- have clear boundaries written down in policy documents about their different roles and powers
- reinforce a wide understanding and appreciation of those through workable processes, inductions, training activites and codes of conduct
- realise the importance of clear communication, including making the time to meet and discuss issues.
Thinking about how footy is played is a good way to think about governance. For every footy team, there are a lot of different things that need to be pulled together on the day if the team wants to play its best and win the match. It’s the same for governance.
You can use this worksheet to think about your governance and the roles of your governance team.
The job of the top manager is a bit like that of a footy captain. The captain is the leader of the players (staff members) when they play, giving them inspiration, helping them to use the tactics and skills they have practised, and encouraging them to play their best.
The governing body is like the coach. They do the overall planning, setting the strategies and tactics for the game and the year. But during the game, they have to sit on the sidelines and let the captain and the team get on with playing the game.
Yes, they have different jobs to do—but if they don’t all work as a team, they won’t win the footy match let alone the premiership.
7.2.2 Reviewing the performance of the top manager
One of the most important roles of the governing body is to interview, select and employ the top manager, and then monitor his or her contracted work.
This means that every governing body should annually review the work performance of their top manager.
The survival and success of the organisation may depend upon this.
Unfortunately, very few governing bodies have the procedures or experience to do this. And even fewer have the requirement for a performance review written into the top manager’s contract.
Some do not give any feedback at all to their manager; others do it in an ad hoc way and often only when things have started to go wrong.
Definition: Performance is the act of doing something successfully, or getting something done well. Reviewing means to look back on, or to examine something again with the aim of identifying problems or making corrections.
So a performance review is a formal, face-to-face process in which an individual’s work performance is systematically assessed using agreed criteria.
The aim is to fairly and objectively consider a person’s performance over the whole year, and their potential for development, including:
- what worked, what didn’t and why
- what aspects of the person’s performance can be improved
- what support (for example, from the governing body or others) do they need in order to improve.
A performance review for an organisation’s top manager should focus on identifying their real achievements and contributions to outcomes, along with taking into account uncontrollable obstacles, in areas of their:
- roles and responsibilities
- corporate leadership and administration
- management of staff
- relationship with and support of the governing body
- accountability and reporting
- external relations
- planning and implementation
- financial, asset, infrastructure and resources management
- business management
- fundraising efforts.
The benefits of carrying out such an annual performance review are considerable.
The review process is supposed to be informative and constructive; it should focus on solutions and areas for improvement.
The top manager’s position at the head of the administration often makes it difficult for them to get honest feedback. The review by the governing body is one of the few ways they can get feedback on their overall performance and areas for improvement.
It is also an opportunity for the manager to reflect on whether he or she is on track in their own work and in their relationship with the governing body, and to request additional support, mentoring or professional development.
It helps the governing body and top manager clarify their mutual expectations of each other.
If a review is not done or feedback not given, then poor management performance can often go unchecked and good management performance is not given the necessary reinforcement.
This allows differences and misunderstandings to become entrenched, resulting in mistrust, strained working relationships, and in some cases, a damaging cycle of high turnover of managers.
With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations under increasing pressure to produce outcomes, it is important that the members of your governing body can confidently review their top manager’s performance.
Tailored training should be given to your governing body on the concept and ways of carrying out such reviews—with the aim of designing a workable review process they can carry out, and that suits the particular circumstances of your organisation.
7.2.3 The power of delegations
As part of its responsibility for the governance of an organisation, the governing body has power (usually subject to legislative conditions) to delegate parts of its responsibility to another party to enable the organisation to operate effectively and efficiently.
Definition: A delegate is a person or thing designated to act for or represent others—in this case the governing body. When a function is delegated, the governing body still holds final responsibility for it, and remains accountable for what occurs.
Financial delegations occur when the governing body authorises individuals (or sub-committees) to perform financial transactions or exercise financial controls on its behalf.
