ceo letter

Boards and company secretaries have grappled with the issue of how much detail to include in their minutes since it became a point of contention in cross-examination at the Hayne Royal Commission. In August, the AICD and Governance Institute of Australia collaborated on a webinar to help members understand their responsibilities in this area. The webinar, which featured experts including Graham Bradley AM FAICD and barrister Douglas Gration FGIA, received a tremendous response. Nearly 3000 AICD members registered for the webinar. It is a demonstration of AICD members’ commitment to strengthening governance practice. Recording accurately in the minutes the decisions of a board and its reasoning for them is an essential pillar of accountability. Sound practice lies at the heart of good governance.

The need for the AICD to promote high standards in the practice of governance was prominent in the feedback we received in our member consultation on the Forward Governance Agenda. Continuing to provide practical guidance on the day-to-day responsibilities of boards is crucial for the AICD in meeting this expectation.

In the consultation, additional support and guidance on the subject of culture was the focus of most members. More than three quarters of respondents asked for a short-form guide on the topic including questions boards should be asking; 70 per cent wanted more practical case studies demonstrating good practice; and 59 per cent asked for formal diagnostics. We have acted on the feedback and have already started to release some of this work.

In July, we published a short tool on governing organisational culture. Recognising the complexity of the task of governing culture, the tool provides a framework for understanding the formal and informal drivers of culture that members can use to influence both. It includes practical questions boards can ask to sharpen their practices in governing culture. The AICD advisory team also has developed a culture diagnostic to assist boards in identifying gaps.

We are committed to providing the resources you requested in the consultation, not just on culture, but also on directors’ duties and remuneration. AICD’s program to provide resources and tools is being revised and will launch before the end of the year. The tools cover the full range of governance issues — from board recruitment to strategic plan development. This review is intended to make sure our tools are current and fit-for-purpose in today’s governance landscape.

The need for the AICD to promote high standards in the practice of governance was prominent in the feedback we received in our member consultation on the Forward Governance Agenda.

The task of financial governance can be daunting. We recently published a second edition of Financial Fundamentals for Directors, which aims to aid directors with their financial literacy. The new edition has been updated to reflect current accounting standards and reporting frameworks. During August we also ran short courses on financial governance in Adelaide and Perth, equipping directors with the skills they need to have confidence in this area.

Last month we also launched the Not-for-Profit (NFP) Governance and Performance Study, a cornerstone piece of research the AICD undertakes every year to guide practice in this vital sector. The AICD’s NFP sector leader, Phil Butler GAICD, is currently on a national roadshow presenting the results to members across the country from Townsville to Perth. The study presentations are complemented by a series of events for NFP directors, committee members and councillors of small NFPs on the fundamentals of good governance based on the updated edition of the AICD’s NFP Governance Principles, released in January.

The AICD website is rich in resources to enhance your governance practice.

I encourage you to look under the “resources” tab on the homepage. If you cannot find what you need, email your membership representative by clicking on the link in your MySite. We want to hear how we can help you, your board and your organisation meet your governance responsibilities. We know there is great interest from our members for guidance on the bread-and-butter issues you address every day in your roles.

Continuing to provide relevant resources that are up-to-date with the latest governance developments is central to the AICD’s mission of building the capability of a community of leaders for the benefit of society.