As a self-regulating body that takes its regulator role seriously, it would be tempting to suppose that the role and responsibilities of council are well understood. “What exactly does council do?” and, “What is the function of council as compared to staff?” are two often asked questions.
Before I delve in, it bears repeating that the AIBC, vested with the legislative power of the Architects Act, regulates the profession of architecture on behalf of the public. Unlike business associations whose primary mandate is to serve their members, the AIBC’s primary duty is to the public. Whether on council, a committee or as staff, personal and/or professional interests are set aside, making way for the public’s best interest.
In executing this regulatory mandate, the AIBC adopts a policy governance model which clearly delineates governance and operational roles. Council’s governance role entails: organizational oversight and monitoring; providing guidance and vision; setting strategic goals and evaluation of achievement; ensuring financial health and sustainability; assessing council and CEO performance; establishing a framework on how the work of the organization is carried out; and ensuring stakeholders are informed, consulted with, and considered.
This differs from the day-to-day management duties of the CEO who, supported by staff, implements the strategic plan; oversees the work of the various departments; manages the budget, as set by council; maintains the risk register; liaises with regulators, the RAIC and key stakeholders; and, addresses a wide assortment of other operational items.
In my fourth year (second term) on council, and most recently, honoured to sit as president, it has been a remarkable journey. Not only have I honed my facilitation, listening and leadership skills, I have come to fully appreciate the value of good governance and witness first-hand what can be accomplished when it is in place.
We worked hard on strengthening our common vision of building public confidence and excellence in architectural practice, by implementing the 2014–2018 Strategic Plan and building a culture that is inclusive, transparent, proactive and service oriented. Particular focus has been given to engagement and outreach, as well as building stronger partnerships with educators, other provinces and other countries.
A number of council initiatives have been delivered in the past few years. Highlights include an extensive governance audit, with all three recommendations adopted and implemented, save one to be presented shortly; a revised council policy, reorganized and aligned to best-practice standards; and, the members’ support of five bylaw initiatives, one of which was the introduction of mandatory professional liability insurance.
This sustained pace of activity was possible, in large part, due to the strength of a solid governance foundation. It is also attributed to the dedication and commitment of a council who participates in effective meetings where AIBC “business” gets done, and to staff whose contributions are invaluable.
As mentioned, there is one outstanding item resulting from the governance audit: the reactivation of a Nominations Review Committee. Specifically, this revived committee would address Council Policy 2.2.10 and the need “to plan for the succession and diversity of the council and ensure that members of council have the appropriate competencies for fulfilling their roles and responsibilities.”
The idea of a ‘nominating committee’ is familiar to the AIBC, dating back to the late 1990s. At various points in the last 20 years, the institute has relied on such a committee to promote the value of running for council and to attract participation.
Brought forward as an audit recommendation in 2014 and discussed at both the 2016 and 2017 annual meetings, the Nominations Review Committee would actively seek and encourage members to run for council. In addition, it would evaluate the needs of the institute, and based on this assessment, independently review candidate qualifications, through an open, transparent and democratic process. Candidate assessments would be based on criteria such as relevant skills, diversity, and competencies. While all members eligible according to the Architects Act and AIBC Bylaws may run for council, some would be noted as being endorsed by the Nominations Review Committee.
Active throughout the year, the committee composition would include two Lieutenant Governor Appointees from council, the immediate-past-president, one council member-at-large and one member-at-large. The member-at-large position would be filled by a Role Call, per the established procedure for soliciting volunteers.
A copy of the draft Nominations Review Committee Terms of Reference which outlines the mandate, composition and key deliverables is available. Please take a moment to review the terms and share your feedback. All commentary will be presented to council at its November meeting.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you.
Danica Djurkovic Architect AIBC
AIBC Council President