Local Land Services' governance audit
In May 2015, the Minister for Primary Industries appointed the Commission as an independent auditor of Local Land Services for two priority performance audits - governance and communications.
The Local Land Services Act 2013 established 11 Local Boards for the purpose of devolving management, strategic planning and community engagement functions to the regional level. The state level Board of Chairs provides strategic guidance to Local Boards.
In October 2015, the Commission provided a final report to the Minister on the audit of Local Land Services' governance.
The Commission's audit identified several key functional areas in which governance is still evolving. Some of these include systems to promote ethical behaviours and manage conflicts of interest, and relatively mature operating procedures for board meetings.
The other audit findings included:
- Several key areas of governance require urgent attention. Evidence indicated that insufficient time and resources were given to establishing a sound governance framework with clear roles and responsibilities at the start of Local Land Services.
- The Board of Chairs has not demonstrated sufficient leadership in driving a shared understanding of Local Land Services as one government agency with local decision-making devolved to the 11 regions.
- Leadership and strong governance are also lacking in strategic direction setting, financial management and risk management.
The Commission made 21 detailed findings across five categories: roles and accountability, culture and leadership, processes and systems, strategic direction, and risk management and compliance.
The Commission made three over-arching recommendations - clarify and simplify roles and responsibilities; prioritise and resolve critical issues; and improve accountability.
In December 2016, the NSW Government supported all of the Commission’s recommendations.