Evaluating the performance of the board and board members allows a board, led by the chair, to take stock and reflect on both these aspects of performance. Knowledge gained from the review is a means to continually improve the effectiveness of the leadership and governance of the entity.

The board should assess its own performance in relation to the board’s key responsibilities, which include:

  • managing the relationship with the Minister and meeting the Minister’s expectations
  • strategic planning
  • discharging the board’s legal and ethical obligations
  • monitoring entity performance
  • monitoring and reviewing the performance of the chief executive (where there is one)
  • managing relationships with stakeholders.

It is good practice for the board to commission a formal independent assessment on a three-to-four-yearly basis.

Boards are more effective when the chair sets a formal set of expectations for individual members with aim of leveraging off their individual skills and experience. The chair and member should jointly review the member’s performance against those expectations.

The benefits of evaluating individual board member performance include:

  • providing feedback to individual board members, so their contribution to the board’s work can be maximised
  • the ability to put in place mentoring, development or training for individual board members or the board as a whole
  • reinforcing the accountability of the chair for the effective performance of the board
  • assisting the responsible Minister with succession planning, appointment and reappointment processes.

Evaluating performance should be undertaken each financial year. Having an agreed process and method will assist with the evaluation.

The process for undertaking evaluations is determined by each board. For example, evaluations may be managed internally, or the board may be assisted by an external facilitator.

The chair is expected to offer appropriate feedback to the board and to individual members, and to provide assurance to the monitoring department that a process for performance evaluation is in place and that it is undertaken.

Summary: Board and member performance evaluation

At a minimum a good governance manual should cover:

  • the aim of evaluating the board's and individual member performance
  • the method and procedures for carrying out the evaluation
  • advice to board members on how the information from the evaluation will be used.