Chair Board of Directors
“Our core objectives to focus on excellence, our team, to advocate and be leaders for children, and to continue to grow and improve as an organisation, continued to strongly resonate with Directors.”
Welcome to our 2022-23 Annual Report. After six years of being part of the Lady Gowrie Tasmania Board, this is the last time I will have the pleasure of presenting our Annual Report on behalf of the Board.
Over the last few years, we’ve been working to improve our structures, policies and processes. This has seen some changes in resourcing to make sure we are set up to support our growing organisation, changing regulatory requirements, to streamline processes and most importantly, ensure our centres maintain and strive to continually improve the quality of experiences, services and support provided to children in their early years.
Over recent years we have expanded our Senior Leadership Team, introduced new quality and risk-focused roles; become a Registered Training Organisation in our own right after previously working with interstate partners in the Gowrie network; and we’ve continued to add new centres and services to our LGT family.
In 2023-24, you will see this focus on delivering quality services continue, as we are investing in resourcing and people with the creation of a General Manager People and Culture role, which has since seen Suzie Jones join our team, and Lee Veitch has joined us as General Manager, Business Growth and Improvement. We are also establishing more regional resources for our centre managers and educators, and Educational Leader positions.
As ever, we continually work to balance investing in our services and supporting children, with growing operating costs and the impact of these on families. In 2022-23 we walked this line carefully and tried to keep pricing down while managing cost pressures. This included making decisions such as not passing on the cost of the extra public holiday in September 2022, which arose as a period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, continuing to invest in training and opportunities for staff, and offsetting and minimising the growing cost of materials as best we could. These environmental challenges added pressure to our budget in 2022-23, but as a Board, we felt we got the balance right. While we’ve needed to make some small adjustments to fees as part of our annual budget process, we contained these as best we could and remained well below the pricing of our peers in the sector.
An exciting project during 2022-23 was the redevelopment of the Penna Road Education and Care Service. This carefully planned and delivered project has created a seamless indoor and outdoor space to support learning through play, interaction, inquiry, and exploration, and celebrates local fauna and place with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre guiding the use of palawa kani alongside the decals of plants and animals that wrap around the walls and windows. It was fantastic to welcome children for the first time in September, providing a chance to celebrate the work that was undertaken during the financial year.
After welcoming new Directors to the Board at our last AGM, we had a mid-year strategy refresh session to work through the priorities in our existing strategic plan to make sure they reflected our current focus. Our core objectives to focus on excellence, our team, to advocate and be leaders for children, and to continue to grow and improve as an organisation, continued to strongly resonate with Directors, alongside our mission of ‘Children First’.
A refresh of our strategic plan will commence this year and will provide an opportunity to refine our vision and establish targets for us to work towards as an organisation. It will also be an opportunity to capture our aspirations to reach more children and families in regional areas and embrace our state-wide role.
Advocacy for children, our organisation and the sector has remained a priority this year, and it was wonderful to see our team working with the interstate network of Gowrie organisations and to be involved in initiatives such as the B4 Leaders Group and Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Tasmanian Branch.
This year we had a few changes on the Board with Kate Gillies finishing earlier this year after a brief but valuable period as part of the team, and as of the AGM today, Andrew Saward completes his second term with us, totalling six years of service. Andrew has brought a particular focus on risk throughout his time on the Board and has been an advocate for safety, and process and reporting improvement opportunities. Among his contributions, Andrew has most recently been the Chair of the Governance, Risk and Audit Sub-Committee where he helped keep risk and safety front of mind for the Board, which is of course particularly important given our role in providing care and support for children in their critical early years.
This will also be my last year on the Board, after starting in July 2017 and being formally appointed at the AGM in November 2017. I’ll be available to provide transitional support, but I am very confident that the Board, our Senior Leadership Team and, with our Deputy Chair Chelsea Trubody-Jager stepping into the Chair role, we are in more than safe hands.
Before closing out, my thanks as always go to my colleagues on the Board for their ongoing engagement, support, and investment in wanting to get the best outcomes possible for LGT. Our Board Directors are all volunteers and their time, experience and passion to support this organisation, are all gratefully appreciated.
And a big thank you to our team. It takes so much work to open our doors every day, which is the result of the hard work of both the people our families see every day, and the many people working behind the scenes.
The dedication of our team in seeking to continue to improve our programs and facilities, and to offer the best quality care that we can, including by supporting our staff and making sure they have access to the systems and tools they need, are what enable us to continue to put ‘Children First’.
2022-2023 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Many thanks to the voluntary Board of Directors. They contribute individually and collectively to Lady Gowrie Tasmania’s work in multiple ways and bring a range of complementary skills across disciplines that are relevant to the work of the organisation.
Anne Beach (Chair)
Chelsea Trubody-Jager (Deputy Chair)
Kate Gillies (Resigned June 2023)