6 Good Governance
Efficient and effective council operation
Several drivers help ensure that a TEI council is efficient and effective. These include:
- a focus on core governance roles
- all council members being involved
- the council developing and using a work plan
- documented council policies that are upheld.
Each of these is discussed below.
Focus on core governance roles
The effective (and efficient) council is one that accepts it is not the amount of time its members put in but what they do in that time that matters. The council must ensure its time is focused on core governance roles by asking: What is the right agenda balance? What should be discussed? When should it be discussed? What deserves most time?
Ensuring that there is a focus on core governance roles can be helped by:
- how council time is allocated – for example:
– 40 percent big picture (vision, strategy, direction)
– 25 percent monitoring (performance against strategy, business plan, Investment Plan, key performance indicators and budget, council and chief executive performance reviews)
– 20 percent conformance (compliance, risk management)
– 15 percent dialogue and issues management (stakeholder dialogue, emerging issues)
- organising the agenda to schedule important topics early in the meeting.
Active involvement of council membersTop
A council’s success depends on the approach, attitudes and contributions of its members. A council member should:
- act in the best interest of the TEI at all times
- allocate sufficient time to the council role by regular attendance at meetings and by being well prepared for meetings
- act as an ambassador for the TEI
- actively and constructively participate in council discussions and debates, including being willing to express contrary views
- be open to the views of other members and of management, and evaluate them constructively and objectively
- trust and respect other council members, the Chief Executive and the management team.
Using a council work planTop
Council operation can be enhanced by an annual work plan, with a month-by-month schedule to include:
- regular council activities on each of its key governance roles
- one-off activities and tasks that it plans in addition.
Policies may be included in a council members’ handbook or other guidance as appropriate. Council policies are likely to include:
- roles and responsibilities of council members
- media and communications
- declaration of interest and managing conflicts of interest
- sensitive expenditure
- financial and other delegations
- banking and investments
- business continuity and risk protocols.