We ask for your ideas on this question, to encourage discussion about the Society in the run up to more formal discussions in the Beijing Symposium.

You can find the background materials and other questions here.

21 Responses to HSR consultation – 4. What kind of governance arrangements do you think would be appropriate for the society, and how best should they be established?

  1. Cornelia Ndifon says:

    • President elected by registered members
    • Appointed Manager(s) for technical day-to-day management of affairs
    • Support staff
    • Headquarters
    • Regional/sub-regional offices/directors etc

  2. Ramachandran Murali says:

    Society By laws can be worked out.
    Apex body with advisory board from country can be constituted.
    Regional or country level conferences can be arranged
    Dr.Murali- Tamilnadu- India

  3. Irene Akua Agyepong says:

    Agree about the need for transparency, dialogue and ensuing fair representation of the different kinds of people engaged in the field – young and old. We need to be careful about creating bureaucratic and opaque slow moving governance arrangements. That should be possible if we keep up the kind of open engagement and dialogue arrangements taking place in the current forum. Also take advantage of modern communications and use email, internet etc as much as possible. And finally create a balance between stability of membership for continuity and turnover to bring in fresh ideas and perspectives
    Agree that asking members of governance boards to pay their way will automatically exclude most if not all LMIC representation. Yet these parts of the world have a critical need for this science to move forward – and also have insights and contributions to make.
    Is there any information on the most successful societies and organizations of this nature (in terms of achieving their mission and goals) and what accounts for their success? Might be informative

  4. Leslie London says:

    Global representativeness (institutions of the north and south)
    Diversity of membership (race, gender, ‘seniority’, etc)
    Emphasis on virtual meeting using appropriate IT and support for those participants in southern countries where IT systems are unable to support reliable skype or videoconferencing (that is a health systems issue, too!)
    A lean secretariat located in one of the participating institutions to save on overheads

  5. Lucy Gilson says:

    The governance arrangements should allow the mission to be implemented. So, for example, they must enable networking amongst existing initiatives, they must enable the participation in governance by those actively working in low and middle income countries and by those with experience in different research/analysis traditions, and they must enable resource generation to sustain the society. So diversity and plurality, relevant experience, support for participation in governance and membership stablity with change, should be principles for decision-making about governance forms.

  6. chinyere mbachu says:

    • Executive committee: We could start with an appointed committee since it is a new society. Then we could go on to an elected committee after membership has increased and members get to know themselves. The Exco should consist of at least a president; regional/continent vice presidents; general secretary; financial secretary;
    • Caucuses: the caucuses could be informed by the HS building blocks, and each caucus should have experts in the area, headed by an appointed chairman/leader.

  7. Kun Zhao says:

    Board management and membership would be fair for the society.

  8. Dick Jonsson says:

    Member association with the same set up as similar international organizations.

  9. While the need to be tangible and impactful is great, these bureaucratic structures could eventually lead to another building in New York or Geneva, with yet another organization more concerned about self-survival than finding a way to eliminate the need for its existence. A more virtual, nimble, and light arrangement might be an idea to explore. From the beginning, there should be a strict cap on the formal Secretariat of the Society. Temporary, time-delimited teams could be convened to address specific topics, and then disbanded once they have achieved their objectives. A refreshing focus would be nurturing and facilitating on-going work in countries to set and pursue a coherent national research agenda, instead of just generating global reports and workshops.

  10. David Peters says:

    Governance structures and processes should fit the circumstances and may change over time, but should be designed to support principles such as: pursuit of the mission, transparency and accountability, widespread representation and participation. Some of the proposed arrangements that should be reconsidered to support these principles include:
    • Election of all board members (not reserving 3 positions for current working group members as proposed)
    • The proposed bylaws will produce members from different regions (6 regions may be too many) and a gender balance, but it should also reserve a place for young researchers or recent graduates.
    • Don’t require board members to pay their own way to participate in meetings (as others have pointed out), as this would make it hard for most participants from low income countries and for young researchers — even most academic researchers in high income countries don’t have funds for this
    • Let the elected board prepare the new strategy and business plan, and do not lock prematurely lock it into arrangements that may constrain future decisions by the board e.g. why register the society and establish the secretariat in Denmark rather than in a LMIC or place with more international societies and better access for travelers?

  11. Deon Canyon says:

    A truly global board should take advantage of technology and not waste precious funds on needless travel and subsistence perks.