A governing body may delegate some of its responsibilities to a manager, a sub-committee, any governing body member or any staff member.
So delegations within an organisation are powerful things.
Careful thought needs to be given to what powers and responsibilities are delegated and to whom.
It is essential for delegations to be made properly or the organisation and delegate may be at risk.
In organisations where there is a low level of financial literacy among the governing body, delegations can be particularly problematic.
For example, a manager may authorise expenditure in the belief that this is within their delegation, but the governing body may believe the delegation has not been properly approved or is contrary to their policy frameworks and strategic goals. A staff member may knowingly exceed their delegation, but remain undetected because of poor monitoring.
For these reasons, it is essential to ensure regular monitoring and reporting processes by management back to the governing body, including regular internal and external review and audits, and risk assessments of all delegations.
It is your staff members who make things happen. Having staff members who are skilled, competent and trusted is an essential part of any organisation’s success.
It is not much use having a strong effective governing body and an experienced manager, if your staff members cannot do their jobs.
A high staff turnover can have many causes. It can be a warning sign of problems in management, poor governance, low staff morale, too much work pressure, conflict among staff, or a lack of career pathways and support.
The effective management of staff is a challenging job.
7.3.1 Staff responsibilities and rights
Along with their job functions and responsibilities, staff members also have rights and interests that are not all simply about legal matters or contractual conditions.
An organisation is only as good as its people. To have effective staff members with high morale, an organisation must make sure that staff members know where they fit, are respected and feel secure.
Know where they fit
Enabling staff to fulfil their roles means ensuring they are effectively managed and supported, have a framework of policies and values to work within, and have the skills and knowledge to do their jobs.
- having written HR policies, systems and rules in place and easily available to staff members so there is clarity around what everyone’s job is and what’s expected of them. See Topic 6 for more information
- having clear position descriptions for all your staff members. Make sure to include information about the term of their employment, specific responsibilities, relevant codes of conduct and cultural policies
- carrying out annual performance reviews with all staff members (individually and collectively) and reporting on this to the governing body. You should have a performance review policy, and ensure it is understood by staff and applied consistently
- developing a staff code of conduct that clearly outlines expected standards of behaviour and shared values. It creates a clear set of unambiguous expectations for actions in the workplace. Staff members should be able to contribute to and provide feedback on a staff code of conduct
- inspiring by doing. If the governing body and managers live by the policies and rules, then so will their staff members.
In some organisations, the governing body develops a code of conduct that also includes managers and staff, so there is a shared commitment to overarching guiding principles of behaviour. This is a great example from the Anindilyakwa Land Council.
7.3.2 Build a strong internal culture
Having a strong internal culture of shared values, behaviours and standards within your organisation has been shown to significantly enhance individual and collective contribution and the shared commitment to its strategic vision and goals.
It takes time to build such an organisational culture and this needs to be given attention by management and the governing body.
But there are some very practical things you can do to make headway and give a strong message to everyone in the organisation about the style of governance, values, behaviours and working relationships you are trying to build.
There are some practical ways to start building the internal culture of your organisation. Use this resource to start a collective discussion in your organisation.
7.3.3 Share the decision making?
In many organisations, the governing body and management make all the decisions. But there are benefits to sharing decision making with staff.
Increasingly, organisations want to draw on the experience, insights and talents of all their staff in order to make the best decisions they can.
How much they share decision making depends on the issue.
Sometimes managers seek staff input, but make the actual decision themselves (as they are ultimately accountable to the governing body).
In other situations, management may hand over the decision making about a particular matter to the staff members.
In all cases, shared or delegated decisions should be informed by a policy framework and actions should be routinely reported back to the governing body.
Decisions to do with the governing body or internal discipline should have little or no staff input.
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are exploring ways to draw on all their staff knowledge, experience and ideas in order to make informed, credible decisions. Here are some tips from what they have tried.
- Regularity: Make staff consultation the standard rather than the exception. Engage staff in consensus building about issues when they are complex, and when their knowledge and expertise have the potential to boost the quality of the decisions.
