On 14 October 2014, the Transition Committee that is monitoring the NSW Institute of Psychiatry’s (NSWIOP) transition to the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI,) held its third meeting for the year.  This meeting had a focus on governance oversight for the NSWIOP and has supported the overall approach for NSWIOP governance during the transition period.

It has been of particular importance during this transition period for NSWIOP to focus on its governance so that the organisation can be assured it is working optimally under its legislation. This has led to consideration of the role of the Members (appointed by the Minister according to the NSWIOP Act 1964) and other governance mechanisms such as audit and risk and also for academic governance.

Academic governance is particularly important given the criticality of the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) accreditation of the NSWIOP’s courses. The management and transfer of the Higher Education Provider (HEP) status of the NSWIOP to HETI is central to the successful transition of NSWIOP.

I am pleased to advise that the NSWIOP has been working with HETI to develop a strategy for the HEP transition. Once this is finalised and reviewed by the Ministry there will be liaison with TEQSA on this strategy to ensure there is an agreed approach to support the transition. Also the NSWIOP has also started some review of its academic governance processes and their links to overall organisational governance.

Following the Transition Meeting, the Members and the Executive Director of the NSWIOP have agreed in principle on the relationship between the Member’s Committee and the operational management of the organisation. This relationship will be complemented with support from the Transition Committee during the period of the transition.

In a similar way I am pleased to advise that the NSWIOP has established an audit and risk committee that is based on Treasury guidelines and it will add to the overall governance of the organisation working with the Executive Director and the Members. There has been consultation from HETI staff that has informed the development of these strategies.

These organisation-wide issues are being supported by work done by NSWIOP staff as there has been: identification of expected work place values and behaviours to support cultural development; engagement with its psychiatry trainees to identify improvements to their learning experiences; an enterprise-wide risk register has been developed; and a strategic plan is well progressed.

Prior to the close of2014, the Transition Committee will also have a strategic planning session to extend the current plan against the Mental Health Commission’s recommendations from the 2013 Review of the NSWIOP. This work will ensure there is a comprehensive plan of works for 2015.

It is pleasing to note the work that has been undertaken by the NSWIOP in 2014 and the positioning that has been achieved to take the organisation forward to support its contributions to the mental health sector and also to prepare it for transition to HETI


Mr John Feneley
Mental Health Commissioner

For more information about the NSW Mental Health Commission, go to the Commission’s website