Appendix A: Glossary

Term Definition
Board Body of appointed or elected members who oversee the activities of a company or organisation.
Board Chair The leader of a Board, responsible both for effective and harmonious operations and for representing the Board to other organisations and to the public.
Board Director An individual member of a Board.
Cabinet The principal decision-making body of the government. It consists of all ministers of the Crown and the Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet (also known as the Cabinet Secretary). The Premier, as the leader of the government is the Chair of Cabinet. Cabinet is a formal meeting of ministers but has no legal powers or status.
Candidates Individuals who are the target market for, and potentially may apply for, vacant roles.
Candidate referrals Suggestion of a potential candidate to a selection panel by a Minister, departmental secretary, Board Chair or others.
Character and reputation This reflects the characteristics of a person with high levels of personal influence. These capabilities may be individual or idiosyncratic and are integral to a Director of a public entity Board.
Declaration of Private Interests Declaration made by a person in a position of responsibility of any significant private interests (such as other offices held, other sources of income, or shareholdings) which might improperly influence, or be seen to improperly influence, the individual in the exercise of their position.
Department Departments are the central policy advisers and program administrators for ministers and government.
Establishing Legislation An Act of Parliament, set of regulations, statutory instrument or other document setting out the powers, functions and organisational structure of a public entity.
Executive Search Search undertaken by an Executive recruitment agency that specialises in sourcing and evaluating potential candidates for Board positions.
Governance The processes by which organisations are directed, controlled and held to account.
Governor in Council When the Governor acts on advice given by the Executive Council.
Group A Board Classification of public entity Board consisting of commercial Boards of governance. Includes:

  • Government Business Enterprises including Statutory Authorities, bodies established under the State Owned Enterprises Act, commercial bodies established under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) or specific legislation
  • any other statutory authorities which are strictly commercial in nature.
Group B Board Classification of public entity Board consisting of significant industry bodies, key advisory bodies and significant Boards of management. Includes:

  • industry advisory Boards and other bodies advising government on key strategic matters and/or matters of State-wide significance
  • quasi-judicial bodies/tribunals where there is no other framework governing remuneration and appointments
  • government bodies undertaking significant statutory functions, providing specialist advice to a Minister and developing policies, strategies and guidelines in a broad and important area of operations
  • management Boards of medium-size organisations undertaking one or more functions or providing a strategically important service.
Group C Board Classification of public entity Board consisting of advisory committees, registration Boards and management Boards of small organisations. Includes:

  • scientific, technical and legal advisory bodies
  • disciplinary Boards and Boards of appeal
  • qualifications, regulatory and licencing bodies
  • management Boards and committees of small size organisations undertaking a specific function or providing a discrete service
  • ministerial and departmental advisory Boards and consultative committees on issues confined to a portfolio or local concerns.
Group D Board Classification of public entity Board consisting of inquiries, task forces and ad hoc expert panels. Includes:

  • Boards of inquiry which are required to submit a comprehensive report within a specified time frame
  • ad hoc expert panels established for limited time periods to undertake a specific (often technical) task.
Induction A part of onboarding. The first step in building a relationship between the organisation and the employee.
Knowledge and Skills Generic capabilities important to the functioning of the Board. These are attained through a combination of formal study and professional experiences, and can be improved through learning and development opportunities.
Minister A member of the government, appointed by the Governor on the Premier’s recommendation to be responsible for a particular area of administration; he or she is also a member of Cabinet.
Onboarding Process to assist newcomers to an organisation adjust to their new surroundings and learn the behaviours, attitudes and skills necessary to fulfill their new roles and function effectively.
Personal qualities A range of innate personal characteristics which cover individual and professional qualities necessary to engender commitment to the organisation’s strategic goals. They describe how a Director may create and promote a vision that engages and appeals to the people who will be involved with delivering the vision, or impacted by it.
Probity checks Investigation into an applicant’s background, typically covering the candidate’s work history, academic and professional qualifications, eligibility to work in Australia, reference checking, criminal history, credit history and personal details such as current address. Probity checking may also include a search of the ASIC Register of Banned and Disqualified Persons and bankruptcy checks.
Public Entity Entities that undertake a public function or are owned by the government. A public entity is established by an Act of Parliament, Governor in Council or a minister. In the case of a body corporate, at least one half of the directors are appointed by the Governor in Council or a minister.
Role analysis The process of collecting, analysing and recording information about the requirements of a position in order to provide candidates and recruiters with a detailed role description.
Selection Panel A temporary panel established to assess applicants for a position and decide on a preferred candidate.
Short-listing Technique used to reduce a large applicant pool to a smaller more manageable size.
Specialist/technical expertise A set of capabilities and expertise that are specific to a particular discipline. Generally, these capabilities are acquired through relevant qualifications.
Statutory Appointment An appointment made under an Act of the Parliament which can outline how an appointment will take place and what position should be appointed.

Appendix B: Board Recruitment and Appointment Myths and Facts

This appendix is a compilation of common Board recruitment and appointment myths and facts. Its purpose is to provide answers to some of the questions you may have about the recruitment and appointment process.

We all know that poor hiring decisions impact negatively on an organisation.

These decisions can cost organisations both in a dollar and productivity sense and they can also adversely influence an organisation’s morale and culture. By following best practice recruitment and selection processes you can dramatically reduce or eliminate the likelihood of a poor hiring decision.

Note: The information contained within this table does not replace departmental or agency policy and is provided as a guide only.

Theme Myth Fact
Planning and role analysis Role analysis prior to recruitment is only required for new roles. It is best practice to undertake a job analysis for every role you plan to recruit to. This allows those undertaking the recruitment to consider a series of important questions regarding the position and how it contributes to the organisation’s goals.
Attraction We have to advertise externally. No, this is not a mandatory requirement. How you advertise a role depends on two main factors: the talent pool available internally; and that a competitive recruitment and selection process can be adhered to.
There are rules around where we can advertise. There are no advertising requirements that apply across the public sector.
Organisations cannot contact people and invite them to apply. Yes, they can. An organisation can encourage individuals to apply for a particular role. However, there needs to be a genuine attempt to create a viable field of applicants and those individuals within that field will need to be advised that they will be competing in a merit based selection process.
We cannot consider any applicants provided by a recruitment agency. Yes you can, if this has been agreed upon. However, the general practice within the Victorian public sector is not to accept applications from recruitment agencies unless they have been engaged to provide such services for the recruitment exercise.
Selection process A selection panel must have three members. A three person panel is recommended for the purpose of balance and moderation.
A selection panel must contain a mix of genders. No. There is no rule on the gender mix of a selection panel. However, for the purposes of balance you should consider it as part of your planning process.
We can’t accept late applications. Yes, you can. Again, this is at the discretion of your organisation.
We cannot consider an applicant who hasn’t included responses to all the key selection criteria in their application. Yes, you can. This is at the discretion of your organisation. There needs to be sufficient evidence available to allow a fair and proper short-listing decision.
An applicant pool has to contain more than three people. No, it doesn’t. As long as a merit based process has been followed in the recruitment process and there is at least one respondent who meets all the key selection criteria, the process is deemed to be satisfactory.
We have to cover all key selection criteria in interview questions. No, you don’t. It may not be necessary to cover all key selection criteria at interview. However, they will need to be assessed at some stage of the recruitment process (application, resume, responses to key selection criteria at application stage, interviews and referee checks).
There is a defined number of interview questions required. No, there isn’t. The person in charge of the recruitment process will need to ensure that the number and relevance of questions used will be enough to adequately assess whether the applicant fully meets the key selection criteria for the role.
All interviewees need to be asked the same questions. No, they don’t. While it is considered good practice to ask the same questions, it is not a requirement. Additional questions might help gain further information or clarify an applicant’s response.
Applicants cannot be asked to provide additional information. Yes, they can. The selection panel can ask an applicant to supply additional information, relevant to their application, at any stage of the recruitment and appointment process.
Only nominated referees can be contacted. No. If the selection panel believes that additional referees are required, they can ask the applicant to provide them.
The selection panel can undertake informal reference checking with an applicant’s known manager/s or colleagues without the applicant’s consent. No. This breaches privacy and if the applicant is compromised it could lead to possible legal action against the organisation. If you wish to speak to a referee who has not been nominated, you must seek the applicant’s consent. If an applicant refuses to provide such consent, the panel would need to consider this in their deliberation.
A referee report is required for every applicant. Obtaining references for candidates in high contention for a role is highly recommended. However, there is no mandatory requirement to obtain referee reports for every applicant.
Probity checks must be conducted on all applicants for the position. No, they don’t. Probity checks are only required for short-listed or referred candidates.
Approval and appointment procedures An appointment must be made at the end of a recruitment and selection process. If the process fails to deliver a field where a selection decision can be made, the role may be re-advertised. Positions can also be withdrawn for business reasons. Either way it’s important to ensure all applicants are advised.
Notification A unsuccessful candidate cannot be notified during recruitment process. Candidates can be advised during the process on whether they have progressed to the next stage of the recruitment and appointment process or if they have been unsuccessful.

Appendix C: Bibliography

  • Australian Institute of Company Directors, Module 9: Achieving Board Effectiveness Company Directors Course, Australian Institute of Company Directors, Australia.
  • Australian Securities Exchange Corporate Governance Council, 2007, Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendation 2nd Edition, Australian Securities Exchange, Australia.
  • Careless, S, Literature review on best practice recruitment selection techniques, Monash University, Australia.
  • Chartered Secretaries Australia, 2006, Good Governance Guide: No 1.4 Letter of appointment for directors: suggested contents, Chartered Secretaries Australia, Australia.
  • Chartered Secretaries Australia, 2006, Good Governance Guide: No 2.7 Board Composition, Chartered Secretaries Australia, Australia.
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet, as updated, Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines for Victorian Government Boards, Statutory Bodies and Advisory Committees, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria.
  • Edwards, M, July 2006, Appointments to Public Sector Boards in Australia: A comparative assessment, Issues Paper Series No. 3, Corporate Governance ARC Project, University of Canberra, Australia.
  • Financial Reporting Council, June 2010, The UK Corporate Governance Code, Financial Reporting Council, United Kingdom.
  • Freedom of Information Act 1982
  • Information Privacy Act 2001
  • Public Records Act 1973
  • Victorian Public Sector Commission, 2008, Best Practice Recruitment and Selection, Victorian Public Sector Commission, Victoria.
  • Victorian Public Sector Commission, 2008, Good practice guide on governance for the Victorian public Sector, Victorian Public Sector Commission, Victoria.
  • Victorian Public Sector Commission, 2010, Public Entity Directors: supply, selection and appointments, Victorian Public Sector Commission, Victoria.
  • State Services Commission, 2009, Board Appointment and Induction Guidelines, State Services Commission, New Zealand.
  • The Commissioner for Public Appointments, August 2009, The Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice For Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies, Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments, United Kingdom.