Report 9

Governance of Public Sector Boards

Auditor General’s Overview

Over 300 public sector boards and committees operate in government, providing roles ranging from being an agency’s accountable authority to providing expert advice and stakeholder representation.

In order to achieve a board’s objectives, board members need to be suitably skilled, well informed and to operate with integrity. The Public Sector Commission has provided important guidance to help achieve this result in the form of a publication titled: Good

Governance: A guide for Western Australian public sector boards and committees. The guide is based upon 11 principles for good governance. I have strongly endorsed this publication in the past and I am pleased to note that the PSC is looking at how its messages can be further refined.

Since 2010 the state government has purposefully reduced the number of public sector boards to bring about a more effective and efficient governance structure. We audited six public sector boards against the Public Sector Commission’s 11 principles. We also conducted a broad ranging survey and received responses from a further 135 boards. The overall results indicate that the government’s intentions are broadly achievable.

However, we also identified some areas for further attention. These include:

  • better succession planning for board members
  • more structured and formal induction
  • more transparent management of conflicts of interest
  • improved identification and monitoring of strategic and governance risks
  • ongoing professional development of board members.

I urge all government boards and committees to consider this report and the opportunities that might exist for them to enhance their governance arrangements.

Page last updated: February 9, 2015

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