Upcoming Events

Oct
8
Tue
2019
9:00 am The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
Oct 8 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
The effective Non-Executive Director course helps you to be an effective non-executive director. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0'[...]
Oct
22
Tue
2019
9:00 am How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ Institute of Directors
How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ Institute of Directors
Oct 22 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
How to become a Non-Executive Director – London 22 October 2019 @ Institute of Directors
Find out how you can obtain a Non-Executive Director position by booking a place on this interactive 1-day course. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0' data-image-meta='{'aperture':'0','credit':'','camera':'','caption':'','created_timestamp':'0','copyright':'','focal_length':'0','iso':'0','shutter_speed':'0','title':'','orientation':'0'}' data-image-title='NED3' data-image-description=' ‘ data-medium-file=’https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=300%2C177&ssl=1′ data-large-file=’https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=695%2C409&ssl=1′ class=’alignright size-medium wp-image-113603′ src=’https://i0.wp.com/www.nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31-300×177.png?resize=300%2C177&ssl=1′[...]
Nov
6
Wed
2019
9:00 am The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
Nov 6 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
The effective Non-Executive Director course helps you to be an effective non-executive director. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0'[...]

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) – Chair

Chair – Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) Recruiter: Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) Location: London Salary: £187,500 Posted: 09 Sep 2019 Closes: 07 Oct 2019 Job Function: Chair Industry: Energy, Public The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) mission to safely and securely clean-up the UK’s nuclear legacy across its seventeen sites is one of national importance. The NDA’s […]

The post Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) – Chair appeared first on NEDworks.

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Governance on the political agenda as general election looms

10 Downing Street

An election before Christmas is almost certain. Brexit will undoubtedly dominate the campaigning and the policy agenda, but there is a chance other policy topics will make an appearance, at least in party manifestos.

Among those may be a slew of governance topics. They may not be major vote winners, but they could certainly be used to bolster support. But which policies will be lined up to win the hearts and minds of UK voters?

This is not a frivolous question. Though it may seem an age ago, Theresa May, in both her leadership speeches and her rocky 2017 election campaign, placed governance front and centre. Indeed, May’s manifesto said she would deliver “fairer corporate governance” and make it an essential part of tackling social divisions and building an “economy that works for everyone”. She cast governance as key part of policymaking.

Since then corporate governance has become a core focus of political discourse here and in the US. In the presidential election, key candidates—among them Elizabeth Warren—have built their campaigns around confronting what they see as a system unfairly weighted in favour of big corporations.

In the UK policies have already been developed and implemented. Chief among them was an update to the UK’s corporate governance. This introduced three options for worker representation on boards, a watering down of May’s original discussion of mandatory workers on boards. The worker director remains an option, but few companies are expected to take it up.

Potential policies

Will the current Conservative government push for more governance reforms? Despite their recent budgetary largesse during the recent spending review, Boris Johnson’s government is unlikely to be so relaxed with governance.

According to Ashley Walsh, head of policy and research at campaign group the High Pay Centre, while we might see some measures to extend gender and ethnicity pay gap disclosures, anything else is unlikely, despite the core issue for business being public trust.

“Sajid Javid and Andrea Leadsom have been schooled in the same orthodoxy as Philip Hammond,” Walsh says, “and will be unlikely to push the agenda any further, preferring to wait to examine how the new corporate governance regime will alter public trust in business as well as corporate governance practices.”

The Labour Party, however, has been developing policy while the Tories manage party schisms. Chief among their proposals is addressing capital ownership. There are two ideas likely to feature in the party’s manifesto: employee ownership trusts (EOTs) and what it calls its “inclusive ownership fund” (IOF).

Many believe we can expect Labour to offer some form of incentive for the creation of EOTs, either from existing companies, or for new ones. One example is the transfer of ownership of the electronics retailer Richer Sounds to employees by its founder; another example is organic veg delivery business Riverford. John Lewis also stands out as a beacon for Labour policy thinkers.

