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Office of Sport

Governance is how an organisation is managed.

A sporting organisation that demonstrates good governance can: 

  • Develop strategic goals and direction.
  • Monitor organisation performance to ensure it achieves its strategic goals, has effective systems in place and complies with legal and regulatory obligations.
  • Act in the best interests of its members.

The Sports Governance Capability Framework

The Sports Governance Capability Framework has been developed to assist sporting organisations improve governance practices and skills and adapts Sport Australia’s Sport Governance Principles for the context of NSW sporting organisations. 

The Framework is for Boards, Directors, Office Bearers, members of committees, volunteers, and paid staff of NSW State Sporting Organisations and State Sporting Organisations for people with Disability. It is also applicable for all sporting organisations including district/regional sport associations and grassroots community sport clubs.

Included in the Framework is a range of information, resources and templates which address the following governance principles:  

  • Board composition, roles, and powers
  • Board processes 
  • Governance systems 
  • Board reporting and performance 
  • Stakeholder relationship and reporting 
  • Ethical and responsible decision making. 

In applying the Framework, State Sporting Organisations are also encouraged to visit and apply within their specific context, the Sport Australia Sport Governance Principles. The key matter for SSOs to consider and apply is the application of these principles and this Framework in the specific operational and governance context of your SSO. 

This Framework focuses on key areas of governance and aims to assist NSW State Sporting Organisations and State Sporting Organisations for people with Disability to improve governance practices and skills.

Given the range of State Sporting Organisation governance, administrative and operational models, a range of different organisations will not be able to, or need to, adopt all the themes in this Framework. Further, the timing of what is adopted is not prescriptive. There is no start or finish point and it is not necessary to follow any particular sequence.  

The Framework may be used in two different ways:  

  • to address a particular requirement at any one time. For example, the board may refer to the relevant section of the Framework prior to an upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) to review its election processes; and/or
  • as a model for the board to undertake a comprehensive governance review process where the board can systematically work through each stage for reflection, improvement and to ensure risk management and compliance obligations are met.  

Whichever approach is chosen, State Sporting Organisations should seek to review each stage at some point so a continual review, evaluation and hopefully improvement of the organisation’s governance occurs.  

Whilst many of the resources contained in this Framework have been tailored specifically for sport, the resources are only general in nature. The Framework draws on resources and templates from a broad range of sources. All boards operate differently and vary in size and structure, as such the Office of Sport strongly encourages sport boards to apply the Framework in their own particular context and to reflect their own particular needs. 

Membership structure, legal structure, regulatory environment, culture, members’ expectations, National Sporting Organisation requirements, government requirements are all organisational context factors to consider which parts of the Framework apply to you and which tools you can adopt and apply. 

State Sporting Organisations should examine the index of templates in Appendix 7 in this Framework. The Office of Sport recommends some tools which State Sporting Organisation should seek to adopt and those recommended to adopt first. 

The Framework is easy to use. As State Sporting Organisations work through it think not just of the Sport’s current situation, but where it is envisaged the organisation should be in five or ten years. 

As with any legal document, this does not replace obtaining legal advice on your specific requirements and it is recommended you do so.

Board Performance

The Office of Sport has developed the Board Evaluation Framework and two Tools to assist NSW State Sporting Organisations in reviewing Board performance

Evaluation of Board performance can assist boards in understanding their effectiveness, their competencies, structure, behaviours within legal frameworks, and their governing rules, purpose, and strategy.

This is recognised in numerous best practice guides and standards. For example, Sport Australia’s Sports Governance Standards Principle 9: The board must have an appropriate system of internal controls to enable it to monitor performance, track progress against strategy and address issues of concern.

The Board Evaluation Framework (the Framework) aims to connect State Sporting Organisations to a key part of good governance as identified by Sport Australia. Given the governance, administrative and operational models for State Sporting Organisations vary widely, the Framework presents a range of different board performance evaluation approaches.    

The Framework draws on information, resources, and templates from a broad range of sources.  All boards operate differently and vary in size and structure, as such the Office of Sport strongly encourages sport boards to apply the Framework in their own context and to reflect their own needs.

The Office of Sport is committed to continuous improvement, and we welcome feedback on the Framework and tools. You can contact us at

Board Evaluation Context Tool

This Tool will assist in reviewing and determining its board’s governance level context.

It is a very useful first step in determining the level and depth of evaluation a board may need to undertake.

Your context review should demonstrate that your board has a particular level of maturity in terms of its governance processes, and this will guide the level of evaluation that you need or might wish to undertake. It is recommended to be completed before using the Board Evaluation Self-Assessment Tool.

Download the Board Evaluation Context Tool

The Board Evaluation Self-Assessment Tool

The Board Evaluation Tool (BESAT) is a self-evaluation survey approach designed to assist the State Sporting Organisation to identify key parts of good governance as recognised by Sport Australia. 

It is a starting point; acknowledging in NSW there are State Sporting Organisation boards who operate differently, vary in size, structure, and organisational maturity. 

The Tool comprises a total of 73 compulsory questions (i.e., 6 administration & 67 survey questions) and should take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete. 

The Tool can be completed by directors, committees, members of committees, whole board, and management. 

There is a different set of questions for each area of the governance of your State Sporting Organisation:

  • Board (Committee of Management)
  • Chair (President)
  • Sub-committees
  • Management (if applicable, but including volunteers)

In using BESAT, State Sporting Organisations should be guided by both the Framework and the Board Evaluation Context Tool in considering their organisational context and needs.

Before you begin read the following documents, as they will provide some helpful background and assist you to consider your SSO’s organisational context and needs.

After completing BESAT the board should meet to discuss the survey results of directors, committees, members of committees, whole board, and management who completed the survey.   Refer to section 5.3 of the Board Evaluation Framework regarding information about the board evaluation process.

Start the Board Evaluation Self-Assessment Tool 


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