Is assessing your Governance returning to a tick-box exercise? I hope not.
With all the demands being made on board members; the responsibility they have, the risks they are exposed to and the potential personal reputation (in extreme cases the liability) they are laying on the line; why entrust assessing the effectiveness of your governance to a quick tick box exercise?
The governance framework needs a good shake once every few years – you need to examine all the nooks and crannies, the areas that in normal circumstances would not be given a second glance (your succession policy, whether your minutes are ‘good or average’, how the delegations to your committees work and whether they help or hinder the work of the board) as well as ensuring that you have the right skills, the board meetings operate well and that the processes and the controls framework is really robust and the assurance that is given by your executive team is solid.
So, what should you be looking at?
1) Strategy and Leadership
- your vision and mission – where you want to be and what your objects are
- the culture, values and ethos that you will lead and live by – and do you?
- the corporate strategy that will identify where you will be in five years and how you will know that you have achieved it
- The structure/vehicles that you need to deliver the strategy
- Composition – what people and skills are required to achieve your strategy and how are these kept up to date?
- Organisational design to ensure that your people and resources are deployed to best effect
3) Documentation – where and how is all this written down and does it reflect what you actually do (or should do)?
4) Operational strategies – do you have the ones that are needed to deliver your strategy and will they? Do they reflect good practice?
5) How do you carry out your scrutiny and oversight role and does this happen in the right forum?
- Risk management
- Financial management
- Organisational performance management
- Stakeholder management
- Economy, effectiveness and efficiency (EEE) and value for money at a corporate levels
- Value for money and cost of governance
6) Your appraisal framework, collective and individual. Does this really measure and tell you whether you are any good?
7) How do you really hear and act on the voices of your customers, residents and service users?
8) What is your approach to digital governance – transparency and accountability for the 21st century?
9) How robust is your assurance and compliance framework? Covering external and internal audit, your internal controls assurance, statutory and regulatory compliance and the code of governance.
There is a lot to cover to, in the words of the Regulator, show that:
“Registered providers shall ensure effective governance arrangements that deliver their aims, objectives and intended outcomes for tenants and potential tenants in an effective, transparent and accountable manner. Governance arrangements shall ensure registered providers:
(a) adhere to all relevant law
(b) comply with their governing documents and all regulatory requirements
(c) are accountable to tenants, the regulator and relevant stakeholders
(d) safeguard taxpayers’ interests and the reputation of the sector
(e) have an effective risk management and internal controls assurance framework
(f) protect social housing assets”
And don’t forget – Altair can help you do this and we will ensure that there is no tick box in sight.