Our Board's charter describes the objectives, functions and governance of SIRA as set out in the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015 (the SICG Act).
Roles and responsibilities
Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation
The role and responsibilities of the Minister include:
- approving proposed amendments to SIRA legislation for consideration by Cabinet and the Parliament
- approving proposed regulations under SIRA legislation, and amendments to regulations
- making recommendations to Cabinet about SIRA Board membership
- requesting and considering information from the SIRA Board on the general conduct and significant developments in SIRA’s activities (SICG Act s19(5)(c)&(d))
The Minister may give SIRA written directions, if satisfied that it is necessary to do so in the public interest, but otherwise SIRA is not subject to the control and direction of the Minister (SICG Act s20).
The role and responsibilities of the Board include:
- determine the general policies and strategic direction of SIRA
- oversee the performance of the activities of SIRA
- provide the Minister with any information relating to the activities of SIRA that the Minister requests
- to keep the Minister informed of the general conduct of SIRA’s activities and of any significant development in SIRA’s activities
- such other functions as are conferred or imposed on it by or under this or any other Act or law
The Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 imposes the following specific functions on the SIRA Board:
- approving the issue of Premiums Determination Guidelines (section 24)
- receiving audit reports on CTP insurer investment of insurance funds and compliance with insurer guidelines (section 177)
Chairperson of the SIRA Board
The Chairperson is responsible for leading the activities of the Board. The Chairperson’s responsibilities include;
- approving Board meeting agendas and minutes
- presiding at meetings of the Board and facilitating frank and open discussion
- liaising with the Minister and Chief Executive on matters regarding the Board
Members of the SIRA Board
Board members are responsible for:
- attending Board meetings and participating in decision making processes
- confirming the draft Minutes of Board meetings
- undertaking research and liaison to support their participation in the discussion of agenda items
The Chief Executive is responsible for the day-to-day management of SIRA in accordance with the general policies and strategic directions determined by the SIRA Board (SICG Act section 19).
The Chief Executive supports the effective operation of the Board by:
- preparing draft agendas for the Chairperson’s consideration
- ensuring the timely preparation and circulation of agenda papers and draft minutes
- providing each Board meeting with a report on the status of significant activities
- ensuring the timely and efficient implementation and communication of Board decisions
Conduct of Board meetings
Frequency of meetings
The Board will generally meet monthly. The dates of Board meetings will be determined at the commencement of each year in consultation with the Board.
The Chairperson may convene a special meeting at any time, and Members may request the Chairperson to convene a special Meeting, subject to a convenient time and place being mutually agreed and a quorum is present.
In the case of special meetings, Members will be given at least five working days notice of the meeting, unless unanimously agreed otherwise.
Agenda and Minutes
The Chairperson, with the assistance of the Chief Executive, shall determine the agenda for each meeting. As far as is practicable, agenda papers for each meeting will be circulated to all Members at least five working days prior to the meeting.
The Chief Executive will ensure the draft minutes are prepared as quickly as practicable after each meeting, and submit them to the Chairperson for approval. As far as is practicable, the draft Minutes will be circulated to all Members within a week of the meeting. The draft Minutes will be included on the agenda of the following meeting for formal approval by the Board.
All Board business papers will be circulated to members by email, unless a Member requests the delivery of hard copies.
A quorum for a meeting of the Board is a majority of its Members at the time of the meeting (SICG Act, Sch 3, clause 9).
Participation at meetings
Members may participate in Board meetings in person, by telephone or by video conference, as long as all Members are able to be heard by other Members (SICG Act, Sch 3, subclause 12(2)).
The Board may invite other persons to attend meetings for all or certain agenda items.
Control of meetings
The Chairperson will preside at meetings. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson will preside at meetings of the Board.
If both the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are absent, a Board members chosen by the Members present at the meeting is to preside at the meeting (SIGC Act schedule 3, clause 10).
As far as is practicable the Chairperson will seek to reach decisions of the Board by consensus.
