Children's treatment association restructures governance

Children's treatment association restructures governance

A restructuring of the Ontario Associaiton of Children's Treatment Rehabilitation Services (OACRS) board has resulted in improved stakeholder engagement and more efficient governance, says Executive Director Vicky Earle.

The OACRS board changed its structure in the fall of 2006, deciding to include a representative from each of the 20 children’s treatment centres (CTCs) in the province.

The board also clarified the role of the board, the CEO and board committees, following recommendations from a board structure task force headed up by Don Watson.

“We are very pleased with this change,” Vicky says. “We have clarified the roles of the board and CEO and have become much more efficient.”

The change has improved two-way input and communication with children’s treatment centres and ensures that all geographic areas in the province are represented, she says. “It truly keeps us in touch with our members and OACRS is here to represent our members.”

In the past, the 17-member OACRS board had representation from CTCs but also directors at large including people from the business community not necessarily involved in children’s treatment centres, Vicky explains. Board membership was more loosely defined and did not accurately reflect OACRS membership, she says.

Now, each CTC nominates its own board member to sit on the OACRS board. “It can be a centre board member, parent, staff member, volunteer or supporter,” Vicky explains. “Each centre can nominate whomever they wish.”

The change has sparked greater interest in the OACRS board, with 18 of the 20 CTCs nominating a representative and the two remaining centres promising to nominate a representative for next year, she says.

The changes have included clarification of the responsibilities of the board and the CEO, Vicky says. “In the past, there has been some confusion about the two roles and with this clarification it is now much clearer as to who is responsible for what.”

The board must be careful to focus on policy and direction and leave the day-to-day operation to the CEO, Vicky says. “The CEO has to follow up on the policy and direction set by the board.”

The committee system has also been changed to clarify where responsibilities lie, she says. The way the committees were previously set up, it was not clear where the responsibility lay and sometimes made the role of the CEO difficult, Vicky says.

The new board structure has reduced the number of committees to two, finance and board development, and makes much more sense, she says. The CEO can establish working groups to assist on specific projects, she explains.

“It means our job can be done more quickly and more efficiently,” Vicky says. “And we are getting more direct input from our members.”