Board Charter

Board charter

Board Charter


This Charter sets out the main principles adopted by [Organisation name] and its Board in order to develop, implement and maintain a culture and standard of good corporate governance for both internal and external stakeholders.

The Board is committed to ensuring that principles of good governance are implemented openly and with integrity, pursuing the true spirit of good corporate governance, commensurate with the organisation’s needs.

The matters set out in this Charter are subject to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), [the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (ACNC Act)] and the [Organisation name] Constitution.

The purpose of preparing and detailing the matters set out in this Charter is to:

  1. formalise procedures to help ensure that [Organisation name] and the Board act in a transparent and dutiful manner in both its internal and external dealings
  2. ensure that appropriate checks and balances are in place to monitor the operations of [Organisation name] and those charged with its management
  3. provide for a transparent method for stakeholders to evaluate the performance of [Organisation name]

from a corporate governance perspective.


The governance structure of [Organisation name] consists of a Board of Directors, supported in its functions by Committees. These Committees may in turn be supported by Sub-Committees, as may be determined from time to time.


The role of the Board is to provide strategic oversight and direction for [Organisation name]’s activities and ensure that organisational activities are aligned with its mission.

Generally, the powers and obligations of the Board are governed by the Corporations Act, the ACNC Act and the general law. Without limiting those matters, the Board expressly considers itself responsible for the following:

  1. protecting, promoting and preserving [Organisation name]’s reputation and standing as a community charity
  2. setting strategic direction and ensuring resources are aligned accordingly
  3. ensuring a system of corporate governance which is compliant with the Corporations Act, the ACNC Act and [Organisation name]’s Constitution, and good practice
  4. reviewing and ratifying systems of risk management, compliance and control and ensuring appropriate risk management controls are implemented
  5. approving the annual budget
  6. reviewing and approving the annual report and financial statements
  7. appointing external and internal auditors and approving their respective annual audit fees
  8. approving and monitoring the progress of major capital expenditure, capital management and acquisitions and divestitures
  9. appointing, appraising and removing the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Company Secretary
  10. setting, monitoring and ensuring appropriate implementation of the remuneration policy
  11. monitoring:
    • the performance of [Organisation name] and implementation of strategy
    • the performance of senior management
    • financial performance
    • communication with stakeholders
    • the effectiveness of internal control in managing risks
    • compliance with key policies, laws and regulations
    • creating, overseeing and appointing people to Committees and Sub-Committees where appropriate to assist in the Board’s functions and powers
    • reporting to members and the community on [Organisation name]’s performance
    • implementing appropriate strategies to monitor performance of the Board in implementing its functions and powers
    • using the Common Seal in accordance with the Constitution
    • any matters in excess of the limits delegated to the CEO and senior management.


The Board is made up of ten Directors as follows:

  • six Directors elected by members to represent [Organisation name]’s community
  • four Directors appointed by the Board.

At least two of the Directors must have their principal place of residence outside of the Sydney region.

Directors are not offered remuneration. Directors may seek reimbursement for expenses legitimately

incurred in travelling to attend Board, Committee or general meetings, with the prior approval of the



Elections to [Organisation name] Board, for the six positions available, are held at General Meetings of the

members. Retiring Directors are eligible for reappointment to the Board if they have not already completed

three terms of office.

Replacement of any of the four appointed Directors, whose term of office has concluded, is undertaken by

the Board as soon as is reasonably practicable.

In appointing Directors, in addition to personal qualities, skills and experience, the Board shall consider the

diversity of the Board with respect to gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic and cultural background and

other similar factors.


A Director’s term of office is three years effective from the date on which they are elected/re-elected to the


Directors remain on the Board for their three year term unless:

  • they die
  • they resign
  • they are absent without the consent of the Directors from three consecutive meetings of the Directors

and the Board resolves that the office of that Director be vacated

  • they become insolvent under administration
  • they are prohibited by a court order or an order made under the Corporations Act, the ACNC Act, or

other applicable legislation from doing so.


