The temperature rises in the boardroom

In a month when the new CEO of BP has announced his company’s intention to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, our regular bulletin is taking a leaf out of Greta’s book and going green.  What is a board to do?  Regulators are already making their expectations clear, so, for anyone who is a director of a financial institution,…

Committee Reporting

How to write and present better committee reports for the Board A lot of work on boards takes place outside the actual board meeting – particularly in the committees. That’s where there is a chance for the non-executives to delve into and challenge the detail, and also to bring their particular expertise to bear. Quite rightly, work gets delegated to…

The role of the Audit Committee (Part 2): assessing external audit effectiveness

Last year we looked at how the Audit Committee works with Internal Audit.  This month,  it’s external audit’s turn.   As with internal audit, the Committee both oversees external audit and is dependent upon it for information and assurance.  However skilled and experienced an audit committee may be, it can be difficult to know how to add value when it comes…

‘Tis the season to look to the future

Here in 2030, it’s a good time to look back to on how board life has moved on over the past decade.  That tumultuous time of Brexit and Trump all seems a distant memory now.  And when we look back at how boards used to work back then, it seems light years away too!   It’s a bit like listening to…

Listening to the employee voice: the role of the workforce non-executive director

As most people are aware by now, the new UK Code of Corporate Governance defines an effective board as one which (among a few other things) is serious about listening to the views of employees.  It is also very clear that far more than lip-service and good intentions are required – and the expectation is that board will consider “the…

The new Code (again): Spotlight on the Principles

In a previous bulletin we looked at some of the changes to the Code which are now kicking – and how boards might get value from responding to the new requirements.  But we didn’t go into detail on a major change in the expectations around the Principles. This is, in fact, a fundamental shift that could have a wide-ranging impact…

The Role of the Audit Committee (Part 1): Overseeing Internal Audit

The Audit Committee has many important jobs, but in this Bulletin, we focus on how it works with Internal Audit.  It’s a pretty important relationship when you consider that an independent board is supposed to gain confidence that the organisation is working well, based almost entirely on information provided to it by management.  Internal Audit provides a rare source of…

9 Steps to a better board review questionnaire

For Chairs and Company Secretaries, it can seem that as soon one board evaluation is over, it’s time to start thinking about the next one. When everyone’s busy, it’s tempting just to issue directors with the board review questionnaire you used last time and consider the job done. This approach soon becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If directors believe the questionnaire…

The best way to assess organisational culture

A board director's guide to making workplace visits between meetings Good non-executives know the value of time spent getting out of the boardroom. It’s often where they really get to understand the organisational culture and build that added confidence in management. There is now a firm expectation that the Board not only understands the culture prevalent in the organisation, but…

8 ways to get the most from your strategy away day

A bit of blue-sky thinking and white space This is the time of year when many company secretaries and management turn their minds to the annual strategy away day.  In normal board meetings, the regular agenda of business and seemingly endless “governance” items can squeeze the time available for strategic discussion.  Yet, setting the strategic direction is arguably the Board’s…