Message from the Chair
Photograph: Rick Hoskin, Board Chair.
In December I was delighted to be elected to the position of chair of the RNZFB. I have been fortunate to inherit a legacy of stable governance created under the guardianship of my predecessor Geraldine Glanville. The RNZFB has a supportive and able Board and a dedicated management team, both committed to ensuring that the services provided by the organisation are of excellent quality, have a high level of member and client satisfaction, and operate within a budget which is continuously under pressure. My time on the Board has shown that the clients and members who take an active part in working with the organisation will help it have a bright future.
Now that the RNZFB has formalised its status as an Incorporated Society it should abide by the tenet of being truly member directed. The strategic plan through to 2015 covers a wide range of priorities, including developing blindness skills and creating independence, supporting an accessible and equitable society, and building a strong and enduring organisation. To accomplish these goals working with the consumers of our services is mandatory.
To achieve this, the organisation must engage well and provide the vehicle for effective consultation. Communication with more than 11,500 members, all of whom require information in formats that are appropriate to vastly differing visual acuity, and include a population of all ages that is spread from the far North to Bluff, will test all our systems. Volunteer, community, recreational, commercial and property strategic Page 7 development will all need to take account of the user’s viewpoint.
During times of financial turmoil it is crucial to balance the costs of today’s service provision with the safeguarding of assets. The wider RNZFB family must be mindful of its financial, social and political responsibilities to future generations of blind and partially sighted New Zealanders. The financial support for our services arises from the charitable dollar, for which there is more and more competition, Government contracts and our own enterprises. The RNZFB must equip itself to engage with central government at the highest level. We must strongly communicate the RNZFB’s responsibilities and requirements, clearly showing where there is Ministerial accountability and obligation.
Prudent management has enabled the introduction of new computer software which is beginning to deliver a raft of cross organisational statistics or Key Performance Indicators. Though more quantitative at present, once qualitative measurements are added, the RNZFB will, in time, be able to build a continuous picture of the quality of the services it provides along with the satisfaction derived from them. Transparent provision of these findings to the users of our services will offer clients an opportunity to be involved, create discussion and subsequently help build solutions for our ever changing needs.
In summary the pathway forward for the RNZFB hinges on its stakeholders engaging and communicating. For solutions to be achieved there must be a robust consultation process, and for that robust consultation process to operate effectively one must come forward to be counted.
Photograph: Rick Hoskin (right) with members of the RNZFB Board and Chair's Award recipient Minnie Baragwanath (second from left).