The Board of the Environment Protection Authority recently worked through an education package launched by the Integrity Commission on managing ethical risks.
Although the EPA Board already boasts a strong focus on managing its ethical risks, the exercise inspired all board members to think proactively about further ways to do so on a day to day basis. The Board Members also agreed on several actions to help improve and better document the Board's procedures to manage ethical risks.
An officer from the Integrity Commission delivered the core module Managing Ethical Risks on a Board at the Board's May 2018 meeting and the Chairperson of the EPA Board delivered the required three elective modules, Managing Conflicts of Interest, Use of Information and Board Member Interaction at the Board's July meeting.
The Board intends to work through the other two elective modules, Managing Gifts and Benefits and Use of Position at a later meeting during 2018.
The education package was developed by the Integrity Commission last year based on feedback from the public sector that there was a lack of material to support board members in managing their ethical risks.
The Commission developed the package in consultation with a reference group comprising experienced board members from across Tasmania, to help board members understand and manage their ethical risks more effectively in the Tasmanian public sector.
The exercise is based on the idea that ethical risks that are inadvertently overlooked can lead to significant and damaging problems; and that boards that have processes and cultures which encourage ethical conversations are better placed to manage those risks.
Members of public sector boards can thus benefit from ongoing education programs that raise awareness and skills in identifying and addressing ethical risk areas.
The education package consists of printed and video resources that can be worked through at board meetings.
To date eleven boards within the public sector have or are working through the package.