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Independent review gives big tick

The FWPA Board and management are pleased to report the company’s recent Independent Performance Review has once again confirmed a high degree of professionalism and wide stakeholder support. It is the third successful review to be completed during the past 12 years.

Conducted by an external third party, the process has involved several months of extensive consultation with members from across the forest and wood products supply chain. 

Amongst the positive outcomes, the report found FWPA delivers strong benefits to stakeholders, is highly collaborative and well-regarded within the industry, meets all its obligations, and has effective governance processes in place.

“On behalf of the team at FWPA, I would like to thank every member of the industry who took the time to offer their contributions during this process,” said FWPA Managing Director, Ric Sinclair.

“The involvement of stakeholders during these reviews is essential. It helps make sure we continue to fulfil on our mission of growing the market for forest and wood products, increasing productivity across the value chain, and ensuring positive environmental and social outcomes.

“By sharing their thoughts and insights through the review, industry plays a key role in guiding the future direction of FWPA.”

Key findings in the report include that FWPA is:

  • compliant with all SFA obligations and has strong governance arrangements in place
  • highly collaborative and well regarded within the industry, to which it makes a significant contribution
  • met with strong support and positive feedback on its engagement with industry associations, the Commonwealth Government, and stakeholders, who described their experience with FWPA as ‘above average’ or ‘excellent’ in 84 per cent of responses to the survey
  • notably strong in the area of consumer tracking and market research, using strong brands to build support for the forestry and wood products industry through messaging around sustainability, usability and cost
  • improving progressively over time through robust planning and reporting, with all recommendations from the previous 2017 Independent Performance Review having been fully implemented.

Undergoing an Independent Performance Review is a condition of FWPA’s statutory funding agreement (SFA) with the Commonwealth Government. It is required to be completed at least six months before the current SFA expires, and is a precondition of entering into negotiations for a new agreement.

The latest review covered the period from August 2017 until January 2021, and was conducted by Forest Hill Consulting following a competitive tender process. The consultancy has extensive experience working with rural R&D corporations and offers professional services to rural industries across Australia and internationally, including industry peak bodies, government agencies and private companies.

“This is the third Independent Performance Review conducted for FWPA over the past 12 years. Each has yielded positive results, which is testament to the hard work and passion of the Board and team, our commitment to continuous improvement, and the strong collaborative relationships we enjoy with stakeholders from across the industry,” said Sinclair.

Alongside a comprehensive document review, consultations were conducted with approximately 50 key industry stakeholders including growers, processors, manufacturers, and importers; industry peak body representatives; FWPA Board members, management and staff; members of the Grower Research Advisory Committee (GRAC); Commonwealth officers; researchers, and other industry participants. An online survey was offered alongside this proactive consultation, and attracted a healthy 113 responses.

The report noted significant changes to FWPA’s operating environment, caused by recent bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and a volatile international market. These changes highlighted the importance of FWPA’s ongoing commitment to industry engagement, collaboration and innovation.

“For any review, it is very important that we canvass as full a range of views as possible, so it was encouraging to see the industry participate so enthusiastically during the review process,” said Scott Williams, Principal at Forest Hill Consulting.

“The aim of the review is to provide useful advice and insights to FWPA. To achieve this, we spoke to a wide and diverse range of industry members about their experiences in working with FWPA. This enabled us to offer informed analysis of key programs and processes, including opportunities for future improvement.

Alongside the positive outcomes, the report offered some valid feedback on areas where stakeholders felt FWPA could improve. 

“We have taken all of this on board and are committed to ensuring the appropriate changes are made going forward,” said Sinclair.

The Independent Performance Review has now been submitted to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and is available for public viewing on the FWPA website.

A new SFA covering the next 5 to 10 years is expected to be completed soon, with more details to be shared with industry as they become available.

Posted Date: March 21, 2021

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