News

Feedback on Governance Reforms

PMSA Board News

Posted 19/09/2018

We have been very pleased to receive positive feedback from our school community regarding our governance reform announcement last Friday.

The PMSA is now in the process of implementing the broad ranging reforms to improve our governance – these reforms are the biggest governance changes in our 100 year history.

We have also received comments regarding our plans to review the PMSA’s incorporation structure – Letters Patent.  As you know, examining models of incorporation such as Letters Patent was outside the scope of the recent governance review.

The PMSA would like to reassure you that we are committed to considering the PMSA’s best model of incorporation and ownership structure of our schools for the future.

We recognise that good governance is a commitment to continuous improvement. We recognise that for our schools to continue to lead the way, we must ensure all aspects of our organisational design represents best practice.

Although our immediate focus and priority is to implement the many governance changes recommended in the recent review, we will genuinely review the basis upon which the PMSA is incorporated under Letters Patent to determine whether this structure will deliver the best possible success for PMSA schools into the future. 

This process will take time and change requires joint approval from the Presbyterian and Uniting Churches. However, the PMSA is committed to continuing on our reform journey. We are also committed to continuing to openly communicate with the school community before, during and after this future review of our incorporation model.

One positive message we received and would like to share is from Dr Russell Bird, an independent Somerville House School Council member. 

Dr Bird has been a vocal advocate for improved transparency of governance at Somerville House and to enhance the role of School Councils.

“Many months ago the churches commissioned Judge Richard Chesterman and then the PMSA engaged the AICD to examine many issues pertaining to the governance of the four PMSA schools. I have been included in this process from the outset and was able to suggest many changes.

“These included allowing non-aligned church members to be appointed to the PMSA Council, changing the composition of School Councils so that Community members dominate and have a greater say in the running of the school, including input into the selection of Principals. Of course improved communication and more transparent financial reporting were also high on the list.

“I have read the full AICD report and the PMSA Council’s response. I am very pleasantly surprised and greatly heartened by both the AICD’s recommendations and the decision by PMSA Council to accept nearly all of them outright and a few others with minor modification.

“This opens the way for major improvements in transparency, governance and eventually all round performance in the four schools. I am confident that the PMSA will adopt the recommended changes and this process has already begun. The two churches and the PMSA Council are to be congratulated.”

Thank you to everyone in the community who has given us feedback.

The PMSA has much work to do and is busy implementing governance reform and organisational change.