This is the fourth in a series of monthly blog posts representing perspectives on potential governance changes at PAN. These posts represent voices across the network – staff, PAN Board members, people living with HIV, and community members – sharing their thoughts on these changes. This month, Evaluation Manager Mona Lee takes the results from the Members and Stakeholders’ Survey and writes about what voices in the community are saying in response to proposed changes.
Pacific AIDS Network’s (PAN’s) annual Members and Stakeholders’ Survey gathers data from representatives of PAN member organizations and other key stakeholders. These include people with lived experience who have engaged with PAN’s programs and services, health authorities and other regional and national partners, other non-PAN member community or academic partners, and PAN staff, contractors and board of directors. Our goal is to improve PAN’s services and programs, support PAN’s strategic planning, and ultimately strengthen the collective community-based response to HIV, hepatitis C (HCV) and related conditions in BC.
Last year, we consulted our members and stakeholders on a new governance model – one with potential to better align with PAN’s mandate and strengthens PAN’s community response. To be eligible to complete this section of the survey, one had to be an executive director; staff; volunteer; and/or person with lived experience who have utilized PAN’s or PAN member organizations’ programs and services. In total, 45 to 46 respondents (depending on the question) completed this section of the survey. Questions were asked around the membership, board composition and election process, and people living with HIV (PLHIV) Forum.
Let’s get right to the point: the majority of survey respondents are in support of proposed changes to PAN’s governance model… with some conditions.
For all questions, more than 50% of the respondents indicated they supported the proposed changes to PAN’s governance model. Further, more respondents answered “maybe” than “no” to all proposed changes. This speaks to the general support for PAN’s new governance model that might include these components (member votes will decide):
- expand full membership criteria to agencies working with HIV and/or HCV (70% in support);
- move to a single class of full voting member and remove the class of non-voting, associate member (62% in support);
- give authority to PAN Board of Directors to establish and set PAN membership criteria (75% in support);
- create a designated seat for people with HCV lived experience on PAN Board (76% in support);
- move to a 50% Board seat designation for people with lived experience of HIV and/or HCV (56% in support);
- create a First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)-designated seat on the PAN Board (98% in support);
- move to 7 regionally-elected seats (including the FNHA) and 5 not-tied-to-a-region seats (73% in support);
- allow all elections for PAN Board of Directions to take place at the AGM (72%).
The PLHIV Forum has historically and is presently only for people living with HIV. In light of our mission statement, people were asked to select the structure of the Forum. (45 people answered this question.)
- 51% of respondents (n=23) answered “Fully integrated Forum (for people with lived experience of HIV and/or HCV).”
- 40% of respondents (n=18) answered “Multiple Forums (one for people living with HIV & a separate one for people with lived experience with HCV).”
- 9% of respondents (n=4) answered “Status quo (one Forum for people living with HIV).”
There were a number of recurring concerns noted across all questions, particularly amongst those who were against the proposed changes. The most frequently mentioned is one around fear of losing HIV voice, space and legacy. A number of respondents expressed their worries in HCV taking a focus away from HIV, and noted that there are differences between HCV and HIV (including complexity of living with HIV; the differing stigma; HCV having a cure while HIV does not) implying the potential challenges in finding common ground. (For those readers who are curious about PAN’s commitment to HIV, take a read of this blog that provides a 10-year PLHIV perspective on potential governance changes.)
Those who were in support of or answered “maybe” to potential changes to PAN’s governance model also provided comments. Respondents spoke to the importance of ensuring a good process if the new governance model is implemented, including membership consultation (e.g. on establishing membership criteria). Respondents also wanted to make sure the new governance model was protective of regional diversity and fair in terms of being inclusive of both HIV and HCV.
These changes will be decided on through a vote by the membership on what directions PAN will take. We’ll continue to present perspectives on this discussion for the next couple of months.
Want to know more about what members of the community had to say? Read the detailed responses (pdf): Community Perspectives on Governance at PAN
Read the other blogs in the series
To help support the discussion on potential governance changes at PAN, we have created a gateway where people can ask questions and/or request to be contacted by a member of the PAN Governance Committee: [email protected].