Board self evaluations are not a statutory requirement but can help a Board to assess its performance, effectiveness and fitness for future challenges.

On this page:

13.1 Overview

A self-evaluation allows a Board to take stock and reflect on aspects of its performance.

The knowledge gained from conducting a self-evaluation allows a Board to continually improve its effectiveness and leadership, and assess its performance. Any self evaluation should be tailored to the needs of the Board and take into account any challenges facing it at the time. The aim is to assess performance to date and fitness for future challenges.

13.2 Evaluation factors

A Board evaluation may include an assessment of the Board’s:

  • Range of skills and experience
  • Compliance with expectations
  • Relationship with Minister/NZCA/DOC/community
  • Effectiveness in engaging with its community
  • Degree of diversity and inclusiveness
  • Culture (for example, how constructive and supportive it is perceived to be)
  • Degree of active participation and equal contribution of members
  • Training, professional development or servicing needs.

Board evaluations could incorporate both qualitative (for example interviews and observations) and quantitative elements (for example surveys) from a range of sources, and could include feedback from Board members, DOC support staff and other stakeholders. 

Boards can contact the Governance Unit for advice and assistance with developing a self-evaluation if required.


13.3 Individual Board member evaluations

The benefits of completing individual Board member evaluations include:

  • Providing feedback so an individual’s contribution to the Board's work can be maximised
  • Identifying mentoring, development or training needs for an individual, or for the Board as a whole
  • Reinforcing the Chair’s accountability for the effective performance of the Board
  • Assisting the Minister with succession planning, and the appointment and reappointment processes.

The Chair is expected to provide appropriate feedback to individual members as part of their evaluation. If a Chair has concerns about the performance of a member, they should raise these concerns with the individual and if necessary, DOC’s Operations Director.

If the Chair’s performance is an issue, the deputy chair or other members should first raise this with the Chair (if possible/appropriate) and, if necessary, discuss with DOC’s Operations Director.

13.4 Frequency of Board evaluations

Evaluations should ideally take place annually, but a Board may benefit from them being carried out more frequently, for example if there have been significant changes to the Board’s composition, or if dysfunctional behaviour is evident within the Board.

It may be considered appropriate for an evaluation to be carried out by an independent party. An independent evaluation provides confidence that the results are unbiased and reliable. It can also assist in eliciting frank and honest responses from participants, improving the quality of results.

13.5 Reporting results of evaluations

Boards may wish to provide a summary of their evaluation results to the Minister via DOC. The Minister may ask to see the full evaluation if the summary does not provide sufficient information, however, Chairs must not share any individual member’s assessment without the member’s permission.

Members should be provided with the full results of the full Board evaluation and their own individual member assessments.

Following discussion by the Board, there should be a report of any actions agreed, any progress made following the previous evaluation, plus any issues relating to Board performance that have emerged since the last evaluation.

The Chair should monitor action points and liaise with the DOC Statutory Manager or Operations Director concerning any requirements identified around training, development or budget.


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