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Joining Forces

09 April 2020 by Sara Drake

Partnerships and collaborations are an effective way of increasing resource, amplifying messages and increasing our reach.

As readers of last month’s journal might have seen, the Institute has partnered with Sport England to launch the Sports Governance Academy (SGA), a support hub for the sport and physical activity sector. It’s exciting to see our mutual enthusiasm for this partnership, with Sport England sharing our belief that governance can bring about positive change. There is huge potential for the SGA to do some genuinely groud-breaking work to improve the effectiveness of organisations operating in the sector with the resources, learning and community it is creating. It is a partnership which I believe will contribute to wider understanding of the role of good governance in achieving success.

Partnerships and collaborations like the SGA are such an effective way of increasing resource, amplifying messages and increasing the Institute’s reach. We have a long history of working with others to this effect, our dual-award partnerships with UK universities to offer post-graduate Masters and Master of Laws programmes being just one example. These partnerships give students from eight UK universities access to the content of the Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme, thereby extending our reach. They offer an alternative study route to ensure that our membership is inclusive, open to those who prefer to study corporate governance as full or part-time postgraduate students.

Similarly, we have formed partnerships to educate and train governance professionals outside the UK, accrediting the BPP Certificate for International Finance Regulators to align with the growth of our qualifications offshore and putting in place a network of trusted tuition partners for our main qualifications. Likewise our work with the Dubai-based governance organisation Hawkamah – The Institute for Corporate Governance allows us to promote good governance frameworks, practices and the value of governance professionals in the United Arab Emirates and the MENA region.

Finding like-minded people and organisations with which to do business is worth the effort. Recently we have partnered with Karl George and the Association of Corporate Governance Practitioners in the West Midlands to support a thriving governance community there and have also partnered with Diligent, Nasdaq, Company Matters and the Centre for Synchronous Leadership to develop content that showcases the value of good governance and initiatives around the company secretary as a changemaker and diversity networks.

The right partnerships build trust, and effective outcomes, benefitting from the expertise and diversity of our collaborators. We all, including government and regulators, need to harness the power of collaborative thinking from time to time. Efforts to improve governance, be they revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code, the creation of the Wates Principles and the scheduled refreshment of the Charity Governance Code, have all benefitted from the input of the wider governance community.

In recent years our own Policy team has benefitted from partnering with key players like the Financial Reporting Council, the Investment Association and the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) to drive progress and enhance best practice across the governance space. All sectors face common challenges that our expertise can help to alleviate. Our work on corporate culture with the IBE, for example, was of great cross-sectoral use and has formed the basis of guidance that we have since developed for the education and sport sectors.

Our work with the National Governance Association is helping to professionalise the role of the clerk and collaboration with the Sixth Form Colleges Association has resulted in guidance on good practice for sixth form colleges and academy schools in England. Our partnerships have allowed us to reach, influence and support people within the charity sector, the education sector, the health sector and now the sport sector. There is no sector which governance does not touch.

The spirit of collaboration is in the Institute’s bones. Our branch network, our mentoring scheme, the work that we do with our members to introduce the world of governance to the next generation are all perfect examples of what can be achieved by working together.

The external environment in which we operate grows more complex with each passing year. By building an alliance to campaign for a common purpose, we have double the voice and connect disparate groups of people to drive genuine change. As Helen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This is particularly apt in these challenging times and the interest in our joint work with Slaughter and May and others around AGMs and COVID-19 has truly shown the value of pulling together.

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