Why Governance Matters

In two words, experience and credibility.

Governance Matters and its team of experts are practising directors with both legal and governance backgrounds. Over the years and drawing on resources designed to help boards become more efficient and effective, they have built an enviable track record of board engagements that have made a positive contribution to myriad diverse organisations.

Governance Matters further recognises that good governance requires a combination of three key elements – understanding the role of the board, effective and transparent processes, and constructive relationships.
When delivered in a comprehensive package, it helps to create a culture of compliance and performance that is expressed in meaningful and dramatic results.

    Governance Matters Testimonials

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    “Accessible Housing Association appointed Kate Costello of Governance Matters to conduct a Governance/Board Review of our organisation and its members. The review and subsequent recommendations are being implemented and have enabled our board to perform in a cohesive, positive and encouraging framework, with an eye on the future and confidence in the Governance of the organisation. Kate has a real understanding of how boards must and should operate and her recommendations and resources have become an outstanding framework for us as a board and an organisation to work with. We were so impressed with the outcome of Kate’s report and recommendations we asked Kate to return to facilitate us through the Strategic Planning Process. At the end of the session there was a sense of achievement, we know where the organisation will go into the future, this was possible because of Kate’s ability to structure the day and guide us and the Senior Management Team forward. No longer do we feel over whelmed with Governance issues, we have good policy and board structure to work with.”

    Chair, Accessible Housing Association.

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    “The Shine SA Board has moved from a community Board to a Skills Based Board and this has required a review of the Board policies which were not at the level required for a Skills Based Board. We have completely reviewed all Board policies using the Governance Matters policies as the starting point. For each of the policies, very little was altered in order to make them SHine policies. This has been a fabulous benefit that has assisted the process of completely revising the Governance Policy pack”.

    Jill Davidson, Chief Executive Officer, SHine SA

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    “I think your blogs are great! Short & to the point, they’re quick & easy to read and cover important matters for directors to consider. No surprises in that….you’ve always managed to hit the mark!”

    Jan Connolly, Previous Chair, Dog and Cat Management Board

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    “Financial year 2014/15 will be the first in the South Australian Cricket Association’s 143-year history that it will not be responsible for the management of Adelaide Oval. Accommodating this significant change in plans for the future is integral to the Association capitalising on the very real opportunities that now exist for cricket and our members. Kate’s experience, her guidance and her exuberance throughout the recent development of our Strategic Plan 2020 has paid immeasurable dividends, as has the Governance Matters’ licensed suite of templates and tools. My advice to anyone who needs to lead an organisation towards a better and more prosperous future, especially in times of change, is that they engage Kate to assist”.

    Keith Bradshaw, Chief Executive, South Australian Cricket Association

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    “You may remember that in 2011 Baseball NSW licensed your suite of Governance Tools for Sporting Organisations. We implemented our ‘tailored’ versions of the Governance Policies and we held a Strategic Planning session and produced a Strategic Plan. There were a lot of goals in the plan that we thought at the time were a real stretch – probably 70% seemed beyond reach. Three years later we are about to undertake a Strategy Review and a Governance Review. Watching and discussing the Board Minded strategy and governance topics together will be a key element of those reviews. While preparing for the Strategy review I noticed that at least 70% of our goals have been achieved! As the Director responsible for Governance and for leading the Strategy review I am convinced that we can attribute our achievements to your suite of tools – we changed how the Board operated – we have delivered for our members. We still have more to do but we are on the right track. I thought you might like to know that this suite of tools really works.”

    Rodger Powell
    Director, Baseball NSW

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    “I have no doubt that any NFP Board would find value in Kate’s DVD ‘Good Governance in Not-For-Profits’. Kate’s style is clear and concise, the content highly relevant to all aspects of a Boards governance and interaction with its organisation. After watching it, I realised that there were areas where we excelled and other areas for improvement. As a result we have made some changes and tweaks to Board meetings, engagement with the CEO/organisation and strategic planning. The DVD also allows me to represent information to the Board objectively (by showing excerpts of the DVD) rather than explaining myself. This approach provides a great environment for further collaboration at strategic planning sessions.”

