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Key objective

Establish a tailored and effective governance structure for your taskforce.

Common problems

  • Attempting to take a 'one size fits all' approach to taskforce governance – it should be tailored based on your timeframe, scope and deliverables
  • Forgetting to take into account internal governance arrangements and corporate reporting requirements
  • Not setting clear roles and responsibilities for the stakeholders involved in your governance arrangements, including failing to distinguish between advisory and decision-making roles, leading to confusion and unmet expectations.

Tips for success

  • Use existing governance mechanisms rather than bespoke arrangements where appropriate – this will be more efficient and reduce duplication
  • Ensure the governance structure is clear and documented, including who has decision making authority versus who has an advisory role
  • Work out how your team structure connects to the broader governance arrangements of your agency to ensure clear reporting lines and accountability for tasks and deliverables.

Establish governance arrangements that work for the taskforce

Good governance can help a taskforce achieve its objectives by creating clear lines of authority, enabling issues to be escalated and resolved, and giving senior decision-makers the opportunity to guide the direction of projects.

It's important to determine your governance needs. Identify your ultimate decision-maker (for example, the Minister or the Secretary), then work down from there, listing the other decision-making parties and the type of decisions you would seek from them. This will shape a clear flow of authority and shape your reporting requirements.

You should also identify a role for a formal advisory function if required, and show how this fits into the decision-making flow of the governance arrangements. Ultimately, an effective governance structure should demonstrate clear lines of authority, accountability and responsibility.

When multiple partner organisations are involved in a taskforce, tailored governance arrangements, such as an interdepartmental committee (IDC) or cross-government working group, can provide a forum for stakeholders to contribute ideas and raise concerns. This can increase the commitment of partner organisations to your policy process and make subsequent consultation and implementation processes easier.

It's also a good idea to utilise existing governance mechanisms where appropriate, rather than creating bespoke arrangements that require additional work and time from senior decision makers.

The Governance - how to identify your governance requirements and ultimate decision makers and example governance structures will help to define the role and responsibilities of each player in your governance arrangements.

Image caption: Example governance structure

Ensure you capture internal reporting in your governance arrangements

Taskforce governance often focuses on external relationships and key decision makers. Internal reporting can often be overlooked. As part of your governance approach, consider how the taskforce team reports and shares information internally, including at the officer level. It's also important to factor in formal reporting requirements, such as Senate Estimates, departmental project reporting or annual reports.

Last reviewed: 
29 January 2021