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UCVT Quality Framework

VicTas Website > In The Community > Uniting > UCVT Quality Framework

UCVT Quality Framework


UCVT Network Standards

The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (Victoria) and the Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (Tas.) are statutory corporations established by The Uniting Church in Australia Act No. 9021 of 1977 of the Parliament of Victoria and the Uniting Church in Australia Act No. 38 of 1977 of the Parliament of Tasmania respectively.

Each state act references the constitution and regulations of the Uniting Church in Australia.  UnitingCare Agencies, as unincorporated associations, are defined within the regulations as Institutions of the church under the governance of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.

Three documents taken together describe the day to day governance of UnitingCare Agencies within Victoria and Tasmania.  The Commission for Mission By-Laws delegate certain responsibilities for the regulation of Agencies to the Commission for Mission Board.  The UCVT Unit Terms of Reference​ set out the purpose and responsibilities of operational staff of the Commission for Mission.  The Model Constitution establishes each UnitingCare Agency in Victoria and Tasmania as an unincorporated association within the Property Trust in that state.

Each agency in the UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania Network (‘UCVT Network’) works under a delegated authority of the Property Board of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania of the Uniting Church in Australia, and its Board of Governance acts as the responsible body.

The ‘UCVT Unit’ is the central work unit within the Commission for Mission that supports Agencies and reports to the Commission for Mission Board of the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania. 

Note: This interrelated model of governance is being reviewed by the UCVT Network Project and is expected to be replaced with a new governance structure in 2016-2017.  UCVT Network agencies continue to operate on a business as usual basis until any changes recommended by this project are implemented.


The Agencies of UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania and the Commission for Mission (with the UCVT Unit) adopt the following standards - 

Overall commitments
1.1. Agencies must comply with the standards set out and referred to in this document, as amended from time to time through the process outlined below.
1.2. Subject to this standards document, the Commission for Mission bestows on the Agencies the right to use the UnitingCare brand and benefit from the support and collaborative benefits associated with being a UnitingCare agency.



1. Exercise good governance
1.1. Agencies must exercise good governance and undertake continual improvement in governance practice.
1.2. Agencies must adopt the UCVT Model Constitution (P1) in substance, with required amendments relevant to the individual agency purpose and focus.
1.3. Agencies must develop and comply with good quality Board Policies (P2), and ensure their Board complies with the minimum talent mix outlined in the Board Matrix (P2A)
1.3.1 submit an EOI appointment [Document] to board of governance for any new board member through the UCVT Unit
1.3.2 submit an EOI re-appointment [Document] to board of governance for any board member wishing to serve a further three year term through the UCVT Unit
1.3.3 accompany any EOI submitted to the UCVT Unit with a current Board Matrix (P2A) confirming their Board complies with the minimum talent mix
1.4. New Board members must be provided a Board Orientation Kit (example provided G1).
Board management or leadership training should be undertaking within their first two years of Board membership (e.g. AICD course, TasCOSS or Leadership Victoria Board orientation training) or hold relevant governance qualifications (e.g. AICD Director).  Where agencies are following the Carver governance model (recommended) board members should also study Killmeister’s Governance Policies as part of their Board Orientation.
1.5. Agencies must comply with the UnitingCare Instrument of Delegation (P3), outlining the levels of delegated authority for various significant actions, and the approvals required. Any variations must be documented in Board minutes, and these lodged with UCVT Unit. The board should also refer to the Action Checklist and UCVT Agency Protocols for further guidance on decision making.
1.6. Agencies should periodically review their statements setting out vision, purpose (mission) and values, to ensure they remain relevant, aligned with Uniting Church values and principles, and that they are understood by the Agency’s stakeholders including staff.
1.7. An agency’s policies should be reviewed for relevance, cost of compliance and alignment with UnitingCare and external accreditation requirements at least every 24 months.
1.9 Agencies should periodically review compliance with best practice at least every 36 months with the Board Review Tool.


2. Act ethically and with integrity
1.1. Agencies must act ethically and with integrity at all times.
1.2. Apply the UnitingCare Ethical Fundraising Guidelines (G2) to determine whether or not a source of funds should be accepted by a UnitingCare agency.
1.3. Agencies must comply with any relevant legislation, and inform the Director of the UCVT Unit immediately any significant breach is detected.
1.4. Board members and staff must avoid conflicts of interests in their decision-making.
1.5. Board members and staff must act in the best interests of the UC agency they represent.
1.6. Agencies must apply a Code of Conduct (example provided G3) relevant to their service.
1.7. Agency leaders must demonstrate a values-driven way of doing business through their behaviours, taking into account individual needs and cultural differences. 

3. Act in the best interests of clients and communities
1.1. Where relevant to the work of the Agency, all employees and volunteers must obtain a ‘Working with Children’ Check upon job commencement, and re-obtain the license every 5 years. 
1.2. Agencies must undertake a suitable police check on all Board members, employees and volunteers, and this is to be updated at least every 4 years.  
1.3. Agencies must adopt evidence-based client care standards. These may be required by relevant legislation, program standards and service agreements.
1.4. Agencies must report any significant crisis in care to the UCVT Unit (as defined by the UCVT risk management framework (G​4)) within ag​​reed incident reporting requirement timeframes.
1.5. Agencies must adopt a privacy policy (example provided P6) that complies with relevant legislation.
1.6. Give clients and communities a say in the design and delivery of their care and enable them to direct their care where possible.
1.7 Agencies must ensure compliance with the Synod Keeping Children Safe Policy and Victorian Agencies must also comply with the Child Safe Standards.

