Government Business Enterprises - Membership

Ms ARMITAGE to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT

[2.34 p.m.]

Mr President, further to the answers provided by the Leader on 15 September 2020, regarding board membership of government business enterprises, state-owned corporations and other government boards, will the Leader please advise -

(1) The Women on Boards database was cited as containing the data for 101 government boards and committees excluding GBEs and SOCs. Is this data available and accessible to the public?

(2) Is the Women on Boards database the appropriate repository to contain information on 101 government boards and committees? What is the rationale for this?

(3) Regarding the selection process for board appointments, the guidelines for Tasmanian government businesses board appointments were cited as the approach taken to appointing candidates. Of the six principles these guidelines listed, with diversity being one of them, can the Leader expand on how these principles are applied in practice to the appointment process? Are each of these principles given equal weight when considering a candidate's suitability?

(4) The aforementioned board appointments guidelines refer to executive search agencies being used as a way to vet and seek out candidates. Can the Leader advise who the executive search agencies are, and how much they are costing the taxpayer for these services?

(5) Additionally, can the Leader provide more information on the function of executive search agencies and what their search methodology is? In other words, how are the executive search agencies applying the board appointment guidelines to the search process, and what value do they add to finding and vetting potential board candidates?

(6) Are the executive search agencies Tasmanian enterprises? If not, why is the Government not purchasing these services from a Tasmanian firm?

ANSWER

Mr President, I thank the member for McIntyre for her questions.

(1) The Tasmanian Government's Women on Boards database is not accessible to the public. The database is the mechanism to correlate relevant government board and community information provided by agencies on a quarterly basis to monitor the Government's efforts to increase equity across its boards and committees, and progress against the Government's target of 50 per cent female representation on government boards and committees. Progress is reported to Cabinet quarterly, and an annual report is published and publicly available.

(2) The Department of Premier and Cabinet does not maintain a database of government boards and committees. As such, the Department of Communities Tasmania is required to undertake quarterly data collection to report on efforts to increase equity across government boards and committees, and progress against the Government's target of 50 per cent female representation on government boards and committees. Agencies are the primary custodians for information on the structure, composition and operation of government boards and committees that they administer. The Department of Communities Tasmania is responsible for correlating relevant information to meet its reporting obligations.

(3) Experienced director selection advisory panels are appointed for each board vacancy, and are required to take into account a range of criteria to ensure that board directors have a range of skills, experience, qualifications, expertise and vision appropriate to the business. The specific process is designed to provide flexibility, so it can vary depending on the needs of the particular businesses.

(4) Five executive search agencies were appointed to the Government's list of preferred suppliers following a tender process in 2019. The current approved suppliers are: Chapman Executive, Cordiner King, Alan Wilson Consulting, Watermark Search International, Searchlight Group. Costs range from approximately $13 000 to $25 000 on average, depending on the size of the business and the nature of the appointment.

(5) Executive search agencies have the experience to undertake the work involved in the director selection process, to ensure that high-quality candidates are identified. This includes broad-ranging search capabilities and networks of potential candidates, as well as extensive recruitment knowledge and experience, including the capacity to undertake appropriate due diligence. Once again, the specific process undertaken would depend on the relevant board's requirements and the agency chosen.

(6) The list of preferred executive search agencies includes a combination of Tasmanian and interstate agencies, following a tender process that incorporated the Buy Local Policy.

Executive Search Agencies

Ms ARMITAGE to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT

[2.40 p.m.]

As a follow-up question: of the six search agencies, how many are Tasmanian and how many are from the mainland? Not just a combination of the two, please.

Mrs Hiscutt - I do not have that information here.

Ms ARMITAGE - Could you find that out for me because there might be five from the mainland and one from Tasmania?

Mrs Hiscutt - If the member would like to clarify the question by email, that would be appreciated, thank you.

Ms ARMITAGE - I will have it this afternoon.

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