The IOFs would see companies move 10% of their capital into a fund from which employees would then receive a dividend. This might also be tied to a demand for 30% of board places going to employees. Labour has looked to the continent, and Germany in particular, for this model.

Ashley Walsh believes Labour might return to the topic of reforming regulatory bodies.

“Expect Labour to radically rethink the regulatory framework after the Sikka Report last year recommended that parliament replace the Financial Conduct Authority and other regulators with a new ‘pyramid structure’ of overseers led by a ‘business commission’ representing stakeholders from the workforce and wider society, with sub-commissions focusing on corporate governance, finance, banking, and accounting.”

Labour has not impressed everyone with its reform agenda. The Financial Times, in partnership with the law firm Clifford Chance, estimates the IOFs would cost £300bn in shares. Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, has said two-thirds of its members would be hit by IOFs. She told the FT there would be an “immediate hit to investors, many of whom are pension funds, and it makes it harder for businesses to raise capital for future growth”.

In an election scenario Labour may attempt to make much of its efforts to reform business. The Conservatives may be too tied up in Brexit calculations to offer a rounded agenda. Either way, an interesting debate lies ahead.

The post Governance on the political agenda as general election looms appeared first on Board Agenda.

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Press release: Publishers with false emergency services links wound-up in court

Liverpool publishers wound-up by the court after falsifying links to the emergency services and charities to secure more than £63,000 in advertising revenues. […]

‘I was really supported’: Flexible work helping parents, carers balance commitments

Flexible working arrangements like part-time work, job sharing and working from home are becoming more sought-after, with suggestions they could solve everything from the gender pay gap to congestion in big cities.

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Board of Management of Glasgow Kelvin College – Board Member

Board Member – Board of Management of Glasgow Kelvin College Reference: 1693 Remuneration: Non remunerated Location: Glasgow City Closing date: 20 September 2019 at midnight Glasgow Kelvin College’s ethos derives from its commitment to excellence, progression and enterprise. It seeks to provide learning opportunities of the highest quality, which engage learners from the widest range […]

The post Board of Management of Glasgow Kelvin College – Board Member appeared first on NEDworks.

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Two out of 25 — the number of top female CEOs appointed last year

The percentage of women in the top jobs at Australia’s biggest companies has slipped from 7 per cent to 6 per cent, while 17 per cent of firms still have no women in their executive leadership teams, a new census has revealed.

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Total Insight Theatre – Treasurer

Treasurer – Total Insight Theatre Organisation: Total Insight Theatre Reference: Trustee Recruitment Vacancy Type: Treasurer Deadline: 4th October 2019 Region: Nation Wide Vacancy Details Total Insight Theatre is an arts charity creating insightful theatre that matters for children and young people experiencing disadvantage. Working in partnership with local authorities, schools, youth centres and voluntary organisations […]

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East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – Non-Executive Director

Non-Executive Director – East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust We are recruiting a Non-executive Director to join the board of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT). This is an exceptional opportunity to share your talents and expertise to make a positive difference to the lives of people in your community. The opportunity N2027 We are seeking […]

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Ubico – Independent Chair and two Board members

Independent Chair and two Board members – Ubico Recruiter: Ubico Location: Gloucestershire Salary: Remuneration Posted: 06 Sep 2019 Closes: 04 Oct 2019 Job Function: Board Member, Chair Industry: Science / Environment, Waste Management MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT Independent Chair (£6k) Independent Board Members x 2 (£4.5k) Ubico is a well-established waste, recycling and […]

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Strategic shifts are needed to ensure due diligence in global supply chains

due diligence, global supply chains

Over the past years, the global fragmentation of value chains has allowed economies of scale and gains of competitiveness. However, the complexity of the value chains has made it more and more difficult for companies to maintain appropriate control over outsourced activities and to control all the risks inherent to an increasing number of worldwide actors.