A Director’s total time in office may not exceed nine years (three terms).


After its first meeting after it is elected, Directors must elect from among their members, a Chair. The Board

may also elect other officers, including a Deputy Chair, if required.

A Board office holder remains in their position until:

 their appointment as a Director expires

 they are removed as a Director or vacate their position as a Director.


The Chair is responsible for leadership of the Board, for efficient organisation and conduct of the Board’s

function and the briefing of all Directors in relation to issues arising at Board meetings. The Chair is also

responsible for arranging Board performance evaluation.

The Chair’s role is to:

 provide leadership for the Board and chair all Board meetings

 ensure the effectiveness of Board meetings

 ensure Directors act in accordance with the Constitution, this Charter and relevant laws

 ensure that all new Directors undergo an appropriate induction program

 review with Directors on a continuing basis their development needs and ensure that appropriate

development occurs

 together with the CEO, establish an annual Board calendar which ensures that the Board undertakes

all its key responsibilities throughout the year

 establish the agenda for Board meetings in consultation with the CEO

 together with the CEO and Company Secretary, ensure that appropriate Board papers are prepared

on all matters for decision at Board meetings and that such papers are circulated in advance as

specified in the Board Papers section in this Charter

 chair Annual General Meetings and special meetings of members, and be the spokesperson for the

organisation at Annual General Meetings and in the reporting of performance and budget figures

 ensure the Remuneration and Nomination Committee initiates and oversees the annual CEO

evaluation process.

The Chair will be elected by the Board members by consensus. All members are entitled to vote. The vote will

be by secret ballot. In the event of a hung vote, the deciding vote will be cast by the current Chair.

The Chair is eligible for re-appointment every three years and may hold office for a total period of nine years.

Deputy Chair

The role of the Deputy Chair is to assist the Chair in performing their role, particularly with regard to

governance matters. In addition, the Deputy Chair fulfils the responsibilities of the Chair in the event that the

Chair has temporarily vacated their position or is not present at a meeting of the Board.

The Deputy Chair is eligible for re-appointment every three years and may hold office for a maximum period

of nine years.

Company Secretary

The Company Secretary is responsible for advising the Board on governance matters and ensuring there is a

system of corporate governance and compliance in place in the Company. The Company Secretary ensures

that [Organisation name] meets its statutory obligations and provides advice to Directors on matters including, but

not limited to, risk management, corporate ethics, governance, compliance and insurance.

The Company Secretary works in conjunction with the Chair to manage the smooth functioning of the Board

by managing Board processes and ensuring Board meetings are properly held and called and appropriate


records are maintained. In particular, the Company Secretary is responsible for maintaining appropriate

records, registers and minute books.

The Company Secretary attends the meetings of the Board but is not entitled to vote.


Meeting Frequency

The Chair will convene Board meetings at least bi-monthly. Meetings are generally held on the last Tuesday

of every second month.

The Chair may convene other meetings of the Board if, in the Chair’s opinion, these meetings are necessary

for the efficient performance of the organisation. Also, the Chair, or at least two Directors, may at any time

require the Company Secretary to convene a special meeting of the Board.

Exceptional circumstances aside, Directors will be provided with at least two working days’ notice of

meetings. The Company Secretary or their delegate will make travel arrangements and book

accommodation for Directors as required.

A schedule of the upcoming Board and Committee meetings for a twelve-month period is approved in the

third quarter of each calendar year.

Meeting Time and Location

Board meetings will usually be held at 3pm at [Organisation name]’s head office, 153 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo.

The Board will decide the day of the week and venue of any special Board meetings.

The Board may agree that a Director may participate and form part of a quorum of a Board meeting by means

of telephone, closed-circuit television or another method of communication. The determination may be made

for a particular meeting or for all meetings of the Board and should be recorded in writing accordingly.

Meetings via Technology

While it is envisaged that these will be physical meetings of the Board, it is recognised that meetings may be

convened electronically.

