Boards and the responsible minister

Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the operation of agencies and boards within their portfolios. Depending on the legislation relating to a board’s establishment, board members may be appointed at the direction of their responsible minister, by Cabinet or the Governor on the recommendation of the responsible minister, or in some instances, by representatives.

The relationship between a minister and a board will vary depending on the nature of the board and how the relationship is defined in the board’s enabling legislation. For example, a responsible minister’s specific powers of direction are often set out in legislation for governing boards, but not for other board types.

To enhance clarity, it is recommended there be a formal statement of expectation from the minister and that the board responds to this with a statement of intent. These statements are not mandatory nor do they replace any aspect of the relationship that may be set out in applicable legislation, but they provide clarity to both parties and support an effective relationship. Once the statements are established, regular briefings to the minister should occur to ensure progress is communicated, and that areas of potential opportunity and concern are discussed.

From time to time, the responsible minister for the board may change. Within this context, it is suggested you meet with the incoming minister at the earliest opportunity to discuss the operations of the board, ascertain expectations and agree on the board’s direction. Following the initial meeting it may be prudent, from the perspective of the minister and the board, to formalise the matters discussed with a new ‘statement of expectation’ and ‘statement of intent’. 

It is recommended that the ‘statement of expectation’ and ‘statement of intent’ be reviewed and reissued biennially, even if the minister responsible for the board has not changed and/or there has been no change in the minister’s expectations of the board.

Further information on statements of expectation and statements of intent can be found in the resources section.


Further information is available under good governance guides.

Page last updated 23 May 2017