Thursday, 10 April 2008

Swansea Board Member Network Meeting

A big thanks to all board members who joined the Board Network which met in Swansea last night. Colleagues from Family, Gwalia and Coastal joined the discussion.

David Hedges gave this presentation:

It was followed by a discussion that picked up key messages from the Board Member Network Conference in March - namely that:

  • Meeting face to face is absolutely vital and the precious time that board members commit needs to meet their needs
  • There should be more time spent networking with peers – mingling is important – especially with new shadow board members
  • Conversations need to be more delegate led – with agendas focusing on agreed key topics
  • Network meetings should stop using up valuable time giving updates– briefings should go out in advance so people can come prepared in advance
  • Innovation and best practice is key – and more opportunities are needed to enable boards to learn from each other
  • There is an appetite to get information on, say governance, from beyond the world of housing – especially around public service delivery and health
  • More needs to happen between meetings - networking, information exchanges, learning and more – the development of on line networks could add real value here.

It was agreed that future network meetings would be a mix of formal presentations on agreed crunch issues - followed by space for board let discussions on priorities. It was felt that it was very important for board members to have the chance to share and learn from each other - and that the benefits far outweighed any issues of competition between associations.

The top 2 crunch issues that were identified for the next network meeting were:

  • The credit crunch will have on housing associations and the lives of tenants
  • How to recruit and support stronger board
There was also strong interest in how to use online spaces - like this blog - as a places for giving board members access to more information and networks:

  • Before meetings so valuable time can be spent with 'up to speed' discussions
  • After board network meetings - to enable discussions to continue
About half of those who attended the network meeting thought this would be a valuable additional way of increasing the effectiveness of boards and board members.

Many thanks to all who joined the discussion.

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