Writing Board Papers

Writing Board Papers-79
They are both simple to use and, once you have completed them, will generate some tailored feedback.In the case of the self-assessment tool, you can also download a version if you wish to share it with your board or management to get their perspective on whether your board packs are hitting the mark.

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The cost calculator and self-assessment tool can both be accessed via the ICSA website, where you can also download a copy of the new guidance.

It was clear from our research that producing good quality board papers in an efficient way is something that is a challenge for organisations of all sectors and sizes and this was reinforced by your responses.

Also ensure that sufficient time is given to directors to absorb the paper prior to attending the meeting so that they can be prepared to discuss and debate it.

If the outcomes of a board paper have any budget implications, these should be clearly laid out for the board to consider.

There is no one-size-fits-all way of producing a board paper and it is therefore best if each board decides for itself how the preparation, format and content of papers should be presented.

Certain basic papers are generally accepted as being necessary: A paper should focus on strategic issues and be signed off by the CEO before being circulated to the board.It would have been impractical – and probably impossible – to produce guidance that covered all eventualities.Instead, we have tried to identify the factors that organisations should consider and questions they ought to ask themselves.Board papers should be distributed at least a week before the meeting to give board members ample time to read thoroughly.New guidance to refine the flow of information to the board and transform decision making In the February edition of Governance and Compliance, I reported on research by ICSA: The Governance Institute and Board Intelligence into the effectiveness of board reporting.Many thanks to all of you who took the time to contribute, we really could not have done it without you.The cost calculator was launched in May, and it seems many of you have been making good use of it already.Careful planning is essential to the effectiveness of any board meeting.This starts with the agenda – identifying and agreeing the essential business that must be carried out at the meeting; ensuring that sufficient time is allowed for discussion of the most important issues; and striking a balance between the board’s different responsibilities.Advance agenda planning and developing clear and agreed formats for board papers that bring out the most important issues can help to anticipate many challenges, but neither of those should been seen as a one-off exercise.Regular reviews are desirable to ensure board packs continue to serve their purpose.

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