West Coast Governance Programme

Governance training on the West Coast

Development West Coast's (DWC) Governance Programme is delivered by Westlake Governance.

The programme brings governance training to the West Coast business community, helping participants understand the key roles and responsibilities of the board and individual directors.

The series of four one-day workshops is designed for new and aspiring board members, and for those who work directly with a board - whether in a medium-sized business, a national co-operative or a small community organisation, school Board of Trustees, or a local government body.

Buller Mayor, Jaime Cleine, graduated from the programme in 2018.

“I encourage anyone considering governance roles at any level from sports clubs, school boards or even local government to complete the course You never stop learning and the course helped me identify a professional development pathway and to contribute much more effectively at a governance level,” says Mayor Cleine.

“Good governance is so critical to the success of the West Coast and the DWC governance training gives you a great foundation,”

Buller Mayor Jaime Cleine

Who should attend?

  • For those already on boards or Councils, you will understand the difference between governance and management, and what your governance role really involves: what are your responsibilities, what information do you need, how do you make great decisions, and how do you help your chief executive succeed? For you, this programme may be a valuable refresher, helping you to fill in some gaps; or it may be the first formal training you’ve done for your role.
  • For those who are preparing to join a board in the future, you will understand what it means to be a director or board member, what skills and time commitment you'll need, and what attributes you can bring to your new role to add real value in the boardroom.
  • For those reporting to and working with boards, you will understand why governance matters, what information board members need, and why it’s ok when they ask difficult questions.


Richard Westlake and Vaughan Renner are experienced chairs and board members and have presented governance workshops together for about ten years. Over several years they co-facilitated the Governance component of the West Coast Leadership & Governance Programme, from which many participants have gone on to significant governance and leadership roles, in the West Coast community and elsewhere.

Richard Westlake:

Richard has more than 25 years’ experience as a director and board chair, in a wide variety of organisations. He is currently chair of New Zealand Home Loans Ltd, and recently completed nine years as the first independent director of the Dairy Goat Co-operative and six years as the only non-Asian director of one of the largest banks in the Philippines. Over the last 15 years, Richard has trained probably more directors than anyone else in New Zealand.

He also writes perhaps the only blog written especially for board chairs and experienced directors, at www.chairingtheboard.com.

Vaughan Renner:

Vaughan trained originally as an Engineer and has been a director and board chair for about 15 years. He is a former chief executive of New Zealand’s largest tyre importer and retailer, and he currently chairs The Open Polytechnic, the board of Business New Zealand and the Standards Approval Board (a unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment).


Introduction to Governance, the Board and its Role

  • Preview and introduction to the West Coast 2020 Governance Programme
  • What governance is (and isn’t)
  • The difference between managing and governing, and how to make the shift when you enter the boardroom
  • The role and functions of the board
  • The role and duties of individual directors
  • The effective Board Chair

Working with the Chief Executive, and the Board’s role in Finance

  • Re-cap and review of Session 1
  • Selecting and appointing the CEO
  • Working with the CEO and the Chair/CEO relationship
  • Board/CEO/Management Interactions
  • The Board’s role in Finance
  • Understanding the main Financial Statements
  • Budgets / Forecasts
  • Distress and insolvency: what to look for, and what to look out for

Governing Strategy and Risk

  • Re-cap and review of Session 2
  • What is Strategy?
  • The process and pitfalls of developing and implementing Strategy
  • The Board’s role in Strategy
  • Effective Board Papers
  • What is Risk?
  • What is Risk Governance?
  • The Board’s role in Risk

Boardroom Dynamics

  • Re-cap and review of Session 3
  • Why it’s important to achieve balanced membership on a board
  • How to prepare for and bring the greatest value to board meetings
  • Understanding the value of dissent and debate in reaching quality consensus decisions
  • Where to from here? Preparing your governance CV, and improving your chances for a board position
  • A simulated board meeting, with board roles played by some of the participants, and feedback provided by their colleagues. (This exercise presents a real-world feel for the participants to apply what they have learned during the programme, and it has always proved to be a memorable highlight on which to conclude.)

Please note, the above course content is listed as a guideline and not yet confirmed.

Expressions of interest:

To register your interest in governance training, please email events@dwc.org.nz

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Graduates of the 2020 West Coast Governance Programme


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