President's Report to Members - April 2021 International Council meeting
The purpose of this note is to inform you of what was discussed, as well as some important decisions taken, at The Chartered Governance Institute’s most recent international Council meeting held via Zoom on 22 and 23 April 2021.
For the third time since the beginning of this pandemic the Council has had to hold its meeting online via Zoom. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held face-to-face in London. However, I can say with confidence that the Council meetings are nevertheless very effective as, like many others, we have learned to become proficient in conducting meetings such as these over Zoom.
Notwithstanding that attendee time zones ranged from Toronto, Canada to Auckland, New Zealand, all members of Council and Chief Executives attended the Council meeting. The Council had a broad agenda for this meeting and the engagement across who attended the meeting was very good.
Election of honorary officers
As the Honorary Officers were appointed at the April 2020 meeting, and the terms for Honorary Officers are for two years, there were no elections required at this meeting.
Budget for 2020/21
The Council approved the budget for the 2021/2022 year and again was mindful of the financial pressure that many Divisions are operating under. Accordingly, Council agreed to extend the reduction in the annual capitation fee for a further year into the 2021/2022 operating period.
There is a budgeted but manageable deficit proposed for 2021/2022, largely due to the reduction of the capitation fee, but the budget will return to surplus in 2022/23. The consensus view of Council was, whilst budgeting for a deficit is not desirable, support for the Divisions at this time was a priority and this particular deficit could be seen as being offset by the funds that have been saved over the last year due to the impact of Covid-19 and is also covered by cash reserves.
Council was also of the view that it was important to maintain the momentum of increasing awareness that the Institute is the only global professional association for governance professionals and the only organisation that can confer the professional designations of Chartered Secretary and Chartered Governance Professional. Hence, on-going financial support for the Divisions wherever possible will assist to maintain this important forward-looking momentum.
2020 + Strategic plan
The 2020+ Strategic Plan put in place last year is structured around 6 key elements:
- Financial stability and sustainability (including our Covid-19 response);
- Business growth for students and members;
- Brand enhancement;
- Thought leadership, and,
- Organisational governance.
The Council reviewed the strategic progress being made against the Plan which is on track and as we move forward various priorities will be fine-tuned to suit available resources.
The Council was provided with a detailed update on progress that included, amongst other things:
- As the work of the Thought Leadership Committee (TLC) is critical in progressing the Institute’s mission we have almost concluded a process to recruit an experienced Policy Adviser to support the work of the Committee in a direct and on-going way. An appointment to this role is expected very soon.
- The Professional Standards Committee (PSC) has concluded its two projects in regard to remote online examinations and its review of how the Institute assesses a person’s suitability to qualify as a Chartered Secretary or Chartered Governance Professional. Section (e) below provides some further detail.
- The Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Company Secretaries of India has been reviewed, with enhancements agreed that will support the strategic goals of the Institute.
- Some aspects of our own governance have been reviewed and improved including reporting by the Divisions to Council, preliminary discussions on determining Council composition for the future as well as increased communication and co-operation between Divisions.
The Council and Divisions have been working to distil the essence of what it means to be a member of the Institute. Clarity and consensus are important as they influence how resources are allocated and messages delivered. The Council agreed that the following best describes the Institute’s member-value proposition:
Membership of The Chartered Governance Institute will:
- Distinguish you in your career when you gain its internationally recognised and portable qualification – the gold standard in governance,
- Equip you with real-time exchange of knowledge and practices of governance on a global scale – by being part of a large network of experts that transcends geographic borders,
- Link you to a global governance organisation that can advocate at international levels - to influence governance standards and trends into the future,
- Support you with its global presence and network of National Institutes - through continuing professional development, thought leadership and networking.
Pathways to membership
Over the last few months an internal review of pathways to membership has been underway involving all Divisions, the PSC and the Executive Committee. Amongst other things, the introduction of the Chartered Governance Professional designation has necessitated a review of the greater variety of skills, experience and tertiary qualifications that prospective members have attained in today’s world.
