Enhancing governance in the voluntary and community sector: a case study of organisations in the Taranaki region
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Voluntary and community organisations are fundamental to society because they are major stakeholders in building the social capital that underpins healthy and well-functioning communities. Yet many of these organisations are small and possess limited resources when measured against the challenges and needs that they address. This raises the issue of the capacity of organisations within the sector to operate effectively. Within the range of capacity issues, governance is consistently rated as an area requiring development. This research seeks to contribute to a better understanding of issues impacting on the governance capacity of voluntary and community sector organisations within the overall context of capacity building. A focused study in the Taranaki region examines the factors impacting on the governance of community organisations providing social services. The research identifies the level of governance capacity demonstrated within the organisations studied and also explores the level of awareness around the need to enhance governance capacity. The research examines a range of frameworks and models used to build governance capacity to see if they could be adapted for the Taranaki region. The study suggests that, although a number of frameworks and models are useful, every situation is different, and models must be responsive to the social and cultural context and the particular history and mission of each organisation. As a result, the study concludes that further work should be undertaken to develop a model of governance for the voluntary and community sector.