In most organisations with a board or committee, there was confusion about the respective roles, powers, responsibilities and accountabilities of the Minister/s, the board and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). There are a wide variety of governance arrangements in operation across the spectrum of boards and committees. This is partly due to differing arrangements set out in relevant legislation and gaps in legislative detail which have been addressed in a variety of ways.
Under current arrangements, governing boards of SOCs have accountabilities to Shareholding Ministers and Portfolio Ministers, as well as to Ministers who are responsible for industry-wide regulation. Non-corporatised Government businesses have different accountability and control arrangements. The large number of statutory and nonstatutory bodies and authorities have a wide array of governance arrangements. As a result of uncertainty and confusion on governance aspects, The Audit Office observed that many governing boards operate as high level advisory management committees. The audit also found that board and committee practices fell short of standards expected in a professional boardroom culture.
Parliamentary reference - Report number #49 - released 7 April 1998