Even if these obligations are not legally binding on your agency, it is recommended that your board (this term includes committees, councils, panels etc.) act in accordance with these obligations and implement policies that are consistent with them.
The basics of your role
As a board member, you must ensure that:
- Your agency's functions are fulfilled effectively, consistent with its 'governance framework'
- Your own conduct is consistent with the required standards of conduct.
To assist board members, DELWP offers a range of governance guides and support modules on key governance topics. This includes an induction and continuing education support module with guidance notes that summarise the:
- Governance resources available from DELWP
- Roles of the board, chair and CEO of DELWP agencies and of the Minister and the department
- Core components to include in induction kits and programs for board members
- Basic requirements of good governance (this mirrors the page you are now reading).
Guidance for board members
The basic standards of conduct that you must understand and apply are summarised in the DELWP guide to good governance – board members [PDF, 1.3 MB]. In addition, support modules are available on a range of key governance topics. Support modules on the standards of conduct for board members include:
- Code of conduct (e.g. avoiding improper use of your position)
- Conflict of interest
- Gifts, benefits and hospitality.
If you would like to be notified when new resources become available please subscribe to receive DELWP governance e-alerts.
Standards of conduct
You must ensure that your own conduct as a board member is in accordance with the required standards of conduct.
The basic requirement is to act consistently with the public sector values, which are set out in section 7 of the PAA. These values are responsiveness, integrity, impartiality, respect, leadership, and human rights.
The Director's Code of Conduct is issued by the Public Sector Standards Commissioner. It sets out how to comply with the public sector values. By following the Director's Code, you will comply with the public sector values. You will also comply with the general duties of directors (i.e. board members) in section 79 of the PAA.
The overall aim is to ensure that, when performing your role as a board member, you act and make decisions in the public interest.
Your appointment and conditions of tenure
You should familiarise yourself with the basics of your appointment, for example:
- The instrument of appointment (i.e. the legal document appointing you as a member)
- Terms and conditions of your appointment
- Performance expectations and assessment
- What you must do if you decide to stand for public election to parliament or a local council
- The process required by law if you decide to tender your resignation - an email will not do!
- Induction basics (e.g. what documents you should expect to receive) and continuing education for board members
- Your remuneration (if any) and reimbursement of expenses
- Succession planning and reappointment
- Breach of duty
- Indemnities and insurance.
Key documents and board charter
Your agency must keep and provide board members ready access to key documents, e.g. see section 95 of the PAA.
It may be useful for your agency to develop a board charter which includes:
- a list of the key laws, government policies, and other obligations (e.g. ministerial directions, guidelines, and statements of obligation or expectation) that bind the agency
- a list of the agency's key documents (e.g. strategic and business plans, board policies, registers).
- a statement of roles that clearly delineates the relationship between the board and the CEO and other senior staff (e.g. what decisions must be made by the board).
An agency's board charter should be based on, and include reference to, relevant sections of the establishing Act and other elements of its governance framework. This will help to ensure that when the charter is updated it remains consistent with these obligations.
On Board support modules:
- DELWP guide to good governance – board members (PDF - 1.3MB)
- DELWP governance e-alerts offer governance news and information (e.g. new laws, best practice, new resources and significant updates to On Board). It is recommended that you subscribe.
In addition to On Board, DELWP offers support to its agencies through DELWP divisions and regional offices.
For further assistance, please contact your agency's usual DELWP relationship manager or team or phone DELWP's Customer Service Centre on 136 186.