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Collective responsibility

01 February 2017

Collective responsibility - read more

My last issue as Editor of Governance and Compliance

This month’s cover interview is with Giles Peel, Head of Governance Advisory Practice at DAC Beachcroft. His career to date has been a unique one, spending 20 years in the Royal Navy as a Supply and Secretariat Officer, during which time he completed the ICSA qualifications to become a chartered secretary. He had the foresight to plan for life after the armed forces, and his background enables him to offer an alternative perspective on corporate governance and the role of the company secretary. 

Giles offers some interesting insight to the boardroom – of particular note are his thoughts on increasing responsibilities placed upon non-executive directors in light of the SMR and SMIR. He explains that he is passionate about the principle of collective responsibility for boards and believes that these regimes could perhaps undermine this. His concern is that the increased level of responsibility placed upon NEDs may be well received by some, but not by others – ‘I am not sure we want two tiers of NEDs’, he says. Read the full interview, 'We must not conflate governance with democracy'.

Another theme that runs through this issue is the perennial topic of reporting. We feature a somewhat critical article from John Stittle, 'Governance clutter', who believes there is much room for improvement in many annual reports. He describes ‘governance clutter’ in many and cites HSBC Holdings plc as an example, which is ‘a massive 502 pages’ – although reporting requirements have gotten more onerous.

Peter Swabey, in his feature 'Award winning reporting', however, notes that reporting on the whole is getting better. Overseeing the ICSA Awards judging process, he observes ‘Reports that were outstanding three years ago are now at the back of the pack, not because they have got worse, but because others have learned from them and have caught up or even overtaken’. He also provides some useful advice to those organisations hoping to improve their reporting.

On a final note, this will be my last issue as Editor of Governance and Compliance. I have very much enjoyed my time producing this magazine – thank you for all your insights to the profession and I wish you all a prosperous career.

Alexandra Jones is Editor of Governance and Compliance

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