- Early engagement: Involve staff in discussions at an early stage, rather than when a decision is all but made. Engage them in defining the problem, brainstorming possible solutions, assessing the risks, and choosing the best one.
- Clarity: At the outset clarify whether staff input is advisory or binding, and where staff input fits with respect to that of wider community members.
- Openness: Allow staff to raise valid concerns. Demonstrate a desire to learn and discuss issues, and a readiness to make changes based on sound decisions.
- Broad representation: Ensure that you hear not only from the ‘talkers’ (those who often dominate discussions) and the ‘biased’ (those who always express a personal ‘position’), but also from the ‘thinkers’ (quiet and insightful individuals, whose knowledge and ideas are often ignored).
- Efficiency: There are times to consult and there are times to get on with it. The desire to accommodate every view and hear everyone is laudable, but an effective manager knows when to stop ‘the talking’ and begin ‘the doing’.
- Follow-up: Integrate informed staff input into your decision making. But if you decide not to implement the group’s consensus or parts of it, let them know why, while expressing appreciation for their input. This is essential for team-building and morale.
Providing staff (including managers) with opportunities to improve and strengthen their abilities and knowledge is an investment for an organisation and strengthens its overall governance.
Many of the organisations that enter the Indigenous Governance Awards have realised these benefits and looked at the adequacy of their own systems for supporting staff in their work and professional development.
They have developed a planned approach to staff training, including initiatives such as:
- a staff development plan for the entire organisation, supported by approved policies
- place-based, in-house training
- staff inductions and cross-cultural training
- targeted training opportunities for collective professional development
- encouraging staff to attend relevant external courses and workshops to improve their skills
- access to mentoring, coaching schemes and on-the-job training
- work experience and job shadowing
- assistance with paid study leave or secondments
- training that is tailored to gender and age
- requiring staff to report back on insights, information and ideas from their training.
Attracting and retaining staff can be very difficult for organisations, especially organisations in remote
Many organisations do it in different ways, such as by ensuring good staff members have promotion opportunities, training and career pathways, and by managing workloads properly so that staff members don’t burn out.
- Recruit people who are respected and admired by the whole community, but make sure your recruits are also a good fit for their position.
- Ask experienced staff members—or even professionals outside the organisation—to act as role models or mentors for less experienced employees.
- Encourage greater participation among women—especially on boards—to create balance.
- Check if your organisation can become a Registered Training Organisation. This means you can train your staff inside the organisation instead of having to send them to external training courses.
- Have a comprehensive staff induction process that makes new staff feel welcome, comfortable and knowledgeable about the organisation.
- Include cultural awareness and language training for staff, if appropriate, so they can be more effective in the community.
- Include compassionate or cultural leave for staff when drafting leave policies.
- Create pathways for staff to be promoted or rewarded for good performance. Advertise new positions internally before you look outside the organisation.
- Encourage personal growth and career development through coaching, professional development programs and skills training.
- Offer appropriate salary for skills and make sure staff realise that their salary is tied to their performance.
- Manage workloads. Make contact with volunteers through an organisation like Indigenous Community Volunteers to help staff with their workloads without draining your organisation’s resources.
7.4.1 Developing local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
“Capacity building is about regeneration of our communities from the inside out—communities renewing themselves by identifying, appreciating and using their assets … Each individual and organisation is a resource on which to build.”
(Mick Dodson, Chair Indigenous Governance Awards, Jabiru Governance Conference, 2003)
The long-term goals of self-determination and self-governance are a powerful catalyst towards building the experience and skills of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to govern, manage and staff their own organisations.
Some organisations are fully staffed by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Others have an Indigenous governing body, but mainly non-Indigenous staff. Most have a mix of both.
With high rates of unemployment it makes sense to provide local work to local people, and many organisations now have this as part of their objectives and policies.
