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For the good of the people

01 October 2018 by Henry Ker

For the good of the people

Good governance is intrinsically linked to social concerns, ethics, sustainability and welfare

‘When we tell people to comply … we are trying to put them in a straitjacket. But when we give people ownership, we gain their commitment. And commitment is a much stronger currency,’ says Dr Nneka Abulokwe in our interview.

She advocates a people-centric model of governance; trusting in the strength of culture and individual integrity: ‘If our governance engenders a culture of enabling people to think and take ownership for
their actions, then that is our first point of security.’

It is a model I have come to believe in myself. After all, based on the many governance scandals we have seen in recent years, regulation struggles to stop someone wantonly acting immorally, against what is best for the company, or indeed, society at large.

Linked to this, Professor Paul Stanton namechecks Cicero as ‘the ethical touchstone for every NHS board’ in our other interview: ‘Let the good of the people be the highest law’. It is a mantra which arguably could be lent to every modern organisation.

“A people-centric model of governance, trusting in culture and individual integrity”

This is the place in which we find governance in 2018: intrinsically linked to social concerns, ethics, sustainability and welfare – and to people.

Liz Bradley, ICSA’s policy manager, explains in our new research that: ‘The next generation of company secretaries see a stronger connection between pervasive social issues and the governance landscape of the future.

‘By steering their organisations to engage more proactively with these issues, they [can] help to mitigate the increasing tendency to resort to regulation as a means of making sure organisations are paying attention to the issues that impact us all.’

Rather than baulk at this expanding remit for the profession’s core responsibility, this is an opportunity for the modern company secretary or governance professional to position themselves at the centre of a dynamic evolution in governance.

On a final note, this is my last issue as editor of Governance and Compliance. I have had a fantastic time running the magazine and met so many enthusiastic members and advocates for good governance. I wish you all the very best for the future..

Henry Ker is editor of Governance and Compliance

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