The Institute faces the same challenges as other professional Institutes to grow membership and to position itself to provide enhanced value to members now and into the future. With some modifications, membership in the Institute can be more attainable whilst at the same time preserving the very high qualification standards that is associated with becoming a Chartered Secretary and/or Chartered Governance Professional.
Over the coming months the Institute will be announcing more streamlined pathways to Affiliated membership and more streamlined pathways to Associate and Fellow membership. Greater weight will be given to relevant work experience, there will be a broadening of the tertiary qualifications seen as relevant as well as greater recognition of other professional memberships a person may hold.
The eCommunity is an increasingly valuable asset for the global Institute and continues to grow in size, reach and participation. There are now over 3,500 registered users of the platform and at least one new discussion-thread each week.
Most recently, the global Institute held its first webinar for 2021, Women in the boardroom: an international governance stocktake that went to air on 11 March. The webinar attracted over 2,450 registrations of which 340 were non-members and many from countries where there is no Institute Division.
The ability to direct people to the platform for discussions following the release of thought leadership papers or webinars demonstrates the global nature of the Institute in an effective manner. This is a key benefit to members that brings the global nature of our Institute to you in a convenient way. You can access the <eCommunity here> and if you have not registered, I urge you to do so.
Professional Standards Committee
The PSC has been devoting time to two projects that revolve around the assessment aspects of the International Qualifying Scheme (IQS). First, in conjunction with Divisions, the PSC has developed a set of guidelines for those Divisions that moved to conduct online examinations remotely. The advent of Covid-19 made it near impossible to conduct exams face-to-face and so a number of Divisions moved immediately to remote online examinations. In these circumstances, the guidelines serve to inform students and protect the integrity of the examination process.
The PSC has also undertaken a review of the assessment framework of the IQS with a view to modernising the way the Institute assesses a student’s understanding of the course. At the current time, in many instances the assessment tools are limited to 3-hour closed-book examinations. There have been many advances in adult learning that can be incorporated into how the Institute assesses students and the work of the PSC in this regard is expected to be implemented within the coming months.
Thought Leadership Committee
The Council also received a report on the work of the Thought Leadership Committee.
As foreshadowed in my March report the TLC released Women in the boardroom: an international governance stocktake. This is an excellent research project and Dr. Rosanne Harwaden, Peter Greenwood and the TLC are to be congratulated for the excellent work they have put into this project.
As is always the case, the intellectual property generated from the TLC papers is leveraged to generate discussions on the eCommunity, released via social media and, in this instance as reported above, used as the basis of a global webinar.
As noted above, we expect to finalise the appointment of a Policy Advisor to assist the TLC very soon.
All Divisions provided Council with an update on how they have been continuing to adapt as a result of the disruption stemming from Covid-19. Divisions are doing everything they can to see that disruption to students is kept to a minimum.
The April 2020 meeting was an opportunity to acknowledge, and to farewell, Frank Curtiss from the Institute’s UK-based Division. Frank has been a member of Council for over 7 years and amongst other things has been a champion of the Institute’s membership of the International Integrated Reporting Council. Frank’s service over many years to the Institute is deeply appreciated.
I would like to thank all my colleagues on the international Council for their focus and engagement and all the time freely given for the benefit of our membership and in particular to Immediate Past-President Edith Shih (China), Vice-Presidents Jill Parratt (Southern Africa), John Heaton (CGIUKI) and Dr Syed Hamid Aljunid as well as Frank Bush (Acting-Chair of PSC) who serve on our Executive Committee.
We are also appreciative of all those members who serve on divisional councils or sit on branch committees throughout the world. We are also grateful to the Director General, Tim Sheehy, as well as our Institute Secretary Cynthia Mora Spencer and to all of the staff in our nine divisions who have worked so closely with their members to generate support for these recent new international initiatives.
I look forward to keeping you informed of developments.
Peter Turnbull AM FCG
11 May 2021
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