The Board and its Committees may hold meetings at one or more venues using any technology (e.g.

teleconferencing, webcasts) that gives all Directors or the relevant committee a reasonable opportunity to

participate in the meeting. However, the personal attendance of Directors at meetings is preferred.

Where a meeting is arranged to be held in the form of a teleconference or online, the Chair should notify

members accordingly. Participation in these meetings is equivalent to attendance at a regular meeting.


All Directors, the CEO, and Company Secretary are expected to attend meetings. In addition, the Chief

Financial Officer and other Executive members may be invited to attend or give presentations, and other

parties needing decisions to be taken by the Board are invited for the relevant part of the meeting. Similarly,

the Chair or a majority of Directors may request the attendance at any meeting of the Board any person who,

in their opinion, may be able to assist the Board in any matter under consideration.

A Director must send an apology to the Chair for any meeting which they are unable to attend prior to the

commencement of the meeting. If a Director is absent for three consecutive meetings without leave granted

by the Board in advance, the continued membership of the member will be scheduled for consideration by

the Board at the next meeting of the Board.

A record of board member attendance for each meeting will be kept and reported in the Annual Report.


Meeting Cycle

To assist the smooth running of Board processes, the Board has adopted an indicative meeting cycle shown

in the table below. The indicative cycle aims to provide Directors with sufficient time to review the agenda

and Board papers. This time frame should allow sufficient time to prepare for discussions and seek

clarification or further information in advance on ambiguous items.

This is an indicative cycle only. The actual timing of events in the lead up to and follow up from Board

meetings will be dependent upon the circumstances surrounding each meeting.


In order for a decision of the Board to be valid, a quorum of Directors must be present. At a meeting of the

Board, a quorum is constituted by four Directors.


The Board may decide on any matter which falls within its power. A majority of votes by Directors present

and entitled to vote will decide questions arising at Board meetings. Each Director shall have one vote on

every occasion. This includes the Chair who shall have a deliberative vote like every other Director. In the

case of an equality of votes, the Chair shall also have a casting (or second) vote.

In Camera Discussions

The Chair may direct any or all of the members of management to leave a meeting in order that discussions

may take place in camera.


The Company Secretary, in consultation with the Chair and the CEO, is responsible for preparing the agenda

for each Board meeting. However, any Director may request items or notices of motion be added to the

agenda for upcoming meetings. This request should be made in writing to the Chair at least ten working days

before the Board meeting.

All business to be discussed at a board meeting must be included in the agenda. Additional items can only

be tabled and discussed at a board meeting at the discretion of the Chair.

A sample agenda is attached at Appendix 1.

Item Day

Company Secretary updates actions arising from the previous

meeting -25

Draft agenda prepared by Company Secretary -22

Divisional Reports received by Company Secretary – 21

The CEO reviews the proposed agenda with the Chair -19

Board papers and agenda are finalised -13

Board papers are distributed -12

Board meeting 0

Draft minutes sent to Chair 7 to 12

Draft minutes sent to Directors 13 to 20


Preparation and Circulation of Board Papers

The Company Secretary or delegate is responsible for the preparation and circulation of Board papers. All

Board packs including a full set of Board papers must be circulated to Directors in appropriate time for the

Board meeting.

The CEO and/or Chair will vet papers or any other information supporting each draft agenda item to ensure

they adequately inform the debate, add to the discussion and help Directors to reach a decision. Effective

papers should have the right balance between data and detail, analysis and insight, drawing on specialist

expertise from relevant senior managers. They should be written succinctly, follow a consistent format and

clearly identify the issues, stating the resolution recommended. The CEO and/or Chair will direct that any

poorly written papers be re-written, allowing for a suitable period of circulation before the meeting, or the

agenda item should be withdrawn.

Board papers should be written using the Board Template; a sample Template is provided at Appendix 2

below. Recommendations or Resolutions should be clearly identified at the end of the paper using such

directions as For Decision, For Discussion or For Noting.

The relevant managers may be invited to speak to the paper.

Record-Keeping and Note-Taking by Directors

The Company Secretary or delegate maintains a complete set of Board papers at [Organisation name]’s

headquarters. The official records of Board meetings are kept by the Company Secretary.

