‘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…

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…

Cyber Risk Management: What a Board Should Be Asking

Something we keep coming across in our board reviews is cyber risk – and how a board can exercise oversight of this fast-moving and difficult-to-understand critical threat.  Most directors worry about the organisation’s exposure, especially when they sense it’s not a matter of “if” but “when”.  But few of them feel confident that their technical knowledge is sufficient to test…

How to Plan an Effective Board Meeting

Board meetings are odd: possibly in any other circumstances we would think it a bit crazy to expect humans to give unbroken concentration for hours on end. But when those same humans become directors (yes, most of them are human) we suspend that reasoning. We put a large group of people – some of them jet-lagged – together in a…

How to Chair a Good Board Meeting

“He’s great at chairing a meeting…” “She’s good at getting everyone to speak up, but somehow still manages to finish the meeting in time…” “He runs a good committee…” Those are some of the accolades we often hear voiced about the Chairs of boards and committees. But what is it that they are doing right?  On the other hand, we also…

What Does a Good Board Pack Look Like?

Nowadays board papers don’t arrive with a literal thump.  But often the impact is the same.  This month, to take a look at the perennial issue of board papers, we have invited as “guest editors” Board Intelligence: specialists in board packs and board portal providers. “I’ve opened too many board packs which give me a sinking feeling – and I’m not…