Through effective processes and continual review of its performance, the board is able to demonstrate accountability and transparency to its members and stakeholders.
- There is increased stakeholder understanding.
- The level of trust is higher between the board and members as members are assured their interests are considered in decision-making.
- Mistakes are not repeated as the board learns and adjusts processes accordingly.
- The organisation is trusted, giving it greater access to resources and more freedom to operate.
- Disputes are easily managed through an established resolution process.
- Better decisions are made because directors understand their role and have the information they require.
- How do we ensure that directors are aware of and able to discharge their duties, powers and responsibilities?
- What policies or practices can we put in place to assure stakeholders that the board is governing effectively and in the best interests of the organisation?
- How do we identify and manage conflicts of interest (real and perceived)?
- Are members able to find relevant policies for interaction with the board?
- What are we communicating to stakeholders about the organisation’s progress and achievements?
Accountability and transparency
Accountability and transparency are often linked but are not interchangeable terms.
An organisation is accountable when it fulfils its responsibilities owed to another. In sport governance, the board is accountable to its members for its decisions and actions.
Transparency is providing visibility via the disclosure of information. Organisations should be transparent by providing insight into the operation of its board to assure members that the board and its directors are acting in the best interests of the organisation.
How can the board demonstrate accountability?
Documenting board processes and decisions provides accountability by defining how governance is actioned within the organisation. The documented processes can be referred to by directors and management to inform themselves of their individual responsibilities, while also providing guidance for directors and management to hold each other accountable. All decisions made by the board should be recorded, along with any evidence or information the board relied upon to make the decision. Documented decisions are a basis for evaluating accountability.
How can the board demonstrate transparency?
Public disclosure of the processes and policies which underpin the board’s operations and decision-making provide transparency. Such disclosure would allow members and stakeholders to be assured that the board is following good processes, creating confidence in the actions and decisions of the board.
Transparency does not mean that the board needs to disclose everything it discusses. Board meetings will, for example, involve discussions which are confidential and should not be made public. Having documented processes about what, when, and by whom information will be disclosed allows the board to be transparent without compromising the need for confidentiality.
Example behaviours and actions
A set of good practice suggestions, which should underpin the Board’s considerations in applying this principle.
Resources and tools to help
Below are some resources to assist with this Principle. For guidance, or to discuss how your organisation may best implement good practice in this area, please contact your state or territory agency for sport and recreation. For NSOs, email your query to SportsGovernance@ausport.gov.au and a consultant will contact you.