It's all about balance

NZPA | Sun April 1st, 2018

The Police Association has set up a Diversity Governance Group (DGG), which met for the first time last month at the National Office in Wellington.


Association president Chris Cahill with the newly formed Diversity Governance Group. From left, Kelly Larsen, Mike McRandle, Sally Patrick, Craig Tickelpenny, Marcia Murray and Sarah Stirling.

Association vice-president Marcia Murray is the group’s sponsor, joined by fellow VP Craig Tickelpenny and Region 6 director Mike McRandle, with Association members Sarah Stirling (Police College), Kelly Larsen (Christchurch) and Sally Patrick (Hastings) completing the team.

They have been tasked with implementing the Association’s Gender Balance Strategy, which was the outcome of a workshop in May last year that considered the causes and consequences of gender imbalance in Association leadership positions.

The draft strategy based on their findings was adopted by the board and confirmed at the annual conference, with a directive to bring it into effect in recognition of the need for a proactive approach to encouraging more women into leadership positions.

Now the work begins to align the Association with its constitution’s Rule 35 (1), which directs the Association to “endeavour to create a balance on the board reflective of New Zealand society (recognising the democratic nature of its appointment processes)”.

Although the starting point has been gender diversity, the DGG’s scope will also include diversity of ethnicity, age, skills, work groups and experience.

Research into diversity in leadership shows higher performance outcomes when a range of perspectives are at the table, and this includes better results in problem solving and connecting with a wider audience.

Just a week after the DGG’s establishment, the Association board approved some significant recommendations to jump start its commitment to diversifying the voices at leadership tables – at committee and board level.

• For the rest of this year, a non-board member from the DGG will be seconded to board meetings to offer a different viewpoint on matters being discussed and, by being involved, to gain first-hand exposure to how the board operates. A report detailing this experience will go to committees with the aim of reaching women involved in Association representation. The intention is to increase this representation to two “shadow” board attendees.

• The board has approved a maximum of seven representatives to attend the annual conference as observers. The impetus is to provide regions that do not have a female delegate the opportunity for female representation. Observing the conference will expose these members to the job of delegates and workings of the conference.

• Succession planning and diversity will now be included as an item on future board agendas, backing up the work being done in the regions to ensure identification of potential women representatives, and mentoring and development support for women on committees.

• It was also approved that, from now on, one of the two representatives attending PFAWAC (Police Federation of Australia Women’s Advisory Committee) conferences will report in person to the board post-conference.

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