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2019 report to members

2019 has been a big year for governance professionals — with two national royal commissions reinforcing the importance of our evolving profession as well as lifting the bar on the expectations of good governance across all sectors.

As the leading and trusted authority on governance matters, we’re confident that our advocacy, training and thought leadership guidance will support you to meet this demand for heightened standards in governance.

Strategic direction

This year we developed a five-year strategy (2020–2025) — a focused, high-level document that contains the proposed vision, purpose, values and goals for our organisation over the coming years. Thank you to members, state councils, committees, staff and Board, who contributed to this member-focused strategy.

Growth in membership

We have welcomed more than 760 new members this year compared to 700 in 2018. Growing our membership base strengthens the governance community, brings new networks and connections to our membership and helps us build a sustainable organisation.

We completed member research in 2019 to understand your level of satisfaction and further understand your needs to determine how we can better support you. An example of this is the introduction of Fellow-only roundtables where our more experienced members were able to engage with respected peers in meaningful discussion.

We continue to engage with our members and customers through face-to-face events; online courses; email marketing, phone calls and social media. We continued to see significant growth in our email marketing database — which has grown to 38,000 – and our social media channels — including nearly 20,000 people on LinkedIn.

Policy and advocacy

This year, with the assistance of our four policy committees, we developed our six policy priorities to improve the standards of governance and risk management in Australia. These initiatives are:

  1. Promoting governance as the foundation of civil society.
  2. Leading the debate on governance and risk management issues.
  3. Advocating for fit-for-purpose business infrastructure.
  4. Improving the regulatory environment to drive greater efficiency.
  5. Promoting ethics, integrity and accountability through good governance and risk management frameworks.
  6. Empowering governance professionals with skills and knowledge.

Our newest policy committee, the Risk and Technology Committee, includes representatives in risk roles from across Australia and continues to promote the practice of risk management, technology governance and compliance.

This year we introduced an APRA member discussion group. This enables members of APRA regulated entities to discuss issues of relevance to their organisations arising from the increase in APRA regulation.

Governance Institute continues to promote the importance of the role of the governance professional through attendance at relevant industry events and speaking engagements. Our General Manager, Policy and Advocacy, Catherine Maxwell, gave expert evidence on governance at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on 15 November in Hobart.

AICD and Governance Institute collaborated on the joint statement on board minutes and legal opinion from Dominique Hogan–Doran QC and Douglas Gration, Of Counsel. This guidance was well received by members of both our organisations and received coverage in the media and in updates issued by law firms. ASIC referred to the statement in its Corporate Governance Taskforce’s Report on director and officer oversight of non-financial risk. The statement will also be used in Governance Institute courses on minutes.

Governance Institute continued its involvement as a member of the #Fixfundraising Coalition calling for reform of the laws applying to the fundraising activities of charities and NFPs. We hosted a roundtable in the Melbourne office attended by The Hon Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters. Other attendees included Governance Institute members from the charitable sector and other members of the #FixFundraising Coalition.

Governance Institute continued its involvement with the CHESS Replacement Stakeholder Group. We attended a series of meetings in Canberra in September with that group with key political stakeholders including the Office of the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg MP, the Office of the Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann MP, the Office of the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Jane Hume MP and Senator James Paterson, Chair of Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

This has been a bumper year for thought leadership. We developed:

These thought leadership reports provide topical content to our members and build our profile and increase our membership. They also helped us achieve our highest media profile on record along with commentary on other topical issues.

Knowledge support for our members

This year we have updated three Good Governance Guides and completed our review of the documents contained in the donated member document service (Useful Practitioner Documents). We also updated the technical booklets on Public Sector Governance and Duties of Officers and Directors will publish this month.

We have already referred to the joint statement on minutes with the AICD. This important publication outlined our perspective on current issues in minute taking to support our members in this area and help guide debate on this topic.

We have also worked hard to represent the interests of our membership — lodging 17 submissions with regulators and government on topics ranging from updating the ASX Listing Rules through to our most recent submission to the Treasury — Deregulation Taskforce on Bringing shareholder communications into the 21st century.


In a significant development, Governance Institute secured TEQSA accreditation for the new Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance and Risk Management with an early exit option of a Graduate Certificate of Applied Corporate Governance and Risk Management. Other initiatives include:

  • pathways within the graduate diploma to fulfil the educational requirements for the designations Chartered Secretary and Chartered Governance Professional
  • implementation of academic policies in support of growing student enrolments, including:
    • the introduction of conditional admission for prospective students who do not currently meet the entry requirements;
    • flexible study options including award course study, non-award study, and non-assessed study
    • clearly articulated pathways for students to progress their study beyond the graduate diploma.
  • development of a student retention strategy
  • first intake of members of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India to undertake Governance Institute subjects towards gaining membership of the Chartered Governance Institute.

In 2019 four National Professional Development workshops were successfully delivered on the following contemporary topics:

  • Business Continuity Management (including a version tailored to the aged care industry)
  • Governing Reputational Risk (including a version tailored to the aged care industry)
  • Safety Governance for Officers and Directors — delivered as an interactive digital workshop
  • Regulatory Compliance — focusing on the human factors of compliance and the individual

In short courses, the focus in 2019 has been on both intensive update and review of course content, and on the redesign of templates and slides to enhance support for the presenter and the learner experience. At the end of 2019, eleven short course reviews will have been completed and four courses will have been retired. Courses providing foundational professional development to our governance member base, Accidental Company Secretary and Minutes for Boards and Committees, have been rewritten and re-released.

Industry-relevant events and forums

Our National Conference continues to be a stand-out event for us, with speakers such as Sir Winfried Bischoff of JP Morgan Securities and Lakshmi Shyam-Sunder of World Bank Group, attracting over 400 attendees this year. Our state Governance and Risk Management Forums provide us an opportunity to showcase governance expertise, engage local keynote speakers and discuss governance and risk management from a local perspective. The Graduate and Risk Management Forum is growing each year and is now our flagship event for state members to engage, learn and network with peers. In 2019 we saw an 11 per cent increase in registrations.

Our Not-For-Profit and Public Sector Governance Forums were also well-received by members, and it was pleasing to note that many forums exceeded their capacity, which speaks to the engagement of members as well as the quality of the speakers we hosted.

People and culture

In 2019 we asked our staff for feedback via a survey. Staff are above industry in terms of their positivity about the future of the organisation and perceptions of customer satisfaction. The high regard for the service provided to customers was also reflected in text comments provided. According to the VoiceProject (the third-party provider who conducted the survey), these statistics are important because they generally align closely to how members/customers feel about the organisation as well. 

Operational excellence

We have several projects underway to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our Operational Services. An independent IT audit was conducted this year which has resulted in the creation of a two-year IT roadmap to transform our technology into a cloud-based solution. Achievements in 2019 include the implementation of Microsoft 365, increased data security and the upgrade of our primary membership communication platform.

Our Finance area is also undergoing sweeping changes including the review of our existing accounting software to maximise data integration, business insight generation and business reporting.

We are also reviewing our organisational risk management framework, associated policies and processes.

Thank you!

Thank you to all of our members and our dedicated staff for your hard work and contribution to these achievements. In particular, thank you to our many dedicated volunteers who greatly assist us by teaching, participating in state councils and policy committees and contributing in so many other ways.

Without your on-going support, involvement and great passion for Governance Institute, our successes would be limited.

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