11 December 2016 by Alexandra Jones
Governance is evolving and will continue to be an essential part of business conduct and management in years to come
At this point in the year, it is helpful to reflect and take stock of where we are now and where we would like to be. Several governance failures at large household names have been brought to light this year – at BHS, Fifa and Sports Direct, to name a few – and other contentious issues, largely related to creative tax planning within multinational companies, have hit headlines consistently.
Yet it is not all doom and gloom. To me, this suggests we are entering an era of greater accountability and transparency. Such practices have perhaps been ongoing for several decades, but now some of the world’s most powerful conglomerates are being held to account for their actions.
No longer are the banks the only big businesses in the firing line – all companies, across all sectors, including charities and not-for-profits, will be penalised for bad or negligent conduct. This sends a positive message to the public and over time will help to engender the trust that has been lacking for so long.
The introduction of the Senior Managers Regime, stronger protection for whistleblowers and a series of other measures from the regulators show that good governance is being taken seriously.
In addition, Prime Minister Theresa May explicitly highlighted her Government’s commitment to governance earlier in the year, backed up by the recent green paper on the matter – a zero tolerance policy toward badly run organisations is long overdue. I think we can safely say that the next few years are likely to be very busy for governance professionals.
Throughout the year we have focused on looking forward to what governance might look like in the future. You will have noticed our interviews with high-profile business professionals in celebration of our 125th anniversary, in which we ask this very question. The responses differ greatly and are far reaching, however, what is consistent is that governance is evolving and it will continue to be an essential part of business conduct and management in years to come.
You can read the full series of interviews at icsa.org.uk/125years.