A common feature of any ‘best practice’ board is the existence of a well-thought-out ‘board work plan’. This involves identifying the key board considerations and actions required in a board’s year and ensuring they are allocated to a relevant meeting(s). This enables both management and the board to be aware and to plan their approach. While work plans are often drafted by management, they are board documents and need to be ‘owned’ by the board. The chair or a delegated board member should oversee the final contents of the work plan.
A Sample Work Plan
Attached is a work plan for a made-up entity – the Cultural, Heritage and Broadcasting Commission. This work plan is based around a 1 July - 30 June financial year – some entities may prefer a calendar year approach. For the purposes of this example the Commission is a Crown entity (and therefore formally subject to the Crown Entities Act 2004 requirements) and meets ten times a year (the number of regular meetings for governing boards in our MCH family range from six to eleven per annum). Boards wishing to use this sample work plan will need to adapt it to their requirements and circumstances, including the actual number and duration of meetings they have. Download sample Board Meeting and Reporting Work plan (pdf).
Ensuring an appropriate approach for Crown-connected boards
The Crown Entities Act 2004 has underlined a Crown entity board’s responsibilities. In particular there are quite prescribed processes for a Statement of Intent (see separate topic). It can take a while for some new processes to flow through to proper practice. In the attached sample we have placed a particular emphasis on those Crown-connected responsibilities that a board should be involved in. All boards should consider this approach.
In respect to SOIs, the involvement of the board should be regularly timed throughout a financial year. The sample work plan has identified other issues for appropriate board consideration such as a review of Conflicts of Interest policy and procedure, board self-evaluation and the Budget bid timetable.
Other work plan items
As well as the matters listed in the attached sample there will also be significant issues relevant to the entity and other key reports.
- Governance commentator Carter McNamara discusses and gives an example of a work plan for a board committee: www.managementhelp.org/boards/brdwkpln.htm
Updated on 7th October 2019