Sections in this Chapter:
All board members should receive ongoing support and information so they can develop their understanding of the total environment within which they work.
Departments should use opportunities that arise through their engagement (and their Minister's engagement) with entities to identify areas where assistance can be provided to support boards. A board will usually have members with a mix of experience and skills so there will always be some areas where support is sought to lift performance. A common request is for support with understanding the financial information that the board receives (or should receive). Often boards will take action themselves, but there may be economies of scale in addressing some issues collectively and a department can help to facilitate this.
Every statutory Crown entity is expected to have a board governance manual that reflects good practice standards. The State Services Commission has developed a resource that supports the preparation of such manuals, 8 recognising that the fundamentals of good governance are common to all entities, despite their widely-differing roles and relationships.
That guidance is intended for those who are charged with developing, implementing and maintaining a board's governance manual. It should be used to ensure that all boards have governance material that meets good practice requirements across the range of topics. It may also assist departments in answering queries from entities on governance issues.
Many entities' manuals will need to include additional material to suit their legal circumstances and particular activities.
- The CabGuide (http://cabguide.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/ )
- Cabinet Office circulars (www.dpmc.govt.nz/cabinet/circulars/)
- The State Services Commission's website (www.ssc.govt.nz/crown-entities)
- The Commercial Operations group in the Treasury (formerly COMU) publishes an Owners' Expectations Manual and descriptions of governance processes on its website at www.treasury.govt.nz/commercial
- the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has developed an electronically-based sector-specific e-manual to promote good governance. The e-manual is designed to highlight key principles and to illustrate how these apply to the Culture and Heritage boards. Each topic is augmented by appropriate website links and appendices
(see MCH Governance e-Manual at www.mch.govt.nz/about-ministry/te-kiwai/governance/governance-e-manual).
Departments should refer regularly to the relevant websites, to ensure that they are using the latest available version of any reference or supporting material.
An inter-departmental forum (Monitoring, Appointments & Governance Network - MAGNet) has been established and is open to officials whose work involves monitoring the performance of Crown entities; providing nomination services for membership of government boards; advising on appointments to government boards, and/or providing governance advice.
MAGNet facilitates networking, sharing experience and material, encouraging good practice and consistency of approach, and helping the professional development of officials who have governance and monitoring roles. It is supported by sub-groups which address monitoring, and appointments and governance issues, and by a shared workspace which has a range of information, guidance, discussion boards and other tools. Access to the workspace is limited to State sector agencies. For further information see https://psi.govt.nz/magnet/