Contemporary Governance

Are you assured of your Board Subcommittee's Effectiveness?

The roles and responsibilities of contemporary Subcommittees have drastically evolved, now is the time to optimise their structure and effectiveness.

Why are contemporary Board Subcommittees so important?  

For many Boards, Subcommittees are where the bulk of the Board’s work actually takes place. Subcommittees enable a Board to ‘divide and conquer’ by distributing the detailed planning and oversight of each of the Board’s many responsibilities, across smaller groups of appropriately skilled members. While the collective responsibility for decision-making remains with the full Board, Subcommittees inform the Board through reporting and making recommendations in line with their remit.  

The number and type of Subcommittees depend on the tasks required, and their tenure may be short or long-term. Subcommittees must utilise the specific expertise of members, as well as others, including staff and/or external parties. Chairing Subcommittees provides valuable experience for members, which can be useful in succession planning for future Board leadership roles.  

Effective Subcommittees provide significant benefits to Boards, and the organisations they govern, through enabling the Board to make informed decisions and meet their many, varied governance and regulatory responsibilities. They play a key role in supporting Directors to be assured in their strategic and oversight roles for risk and compliance by providing analytical information that improves and optimises future governance decisions and performance.  

They also benefit members by providing them with the opportunity to utilise and extend their knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of governance as well as the organisation they are governing. Governance experts even advise that an accurate correlation for strong Board culture and performance is the effectiveness of a Board’s Subcommittees.  

Why the GovernWith Contemporary Governance Model for Subcommittees  

At GovernWith we understand it is essential to have contemporary Subcommittees to support our Boards and Executives ever changing and growing governance requirements.  

They play a key role in supporting Directors to be assured in their strategic and oversight roles for risk and compliance, by providing analytical and qualitative information that improves and optimises future governance decisions and performance.  

Subcommittee Plus Program:  

The types of Subcommittees covered in the GovernWith Subcommittee Plus Program are:  

  • Audit and Risk  
  • Finance 
  • Quality and Clinical Governance  
  • Remuneration and Nominations (may be called Governance) 
  • Community and Consumer Advisory Committee 

What do the Subcommittee Plus Programs Questionnaires Cover? 

Please see the following components of a Subcommittee's key functions that are covered in the questionnaires:  

  1. Subcommittee Purpose

GovernWith understands the importance of a Subcommittee's purpose stating clearly, from a high-level overview perspective in relation to a targeted area of Corporate and Sector Specific Governance roles and responsibilities.  

  1. Subcommittee Objectives (Roles & Responsibilities)

GovernWith understands that the Committee Objectives (Roles and Responsibilities, Instructions) must comply with its specific Government, Legislative, Risk, Quality, Safety, Corporate, ESG and Contemporary Governance requirements therefore this part of the questionnaire reflects each individual Subcommittees specific requirements.  

For example: If the Subcommittee being reviewed was a Finance and Audit Committee in the Health Sector the questions would reflect the functions of this committee that are determined by and must comply with:    

  • The Standing Directions 2018 (Under Financial Management Act 1994), and  
  • The Health Services Act 1988 which requires public hospitals under Section 33(2) (j) - to establish the following committees— (i) a Finance Committee, an Audit Committee and a Quality and Safety Committee  
  • Other relevant legislation and frameworks  

The questionnaires would also reflect GovernWith's Corporate, ESG, Contemporary and Leadership and Learning Styles Governance requirements based on 12 years of GovernWith Governance Data Insights.  

  1. Subcommittee Membership

GovernWith understands that to achieve its objectives, the Subcommittee Membership, both internal and external, must have the right capabilities through contextual skills, qualifications and experience relating to the specific Government, Legislative, Risk, Quality Safety, Corporate, Contemporary, ESG, Leadership and Learning Styles Governance requirements.  

This part of the questionnaire reflects the governance skills and attributes required relevant to the specific Sector.  

  1. GovernWith also has key questions in the Subcommittee Review about the following areas in the context of the type of Organisation, Subcommittee and its Corporate, Sector specific, ESG, Contemporary, Leadership and Learning Styles Governance requirements, in relation to but not limited to: 
  • Subcommittee Authority 
  • Subcommittee Chair Role, Membership Responsibilities and Capabilities  
  • Subcommittee Meeting process  
  • Subcommittee Reporting process to the Board 
  • Term of Appointment 
  • Remuneration (if required) 
  • Evaluation of Committee Performance and evaluation of Terms of Reference 

A contemporary contextual Terms of Reference is no longer enough to have a high functioning Subcommittee. GovernWith recognise and support that it’s also important to have a membership that functions well through being well led, having relevant skills, experience, qualifications and behaviours, are diligent, inclusive and have enquiring minds and are happy to ask respectful challenging questions.  
The Subcommittee Plus Program and subsequent next steps will support governing bodies to be confident that the Subcommittee structure is contemporary, effective and efficient, that there is transparency of information and accountability of actions to inform good decision making and governance.  

Contemporary Governance 

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