Directors may choose at their discretion to keep their own personal notes or comments on Board papers.

Directors should be aware that the personal notes and comments they choose to make are discoverable

under law and so should proceed with caution in this regard.


Minutes of the Board meeting follow the outline of the meeting agenda and contain at a minimum:

  • date, time and location of the meeting
  • list of participants, positions and apologies
  • conflicts of interest identified with any items on the Board agenda
  • agenda items discussed with resolutions adopted
  • actions arising from the meeting
  • unresolved items, i.e. items postponed or not considered, with an explanation.

Minutes are prepared in draft form by the Company Secretary and provided to the Chair for review within

seven to ten days of the meeting. Once the draft minutes have been approved by the Chair, the Company

Secretary circulates the draft minutes to all Directors.

Directors should send any suggested changes to the Company Secretary with a copy to the Chair within ten

days of receiving the draft minutes.

The minutes circulated for the next meeting are the draft minutes plus any suggested changes. If the next

meeting is not within 30 days of the minuted meeting, then draft annotated minutes are kept in the Company

minute book, to be replaced by the signed minutes at the conclusion of the next meeting.

At the Chair’s discretion an extract or elaboration of the minutes may be circulated for the purposes of

communicating decisions within the organisation.

The minutes of the meetings are confirmed and signed at the next Board meeting.

The Chair must sign the file copy of the minutes as a true and accurate record of proceedings.

The proceedings of all board meetings are confidential and the distribution of the board papers and minutes

of board meetings will be restricted to members of the Board, the Company Secretary, and the CEO. Extracts


of relevant sections of the Board minutes and papers may be shared with members of Executive and the

General Counsel by the CEO only after the draft minutes have been approved by the Board Chair.

A register of conflicts of interest is kept by the Company Secretary and updated at least biannually.

Out-of-Session Decision Making

Any urgent decision that cannot wait until the next Board meeting may be dealt with by a written resolution

out-of-session. In this case, the Board paper, or an email advice, will be distributed by e-mail to all Directors

with a closing date set for voting on the matter.

A minimum of five Directors (including the Board Chair, who has a casting vote), or otherwise six Directors

(not including the Board Chair) are required to vote on any out-of-session decision. The decision will be made

by a simple majority at a nominated closing date. All Directors are required to make every effort to vote on

the resolution by the closing date.

The collated copies of written resolutions, or the collated email responses, will be the record of the decision

and should be notified to the Board at the next Board meeting as this ensures a minuted record of the


Where a Director has a conflict of interest concerning the matter being decided upon, the Director is to make

this known to the Chair.


The Board delegates specific responsibilities and activities to Committees in order to assist the Board in its

enactment of its duties. The role of Committees is to fulfil their responsibilities and make recommendations

to the Board as appropriate. The Committees are to assist the Board in the efficient discharge of its duties.

One of the functions of the Board is to form and monitor any Committees and Panels established to provide

advice on various areas in relation to the strategic direction and operating of the Company.

Standing Committees

Without limiting the power of the Board to make such Committees as it desires, the Board has established

the following Committees:

  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Governance Committee
  • Cancer Research Committee
  • Ethics Committee
  • Fundraising and Marketing Committee
  • Investment Committee
  • Remuneration and Nomination Committee
  • IT Committee.

The composition, role and functions of the Committees are set out in their respective Charters.

Each Committee must maintain minutes of each Committee meeting, which will be made available at the

next Board meeting, or earliest practicable Board meeting following the Committee meeting.

In some instances, the Board will direct a Committee to research an issue and report back to the Board with

a recommendation on the specific issue. In these instances, the Committee has the power to obtain any

information necessary to arrive at the recommendation, but the Board retains the final decision-making

power. Alternatively, the Board may delegate its decision-making power in relation to a particular issue to a

Committee, except in relation to the non-delegable powers outlined below.



Sub-Committees are bodies that provide specific activity or task support to Committees and assist them in

fulfilling their obligations to the Board.