4. Manage risk rigorously
1.1. Agencies must put in place systems, process and behaviours to identify, monitor and reduce or manage all significant risks to the Agency and to the UnitingCare Network as a whole.
1.2. Agencies must implement a Risk Management Framework (G4), and re​port results in the format and at the time as required by the Synod at least annually or when otherwise required by the Synod. 
1.3. Agencies must act in a transparent way with information, with any material information that is incorrect or omitted constituting a breach of these standards.
1.4. Agencies must maintain appropriate insurances.
1.5. Agencies must, at a minimum, adopt the Synod Fraud Prevention and Corruption Control Policy (P4), including:
1.5.1. in the design of roles and tasks relating to financial controls and authorisations
1.5.2. distribution of an anti-fraud policy
1.5.3. external audit
1.5.4. anti-fraud checks and audit
1.5.5. recruitment and human resource controls

5. Manage for financial sustainability
1.1. Agencies must manage their affairs so as to achieve solvency and financial sustainability.
1.2. Agencies must maintain good practice financial control and management systems
1.3. Agencies must collect financial data and report data through the UCVT Unit
1.4. Agencies must develop an annual budget (which must be submitted to the UCVT Unit) and ensure appropriate financial management of Agency funds.
1.5. Agencies must report a deficit budget to the UCVT Unit Director upon Agency Board approval of the financial statements including the deficit budget, and include an explanation as required by the compliance guidelines.
1.6. Agencies must deliver three copies of their Annual Report and Annual Financial Report to UCVT within four months of the end of the agency’s end of financial year.
1.7. Agencies must monitor their delivery of service contracts and comply with their legal and contractual obligations.
1.8. When seeking to purchase property, agencies must comply with the 3-step application process (P5) and with decisions of the Property Trust.
1.9. Agencies must ensure compliance with tax, workcover and superannuation laws and requirements.

6. Work effectively as part of the UnitingCare Network
1.1. Agencies must act in the interests and protect and promote the reputation of both their Agency and the UC Network as a whole, when dealing with external communications and the media.
1.2. Agencies must adhere to UC Brand rules outlined in the UCVT Brand Manual (G5).
1.3. Agencies must act in accordance with a duty of care to the UnitingCare network.
1.4. Agencies should share knowledge with the UCVT Unit and other Agencies reasonably relevant to the success of these other Agencies.

7. Treat staff respectfully
1.1. Agencies must, at a minimum, adopt OH&S standards as outlined in the UCVT OH&S Manual (G6).
1.2. Agencies must, at a minimum, implement the Synod’s anti-bullying code (P7).
1.3. Agencies must, at a minimum, adopt the Synod’s Whistle-blowing Policy (P8).
1.4. Agencies must adopt an Equal Opportunity policy (P9).
1.5. Agencies must apply the ‘Uniting Church as Employer’ statement of principles (P10) and apply the spirit of these principles in decisions relating to agency staff.
1.6. Agencies must institute a grievance handling and reporting procedure (P11).
1.7.   Where possible agencies should recognise continuity of service for staff who move between agencies and record each case with the UCVT Unit.



8. Roles and Responsibilities
1.1. Agencies will be responsible for understanding, monitoring, reporting and complying with these standards.
1.2. UCVT Unit will be responsible for ensuring appropriate monitoring and reporting on compliance with the standards, and supporting Agencies to comply with the standards.
1.3. The Commission for Mission (as delegated through its By-Laws by the Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania’s Standing Committee) is responsible for making enforceable determinations on compliance and binding decisions on breaches of standards.

9. Process for standards review 
1.1. The standards, as outlined in this document and in documents referred to by this document, shall be reviewed for effectiveness, relevance, practicality and cost/benefit efficiency every year.
1.2. Agencies may submit proposed changes (additions or amendments) to the standards through the UCVT Unit prior to its annual review.
1.3. During the annual review, this document will be updated to comply with relevant regulations or statutes passed by any relevant government authority.

10. Monitoring and reporting
1.1. External audit reports (e.g. by government department funders) must be sent to UCVT Unit plus exception reports and non-compliance matters for action.
1.2. Agencies must monitor their compliance with both external and UCVT relevant standards and report to both UCVT Unit and the Agency Board of Governance:
1.2.1. Report any significant variations that is likely to create a significant risk at the first point the CEO is made aware of them; and
1.2.2. Review and report against the standards checklist by exception, including the mitigation plans.
1.2.3. Agencies should conduct regularly scheduled internal audits.
1.3. Where an Agency is in significant or ongoing breach of standards, the Commission for Mission Board can direct an audit and report to be conducted by an independent reviewer.


11. Breaches of standards
1.1. Where an agency finds (through internal or external monitoring) it is in significant breach of a standard, it is responsible for taking immediate action to comply with the relevant standard and refer the matter through the UCVT Unit for engagement and resolution with the agency.
1.2. If the breach is not rectified after engagement with the UCVT Unit, and within a reasonable period of time specified by the UCVT Unit, the matter will come before the Commission for Mission Board to make directions. The Commission for Mission Board can refer the matter back to the agency board with specific written directions as to rectifying actions.
1.3. Matters before the Commission for Mission will follow procedural fairness, with a case put by the relevant Agency CEO or Board representative. The Commission for Mission may, after hearing the evidence, make any of the following enforceable directions:
1.3.1. Rectification of the breach within a specified time;
1.3.2. Appointment by the Agency of an external specialist (e.g. with technical or conflict resolution expertise) to develop and implement solutions to the breach;
1.3.3. Removal of the Agency Board Chair or other Board Members.