A state sporting organisation should have an up-to-date strategic plan that details the organisation’s vision, mission, goals and objectives. The plan should also include key performance indicators, which will be how the organisation measures its success.

Communities, Sport and Recreation encourages either three or four year strategic plans – preferably rolling, and ideally aligned to the period of the NSO’s strategic plan.

The strategic plan should be developed in consultation with members and key stakeholders in the sport. Members and stakeholders should be involved in the development of the strategic plan.

The strategic plan will guide the state sporting organisation’s activities and should be reviewed annually.

A state sporting organisation’s operational plan should be clearly aligned to the goals of the strategic plan.

Feedback on the state sporting organisation’s performance against the key performance indicators should be included in the annual report.

The board, sub-committees and any working groups should have a ‘terms of reference' document.

The terms of reference will include (at a minimum) the purpose, authority, composition (including the appointment of a chair), reporting requirements and relationship to the board or management.

The board should receive regular reports to assist them to make effective and timely decisions. Reports may be provided from sub-committees, working groups, staff and other directors.

All board directors should understand their financial responsibilities and the financial information presented to them. The state sporting organisation should provide appropriate education and training to up-skill directors if needed.

Financial reports should include:

  • profit and loss statement;
  • balance sheet;
  • cash flow statement;
  • written report regarding material variances from budget;
  • budget versus actual report on a month and year-to-date basis as well as identifying the full-year budget;
  • listing of all major outstanding debtors and creditors; and
  • bank reconciliation (including bank account evidence).

The state sporting organisation should have a one-year fully budgeted operational plan, as well as a strategic three to five year financial plan, aligned with the strategic plan.

Every state sporting organisation should have a risk management strategy and process in place.

A risk assessment should be undertaken to identify and develop strategies to address any risks. This process will determine the risk profile of the organisation and each risk identified should be re-assessed annually.

Some events or activities may require a separate risk assessment to be undertaken, for example, hosting a large event.

The risk management resources can be found on the Governance and Running Your Club page.

An effective board needs to monitor and evaluate its performance and implement changes as required.

The board should review and assesses its performance every year. This review should include individual directors (including the President/Chair) and any sub-committees or working groups.

Evaluating the performance of the directors will identify strengths and weaknesses in the board’s operations. It will also provide a performance benchmark and help develop initiatives to increase the board’s performance.

Boards can be evaluated by external facilitators or through questionnaires (including 360-degree feedback), confidential interviews and workshops. It is recommended board evaluations request feedback from all key stakeholders, including paid staff.

Contact Communities, Sport and Recreation on 1800 252 476 for information and support.

If a state sporting organisation has paid staff, such as a chief executive officer or general manager, the board should conduct a formal performance review of these positions each year to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities.

The performance review is an opportunity for the board to provide feedback in a structured manner and for management to communicate to the board their expectations and discuss any issues.

The performance review must be documented and all directors should have the opportunity to provide comments.

The key performance indicators should be measurable and clearly linked to the state sporting organisation’s strategic goals and objectives. This template policy can be adapted for use by organisations with a small number of paid staff.

It is essential that all new directors be provided with sufficient information about the sport, the state sporting organisation’s strategic plan, business operations and financial health.

The new director should receive a letter of appointment outlining the expectations of their role, legal responsibilities and any risks that have been identified.

Directors should also receive a copy of the constitution, strategic plan, directors and officers insurance policy and any other governance policies.

A briefing session should be provided to address any queries.

An effective state sporting organisation will ensure directors are kept informed and offer education and training when appropriate.

The board, or any individual director has the right to request additional information from management (in relation to board papers) or access independent professional advice (in relation to financial reports).

The governance policy of the state sporting organisation should outline how a director may access additional information.

If a state sporting organisation incurs debts and liabilities, directors can be potentially liable any financial losses. All directors and officers (paid staff) must have appropriate liability and indemnity cover.

State sporting organisations should seek legal advice on the type and level of insurance cover required.

A code of conduct is a set of statements that describes the standard of behaviour and conduct expected by the state sporting organisation.

It is recommended that a code is developed for the board, to encourage everyone to commit to ethical and professional behaviour.

The state sporting organisation should always take action on breaches of the code of conduct.

The board must provide members and key stakeholders with a comprehensive annual report providing information about how the state sporting organisation performed during the year.

Information in the annual report should include, but is not limited to:

  • audited financial statements;
  • membership, member profile (age categories and gender), membership targets;
  • performance against key performance indicators;
  • names of directors and management and any conflict of interest declarations;
  • identified risks or issues for members, management or stakeholders; and
  • changes to governance structures or policies.

An effective audit system and process will ensure that the board and management are alerted to any financial risks or concerns.

Large state sporting organisations may create an audit sub-committee. This group is responsible for reviewing the financial accounts, working with the auditors and regularly reviewing the organisation’s financial accounts and systems.

Business cases should be developed for all major projects or significant events prior to the state sporting organisation committing financial resources or allocating tasks.

A business case allows the organisation to determine the financial commitment, consider any possible budgetary variations and assess any potential financial losses.

Failure to develop a business case could lead to poor decision-making and a lack of awareness of risks that could stop the project proceeding.