This means organisations have to make an investment in training and mentoring support for local people.
While there might be an initial cost involved, in the long term it contributes to building the overall capacity of your nation or community.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are developing many innovative ways to attract, train and retain their own local members.
Ngnowar Aerwah Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC) was a Finalist in Category A of the 2014 Indigenous Governance Awards. Here, Board member Philomena Hunter talks about the wide range of services offered by NAAC and how they have evolved over time. NAAC is looking to expand their services. They’re focusing on developing skills and creating opportunities for their growing workforce.
- Create identified positions. If you want an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person for a job, you can say so by making it a position identified for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. Australian laws let you do this. But be clear about why you want an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person for the job.
- Be transparent and accountable. Sometimes in communities everyone is related, so it’s hard to not see a job go to family, especially if they’re the ones qualified and interested in the job. The way to avoid a perceived conflict of interest is to have an open selection process, and ensure that any family members already working in the organisation are not directly involved in the interviews and appointment.
- Invest in tailored mentoring support and training. It’s no good getting local people into your workforce and then leaving them high and dry. Sometimes if a person isn’t used to the workforce but has enthusiasm and talent, they might need extra support. Appoint a mentor to work alongside them.
- Make accredited study available. Overcome the endless cycle of ‘training for nothing’ by focusing on completed study and accredited professional development for those ready for it. And make sure it then leads to relevant work.
- Create an employment and training plan and policy. Providing on-the-job, on-site training that is relevant to actual daily work significantly contributes to a person’s confidence and practical work skills. If you have an overarching plan and policy then it is more likely to get implemented.
- Hire young people to shadow staff, do work experience or work in public positions. This will encourage others to take a chance. But ensure they are properly supported and have a program of relevant work to enable them to build their confidence and skills.
- Acknowledge gender issues. Some areas of work may need to be done by either a man or woman. There may need to be training relevant to this work.
Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation is a community-based organisation, working with Aboriginal families in remote Central Australia and the APY lands in South Australia. Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi is Luritja language, meaning for “doing good work with families” and the name encapsulates the Waltja story.
Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi has consistently committed funds and in-kind support for staff professional development since incorporation. All new staff members undertake a three-month probation period with induction, training and supervision by a senior worker. The probation review process includes self-appraisal, supervisor appraisal, and a probation review meeting between the CEO, Supervisor and staff member. The CEO and Executive Directors also conduct yearly performance appraisals with all staff members, during which staff identify training needs and future aspirations.
These processes work together to make sure Waltja staff are performing at the best level possible while quickly identifying any potential issues regarding staff performance and addressing them in a timely manner. All in all, this means that the local communities are getting the maximum benefit from staff members and their organisation.
Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation is a community- based organisation, working with Aboriginal families in remote Central Australia and the APY lands in South Australia. Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi is Luritja language, meaning for “doing good work with families” and the name encapsulates the Waltja story.Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation is a community- based organisation, working with Aboriginal families in remote Central Australia and the APY lands in South Australia. Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi is Luritja language, meaning for “doing good work with families” and the name encapsulates the Waltja story.
Staff development and training
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Ltd (ATSILS) deliver criminal, family and civil law services as well as community legal education, law reform, prisoner care services and a deaths in custody (and police complaints) monitoring role.
Legal staff development and training is integral to the quality of client service delivery. Externally, staff are sent to a wide variety of training programs, conferences and seminars with a particular emphasis on developing their skills further. Staff development is also supported via the Studies and Continuing Professional Development Policy which gives staff time off to attend university lectures or sit exams.
Internally, ATSILS provide a fortnightly Continuing Professional Development Program. These internal presentations also attract external participants, such as solicitors and barristers from the private bar. In addition, ATSILS conducts periodic multi-day workshops for staff, as well as managers, with a central focus on managerial skills. Ongoing development and mentoring is also a facet of the structure of ATSILS with line managers and seasoned professionals providing advice and guidance on an ongoing daily basis.