2.1 Planning Process

To attract the best possible candidate(s), thorough planning processes should be undertaken by Boards and departments.

Planning includes:

  • early consideration of the steps in recruitment and selection
  • timely scheduling of the activity
  • determining the involvement of the Minister and Board Chair
  • the resources and time required to support the process.

A planned approach ensures time critical steps are identified and met. Planning supports effective recruitment and selection processes.

It helps to manage time constraints and step out the recruitment and selection process for both the public entity and applicants, allowing for adequate time to be assigned. It is also important to determine the processes and timings for approval and appointment procedures.

The responsible governance officer(s) should undertake a planning process even if a decision is made not to advertise a position and instead use referrals to identify candidates.

It is important to identify any succession planning that needs to take place as well as the personal qualities, character and reputation, knowledge, skills and specialist expertise required for the position so that the referred candidates can be appropriately assessed. Succession planning refers to the identification and development of potential future Board candidates.

Good planning can positively affect an applicant’s experience of the recruitment and selection process and their perception of the public entity. This in turn, influences their likelihood to complete the recruitment process and accept an offer.

Table 1: Planning for upcoming vacancies
Theme Action Responsibility
Issues to consider when planning for upcoming vacancies Examine the range of personal qualities, character and reputation, knowledge, skills and specialist expertise required when considering a candidate for nomination or appointment. Taking into account any role analysis that has been undertaken. Responsible governance officer(s).
Examine the current demand for the skills-set required. Responsible governance officer(s).
Put in place succession planning plans that will maintain an appropriate balance of skills, experience and expertise on the Board. Responsible governance officer(s).
Determine the involvement of the Minister and/or his or her delegate (for example, a Parliamentary Secretary) in the recruitment and appointment process. Responsible governance officer(s).
Determine the involvement of the Board Chair in the recruitment and appointment process. Responsible governance officer(s).
Determine the processes and timings for approval and appointment procedures. Responsible governance officer(s).
Determine how and when unsuccessful candidates are to be notified. Responsible governance officer(s).
Determine if electronic processes will be used for recruitment. Responsible governance officer(s).
Advise key stakeholders (for example, industry groups, Office of Womens Policy) that the vacancy is arising and request that they advertise or advise people that a position is available. Responsible governance officer(s).
Develop a recruitment and appointment plan to be signed-off and agreed upon by the Minister. Responsible governance officer(s).

2.2 Recruitment and Appointment Plan

Responsible governance officer(s) should consider developing a documented recruitment and appointment plan. This plan should be agreed upon by the responsible governance officer(s) and the Minister or the Minister’s delegate, for example, the Parliamentary Secretary.

Table 2: Recruitment and appointment plan
Theme Key features of the recruitment and appointment plan would include:
Recruitment and appointment plan
  • statutory requirements
  • re-appointment information
  • indicative timelines
  • role of the Minister in the process and consultation points
  • role of the Chair in the process
  • role of the Secretary in the process
  • provision of information to candidates
  • advertising requirements, if applicable
  • executive searches, if applicable
  • composition and role of the selection panel
  • short-listing procedures
  • interviewing procedures
  • process for referee checks
  • probity requirements
  • submitting appointments for approval by Cabinet
  • appointment and re-appointment procedures
  • stages of notification of candidates, including unsuccessful candidates
    • onboarding procedures
    • induction procedures.

2.3 Indicative Timelines for Recruitment and Appointment

This section provides a guide to indicative timeframes for recruiting and appointing Directors to public entity Boards. Note that these timings should be taken as indications only, and may be extended or reduced in practice to fit the diverse circumstances and requirements of public entity boards.

Table 3: Indicative timelines for recruitment and appointment

governancetoolkit_table2

2.4 Role of the Minister

It is the Minister’s responsibility and prerogative to make appointments within their portfolio, subject to any legislative or Cabinet requirements. They are ultimately accountable for the appointments that are made.

As such, Ministers have an important and legitimate interest in the conduct of these appointment processes. It is the role of the department to support the Minister during this process.

Ministers may assign parts of the recruitment process to a delegate, for example, a Parliamentary Secretary. The Minister remains accountable for the appointment decision even if a delegate has been used.

At the end of the recruitment process it is the responsibility of the Minister to decide whether a candidate recommended by the selection panel will be appointed.

2.4.1 Upcoming Vacancies

Approximately six months prior to a position becoming vacant the responsible governance officer(s) should brief the Minister on upcoming vacancy information.

Table 4: Upcoming vacancies
Theme Action Responsibility
Upcoming vacancy information Information should be provided to the Minister on: 

  • the number of vacancies
  • the objectives and functions of the public entity
  • current Board membership
  • suggestions for revised personal qualities, character and reputation, knowledge, skills and specialist expertise to fill the vacancy
  • eligibility for re-appointment
  • succession planning as required.
Responsible governance officer(s).

2.4.2 Ministerial Agreement on the Recruitment and Appointment Process

The Minister should be provided by the responsible governance officer(s) with a proposed recruitment and appointment process for filling the vacancy. This process should be agreed upon by all parties. Outlined below are the key process steps that should be agreed on with the Minister.

Table 5: Ministerial agreement on recruitment and appointment processes
Theme Action Responsibility
Ministerial agreement Provide the Minister with an outline of the proposed recruitment and appointment process. Responsible governance officer(s).
Ensure that the recruitment and appointment process is agreed upon by the Minister and the responsible governance officer(s) within the department. Minister and responsible governance officer(s).
Agree on the level of involvement the Minister or the Minister’s delegate will have in the recruitment and appointment process. Minister and responsible governance officer(s).
Provide the Minister with any role analysis that has been undertaken and the suggested selection criteria. Responsible governance officer(s).
Ensure the Minister has approved the suggested selection criteria. Responsible governance officer(s).
Provide the Minister with a list of the suggested make up of the selection panel. Responsible governance officer(s).
Ensure the Minister has approved the make up of the selection panel. Responsible governance officer(s).

