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Is world-class governance a pipe dream? Benchmarking governance arrangements in Australia

Is world-class governance a pipe dream?

‘You’ve got to be kidding me? That could never happen!’ Ever heard yourself mutter these words while watching the news? I’m sure we have all experienced a time when we have caught a news article and felt frustrated at the stupid decisions that have been made by a senior person in government, or Parliament, or a large business. Perhaps you have been astounded at the lack of ethics, accountability or transparency in decision-making sometimes on display here in Australia.

Equally though, I have also experienced an enormous sense of pride when watching the news or a current affairs program and hearing of the incredible positive impact of great decision-making.

It’s the same the whole world over. Our experience here in Australia is not unique. Excellent outcomes are achieved through considered, evidence-based decision-making that has the user at the centre of the process. And disastrous outcomes are brought about through a lack of accountability, transparency and integrity.

So, why do we get it so right in some areas, and so wrong in others? Look across any number of examples and you will find a common thread. Where excellent outcomes are achieved, there is great governance in place. Where poor outcomes are achieved, there are governance gaps or weaknesses.

In our rapidly evolving world, effective governance plays a crucial role in the success and sustainability of organisations, both in the public and private sectors. Great governance is not just about what happens at the micro-level within a single organisation. Strong governance ecosystems are also essential at the macro-level for the well-being of our society, equality in our communities, economic stability, and to position us as a future-facing, forward thinking, considerate nation on the world stage.

Right now, we don’t really understand how we are performing in the governance space at a micro or macro-level. Benchmarking governance arrangements in Australia will provide us with an opportunity to evaluate performance, identify areas for improvement, and gain an understanding of our governance strengths.

If we are serious about being recognised as having world-class governance in Australia, benchmarking will be a powerful tool in generating insights we can use to drive performance, foster innovation and partnerships, and achieve sustained success.

The maturity of governance arrangements directly impacts our ability to navigate complex challenges, manage risks, and make sound decisions. To better understand the current state of governance maturity and identify areas for improvement, we are conducting an annual study that assesses the governance practices of diverse organisations across industries. This study will provide valuable insights and serve as a benchmark for those striving to enhance their governance arrangements.

We want to understand the level of governance maturity within distinct types of agencies and businesses including private businesses, publicly traded companies, government agencies, and NFPs. By examining key dimensions such as accountability mechanisms, the utility of committees, risk management, ethics and compliance, and transparency, we aim to identify trends, gaps, and better practices that contribute to successful governance outcomes.

The study will also highlight the correlation between governance maturity and organisational performance, enabling organisations to leverage their governance arrangements for sustainable improvement.

We will employ a mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative and quantitative study techniques and have already undertaken the first component — a comprehensive literature review was conducted to gather existing knowledge on governance maturity models, frameworks and assessment tools. This informed the development of our Annual Governance Study survey and maturity assessment tool. The data collected will be analysed to derive meaningful insights into the current state of governance across Australia. The insights gained from this study will enable organisations to benchmark themselves against industry peers, identify areas for improvement, and implement effective strategies to strengthen governance. Ultimately, this study will contribute to the development of strong governance ecosystems in Australia that foster ethical decision-making, risk mitigation, and sustainable organisational performance.

Spend 10 minutes responding to our multiple-choice questions and you will receive a free report outlining your governance strengths and opportunities for improvement. We will also send you the free eBook later this year with the deidentified benchmarking data and analysis of the results.

Your responses will be treated with the strictest of confidence, will not be shared, and will not be used for any other purpose than the benchmarking study.

Participate in our Annual Governance Study Governance Maturity Assessment or, download our free Better Practice Governance Model e-book here.

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