If consensus is not practicable in the circumstances, a proposed decision supported by a majority of Members at the meeting is the decision of the Board.
The person presiding at a meeting of the Board has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, has a second or casting vote.
Out of session decisions
Where appropriate, the Board may consider matters by the circulation of papers to all Members by electronic or other means. In these cases, proposed decisions approved in writing by a majority of Members are taken to be a decision of the Board (SICG Act Sch 3, clause 12(1)).
Any decisions made “out of session” are to be included in the minutes of the next meeting (SICG Act Sch 3, clause 12(1)).
Publication of Board decisions
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 applies to all NSW Government agencies including boards and committees.
In accordance with the objectives of that Act and the NSW Government’s ‘Open Government Policy’, the Board will proactively release information about its decisions in the form of a Communique after each Board meeting. The Communique will be approved by the Chairperson after consultation with Board members.
Information about Board decisions will not be included in the Communique or otherwise published if there is considered to be an overriding public interest against disclosure or information is determined to be “Cabinet-in-Confidence” or “Commercial-in-Confidence”.
Management of conflicts of interest
Declarations of pecuniary interests
As soon as practicable after the commencement of terms of office, all Board members will complete a Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests Declaration in the form set out in the NSW Government Guidelines for Boards and Committees. Members should provide updated Declarations as appropriate.
The Declaration Form includes a Privacy Statement that outlines the requirements of the Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 regarding the collection and use of personal information collected by NSW government agencies.
As required by the Guidelines, completed Declarations will be retained by the SIRA and made available to the Minister.
Management of conflicts of interest
Members must disclose the nature of any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in relation to a matter to be considered at a Board meeting that may raise a real, perceived or actual conflict of interest in their performance of their duties as a Member.
To identify and manage potential conflicts of interest in relation to matters considered at Board meetings, all Board meetings will include a standing agenda item in this regard.
A Member who has disclosed a pecuniary interest in a matter to be considered at a Board meeting may not be present during the Board’s discussion or participate in decision-making about the matter, unless the Minister or Board determines otherwise.
The Member that made the disclosure may not be present while the Board considers the issue of whether they may be present during discussion or participate in decision-making about the matter (SICG Act Schedule 3, clause 6).
Access to information about disclosures of interest
Details of any disclosures of interests made in relation to matters before the Board will be recorded in a register kept for that purpose.
The register will be made available for inspection during business hours (8.30am to 5.00pm) at the McKell Building premises of the SIRA (Level 10, 2-24 Rawson Place, Sydney) by any person, on payment of the fee determined by the Board.
Access to advice, information and records
The Chief Executive will provide an information pack to new Members to assist them to meet their Board responsibilities.
Access to Advice
Independent professional legal, financial or other advice may be sought by Members through the Chief Executive, provided the advice is considered necessary for the Member to effectively discharge his/her duties as a Member.
The consent of the Chief Executive will not be withheld unreasonably. Any such advice obtained shall be made available to all Members.
Access to Information and Records
Each Member is entitled to have free and full access to all Board records (including minutes, agenda papers, tabled documents and presentations) created during their term(s) as a Member.
Access to education and training in matters relevant to the functions of the SIRA and the responsibilities of the Board will be provided, as approved by the Chairperson and the Chief Executive.
Committees of the Board
The Board may establish committees to assist it exercise any of its functions.
A committee of the Board must be chaired by a Board member, but may include other members that are not members of the Board.
The procedure for the calling of meetings of a committee and for the conduct of business at those meetings is to be as determined by the Board or (subject to any determination of the Board) by the committee (SICG Act s22).
Board Members and SIRA management should maintain an effective working relationship, and seek to resolve differences by way of open negotiation.
However, in the event of a disagreement between the Board and management, including the Chief Executive, the Chairperson may as a last resort, refer the matter to the Minister.
Review of Board performance
The Board is to assess its performance, including the performance of its Committees, at least every three years. This Charter is to be reviewed annually to ensure that it remains consistent with the Board’s objectives and responsibilities.