    Colette Smith
    President, Arthritis Foundation of South Australia

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    “very good introductory information, good to use to induct new board members, good to use for individual training to remind board members of their roles, responsibilities and rights, simplifies the message into plain English, good use of case studies to explain the issue”.

    Paul Edginton, SYC, CEO

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    “The DVD precursor to undertaking the online survey was most useful in the broad sense of reflecting on current operation, responsibility, actions and governance – requirements of all organisations. It’s considered focus on composition, skills and personalities was also a worthwhile aspect”.

    Phillip W Styles
    Chairman, Westminster School

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    “We have been implementing many of the ideas from the training/planning days and are seeing some real benefits of that, for example, improved Board papers, improved Board agenda and a much improved structure to our meetings and thus, minutes. All this is resulting in the Board feeling more confident in their roles as Board members.”

    Anthea Pavey

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    “The Council of Woodcroft College selected Governance Matters, Kate Costello, to undertake a review of its Constitution and recommend any changes necessary to align it with current good governance practices. I have also worked with Kate in my previous role as a board member of AISSA when the board and management were developing a new strategic direction and plan and, undertaking a board member good governance development program.

    Kate has an in-depth understanding of governance but, with a difference: her approach is highly practical, demonstrably relevant to the particular client and explained in easy-to-understand “plain English” with real life examples. She makes complex governance issues simple. All boards/councils and senior management should have the benefit of working with her.”

    Mark Porter
    Head of College

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    “During my time as CEO, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) ran a series of best practice governance programs around Australia for board members of sporting organisations. Kate Costello, Governance Matters, developed and presented those programs. Kate also had input to the ASC’s Governance Best Practice Principles, was appointed by the ASC as independent reviewer of Ski and Snowboard Australia and assisted with negotiations of the merger of Men’s and Women’s golf.

    Kate’s expertise in governance led to her serving, with me, as a committee member appointed by the Federal Government to undertake an independent review of the governance and management of soccer in Australia which resulted in the existing structures in the Australian Soccer Federation (ASF).

    Kate has extensive experience in corporate governance and a real understanding of the governance issues faced by organisations. She has an impressive track record in assisting sporting organisations to adopt governance best practice in a practical way which meets the needs of the particular organisation.

    I can highly recommend Governance Matters to the sporting community.”

    Mark Peters
    Previous CEO

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    “I have no hesitation in recommending Governance Matters to any organisation that is seeking to implement a board development program, including a very clear and precise performance review that will, through its defined action steps, deliver a framework for best practice governance.”

    Neville Parsons

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    “Kate Costello from Governance Matters conducted a review of the governance structures, functions and processes of St John Ambulance (Victoria).

    The review culminated in a written report with specific findings and recommendations which included recommendations for amendment to the Rules (Constitution). On the basis of those recommendations our solicitors redrafted the rules prior to a successful vote to approve a new board structure under the new Rules.

    This was the most profound shift in the governance structure of St John Ambulance Victoria throughout our 127 year history and Kate was instrumental in helping us to achieve that.

    I have no hesitation in recommending Governance Matters and Kate Costello to any organisation seeking to undertake a governance review. Kate has extensive experience in all aspects of governance and can draw from her legal background to assist the process. Kate has a very practical approach to governance and understands the complexities of member-based organisation. She is informative, consultative and appropriately persuasive.

    I am happy to speak to this reference at any time.”

    Stephen Horton
    Chief Executive Officer

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    ”It is my pleasure, as Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, to provide a reference for Kate Costello, Governance Matters. The College engaged Kate to undertake a radical review of its governance, particularly its governance structures, policies and processes. The review commenced with a presentation on good governance to the, then, Council, at the College’s Annual Scientific Meeting.

    Despite vastly divergent views on the need for change, Kate led a highly consultative process that culminated in a successful vote at the AGM to change the constitution, particularly as it related to the governing body, which is now the Board.

    Subsequently the College engaged Kate, again, to assess the effectiveness of the changes made.

    The fact that the Board re-engaged Kate is testament to the high regard the Board, other Fellows and management have for her governance knowledge, her inclusive consulting style, her practicality and her understanding of the politics of membership organisations and the professions.”

    Rodney Sheaves
    Chief Executive Officer

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    “I thought there were some great reminders to board members and some simple messages to help focus the board on the strategic documents and measuring outcomes”