22 August 2016 by Frank Curtiss
Dissemination of knowledge is at the heart of ICSA, says Frank Curtiss
ICSA’s Royal Charter states that we should lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’. It follows that positioning ourselves as the professional body for governance should ensure that our future is bright.
Governance is everywhere. You only need to consider the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May’s remarks on executive pay and employee directors on boards to know that it is a subject that is not going away. We have published a blog with our thoughts on this and will be contributing further to the debate as more becomes clear. However, it is already apparent from many studies that good governance actually does add value to businesses.
Governance professionals are right at the heart of organisations, promoting accountability, transparency, integrity and stewardship to ensure that organisations operate in a manner that is most productive. ICSA has strong credentials in this area and our expertise guides all types of organisations in the field of governance.
As governance has grown in importance, ICSA has expanded beyond the corporate world and we now have members in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. The growth in what we call compliance has been huge in the past 125 years and the profession has expanded well beyond the original core of company secretaries.
We have made a conscious decision to focus our efforts on areas with potential for growth. In addition to our core CSQS qualification, which is currently under review to ensure that it remains fit for purpose, we have created qualifications for governance professionals working in charities, the NHS, academies and sporting bodies. We now have advanced certificates in corporate governance, health service governance and sport governance and administration, as well as a diploma in charity management. We also have certificates in charity law and governance, employee share plans, company secretarial practice and share registration practice.
We have developed qualifications that cater to our main regions, including a certificate in company secretarial law and practice for Ireland and our suite of International Finance and Administration qualifications for international finance centres such as Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and further afield.
We are putting the dissemination of knowledge at the heart of our activities. Our guidance notes on company secretarial practice and other areas are highly regarded, but we are creating knowledge sets in new areas – such as academy schools. We have been quick off the mark on academisation and have published a book titled How to Run an Academy School, as well as 10 guidance notes and three more to come later this year.
It is hard to underestimate the importance of the need for good governance. The debate on the Chilcot Report – which was published on the period from 2001 to 2009 and embraced the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath – will no doubt run for some time. The report has highlighted the need for good governance and accountability in the decision-making process and the provision of reliable information in order to make decisions. The implications of this go well beyond the UK government and apply to all sectors and there is an obvious role here for ICSA. Our public consultation in May explored the practice of minuting meetings and our findings will be published on 19 September.
We need to let people know about our governance credentials to help us get to where we wish to go. One of my aims as President is to raise our profile. We are raising awareness of ICSA’s work through our research and improving understanding of the profession through media campaigns. Our members and students are our best ambassadors so I encourage you to do something for ICSA.
Here are a few suggestions: Support your branch and connect with your local professional network – and invite your contacts along to events; encourage a contact to join us as an affiliate – we are the natural home for governance, risk and compliance professionals and there is no better way to discover us than through personal recommendation; be an advocate for the profession by speaking to young people in education; if you are a Fellow, consider putting yourself forward for election to the UKRIAT Committee in the annual election cycle – the next election will take place in November 2016 and nominations are invited until 12 September.