How are boards made up?
Each DHB board consists of seven elected members and up to another four members appointed by the Minister of Health. This structure allows for a range of perspectives, skills and knowledge. The Minister of Health also appoints a chairperson and deputy chairperson for each board from among the board’s elected and appointed members. In making his or her appointments, the Minister must endeavour to ensure that Maori membership of the board is proportional to the number of Maori in the DHB’s resident population and, in any event, there are at least two Maori members of the board.
Board members must act in good faith, with reasonable care, diligence and skill, with honesty and integrity, and in accordance with any code of conduct that applies to Crown entities.
An elected member serves a three-year term. The current term began on 7 December 2010 and ends on 8 December 2013. Board members may stand for re-election every three years.
Appointed members have a term up to a maximum of three years. They may, however, be appointed for a shorter time. They may also be reappointed, subject to a maximum of nine consecutive years on the board.
What are the board’s responsibilities?
Board members are responsible for the governance of the DHB. They must work together in a financially responsible manner and in the best interests of the health of the DHB's whole population. In doing so, they seek to achieve the DHB's objectives to meet the requirements of the Minister of Health. Governance, as carried out by the DHB board, is strategic oversight of the DHB's management. This is to ensure it delivers on its fundamental objective of working within allocated resources to:
- Improve, promote and protect the health of those within its district
- Promote the independence of people with disabilities within its district.
Board members do not manage the DHB. That is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is appointed by the board, and the staff who report to the chief executive. The board does not have a role in employment decisions beyond the appointment of the chief executive. By law, it cannot interfere in matters relating to individual DHB employees.
The board must:
- Ensure that the DHB acts in a manner consistent with the functions of the DHB, and with the DHB’s District Strategic Plan, District Annual Plan, Statement of Intent, and any directions or requirements given under sections 32 or 33 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act (NZPHD) Act
- Not act, or agree to the DHB or any subsidiary of the DHB acting, in a manner that contravenes the NZPHD Act or any other Act
- Ensure that the activities of the entity, and those of its subsidiaries, are conducted efficiently and effectively in a manner consistent with the spirit of service to the public
- Must have regard to the interests of creditors of the DHB, and endeavour to ensure that the DHB operates in a financially responsible manner in accordance with section 41 of the NZPHD Act .
While elected board members are elected by the public, all board members (both elected and appointed) are directly responsible and accountable to the Minister of Health. The Minister is responsible for setting New Zealand’s health and disability strategies and ensuring that the tax dollar is spent in an appropriate way.
The Government determines remuneration levels for DHB board members. Current recommended fees can be viewed on the Ministry of Health website