Club Governance Toolkit

Helping Clubs Grow

This toolkit provides support to individuals and clubs affiliated with Water Polo New South Wales (WPNSW), the governing body for water polo in New South Wales. Its main aims are to:

  • Support clubs to improve governance practices
  • Provide guidelines for effectively operating a club (and meeting WPNSW and the Department of Fair-Trading requirements)
  • Provide information on starting a new club and affiliating with WPNSW
  • Help all affiliated clubs gain the most out of WPNSW services

Club Governance Toolkit

This toolkit focuses on key areas of governance important to the successful running of a community not-for-profit club.

The toolkit may be used in two ways:

  • to address a requirement, for example, the board may refer to relevant sections prior to an upcoming General Meeting; and/or
  • As a model for the board to undertake a governance review process, systematically working through each stage for reflection and improvement.

As operational models for each club differ not everything in this toolkit will need to be adopted and there is no start or finish point. Clubs are strongly encouraged to apply the Framework in their own context and to reflect their own needs.

By affiliating your region/club with WPNSW you are joining the largest water polo body in Australia. This provides you with:

To set up a new club and become affiliated with WPNSW there are five main stages, as set out in the diagram:

For full details on each of these stages please head to the Club Governance Toolkit

When setting up a club please email 

Having a robust club structure and purpose with clear separation of roles and responsibilities is critical to effectively running a club.

Under Fair Trading NSW regulations registered clubs in NSW must have a Public Officer, this person is legally responsible for the club. In addition to a Public Officer, we advise clubs should comprise of a committee of 5-9 individuals with a blend of expertise, skills, and diversity. The Executive Committee and the General Committee collectively are referred to as the Committee. The Committee may be supported by specific Sub-Committees, which can be set up for a specific event, or ongoing with a particular focus.

The Executive Committee are elected by club members. They are responsible for the club operations and are the only members who can vote on behalf of the club at WPNSW AGMs. 

Mandatory roles for the club should be defined in the adopted club constitution and selected based on individual club requirements. We recommend that Public Officer, President, Secretary, Treasurer, Registrar and Member Protection Information Office should be mandated roles. Other possible committee roles are set out above, these should be adapted as required to suit the nature of the club.

Public Officer

The Public Officer is the official point of contact for an incorporated association, they are automatically an authorised signatory. This is a legally required role. Public Officers are responsible for club’s obligations to the Australia Tax Office (ATO) and notifying Fair Trading of any changes to address. They are also responsible for collecting association documents from former committee members and delivering them to new committee members.


The Club President is the leader of the Club, responsible for ensuring the Club is run effectively, democratically, and for its Members. They provide strategic direction, support the other Executive Committee members, and ensure the club adheres to its constitution’s principles.

Vice President

The Vice President’s role is all about support, they take on an important leadership role in the club working closely with the President and other Executive Committee members to ensure the club runs smoothly, chairing meetings if the President is absent.


The Secretary is responsible for keeping the club’s non-financial records and ensuring the general management of the club runs smoothly. They are responsible for organising club meetings, elections, and agendas (in consultation with the President), writing minutes, and maintaining the membership list. They are also the first point of contact for correspondence.


The Treasurer manages club funds and ensures they are used in an appropriate way. There are different 2 tiers of mandatory reporting obligations under Fair Trading NSW requirements. In addition to mandatory reporting, Treasurers are required to pay bills, hold petty cash, bank income, transfer money, make deposits on behalf of the club, plan budgets, ensure the club does not get into debt and record all club financial transactions.


MPIO’s ensure safety and welfare for club members. They report directly to the President and provide information about the rights, responsibilities and options available to individuals making a complaint. The role requires an understanding of WPNSW Codes of Conduct, Member Protection Policy and the club’s complaint resolution procedure. They are also responsible for verifying Working with Children Checks (WWCC) on behalf of the Club. For more information please see Section 5.1.


The role of the registrar is to track registrations, lead on correspondence with new joiners and provide club information. Registrations are completed using the revSPORT portal.


Each year clubs must re-affiliate, to do this, please write to WPNSW with the following information:

  • Current Constitution
  • Annual Report, AGM minutes, and any supporting information
  • Financial Accounts
  • Contact Details for Executives and Delegates
  • Current Register of Members

The Committee will be required to make key decisions about club operations. It is essential to agree a decision-making process and maintain documentation to support decisions made. The process should be set out in your constitution and could include aspects such as permitted methods of voting/communication, minimum timeframes for responding to votes, minimum number of votes required, policy on proxy voting etc., WPNSW suggest not permitting proxy votes at club level.

The following decisions must be made democratically by the Members at a General Meeting, and in accordance with the club constitution:

  • Changes to the constitution
  • Changes to Executive Committee
  • Membership fees
  • Use of funds
  • Major events for the year

Decisions on aspects such as event timings, how to spend allocated budgets, how to organise events, and how to manage communications can be made at Committee and Sub-Committee level.

Think.Act.Play sets out the overarching principles that WPNSW expect players, coaches, managers, officials, and spectators to commit to. This helps ensure that core values, good reputation, and positive behaviours are maintained for Water Polo as a sport. Some simple Do’s and Don’ts you could include within your club policies, and encourage members to sign-up to, could be as follows: