Good governance for WA boards and committees

A respected and trusted public sector is vital to effective government. As a member of a government board or committee (collectively referred to as ‘boards’), you will contribute to community confidence in the public sector by providing relevant skills and experience to support public sector decision making, and ensuring the views of interest groups and stakeholders are considered in public sector service delivery.

In general, boards are responsible for ensuring good governance of a public sector body. As such, a board must ensure effective systems and processes are in place to shape, enable and oversee the body’s management.

As a board member, you operate in a legislative and public policy environment that provides frameworks for accountability, governance, management, policy development and service delivery. Your understanding and effective application of these frameworks is critical to maintaining the trust placed in your board and in you as a member.

How to use this guide

This guide is structured around the seven Principles of good governance for Western Australian boards and committees. The principles set out high level statements to guide boards and are accompanied by explanatory information that provides more specific guidance on particular topics and issues contained within each principle.

Where applicable, each principle is also accompanied by a list of resources that provide practical information to help boards undertake their role. The aids include specific instructions, tools and templates, as well as links to key legislation and other public sector sources which contain important information on good governance.

This guide should be used in conjunction with the Board essentials publication which identifies and summarises the structures of boards, key stakeholders, and the legislative and policy frameworks that may be relevant to board members. 

Types of boards and committees

The Department of the Premier and Cabinet maintains a list of boards on the State Government Boards and Committees Register. Admission to the register is determined according to the definition of ‘Board or Committee’ provided under Premier’s Circular 2010/02.

In addition to the boards meeting the definition in the Circular, there are a number of other boards within the public sector with similar roles and responsibilities which will also find the information provided in this resource useful.

In terms of their authority and functions, boards can be broadly grouped into several types:

Trading boards

These boards are engaged in commercial activities and in a broad sense, are all government owned. They include the Fremantle Port Authority, Gold Corporation and the Electricity Networks Corporation (Western Power).

Governing boards

These boards govern the operation of an agency. They include the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Botanical Parks and Gardens Authority.  Their particular functions and powers are usually set out in their enabling legislation.

Policy, review or specialist boards

These boards have a policy or coordination role, such as the Industry Management Committee and the State Emergency Management Committee.

Regulatory, registration, appeal or quasi-judicial boards

These boards are charged with making independent decisions affecting large groups and determining matters of importance with a regulatory or registration role, such as the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia and the Local Government Standards Panel.

Stewardship boards

These boards are entrusted with the stewardship of public assets and resources. They include the Aboriginal Land Trust, Public Education Endowment Trust and the Western Australian Local Government Grants Commission.

Advisory or consultative boards

These boards provide independent or expert advice to the Government on strategic matters or matters of broad significance. They can be either statutory or non-statutory, such as the Geographic Names Committee and the Pest Animal Control Ethics Advisory Committee.


For queries about boards please email

If you have any queries in relation to the remuneration of board members, please email

Page last updated 21 December 2016