Panels Policy – Assignment & Duties
This policy replaces previous versions of the Board’s policy regarding panels. It describes the duties of an appointed panel, as well as the criteria used to designate panels.
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on the assignment and duties of Board panels.
The use of panels to carry out the Board’s duties is provided for in the Forest and Range Practices Act, as follows:
- The Board may organize itself into panels, each comprised of one or more panel members.
- The members of the Board may sit concurrently as a Board or on a panel, and two or more panels may sit at any given time.
- A Board panel has the same jurisdiction as the Board and may exercise Board powers and perform Board duties and functions with the same authority as the Board.
- A report, recommendation or action of a Board panel is regarded as being the same as a report, recommendation or action of the Board.
All published reports which result from staff and Board members’ work are regarded as corporate products. Board members provide the public oversight function, while staff provide the technical work upon which the findings and recommendations of the Board are based.
- Panels are assigned by the Board Chair.
- The Board Chair may appoint a panel member to be the Panel Chair.
- When a panel is not assigned, the Board Chair is deemed to be the Panel Chair.
- Matters of significant strategic importance may be paneled by the full Board.
- Assignment of a panel will normally be initiated upon soliciting and receiving staff advice and panel composition will reflect the unique circumstances of the subject, project or activity. Typically, a panel will be struck upon completion of an audit or investigation report, including the receipt of representations by the parties, if:
a) Investigation or audit findings include significant non-compliance or lack of sound forest practices;
b) The subject matter is of strategic interest or might otherwise require comment by the Board; or,
c) The matter is likely to garner significant public or stakeholder interest.
- Where warranted, a panel may be appointed to provide guidance with regard to terms of reference for a special report or special investigation.
- Special considerations for assigning Board members to a panel will consider whether or not:
a) Board members have a conflict of interest related to the matter.
b) Board members have the appropriate knowledge and experience relative to the matter.
c) Board members are available and distribution of workload among Board members is appropriately balanced.
Panel Duties with Respect to Reports
If requested, Panels must be prepared to:
- Provide guidance in drafting terms of reference for a project.
- Ensure that a report’s content and tone are consistent with the values and guiding principles of the Board.
- Be satisfied that representations have been appropriately addressed.
- Be satisfied that recommendations and advice in the report are substantiated, meaningful and appropriate.
- Consider content, tone, recommendations and advice in light of the Board’s strategic interests and priorities.
- If a commentary is needed, identify and articulate the key points of the commentary.
- Consider potential public and stakeholder response to the report and, if applicable, provide advice to staff about communications.
- Consider the level and manner of follow-up the Board should do post -report and provide advice accordingly.
Duties of the Panel Chair
The Panel Chair is expected to:
- Ensure the panel has provided adequate guidance and advice to staff.
- Confirm that the panel is ready to recommend final approval of the report to the Board Chair.’
- Mediate differences of opinion that may arise within the panel and advise the Board Chair if significant
differences cannot be resolved.
- On request, report to the full Board on the outcome of the project.
- Board staff are responsible for scheduling panel communications and the logistics of that, as well as keeping appropriate records and minutes from panel discussions.
- The Executive Director of the Forest Practices Board may establish guidelines or procedures for panels based on case-specific-criteria.