InternetNZ draws firmer management lines

InternetNZ has clarified the role of its executive director and its council, as the executive director position comes up for grabs.

InternetNZ has clarified the roles of its executive director and its council, as the executive director position comes up for grabs.

The job was advertised last weekend after the resignation of long-time executive director Sue Leader.

InternetNZ’s council secretary David Farrar says there is now a clearer delineation of the roles of director and the council, following a review which has been underway since the beginning of the year. During the evolution of the job description, the council consulted a wide range of its stakeholders.

The council will be purely a governance body with a “focus on outputs and outcomes”, Farrar says. It will define objectives for InternetNZ, but apart from laying down basic guidelines, will have no control over how the executive director, the operational head of the body, achieves those objectives.

Previously, the executive director and her staff had authority only as the council delegated it to them and had to keep going back to the council for consultation on further steps.

“Now we say [the executive director] is free to do whatever he or she sees as furthering our objectives,” Farrar says.

The council will monitor the executive director’s performance and set “limitation policies”. The current policies require the director to provide timely and accurate information on issues the council has defined. The director will also notify the council of “significant trends” that affect those objectives, and legal considerations.

The executive director also has a duty to inform council when it makes or proposes a decision that violates one of its own policies.

He or she also has authority over promoting the society’s aims by external communications, but the views must not be derogatory or damaging to the organisation and must not misrepresent its objectives. On previous occasions, there has been considerable debate on who in the council was, or should be, empowered to speak to the media and other influential bodies.

The change is nothing unusual, Farrar says. Such an evolution of clear demarcation between governance and management "is a stage that a lot of non-profit organisations go through".

In the process, a review of objectives and current work was undertaken and detailed business cases for seven areas of endeavour were laid out. These are:

  • management of InternetNZ itself and support of membership participation,
  • managing the .nz domain name space,
  • supporting international participation,
  • supporting internet community information and managing societal and educational issues associated with the internet,
  • representation to government,
  • supporting industry self-regulation,
  • supporting internet groups and projects.
Full details of the business cases are here.

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