TAFE college governance

TAFE college governance

Governance in the public sector is defined as encompassing the systems and structures by which an organisation is directed, controlled and operated, and the mechanisms by which it and the people within it are held to account. Governance arrangements vary between different types of public sector bodies.

There are five TAFE colleges throughout Western Australia with campuses from Esperance in the south to Wyndham in the north. TAFE colleges are vocational education and training institutions established under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996. Funded predominantly by the State Government, they offer VET training to more than 100 000 people each year. TAFE college resources provided by the Department of Training and Workforce Development are consistent with public sector wide governance guides developed by the WA Public Sector Commission.

For further information about TAFE college governance requirements, contact the Training Provider Governance team at tpg@dtwd.wa.gov.au.


Governing councils

The governing council is the governing body of the TAFE college and has the authority to perform the functions of the organisation and govern its operations and affairs.

Each TAFE college is required to have a governing council under Section 39 of the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996.

The governing council ensures that local industry and the community have direct input into the strategic development of TAFE colleges.

Members have the opportunity to contribute expertise to a significant public training enterprise and participate in the growth and development of a vital community and State resource.

The effectiveness of each TAFE college is influenced by the efficiency of its governing council.

The governing council is responsible for ensuring that clear management, effective decision making and governance frameworks are in place and functioning for the college.


Governing council handbook

The TAFE college governing council handbook is an important and useful resource for prospective, incoming and existing governing council members. It provides information and tools necessary to meet the legislative, policy, accountability and governance responsibilities of governing council members of Western Australia's TAFE colleges.

It also provides information on WA's vocational education and training system, Commonwealth and State priorities, and details the role of key stakeholders who are involved in achieving high quality training and workforce development outcomes.

The handbook was last updated in November 2022.

You can view and/or download the TAFE college governing council handbook 2022 here

The cover of the TAFE college governing council handbook

Guidelines and resources

The following guidelines, resources and documents are provided to support governance process and practice for the TAFE college governing councils.

These documents will be updated as and when needed.

Governance resources



Good governance guidelines for governing councils Overview of a range of governance resources linked to the seven Public Sector Commission governance principles.
Governance guide for TAFE colleges TAFE colleges minimum governance requirements mapped against the seven Public Sector Commission governance principles
Compliance calendar A calendar of compliance obligations for public sector agencies from the Public Sector Commission
TAFE college governance maturity self-assessment tool A TAFE specific governance measure for governing councils and colleges
TAFE college governance accountability and information network Terms of Reference for the GAIN
Terms of Reference exemplar Based on requirements outlined in the Governing council handbook
Managing Director performance agreement The process of reviewing and assessing MD performance agreements
Bylaws process Information on bylaw amendment and the process for gazetting

Ministerial guidelines and VET Act instruments



Strategic plan guidelines Ministerial guidelines for three-year strategic plans 2024—26
Annual business plan guidelines Ministerial guidelines for 2024 annual business plans
Annual business plan commercial, domestic and international activities spreadsheets 2024 Annual business plans Excel spreadsheets
Minister's instrument of delegation (governing councils) No. 1 of 2017 Summary Administrative instrument delegating governing council Chairs the power to approve member's leave of absence up to three months. As issued by the Minister, 3 July 2017

Ministerial instrument of delegation (colleges) 2023
WA (VET) Ministerial Corporation instrument of authorisation (colleges) 2023

Administrative instruments.
Ministerial guidelines: International commercial activities of TAFE colleges A framework to guide TAFE colleges’ offshore commercial activities (updated November 2022)
TAFE colleges commercial activities guidelines As issued by the Minister, 3 December 2017
Business case template A sample template outlining elements to be included in commercial activity business cases

Nomination committees

The governing council can establish standing committees as required. Committees of the council consider certain issues and specialised functions in detail and then report back to the council with any recommendations.

Nomination committees formulate policy for governing council member composition, renewal and evaluation, and make recommendations to the Minister on appointments. They are also responsible for:

  • developing criteria for evaluating the skills and experience of the governing council;
  • identifying potential candidates, interviewing and conducting referee and ‘fit and proper person’ checks for the governing council;
  • determining processes for reviewing the performance of the governing council and inducting new council members; and
  • considering potential conflicts of interest.


Resources for committees



Information for TAFE college governing council selection (updated Dec 2023) Provides an overview of the role and processes of nomination committees.
Position description for council members A summary of the role and responsibilities of council members.
Fit and proper person declaration Declaration for existing and nominated governing council members.
Governing council appointment timeline (updated Jan 2021) Timeframes for advertisement and selection of council members.
Skills matrix template (updated Nov 2023) For use in governing council nomination and succession planning.
Nomination assessment template For making nomination recommendations to the Minister.
Governing council evaluation template For governing council members to rate their own performance.
Frequently asked questions (updated Dec 2023) Answers to questions commonly asked by prospective governing council members.
Diversifying boards – Your cultural advantage Diversifying boards – Your cultural advantage is provided by the Office of Multicultural Interests. See omi.wa.gov.au for more information.
Page last updated February 09, 2024