Roles and Duties

The role and duties of the board of a public entity include:

  • strategy
  • governance
  • risk management
  • compliance with various legislative requirement, including section 81 of the Public Administration Act 2004
  • acting as an employer, if so empowered, and fulfilling all employer obligations
  • fulfilling other responsibilities, including: record keeping, occupational health and safety, taxation and superannuation obligations, insurance coverage, and obtaining appropriate external professional advice when required.

The Board Chair

The chair leads the public entity and the board and manages principal relationships.

The chair ensures relevant policies are brought to the attention of directors of the board, and ensures the board performs appropriately in relation to:

  • adherence to its objectives
  • risk management
  • accountability to the responsible minister
  • performance assessment of directors
  • adherence to the Directors’ Code of Conduct
  • conflicts of interest policy
  • gifts and hospitality policy
  • financial accountability.

Among other things the chair provides leadership, manages relationships (especially with the minister and department), and ensures compliance with the Public Administration Act and other legislation and obligations.

Executive Directors

The term ‘executive director’ refers to those directors of a public entity board who are also employees of the public entity board.

Executive directors, by virtue of their employment, have an in-depth understanding of the business of the public entity. They have detailed knowledge of the public entity and its issues, greater access to information and a high degree of knowledge in their field.

Committees of the Board (and Chairs of these Committees)

Formal committees of the board play an important role in the effective functioning of the Boards of public entities.

Board Roles

A board secretary is usually an employee of the public entity. The role is often largely administrative, but may include a range of functions similar to those required of a company secretary in the private sector.

A board executive officer is more likely to be available on a part-time basis to the board and may be an employee of the public entity or of the relevant department. The functions are likely to be mainly administrative, but can expand to include some of what a board secretary would perform required.

Departmental executive officers are required to advise the board if they consider directors may be unaware of relevant government policies or procedures that must be complied with. Such an executive officer does not take part in board decision making.