May 14, 2007

Let us not forget the governors...

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has produced practical guidance for auditors and companies on the obligations in the revised Combined Code on Corporate Governance. Encouraging companies to follow our approach, the ICAEW recommends that boards should ask about the following questions:
  • Is there evidence that the board regularly considers whistleblowing procedures as part of its review of the system of internal control?
  • Are there issues or incidents which have otherwise come to the board's attention which they would have expected to have been raised earlier under the company's whistleblowing procedures?
  • Where appropriate, has the internal audit function performed any work that provides additional assurance on the effectiveness of the whistleblowing procedures?
  • Are there adequate procedures to track the actions taken in relation to concerns made and ensure appropriate follow-up action has been taken to investigate and, if necessary, resolve problems indicated by whistleblowing?
  • Are there adequate procedures for retaining evidence in relation to each concern?
  • Have confidentiality issues been handled effectively?
  • Is there evidence of timely and constructive feedback?
  • Have any events come to the committee's or the board's attention that might indicate that a staff member has not been fairly treated as a result of raising concerns?
  • Is a review of staff awareness of the procedures needed?
From: Public Concern at Work
One wonders if there are similar guidelines for Governors of universities and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The seven principles of public life (Nolan Committee) do apply to the governance of HEIs. There is also a guide of best practice, BUT no real accountability or policing.

OK, HEFCE, QAA, HEA... To whom are governors accountable? An answer we received not too long ago from somebody in HEFCE, suggested that governors are accountable to the other governors that elect/appoint them! Impressive.

To whom are governors really accountable?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What does one do when one obtains hard evidence that the Governors are themselves violating the Nolan principles? Does one need to go public with this evidence in order to stop the Governors from continuing their abuses?

What if HEFCE Board Members are in on the improper behavior? What would one do if one had evidence that a HEFCE Board Member engaged in collusion with a panel of a Board of Governors hearing a grievance appeal?

Where does one go with all of this?