    Apart from that blanket statement, I’m not sure why you are asking this question because the governance of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is fairly straightforward.

    Unlike corporations or businesses whose main purpose is to make a profit for their shareholders or owners, CSOs are founded to work for the common good. They do not have direct owners to guide them toward their goals. Instead, a volunteer board of directors is responsible for seeing that the organization acts in the public interest. The board has the authority to lead the organization, make decisions, set policies to guarantee the proper use of funds, provide good services (according to the organization’s mission), treat personnel fairly, and promote a positive work climate.

    CSOs are formed under the laws and regulations of the country in which they intend to operate. They need to be registered according to their country’s rules and comply with all legal regulations. Two legal documents are usually needed to formalize registration and state the reason for the incorporation of the organization: the articles of incorporation and the bylaws.

    All Boards need to set direction, oversee organizational effectiveness, provide support, maintain good external relationships and maintain Boad effectiveness.

  12. Freddie Ssengooba says:

    Have a set of recognizable experts in health systems and policy work to constitute the governing board with representation from Africa, South America, North America, EU/UK, key blocks in Asia,
    We can follow the example of International Health Economics Association (iHEA).

  13. Justice Nonvignon says:

    I side with Di and Sara. It will be an “elimination-by-rough-tactics” strategy to promote broad representation on the board and say that board members attend face-to-face meetings on their own. Since the organization will look for funding through various means, I disagree that board members pay their way to attend meetings, unless a board member chooses to do so.

    For emphasis: just as percentages of the board memberships are reserved for males and females, it is not enough to say that younger/junior researchers be represented, but to move a step further by allocating a percentage of board membership to such junior/early career group, some percentage for mid-career group and another for the most senior ones. This makes representation very fair.

  14. Yanira Xirinachs-Salazar says:

    Governance structure:
    1- Director
    2- Regional and sub-regional representatives
    3- Administrative Secretariat

  15. Bill Brieger says:

    Governance processes will vary as the organization grows. Ultimately there may be national and/or regional associations that send representatives to global board or membership meetings. The link with financing is important – if financing arrangements exclude people from developing countries, then representativeness in a global “board” may be problematic. Are there any thoughts to link in with an existing global organization for secretariat/support functions?

  16. Sara Bennett says:

    The documents prepared by the Working Group are good in terms of arguing for broad regional representation, and involvement of more junior researchers in the board, but aspects of the detailed arrangements concern me:-
    – Board members should not need to pay their own way to participate in board meetings this will work against broad representation
    – All board positions should be elected from the start
    – A ‘first past the post’ election system may discourage younger researchers – should we consider reserving spots for them?

  17. Di McIntyre says:

    An excellent suggestion to get diverse regional representation, but I wonder if this will happen in reality with the suggested requirement in the proposal for the board (see document on Board responsibilities and election criteria) that Board members “are expected to attend face-to-face meetings at their own cost”? I think this would exclude participation in these meetings of most people from low- and middle-income countries. I am also not sure about the criterion that nominees for the Board must “demonstrate leadership in their field” – it would be good to have a mix of experienced researchers as well as ’emerging’ researchers (as someone with a few too many grey hairs, and so a little entrenched in my ways, I think there is great value in having Board members with fewer grey hairs and so high levels of energy and innovative ideas).

  18. Alex Hakuzimana says:

    As long as the society grows, the organizational chart will be adapted to the context. However, at the start up point, a representative board of directors should be set up.
    This board of directors will be supported by a number of groups such as initiative and governance groups, special interest groups, geographic groups, student groups and advisory groups.
    This way, the society is conclusive and representative, but bearing in mind the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the groups and their members.

  19. Bernard Kadio says:

    A 4 years-mandate for a governing body elected by the General Assembly made of all the qualified members. At country level : a local organization for 4 years.

  20. Asha George says:

    Transparency and regional representation such that this is not yet another global creation dominated by those from high income countries. All seats should follow the same rules, ie all of them should come up for election, have clear roles and be held accountable. Representation by those doing research, particularly university based and not just agency/ consulting groups.

    Adequate time and consultation to review the documents/ rules under consideration.

  21. Benjamin Uzochukwu says:

    A governing body with a director or President plus a deputy and regional and sub-regional representatives. Then a secretariat with an administrator to maintain database and regular communication. The administrator reports to the governing body.

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