A welcome letter and an induction plan are among the first items a director receives upon his appointment to the board.

New directors should be inducted on to the board using a well-structured director induction program specific to the public entity and the sector in which the public entity operates.

Some departments manage an induction program for all directors within their portfolio. Induction may also be co-ordinated by the board secretary where applicable.

Director Welcome Letter

Once a new director has been formally appointed, the chair should send a letter of welcome as part of the induction process covering director’s:

  • rights, duties and responsibilities
  • expected work and time commitment
  • obligation to act in the best interests of the public entity
  • need to avoid, declare and deal with any conflicts of interest
  • arrangements for the induction program.

If the minister was not involved in the appointment, the welcome letter may also be the letter of appointment.

The chair should inform the minister as soon as possible of new appointments where those new appointments were not made by the minister. Information provided to the minister must include details required by the department for the Government Appointments to Public Entities Database.

Director Induction Program and Package

A director induction program should include a formal meeting with the chair, chief executive officer and any other relevant staff, such as the board secretary.

The meeting with the chair should cover issues such as the term of appointment, duties, rights and responsibilities, meeting dates and access to papers and training programs.

The induction package should contain the relevant governance documents, including:

  • establishing legislation and any explanatory material relating to the legislation
  • a brief history of the public entity
  • an organisational chart and an indication of where the public entity sits in relation to government (how and where it relates to the minister)
  • the corporate governance handbook, board charter and Directors’ Code of Conduct
  • any document issued to the public entity by the minister or departmental secretary outlining the respective roles of, and relationships between, the public entity, department and minister
  • any document issued to the public entity by the minister outlining the terms of appointment of directors and their roles and responsibilities
  • government policy statements affecting the public entity
  • current corporate and business plans
  • financial statements for the three previous financial years and the most recent financial report to the board
  • the most recent risk management plan
  • internal audit reports for the previous three years
  • business operating guidelines and procedures
  • annual reports for the previous three years
  • committee structure and terms of reference
  • board delegations
  • dates and times for upcoming board meetings and major events
  • list of carried forward items from the last board meeting
  • arrangements for declarations of conflicts of interest
  • arrangements for payment of remuneration, if applicable, and reimbursement of expenses.

The induction program should include:

  • connecting the new director with an experienced mentor on the board and a management representative
  • training on topics, such as understanding financial reports and the activities of the public entity
  • a tour of the public entity’s premises and operations and an opportunity to meet with staff, including separate meetings with executives such as the chief executive officer and chief finance and accounting officer
  • copies of other relevant legislation, policy and procedure documents
  • information about stakeholders
  • a list of major funding sources
  • selected press clippings, reviews and publications
  • contact details for all directors, the board secretary and senior management.