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How to embed cultural competence within your organisation’s advisory bodies, policies, standards and goals.


Why is it important?

Cultural competence requires an organisation-wide approach to planning, implementing and evaluating services for clients of culturally diverse backgrounds. Meaningful consultation and participation strategies need to be embedded in the core business of the organisation. Policies and systems need to guide the actions of the board, management, staff, volunteers and students, in order to ensure a consistent and responsive approach.

Community involvement at board and advisory levels


  • Boards and advisory committees are representative of groups served by the organisation.
  • Community members are provided with financial and other necessary supports for their involvement in governing and advisory committees.
  • Regular reports are provided to stakeholders on cultural competence issues and activities.

Good practice example

A rehabilitation centre translates its board papers and forwards them to two of its board members at least one week prior to a board meeting. The Chair individually contacts these board members before and after each meeting to check that they are adequately informed of proceedings and have the opportunity to provide input and feedback. During board meetings, interpreters are provided for these members.

Board development


  • Board members participate in ongoing education on cultural competence.

Good practice example

A rural community health centre requires its board members to attend cultural competence training as part of their professional development program.



Cultural competence is included in policies on:

  • personnel recruitment and retention
  • training and staff development
  • language access and communication
  • management of grievances and complaints
  • community and client input and participation

Good practice example

As part of induction, all new employees receive organisational policies and protocols that provide guidance in working with clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.


This tip sheet is based on Indicators of Cultural Competence in Health Care Delivery Organisations: An Organisational Cultural Competence Assessment Profile, prepared by the Lewin Group Inc. under contract with the USA Department of Health and Human Services (2002).

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Links to the seven domains of the cultural competence framework

The eight tip sheets in this series cover different domains. These domains are interrelated and provide a comprehensive framework for assessing and improving cultural competence.

A framework for Cultural Competence

This is the first in a series of tip sheets on cultural competence in the health sector. It provides a definition and performance standards.


How to embed cultural competence in your organisation’s advisory bodies, policies, standards and goals.

Planning, monitoring & evaluation

How to ensure that programmatic and operational plans address cultural competence issues, and how to track and assess your organisation’s progress.


How to support the effective and culturally appropriate exchange of information between your organisation and its clients, and between staff members.

Staff development

How to equip staff and service providers with the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to deliver culturally competent services.

Organisational infrastructure

How to identify and allocate the resources needed to plan, deliver and evaluate culturally competent services.

Services & intervention

How to deliver or facilitate clinical, public health or health-related services in a culturally competent manner.

Organisational values

How to demonstrate the value that your organisation places on cultural competence.

Languages: English

Resource Type: Tip/Fact Sheets