Ad-Hoc /Special Purpose Committees

The Board may establish appropriate ad-hoc or special purpose committees from time to time. Such

committees will have terms of reference or a charter agreed by the Board.

Non-delegable powers

In accordance with the [Organisation name] Constitution, the following powers and functions of the Directors may

not be delegated and must be exercised by the Board:

  • receipt and consideration of reports of the Audit and Finance Committee and the auditor
  • establishment and membership of committees of the Board
  • final approval of grants for research
  • appointment of the CEO and the formation of selection panels for appointment of the CEO
  • acquisition, sale, mortgaging or otherwise disposing or dealing with real property, except leases.


Management of the day to day business of [Organisation name] is to be conducted by or under the supervision of

the CEO appointed by the Board, and by those other officers and employees to whom the management

function is properly delegated by the CEO.

Communication between Directors and management will primarily be through the Office of the CEO. When

Directors seek clarification regarding information provided to Directors, or are seeking information about

[Organisation name] generally, this may be sought directly from the appropriate senior executive, but the CEO

should be advised. When Directors are providing information about opportunities for [Organisation name] or are

seeking introduction of persons to the Company, this should always be through the Office of the CEO.



An orientation meeting for new members will be scheduled as required. This meeting will provide an overview

of [Organisation name]’s business activities, organisational structure, corporate priorities and policies. The

Company Secretary is responsible for organising such meetings.

This Charter and the Constitution must be sent to each Director at the time they are notified by the Company

of their appointment.


Access to ongoing education for Directors on a funded basis is available on request through the Chairman

who will discuss the training requirement with the Company Secretary. The Company Secretary is

responsible for maintaining an accurate record of training and orientation attended by Directors and members

of Committees and Advisory Panels.


The Board undertakes an annual evaluation of Board and Director performance. The review is based on a

number of goals for the Board and individual Directors that are established by the Remuneration and

Nomination Committee in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer.


The Board may engage an independent expert to facilitate the process. The Board considers the outcome

of the review in a dedicated meeting and develops a series of actions and goals to guide improvement. The

Chair provides each Director with confidential feedback on his or her performance.


Reliance on Information

Directors are entitled to rely on information and advice after making an independent assessment of the

information or advice, having regard to the Director’s knowledge of the organisation and its operations.

The Board reduces the risk of the CEO being the only conduit of information to the Board by:

  • encouraging attendance at meetings of other managers both in person and as authors of reports
  • the use of the risk management and financial functions, where all staff have written instructions to

bypass intermediate managers in the event of a breach

  • the use of the external auditors
  • a three-year rotating internal audit cycle that focuses on major business risks such as governance,

research, security, privacy and finance

  • absenting management from the final Committee proceedings at one point when discussing the

audit report

  • requiring letters of assurance be provided to the Board as part of the annual accounts process.


The organisation executes with each Director a Deed of Access and Indemnity.

[Organisation name] indemnifies Directors to the maximum extent permitted by law against liability incurred in or

arising out of the conduct of the organisation, or in or arising out of the discharge of their duties.

The organisation seeks appropriate Directors’ and Officers’ (D&O) insurance cover, where possible, for all

potential liabilities flowing from the indemnities. The Company Secretary holds a copy of the insurance policy

and can supply a copy on request.

The organisation maintains each Director’s D&O insurance for seven years from the date at which they cease

to be a Director.


The Board shall have unlimited access to the external and internal auditors.

Directors sign a Deed of Access and Indemnity that enables access to all Board papers as well as financial

and operational information in the custody of the organisation during the access period. The access period

covers any legal action commenced from the time when the Director first became a Director of Cancer

Council for a period determined from time-to-time by the Board, after they ceases to be a Director.

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) also provides Directors with the right to inspect the organisation’s books.

The Directors have complete and open access to management following consultation with the Chair and

CEO. The Board collectively, and each Director, has the right to seek information from the Company

Secretary to assist them to carry out their responsibilities.

