It is in unusual times or times of crisis that organisations and businesses rely significantly on their leadership and governance structures for support and guidance. This is no different for Scotch Oakburn College which has relied, more so recently than perhaps over the majority of its history, on its Executive and Board of Directors to provide that support during this global COVID-19 pandemic.
Scotch Oakburn College is an independent association and not for profit charity. Whilst the College operates from an ethos and pastoral perspective in association with the Uniting Church in Australia, it is independent with regard to its finances and legal structure and is governed by a Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors is a skills-based Board of currently 10 Directors who represent the various elements of the College’s educational, risk and safety, pastoral, financial, legal and asset management aspects of its operations. The Board’s role is to provide strategic oversight and direction of the College, whilst the day to day running of the College is left to the Principal and the College Executive team.
Supporting the Board are a number of Committees, which provide the Board advice and detailed review of their field of expertise. Current Committee’s include Finance, Risk Management, Remuneration and Governance, Friends of Scotch Oakburn and the Foundation. Additional independent members of the extended College community participate in these Committee’s to ensure the Board is provided with considered and timely information to support its strategic decision making.
Director and Committee roles are volunteer based positions. Members of our community fulfilling these roles provide their time, and skills, to ensure effective governance and oversight of the College. Over past months, the role of the Board and its Committee’s has been significant. Whilst moving to online video meetings rather than face to face meetings, the workload and role of these groups has mirrored the necessity for both proactive decision making and agility in response to a rapidly developing COVID-19 environment for the College and the community.
On behalf of the College, I’d like to thank our Board and its Committees for their tireless work and support over past months – it has been much appreciated.
Recently the College held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). I’m pleased to report two key outcomes regarding College governance from the AGM:
The reappointment of Mr Andy Gray for a fourth term as Director and 2nd term as Chairperson of the College. Mr Gray was due to retire in his roles for the College in the next year but has graciously agreed to stay on for the medium term in his role as Board Chairperson to continue to guide the College and provide stability and certainty for us as we re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The appointment of Mrs Karen van der Aa as Chairperson of the Finance Committee. Karen has been a member of the Committee for many years and was recently appointed as a Director of the College. She brings significant experience in financial management and will no doubt continue the excellent work of the Committee in overseeing the College’s finances. Mrs. van der Aa replaces Mr Geoff Duggan as Chairperson of the Committee, with Mr Duggan having steered the College through some important milestones over past years, including the College fee restructure in 2018/19 and the process of incorporation as a separate entity in 2019. He continues on the Committee and the Board which is welcomed by the College.
Congratulations to the above members on their appointments and again, thank you to all of our volunteers on our Board and Committees who so professionally and responsibly assist the College. The COVID-19 crisis has asked a lot from these people, and the College is grateful to them for their role in providing outstanding support and assistance in very challenging times.