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Case Study: Supporting Boards to understand government

A State Government Department was in the process of establishing a new Board and sought FPL Advisory’s assistance to develop a program to support Board members improve their understanding of their new role and remit.

Situation

The role and remit of public sector boards as a component of broader government can be complex. New Board members, particularly those entering government for the first time can find government processes, systems and structures difficult to understand and navigate. A State Government Department was seeking support as part of a new Board’s broader induction program to unpack the complexities of government as the establishment of the Board gathered pace. They recognised that setting an appropriate foundation as the start of the establishment process would ensure the Board was in good stead to quickly deliver on its functions and to support ongoing relationships with the Department and government.

Action

As part of a broader program of work, FPL Advisory conducted a review of the Board’s operational context and developed a workshop specifically tailored to the Board while also providing a foundation in public sector roles, responsibilities, context and governance procedures. We developed this in line with ensuring a supportive and positive forum environment to help the Board members, who came from a variety of different backgrounds and with different experience with government, understand their role and how to deliver on their responsibilities.

Through the workshop facilitation, board members we able to unpack some of the broader aspects of the Victorian Government, Ministerial versus departmental decision making and why certain matters must be dealt with appropriate sensitivity and were able to identify areas for additional focus such as communications and media. Participants shared their experiences from inside and outside of government as well as their questions and concerns at an early stage.

Outcome

This set a positive foundation for Board members to request information from the Department and to understand areas out of scope for the Board. Following the workshop and relying on the insights gained through the process, additional activities are outlined as part of FPL’s ongoing support. These include one on one sessions with each Board member to flesh out any specific areas of focus for them and answer any questions, establishing focused small group sessions to target specific Board member needs including providing more detail on communication in a public sector setting, government risk, and where things can go wrong and undertaking a preliminary Board planning session to support their strategic planning processes.

FPL Advisory supports clients across many industry sectors to resolve risks, create opportunities and support government engagement.

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