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Key objective

Get effective advice and decision making through your governance arrangements.

Common problems

  • Scheduling meetings without first defining the outcome required, resulted in lost opportunities to progress your work with decision-makers
  • Underestimating the administrative time and resources needed for effective taskforce governance
  • Not keeping a record of decisions made at meetings – this is crucial for records management and providing a comprehensive handover at the end of the taskforce.

Tips for success

  • Use your deadlines to drive work forward and book governance meetings in early so that you can get the decisions and advice you need, when you need it
  • Set up dedicated secretariat support within your taskforce if your governance arrangements require it
  • Practice good record keeping practices, especially when it comes to governance meetings – records of decisions and minutes are a key part of your 'audit trail' and essential for a good policy handover.

Handy tools

Use your timeline to identify when meetings need to occur

Meetings should align with key taskforce deliverables and be focused on issues of strategic importance. Ensure you give senior decision makers sufficient time to engage with your material prior to a meeting, and be strategic about what information and briefing is required to support their decision-making.

If your governance arrangements require the time and attention of busy senior executives, it's important to get meetings into calendars early – especially if you need everyone to be available at the same time.

Taking these steps early on and aligning governance meetings with key deliverables will ensure you get the outcome you need, creating focus and forward momentum for your work, rather than convening governance meetings that fail to lead to a clear outcome.

Consider having dedicated governance support

Scheduling meetings, developing agendas, circulating papers, preparing talking points, drafting minutes – there's a significant amount of work involved in supporting effective governance operations, especially in the context of a fast-moving taskforce. Based on your needs, you should consider establishing dedicated secretariat arrangements to manage the administrative and executive support tasks associated with governance arrangements within your taskforce team structure. This centralises the function, as opposed to individual teams running their own processes, creating an avenue for clear record keeping and strategic alignment of decision-making.

Keep a record of decisions made

Record keeping is often cited as a weakness for taskforces – things move fast and with new teams working together, processes can be unclear. It's important to maintain good records throughout the taskforce, especially in relation to governance and decisions made. Taskforces often handover implementation responsibility to a business-as-usual (BAU) team which too often inherits a new policy or program to implement but can't trace back to why particular decisions were made. Minutes and records of meetings not only ensure clear outcomes are captured after meetings, but document the process the taskforce followed to achieve its objectives.

Last reviewed: 
14 December 2020