Community Services Block Grant Public Community Action Agencies Advisory Boards
Introduction • Introduction and History of Community Action • Organization, composition, and term limits of CAA Boards • Basic Functions and Operations of a Public CAA’s Advisory Board • Board Operations • Standing Committees • Increasing Board Effectiveness • Evaluating Program Effectiveness
History of Community Action • The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was passed as part of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” which created a federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). • Green and Quie Amendments were passed in 1967 that required local government designation of CAA’s and created the tri-partite Board structure that still exists today • Community Services Amendments were passed in 1974 that replaced the OEO with the Community Services Administration (CSA). • The Economic Opportunity Act was rescinded and the CSA abolished in 1981; replaced by the Community Services Block Grant which delegated responsibility for the administration of community action agencies to the states. • The Community Action Act was passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed by Governor Robb in 1982, which established the legislative framework for the present network of 26 local and 3 statewide community action agencies.
Statutory Authority • The federal “Community Services Block Grant Act” (42 U.S.C. 9901 et seq.) • The Virginia Community Action Act (Sec. 2.2-5400 – 5408)
Type of Board The Virginia Community Action Act – Sec. 2.2-5403, paragraph E reads as follows: “Where a local subdivision of the Commonwealth acts as or has designated a community action agency, the local governing body shall determine the responsibilities and authority of the community action board.” As such, the local board of supervisors or city council serves as the governing body, delegating those responsibilities and authority to the CAA Board that it deems appropriate. The CAA Board then functions as an “advisory board” within the boundaries of the responsibilities and authority granted by the local governing body (i.e. – City Council or Board of Supervisors)
CAA Board Composition • No less than 15 members • Tri-Partite Board Structure • One-Third of members must be elected public officials or their designees • At least One-Third of members shall be persons chosen democratically to represent the poor of the area served • Remaining members represent business, industry, labor, religious, social service, education or other major community groups
Term Limits in Virginia • Term limits for Community Action Board members are established by The Virginia Community Action Act. • Elected public officials and their designees have no term limits. • All other CAA Board members have the following term limits: • No More than Five (5) Consecutive Years and • No More than a Total of Ten (10) Years. • Board service as an elected or appointed public official does not count toward term limits imposed on board members from the other two sectors.
Advisory Board Functions • Approving grants, contracts, annual program budget requests and operational policies; • Convening public meetings to provide low-income and other persons the opportunity to comment on public policies and programs to reduce poverty; • Annual evaluation of the policies and programs of the CAA and making recommendations to improve the administration of those programs and policies; • Other such functions as may be delegated to it by the local governing body. • These functions are all subject to the will of the local governing body that determines the responsibilities and authority of the CAA advisory board.
Local Participation • The CAA shall consult neighborhood-based organizations composed of residents of the area(s) it serves or members of the groups to be served to assist in planning, conducting, and evaluating components of the community action agency.
Effective Board Members • Attend board and committee meetings regularly; • Have a thorough knowledge of the CAA Board’s By-Laws; • Keep informed of CAA activities; • Ensure that minimum legal/technical requirements are met; • Avoid any semblance of self-dealing by abstaining on anything that might benefit you or a relative/friend; • Advocate for services and programs that are effective in reducing poverty, revitalizing low-income communities, and that assist low-income families and individuals in becoming self-sufficient.
Committees are used to carry out the functions and operations of the Board. Active committees are time-savers, doing the legwork on various issues while leaving the board time to spend on the big picture of ensuring CAA effectiveness. Review Board By-Laws annually and revise as needed; subject to the approval of the governing body. Maintain accurate minutes of all board and committee meetings. Board Operations
Standing Committees • Standing committees are those necessary to the ongoing operation and continuity of the CAA • Ad hoc committees carry out a specific, time-limited project • Nominating/Board Development Committee – Recruits and nominates new board members and nominates slate of officers • By-Laws Committee – addresses how board will organize and operate, develops criteria for board membership, monitors compliance with By-Laws, annually review By-Laws and recommends revisions
Standing Committees • Planning/Evaluation Committee • Identifies community and agency-related needs • Drafts short and long-range goals • Suggests methods for prioritizing goals • Identifies results and outcome measures • Evaluates programs and activities • Makes recommendations for improving CAA effectiveness
Standing Committees • Public/Community Relations – promotes public awareness of the CAA and communicates with the community. • Public Policy – Identifies social or public issues that affect the CAA and its clientele, recommends policy positions/statements to the governing body, advocates on social issues related to poverty.
Provide orientation to new members/recognize board service Plan and provide on-going training to all members Develop a draft agenda which is approved at the beginning of the board meeting Provide written notice of all meetings Focusing on the mission of the CAA is key to maintaining effective teamwork Provide opportunities for board members to get to know each other – Must ensure gatherings do not violate the Virginia Freedom of Information Act – Public Meeting provisions – Consult your city or county attorney. Enforce board meeting attendance policy Keep accurate board meeting minutes Increasing Board Effectiveness
In 1993 Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) that requires programs to establish performance goals in an objective, quantifiable, and measurable form and performance indicators used in assessing the outcomes of program activities. In response to the GPRA, the national community action network developed ROMA – Results Oriented Management and Accountability; a system for using results or outcomes to plan, organize, direct, and evaluate CAA programs. Evaluating Program Effectiveness
Outputs track and measure the work accomplished; services provided and clients served. Outputs measure units of service. Outputs are used to measure the efficiency of our programs (ie-cost per client or cost per unit of service). Outcomes track and measure the results of our work and services in how they impact the people and communities we serve. Outcomes measure how our services change the knowledge, skills, attitudes, conditions, or status of our clients and communities. Outcomes measure the effectiveness of our programs (ie – are our clients more self-sufficient as a result of our services?; or are the conditions within low-income community we served improved?) Outputs Versus Outcomes
Board’s Role in ROMA • Work with staff to identify the pressing needs of your low-income communities and families. • Provide input to and approve a plan for achieving community and family outcomes through a menu of programs and services. • Publicize that plan and secure commitments from the community in support of the plan. • Review regular progress reports from the staff regarding the outcomes being achieved by each program or service. Hold staff accountable for implementing the plan. • Work with staff to evaluate the effectiveness of agency programs and services (ie-Which of our programs are effective and which are not? How might we improve the results or outcomes being achieved by our programs and services?) • Establish program or service priorities based at least in part on the effectiveness (outcomes achieved) of the CAA’s services and programs. (ie – Are we getting the most bang for our bucks? Are there other services and programs that would be more effective/produce more outcomes per dollar we spend?)