Following the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, opinion is being stirred up and more and more voices speak up to force companies to take into account end-user expectations. In fact, conscious consumerism is forcing companies to become more mindful of the impact they have on the ecosystem in which they operate. Scrutiny is now extending to make sure that companies are not doing abroad what they cannot do at home.

At the international level, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises—adopted in 2000—are of central importance. The UN Global Compact initiative is another example of internationally recommended code of conduct for a socially responsible corporate behaviour. These both provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct.

Conscious consumerism is forcing companies to become more mindful of the impact they have on the ecosystem in which they operate

At the European level, the European Commission has made it clear in its 2015 Trade for all strategy that “global value chains mean trade policy can no longer be approached from a narrow mercantilist angle”.

The EU’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive aims also to provide insights on how companies address risks related notably to environmental and human rights issues. In its 2018 Action Plan on Sustainable Finance, the European Commission is considering the possible need to require corporate boards to develop and disclose a sustainability strategy, including appropriate due diligence throughout the supply chain.

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) is about to release the new European Commission study on regulation for human rights due diligence. This study deals with the request by the European Parliament of June 2018 to the Commission to propose a mandatory legislative framework for mandatory human rights due diligence, including “a duty of care to be fully phased-in within a transitional period”.

Global shifts

Before making their opinion, the European regulators have first to acknowledge the shifts in global value chains. According to a recent McKinsey report, value chains are becoming more regional and less global, given that automation technologies erode the advantage of large low-wage workforces. As highlighted in their report, “less than 20% of goods trade is based on labour-cost arbitrage, and in many value chains, that share has been declining over the last decade. (…) Global value chains are becoming more knowledge-intensive and reliant on high-skill labour”.

Value chains will be less about lowering costs but about differentiating strategic choices

Value chains will be less about lowering costs but about differentiating strategic choices. There is also a chance that tariffs and non-tariff barriers will continue to rise, reversing the tendency to over-outsource like some companies did over the past decades.

The reality is also that most companies have a large amount of different supply chains—extremely complex, spanning over a variety of different sorts of suppliers and subcontractors as well as across national and intercontinental borders. Artificial intelligence and blockchain will help ensure better identification of the suppliers and create a holistic supply chain program to facilitate regulatory compliance. However, we are not there yet, and developing digital capabilities entails a cost that the regulator should not underestimate.

Setting high standards

Boards have to set the tone and should have an unwavering commitment to set high ethical standards for management. But turning boards into legal departments will not bring more capabilities and real engagement of board members. The important point is to ensure that these topics—whether it is ethical supply chains, corruption, labour force or human rights—are mentioned and tabled on boards’ agendas. It is the responsibility of boards to challenge management and make sure that a policy is applied.

However, it appears as a vastly unrealistic idea that would most likely lead to heavy bureaucratic procedures, to hold companies legally accountable for—or even require them to report on—the behaviour of all those suppliers. In France, business organisations such as AFEP have criticised the recent law on the duty of vigilance for not defining precise rules and normative reference frame that can lead to legal uncertainty.

It is the responsibility of boards to challenge management and make sure that a policy is applied

Any EU-level regulation of this matter should be confined to voluntary guidelines which should be developed in close cooperation with the companies concerned and be fully in line with already existing frameworks. EcoDa’s perspective on governance regulation is that it should always be tailored to the size, complexity and maturity of business enterprises.

We are opposed to a “one size fits all” approach. We favour the OECD principle-based and sectoral approach (cf. guidance on garment and footwear sector). While in the EU, the governance codes for listed companies are primarily dedicated to companies, the approach followed in the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance is much broader. It includes provisions at the attention of governments, shareholders and stakeholders as well.

This being said, businesses cannot reasonably overlook the correlation between their supply chains and their business model. To be sustainable, companies require customer loyalty and brand value. At the end, the current debate on due diligence in supply chains might reinforce the trend that we see of production moving closer to consumers.

Béatrice Richez-Baum is director general of ecoDa, the European Confederation of Directors Associations.

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