In this section
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START OF Annual reports
START OF 2013-14 annual report
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Corporate governance is the system by which our organisation is managed, directed and held accountable.
Sound corporate governance means:
Our corporate governance structure provides leadership in achieving our strategic and operational objectives (see Figure 1 for more information).
Figure 1. Corporate governance structure
The Legal Aid Queensland Board (the board) is responsible for managing Legal Aid Queensland and ensuring the organisation achieves its objectives. The board is our organisation’s governing body and is responsible to the Attorney-General.
The board decides the organisation’s priorities and strategies, leads policy direction and ensures sound and prudent financial management.
The board has five members. Each member has specific knowledge or experience that helps in the organisation’s management. The areas of expertise include public administration, financial management, and law and legal services provision. The board is headed by a chairperson, who is appointed by the Governor in Council. Board members are appointed by the Governor in Council for three-year terms. The board met 10 times in 2013–14. All board meetings are attended by the chief executive officer (CEO) and deputy CEO. Executive Management Team directors also attend as needed to present papers and discuss issues with the board. Board members Iyla Davies and Terry Browne’s current three-year terms ended in June 2014.
Brian Stewart — Chair
Board member since February 2014
Brian Stewart has held chief executive and senior management roles in the private and public sectors including chief executive of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (Queensland) and director-general of the state government departments of Justice and Attorney-General, Queensland Emergency Services, and Consumer Affairs. He has also served as director for profit and not-for-profit companies including the Real Estate Institute of Queensland. Brian was admitted as a barrister-at-law of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia in 1976 and has held the roles of crown prosecutor and assistant public defender. Brian has held a range of key positions on government boards, tribunals and on community groups including the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (Queensland) and Logan House. He has also served as a trustee of the Lady Bowen Trust dedicated to improving opportunities for the homeless.
Board member since June 2005
Iyla Davies was admitted as a solicitor in 1984 and is currently the head and chief executive of The Women’s College in the University of Queensland. She is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Australian Institute of Management. For more than 20 years she was a law academic specialising in family law, dispute resolution and mediation.
Board member since July 2008
Allan Welsh has led major projects in the public and private sectors for the past 20 years, with extensive experience in managing capital infrastructure, information and business system projects and events. He was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 2008 Australian Honours for his work in managing capital projects in the arts sector.
Board member since June 2011
Terry Browne was admitted as a solicitor in 1994 and is an accredited specialist in criminal law. He is a partner of the law firm Arthur Browne & Associates and has served as a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Criminal Law section as well as the Access to Justice and Pro-Bono section. Terry practises primarily in regional areas and is also a casual lecturer at James Cook University.
Board member since February 2014
Peter Nolan is a Brisbane barrister with many years experience in criminal law. Admitted as a barrister more than 35 years ago, he worked as a prosecutor and then crown prosecutor until he moved into private practice where he specialised in civil and criminal matters. He now focuses on criminal law and continues to serve as an officer in the Australian Army Legal Corps — a position he was commissioned to in 1985.
The Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee is a sub-committee of the Legal Aid Queensland Board and acts in a review and advisory capacity to the board. The committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the board on our financial administration and reporting, audit control and independence, legal compliance, internal controls, and risk oversight and management.
The committee met four times in 2013–14 and comprised:
Two committee members are public servants and do not receive remuneration for meetings. Brian Stewart and Iyla Davies’ attendances are recorded as a board meeting for remuneration purposes and Len Scanlan received remuneration between $0 and $5000 in 2013–14.
The chief finance officer (CFO) attends the committee’s meetings with the CEO and Corporate Services director.
The committee’s key achievements in 2013–14 included:
The committee operated in line with its charter and met four times during the year. The charter is based on Queensland Treasury’s Audit Committee Guidelines.
The Legal Aid Queensland Act 1997 creates the position of CEO and gives the position responsibility, under the board, for controlling Legal Aid Queensland’s day-to-day administration, providing legal services to legally-assisted people, and arranging and supervising the legal services provided by Legal Aid Queensland lawyers.
The CEO is supported in this role by the Executive Management Team. The team’s functions are to:
The team meets fortnightly and comprises:
*Previously titled Policy, Communcation and Community Legal Education director
The Finance Committee monitors and reviews our financial, budget and performance processes.
The Finance Committee comprises:
The Information Technology (IT) Steering Committee ensures IT operations, investments and initiatives are aligned with Legal Aid Queensland’s strategic emphasis on service delivery systems and business processes.
The committee’s responsibilities include:
The IT Steering Committee comprises:
The Human Resources Committee provides advice and support to the CEO to ensure human resource strategies:
The Human Resources Committee comprises:
We are subject to all of the external accountability mechanisms that apply to a statutory body in Queensland, including regular budget and performance updates with Queensland Treasury and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
Accountability mechanisms that complement the internal corporate governance framework include:
We continued to streamline our non-frontline service delivery establishment during the year. A vacancy management committee comprising the CEO, deputy CEO and senior Corporate Services staff met to review all vacancies and other staffing requests. Service delivery was not adversely impacted during this process.