The National Council has approved its new Strategic Plan 2020. This plan sets out what the National Council will do, both individually and in conjunction with the State and Territory Councils. Cooperation and collaboration are important aspects of the new plan. As such it will have an impact on State and Territory Councils’ strategic plans. The national plan contains a vision for the future of the Society in Australia and should be of interest to all Society members, volunteers, employees and our companions.
Clear boundaries are essential to us all moving forward. In recent years it has not been as clear as it might have been where the boundaries lay between National Council and State and Territory Councils. We hope any lack of clarity has been resolved in this new National Council Strategic Plan.
The plan’s guiding principles are informed by the Rule and help us assess where and how National Council might operate. The plan states that National Council has a role in:
- prioritising advocacy and speaking out for the sake of the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are over-represented among our companions.
- supporting initiatives when there is a national benefit identified and it makes sense to do something together rather than separately.
- promoting subsidiarity so that activity is carried out at the level that is most helpful and logical.
- upholding, updating and promoting the Rule, so that it continues to serve our contemporary society.
- providing representation nationally and internationally.
- effectively creating links and environments to collaborate, coordinate and reallocate resources across Australia.
- mediating only where there are intractable disputes between or within State/ Territory Councils.
Whilst these guiding principles are aspirational the National Council has set itself six longterm objectives through to 2028. These are:
- Supporting our people – We will create the environment of increased Vincentian spirituality, diversity and numbers in the Society.
- Promoting and Protecting our identity – We will be recognised as a safe, high performing and caring organisation by companions, the community, governments, and agencies.
- One Society – We will foster productive collaboration across the Society, creating positive outcomes for our people.
- National Advocacy- We will influence our nation’s priorities, by being a voice for people who are experiencing disadvantage.
- Sustainability- We will build the Society’s capacity to effectively operate across the jurisdictions, sharing resources to most effectively meet our Mission and our Vision.
- International Relations – We will empower National Councils in developing countries to sustainably build their Vincentian vision and we will support CGI to grow the Society’s impact worldwide.
Underpinning each of these objectives is a series of goals, measures and timelines that clearly state how these objectives are intended to be met.
The National Council worked on this strategic plan for many months. State and Territory Councils and CEOs were invited to give input into the plan and suggestions were incorporated in the final form of the plan now available to you on the National Council’s website.
You will see that most of the timelines in the Strategic Plan run out in 2022. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, most of the state and territory Strategic Plans run to 2022 so it will be an opportunity at that time to align the national and state/territory Strategic Plans. Secondly, Claire Victory’s term as National Council President ends in March 2023 so there is the chance for the incoming National Council President and the new National Council to reset the Strategic Plan.
Many of the goals in the National Council Strategic Plan are ambitious and National Council doesn’t expect to complete all of them by the end of 2022, but we want to make progress on all of them by then. Because the Strategic Plan is ambitious, we hope that it will guide the Society in Australia until at least 2028 and perhaps beyond.
What’s in it for me?
As you can see the foremost long-term objective is to support our members in their spiritual journey and in their work for the Society seeking to diversify and increase our membership. State and Territory Council strategic plans will gradually be aligned with the National Council Strategic Plan so that whatever we do as a Society in Australia is consistent across Australia and directed primarily to serving our members, volunteers, employees and our companions. The end result should be that our people feel valued and properly resourced and our companions feel supported.
We commend the plan to you and hope that you will find it inspirational as you continue along your Vincentian journey. ♦
The Strategic Plan is available here.
Note: CGI is Council General International the peak body for the St Vincent de Paul Society. Warwick Fulton is the National Deputy President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia.