2006 – Corporate Governance for Dam Safety

S. Frazer

Ensuring compliance with the Regulator’s requirements is a cornerstone consideration for any water corporation in planning its risk minimisation strategies against dam failure. With the increased focus on due diligence and corporate governance however, there are emerging themes that are of equal importance for a water corporation in planning protections against its core risks to dam safety.

These considerations include:

  • documenting and implementing plans and strategies to ensure corporate compliance with the Regulator’s requirements and updating these in line with legislative and policy changes;
  • Documenting and implementing the corporation’s defences to the common law duty of care for public liability, including keeping up to date with the latest case law development locally and internationally in interpreting implications in respect of damage to property and injury and loss of life in relation to dam failure.
  • Adopting behaviours and practices that bear out a compliance culture – is the current dam safety assessment and training “best practice” and is this enough to defend a claim? What is reasonable in economic and practical terms to ensure defensibility?
  • ensuring the Board, Executive and other Officers are informed of operational decisions and incidents and their advice is implemented;
  • arranging and maintaining appropriate insurances if available for public liability and property damage, as well as protections for directors and officers, both past and current. •
  • Developing and implementing a policy for disclosure, document management and retention that will support investigation for legal proceedings purposes; including providing privilege for relevant legal advices.
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