In 2013 the Office of Recreation and Sport (ORS) commissioned a review into the governance and organisational structure of Walking SA. The broad intention of this review was to make a series of recommendations regarding the future direction of Walking SA in the context of the current ‘walking’ environment in South Australia.
Formed in the early 1990s, Walking SA is the peak body representing walking groups in South Australia. Currently, the organisation has 40 member clubs as well as a body of individual members. It is predominantly supported by volunteers, with the addition of 15 hours per week paid employment providing administrative and bookkeeping support. Recently Walking SA approached the Office of Recreation and Sport (ORS) for a grant to pay for a full time Executive Officer. In response, ORS requested that a comprehensive review be carried out to ensure the organisation is functioning effectively and sustainably.
BDO Organisation Development (formerly PKF) was engaged by Walking SA to conduct a comprehensive review into the governance structure and operations of the organisation. The broad intention of this review was to make a series of recommendations regarding the future direction of Walking SA in the context of the current ‘walking’ environment in South Australia.
BOO’s approach to the project has been highly consultative. Information regarding Walking SA was gathered through a range of methods including meetings with the Executive Committee and State Council and interviews with relevant affiliated bodies and stakeholders. Additional information was collected from the broader network through a survey, which garnered 241 responses. Simultaneously, benchmarking was conducted to gather information regarding the operations and governance structures of other national and international walking jurisdictions. The information collected was synthesised to track common themes- and this led to the creation of a number of recommendations for the future governance and operations of Walking SA.
An outline of the key issues and the proposed recommendations are summarised below; placed broadly into low, medium and high priority areas.
In summary, it appears that Walking SA is an organisation with a considerable degree of potential. The recommendations proposed in this report are intended to assist the organisation to clarify and strengthen their purpose and structure – and solidify their role within a state that has recently been deemed as having the highest levels of obesity in the nation. Now more than ever South Australia needs strong advocates to promote easily accessible and affordable forms of exercise and recreation – and Walking SA, adequately resourced, is well placed to assume this role.
Walking SA’s Response
Walking SA has agreed in principle with all the recommendations of the review. The Minister for Recreation and Sport has agreed to provide some additional funds to assist with their implementation.
Key aspects include:
- Drafting a new constitution and implementing a modern governance structure to support a wider range of walkers and walking interests than has been possible in the past.
- Better collaboration with local government and like-minded community organisations.
- Enabling Walking SA to be more adequately resourced to perform these roles.
Full BDO Report
Key Issues and Proposed Recommendations