2.4.3 Ministerial Involvement in the Recruitment and Appointment Process

This sub-section outlines the ways in which the Minister may be involved in the recruitment and appointment process.

Table 6: Ministerial involvement
Theme Action Responsibility
Ministerial involvement Provide the Minister with an opportunity to be involved in the recruitment process if they wish, for example, approving selection criteria and meeting with candidates. Responsible governance officer(s).
Formally ask the Minister to suggest potential candidates to be considered in the process Responsible governance officer(s).
Invite these candidates to participate in the agreed recruitment and appointment process. Responsible governance officer(s).
Keep the Minister informed of the progress of candidates throughout the process. Responsible governance officer(s).
Provide the Minister with a list of the short-listed or referred candidate(s), outlining their skills, experience and rating against key selection criteria. Responsible governance officer(s).
Provide the Minister with an opportunity to meet the short-listed or referred candidate(s) to help inform his/her final decision. Responsible governance officer(s).
Minister to approve the recommended candidate for Cabinet. Responsible governance officer(s).

2.5 Role of the Departmental Secretary in the Recruitment and Appointment Process

A departmental secretary is responsible for endorsing a recruitment and appointment plan prior to it being sent to the Minister for approval.A Minister may require a departmental secretary to act as the Minister’s delegate during the recruitment process. This can involve responsibility for:

  • approving the recruitment process proposed by the responsible governance area;
  • approving selection criteria proposed by the responsible governance area;
  • approving the selection panel proposed by the responsible governance area;
  • nominating potential candidates; and
  • meeting potential candidates.

A secretary may be asked by the Minister to sit on the selection panel during the recruitment process.

2.6 Role of the Chair in the Recruitment and Appointment Process

Involving Board Chairs in the recruitment and appointment process can be extremely helpful, as they have a detailed knowledge of the workings of the Board and public entity and of the skills and experience required to fill a vacancy.

2.6.1 Issues for a Chair to Consider when Planning for an Upcoming Vacancy

This sub-section outlines issues to be considered by a Board Chair when a vacancy is arising.

Table 7: Issues for the Chair to consider when planning for vacancies
Theme Action Responsibility
Issues for the Chair to consider when planning for an upcoming vacancy Keep track of upcoming vacancies. Board Chair.
Give consideration to succession planning for the future needs of the Board. This succession strategy should be provided to the area responsible for the recruitment and appointment process. Board Chair.
Consider the personal qualities, character and reputation, knowledge, skills and specialist expertise required by the Board going into the future. Board Chair.
Make it clear to the Board Directors that re-appointment is not guaranteed, as outlined in the Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines for Victorian Government Boards, Statutory Bodies and Advisory Committees. Board Chair.

2.6.2 Chair Involvement in the Recruitment and Appointment Process

This sub-section outlines the ways in which a responsible governance officer(s) should involve the Chair in the recruitment and appointment process.

Table 8: Chair involvement
Theme Action Responsibility
Chair involvement The Chair of the Board should be provided with an opportunity to be involved in the recruitment process. Responsible governance officer(s).
Discuss with the Chair the personal qualities, character and reputation, knowledge, skills and specialist expertise he/she feels are required for the Board going into the future. Responsible governance officer(s).
Invite the Chair to nominate candidates for the vacant position. Responsible governance officer(s).
Invite the Chair to be a member of the selection panel if their involvement has been agreed to by the Minister. Responsible governance officer(s).

2.7 Recruiting a Chair

The Chair has an important role to play on a public entity Board. They must have a sound understanding of the workings of the Board and of the public entity. The Chair provides leadership of the public entity and is responsible for maintaining effective and constructive working relationships with individuals internal and external to the entity.

Subject to any statutory or Cabinet requirements, a Chair can be recruited using the same process as the one that has been established to recruit a Board Director. A Chair can be recruited separately or the process can be undertaken at the same time as recruitment is taking place for Board Directors.

However, the unique responsibilities and skills required to be a Chair should be reflected in the role description and selection criteria that are created to recruit for this position. The indicative process for recruiting a Chair is outlined below.

Table 9: Chair recruitment process
Theme Process can include:
Chair recruitment process
  • role analysis
  • planning
  • advertising
  • assessing applications
  • short-listing
  • interviews
  • reference checking
  • probity checks
  • preparation of Cabinet papers
  • Cabinet process
  • notification and onboarding.

2.8 Information

When planning to fill an upcoming vacancy the responsible governance officer(s) should consider the type of information that should be provided to potential candidates. To enable a potential candidate to fully understand the role they are applying for, the information outlined in Table 10 should be made available to a candidate during the application process, both electronically and in hard copy.Without such information it can be difficult for a candidate to make an informed judgement about the skills and commitment required of an effective Board Director, as well as potential areas of concern such as possible conflict of interest.

Table 10: Information for potential candidates
Theme Action
Information for potential candidates The following information should be provided to all potential Board candidates: 

  • functions and objectives of the public entity;
  • the role of the Board;
  • the term of appointment, including commencement date and compliance by a Director with any regulatory requirements;
  • the duties and responsibilities associated with the position and potential committee work;
  • remuneration and expenses;
  • the time commitment envisaged per month and minimum meeting attendance;
  • the expectations of the Board that the Director will comply with all statutory, constitutional, internal policies and regulatory requirements applicable to the public entity;
  • the relevant legislation that establishes the Board;
  • an overview of the selection process;
  • the time the recruitment process will take;
  • the requirement that short-listed or referred candidates must undertake probity checks; and
  • the requirement that short-listed or referred candidates must complete a Declaration of Private Interests form.