9.3 Boards, committees councils

As well as the 194 principal bodies, the Commonwealth supports around 700 other boards, committees and councils.

There is considerable scope to rationalise these bodies. The Commission has commenced a preliminary examination of some of these bodies and may recommend actions in its Phase Two Report.

As well, the Commission proposes each department reassess all bodies within its portfolio (including boards, committees and councils) with a view to reducing their number and associated overheads.

The following criteria will assist departments in this process and inform decisions on retaining or ceasing the operation of existing committees.

  1. Bodies (including boards, committees and councils) involved in a single process should be consolidated.
  2. Subcommittees should be integrated into the lead committee, where possible.
  3. Governance committees for boards, committees and councils should be part of the relevant department’s governance frameworks.
  4. Bodies should be abolished if:
    1. functions are no longer required;
    2. functions could be more effectively or efficiently undertaken by the private or not-for-profit sector;
    3. functions are outside the Commonwealth’s core areas of responsibility; or
    4. the body exists solely to appoint members to another body.

Recommendation 56: Reduce the number of boards, committees and councils

As well as the 194 principal bodies, there are around 700 other bodies including boards, committees and councils that the Commonwealth supports. The Commission recommends:

  1. each department reassess all bodies within its portfolio with a view to reducing their number and associated overheads, consistent with the criteria set out in Section 9.3; and
  2. all bodies, including boards, committees and councils be included on the central register of Commonwealth bodies.