Key messages

  • Health service boards must undertake annual self-assessments.
  • An external assessment should be done every three years.
  • Regular assessment creates a stronger, more effective board.

An effective, engaged board is a sign of a well functioning organisation. However, even the highest performing organisations need a periodic health check. The Department of Health & Human Services provides support to boards for managing the assessment process.

The board should self-assess its performance every year. An external assessment should be undertaken every three years. The following should be assessed:

  • the collective performance of the board’s performance against operating practices
  • the performance of the chairperson in fulfilling the duties of the chair
  • the performance of board committees
  • the performance of individual directors.

When chief executive officers are involved in the assessment, they provide an extra point of reference for understanding the assessment outcomes.

The real value and effectiveness of a board assessment is not in the assessment itself, but in the feedback provided back to board members, and in the actions taken to address identified issues and gaps.

Regular assessment of health service boards sends a positive message to health service management, the government and the community that the board is doing its job.

Role of the chairperson

The chairperson is responsible for making sure there are processes in place to:

  • manage both individual director performance and performance of the board as a whole
  • offer learning and development opportunities to individual members and the board as a whole
  • address poor performance and attendance rates.

Board assessment checklist for health service boards

The Department of Health & Human Services Board assessment: a guide for Victorian health service boards provides advice and information on board assessment. Boards should ensured that:

  • there is full support from the chairperson and all directors
  • all directors understand that self-assessment leads to improved board performance
  • the assessment is designed around the board's governance framework or model
  • the assessment is straightforward and easy to participate in.

The process is action focused. The assessment results in a documented action plan assigned to a governance committee to implement.

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