Independent advice

The Board also has the authority to consult independent experts where they consider it necessary to carry

out their duties. Any costs incurred as a result of the Board consulting an independent expert will be borne

by the [Organisation name]; however no Director is authorised to commit the organisation to the expenditure of

monies on professional advice until first obtaining the approval of the Chair to do so. In the event the Chair


is unwilling or unable to provide approval, or that the cost of the professional advice will exceed $10,000,

then the approval of the Board must be sought and obtained.

Where the Chair is seeking professional advice which will incur any level of expenditure, then the Chair must

first seek and obtain approval from the Board for that expenditure.

Prior to seeking professional advice a Director must inform the Chair about the nature of the opinion or

information sought, the reason for the advice, the terms of reference for the advice and the estimated cost of

the advice. Where more than one Director is seeking advice about a single issue, the Chair will endeavour

to coordinate the provision of the advice.

The Board as a whole must be the recipient of such advice.

Information-Seeking Protocol

The Board must be provided with the information they need to discharge their responsibilities. Management

must supply the Board with information in a format, time frame and quality that enables them to discharge

their duties effectively. Directors are entitled to request and receive such additional information as they

consider necessary to support informed decision making.

Directors will adhere to the following protocol when seeking information:

  1. Approach the CEO to ask for the required information.
  2. If the information is not provided, approach the Chair.
  3. If the information is still not provided, write a letter to all Directors and the CEO detailing the

information that is required, the purpose of the information, and who the Director intends to

approach in order to obtain the information.

  1. As a last resort, employ the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

When considering an application from a Director to access organisation information, other than Board

papers, the party considering the application may ask the Director for the reason for their request to establish

that the information is required for organisation (and not personal) reasons. In the normal course, information

obtained by a Director in the course of the Director’s duties should be made available to all Directors.


In carrying out its responsibilities and exercising its powers, the Board recognises its overriding responsibility

to act honestly, fairly, diligently and in accordance with the law in serving the interests of [Organisation name],

including its employees, volunteers, stakeholders and the community.

[Organisation name] has adopted a Board Code of Conduct setting out the obligations of integrity and honesty

beheld of each member of the Board, as well as a statement of principles and responsibilities with respect to

both its internal dealings with employees and consultants, and external dealings with shareholders and the

community at large.

The Board Code of Conduct applies in addition to any relevant provisions of [Organisation name]’s Code of

Conduct Policy and takes precedence to the extent of any inconsistencies.



No. Item Paper Action Time

  1. Meeting Opening

1.1 Quorum and apologies — For noting

1.2 Conflicts of interest — For noting

1.3 Confirmation of previous minutes 1.3 For decision

1.4 Outstanding business register 1.4 For discussion

  1. Management Reports

2.1 2.1 For noting

2.2 2.2 For discussion

2.3 2.3 For discussion

2.4 2.4 For discussion

  1. Financial and Investment Reports For noting
  2. CEO’s Report 5 For noting
  3. Chair’s Report — For noting

5.1 Report from [Organisation name] Australia — For noting

  1. Committee Reports

6.1 Audit and Finance Committee 6.1 For noting

6.2 Investment Committee 6.2 For noting

6.3 Remuneration and Nomination Committee 6.3 For noting

6.4 Governance Committee 6.4 For noting

6.5 Cancer Research Committee 6.5 For noting

6.6 Ethics Committee 6.6 For noting

  1. General Business

7.1 New member applications 8.1 For decision

7.2 Ratification of circulation resolutions 8.2 For decision

7.3 Correspondence 8.3 For noting

7.4 Publications, presentations and posters 8.4 For noting

7.5 Forthcoming events 8.5 For noting

7.6 PR and social media report 8.6 For noting

  1. In Camera Discussion —
  2. Meeting Close: Next Meeting xxx — For noting



Meeting date Agenda item Leave blank

Author Name and title Type For noting OR For

decision OR For


Subject Short title



Resolved to:

 Xxx

[Write ‘none’ if paper is for noting or for discussion only]


  1. Summary
  2. Background
  3. Recommendation