GOOD GOVERNANCE
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Why do we need 'continuous' governance development?

Our model for change indicates that good governance is characterised by a willingness to be 'self-reflective' and have a keen interest in continuous improvement.

All excellent institutions build continuous improvement into their strategic development. It is an indicator of good governance that a key priority for continuing action focuses on improving the quality and effectiveness of leadership, management and governance.

The development cycle questions above also illustrate this: new 'current' states (Where are we now?') are achieved following a process of strategic planning (Where are we going?), implementation (How will we get there?) and regular monitoring and identification of development needs (How do we know if we have been successful?) carried out over time (for example, every 3-5 years) thereby bringing institutions to a 'new' current state.

One of the central needs is to develop the understanding and expertise of all of the staff concerned. The IIM programme of Management Capacity Enhancement is making a valuable contribution in this respect.

Action is needed at individual, institution and system-support level, as set out below. In putting action plans for staff development together, all concerned should ensure that there are:

  • detailed analyses of individual training needs
  • clear priorities for training programmes in the light of the needs analyses
  • effective training experiences, tailored to individual needs
  • high levels of attendance by those who can benefit most
  • and detailed feedback on the quality and, especially, the impact of the training after it has taken place.

The tables below set out the key features of continuous development at three levels:



EXAMPLES OF INSTITUTIONAL LEVEL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
How institutions can improve their own systems and practices to achieve better governance.
  • Ensuring that the membership of the governing body encompasses the range of skills and experience that will provide both strong support and well-founded challenge to the institution
  • Being prepared to use the available freedoms to have a full range of professional expertise from external members of the governing body
  • Given that it is not acceptable to have appointed members of the governing body who never attend, having explicit institutional policies to deal with any such instances
  • Taking the lead, at the institutional level, in achieving a better balance between delegated personal responsibility at all levels and suitable systems to ensure accountability at all levels
  • Achieving the greatest degree of autonomy and accountability which is consistent with the regulatory framework
  • Taking the lead in providing management development for managers and administrators at all levels.


EXAMPLES OF INDIVIDUAL LEVEL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
How individuals at all levels can achieve greater responsibility with appropriate accountability, and how individuals at all levels can influence change.
  • Having a clear understanding of the relationship between leadership, management and governance, and in particular what governance might mean for them.
  • Having a clear definition of their own role and how this relates to others
  • Being aware of ideas from outside the higher education sector which could have relevance to a TEQIP institution, such as approaches to quality management
  • Understanding what goes on in the institution and having contact beyond the formal meetings
  • Improving personal performance whatever the role is (for example, for governing body members through regular attendance at meetings and taking other opportunities to learn about the institution).


EXAMPLES OF SYSTEMS SUPPORT LEVEL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
How systems, at the State and National level, could support and encourage better governance:
  • Demonstrate a commitment to autonomy by removing unnecessary obstacles that impede institutional progress
  • Strengthen leadership and management capacity to enable institutions to make good and effective use of greater autonomy
  • Modernise accountability mechanisms (especially for government-funded institutions), so that proper accountability is ensured, but the burden of unnecessary bureaucracy reduced (in particular, on Heads of Institutions)
  • Strengthen the role of external governing body members, ensuring that a relevant range of skills and experience exists to take advantage of the new opportunities that greater autonomy affords
  • Strengthen the autonomy of governing bodies by having more Chairs of governing bodies as external members
  • To consider whether it would be more effective and efficient if those put forward as potential members of governing bodies are not members of more than two governing bodies
  • Where there is a partnership between a college and a university, ensuring that both are clear about their respective roles regarding autonomy.
Many key system support challenges need:
  1. To ensure fitness-for-purpose, especially in relation to autonomy and accountabilities
  2. To remove potential conflicts of interest for policy makers, and
  3. To promote proper and higher standards of professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness at the systems as well as institutional levels.

 

 

Self-review is a key activity and output of the Good Governance Programme through which institutions can examine their current governance practice. Self-review can be undertaken regularly (for example every 3 -5 years).

Supporting governance development needs of individual governors, governing bodies, institutions and States is a key activity of this and other national and regional initiatives. Another output of the Good Governance Programme is a Governance Development Plan to see how governance development is built into institutional development through clear, timebound action planning.

 

 

Implementing good governance practice is the primary outcome of the Good Governance Programme demonstrated by institutions developing their own governance guidelines which sets out institutional governance practices based on the Good Practice Guide for Governing Bodies. This would include a process and timetable for monitoring and reviewing governance practise.
Sharing experience underpins and supports the Good Governance Programme through good governance learning forums, sharing of institutional case studies of good practice, highlighting common gaps, barriers and issues, and helping institutions to learn from one another.