New guidance essential reading for public sector directors

Governance Institute releases new guide 

Instilling and safeguarding public trust and confidence in the entity they have oversight of goes to the very core of the role and responsibilities of directors on public sector boards, demanding a diligent and astute approach that can often be very different from that in the private sector.

As Governance Institute’s new guide Governance principles for boards of public sector entities in Australia makes clear, good governance is not an end in itself. It is a means to achieving the objectives for which the public sector entity has been created, making this even more of an imperative in public sector organisations spending public monies. Effective governance within the public sector can make a vast difference to how these entities perform and encourage better decision making and the efficient use of resources.

A single approach or application of one good governance model does not work with for all public sector entities, given the myriad legal structures and the complexities within which they operate. Public sector entities face different challenges subject to these complexities, yet a principles-based governance framework can provide consistency in terms of practice and behaviour.

“The political and operating environments within which public sector entities and their boards operate can be very different from that of the private sector, and these guidelines aim to help public sector boards produce outcomes which are not only effective, but, equally importantly, ethical,” said Governance Institute chief executive Steven Burrell.

“Public sectors boards have to ensure that accountability to the government and the Minister and roles and responsibilities have been clarified, which in turn will help to ensure that the board adds value to the community and other stakeholders. Having documented processes, policies and procedures help develop appropriate measures to safeguard the resources of which the entity is a steward on behalf of taxpayers.”

Governance Institute’s Governance principles for boards of public sector entities in Australiaoutline the key principles of good governance for people taking on a public sector board role, and set out recommendations for sound practice in a political and operational environment very different from the private sector. The principles have been developed with a public value proposition in mind, by effectively harnessing common governance principles to enable cohesiveness, consistency and efficiency focused on promoting community wellbeing and trust, and providing consistency in accountability to external stakeholders about the way in which public money is spent and services provided.

The guide is free to download at

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Media contact: Hannah Edwards,

About Governance Institute of Australia 

A national membership association, advocating for a community of 40,000 governance and risk management professionals from the listed, unlisted and not-for-profit sectors.  Our mission is to drive better governance in all organisations, which will in turn create a stronger, better society.


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