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Strengthening organisational capacity to improve Indigenous Australian community governance: A two-way approach
journal contributionposted on 15.10.2018, 00:00 by K Tsey, Janya MccalmanJanya Mccalman, Roxanne BainbridgeRoxanne Bainbridge, C Brown
Strengthening the two-way organisational capacity of both Indigenous and government organisations is critical to raising the health, wellbeing and prosperity of Indigenous Australian communities. A review of the Indigenous Australian literature across seven databases using multiple search terms suggested that improving governance processes is likely to require incremental strengthening of Indigenous and government organisational values, goals, structuresand arrangements that influence employees’ and clients’ behaviour and wellbeing. Involvement of Indigenous people in leading decision-making about their own development was critical. The literature cited effective approaches as tailored to specific situations, utilising existing community capacity and based on Indigenous community ownership of governance-improvement. Similarly, there is evidence for collaborative approaches between Indigenous people and governments that strengthen existing capacity through long-term partnering. What is important is that capacity strengthening programs have clarity of purpose; being explicit about their intent to strengthen capacity for what and for whom, and how we know their effects? In contrast, the literature cites detrimental approaches for governance including programs that do not reflect community priorities, attempts to improve Indigenous governance structures, such as through amalgamation, without attending to governance processes, fragmented, rapidly changing, ad hoc and poorly coordinated government processes, and multiple accountability requirements (red tape).