Initiating Organisational Change

This article was authored by guest blogger Melinda Crole,
Executive Manager, Licensing and Development 
YMCA Australia

I recently had the opportunity to listen to the Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM deliver a key note address in regards to “Professional knowledge and judicial understanding”. At the end of his address someone from the audience asked a question along the lines of “Are you seeing things change or will things only change when the Commission has finalised its work?” In response, Justice McClellan spoke about some changes that he had already seen but it made me reflect on the process of change and change management within an organisation. Change is about leading our individuals, teams and organisations to a desired future state. Once we have articulated what that desired future state is we shouldn’t need anyone to tell us to change. We should just get on and do it.

The YMCA has worked with the Australian Childhood Foundation for over 8 years now and via a valued partnership approach to developing our child protection practise we have learnt a lot. And, just as we continue to strive towards our goals of change, we continue to learn and seek feedback from our trusted partner as we work to continuously improve. The key to the success of this partnership has been an investment in developing the shared relationship. We have found the Safeguarding team to be supportive of us as we learn on the journey of change, and in turn, they have also been keen to learn about us and the work we do.

In 2014 the YMCA agreed, as a Federated Movement of 24 independent members, to do more to protect children. We committed to the Safeguarding Children Accreditation program for a further 3 years and added a significant learning and development program. With over 700 sites and 30M participations per annum this is a big task, but, as an organisation we are collectively committed to it.

One of the most important things we have learnt over the years working with the Safeguarding Children program is that keeping children and young people safe is everyone’s business within the organisation. It is a cultural piece of work that starts with our Directors and CEO’s and needs to be lived and breathed by all within the organisation and all we work with.

The YMCA have committed to the following:

Protect children and young people from all forms of abuse, bullying and exploitation

Create and maintain a child safe culture that is understood, endorsed and put into action by all the individuals who work, volunteer, govern or access a YMCA program, service or managed facility

To acknowledge that protecting children is everyone business.

A key part of this strategy is our work with the Australian Childhood Foundation.

As I said above, I don’t think we need to wait for Australian Government to legislate changes for organisation. We can search for these changes ourselves, informed by the Royal Commissions findings and others with expert knowledge and experience. Our commitment to children and young people to ensure they are safe, demands it.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking – Albert Einstein

If you would like to learn more about partnership with our Safeguarding Children Program to help your organisation achieve change for children, we would love to talk with you. Just email safeguarding@childhood.org.au with your request and we’ll be in contact soon.