Author's Name: Mark Schultz
Date: Mon 14 Dec 2015

A governance manual – a necessary component of good governance

It is generally expected that an organisation will have a documented policies, procedures and operational manuals in place to ensure continuity of practice consistent with the expectations of those responsible for leading the organisation and to remove the potential risks of decision and policy “on the run”. This is also an expectation and requirement for good governance. 

A Governance Manual has many benefits in the ongoing quest for good governance including:

  • Creating a system that provides a framework for the business of the board incorporating policies, procedures, roles, responsibilities and duties of both board members and the Chief Executive;
  • Board meeting procedures, frequency, agendas, minutes and protocols;
  • Sub committees, terms of reference, accountabilities and delegation;
  • Risk management – process, responsibility and management;
  • Expectations of board members – time commitments, skills, accountabilities;
  • Performance management – of the organisation the Chief Executive and the Boards itself;
  • Composition of the board – a preferred skill set for the effective governance of the organisation; and
  • A board induction process – to inform new board members and enable them to become a more effective contributor to board business sooner rather than later.

Whilst the creation of a governance manual will consume valuable resources, the process itself will be beneficial for everyone involved as all will have to think about, discuss and agree on the content. This will also mean that all board members will have a common understanding of the governance framework, and that is fundamental to good governance. And finally, it must be reviewed and updated annually to ensure relevance and currency – another item for the annual agenda.

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