Often organisations espouse good intentions and commit to various corporate policies that purport to good practices. Underneath, the reality is far from the promotion of good governance.

Organisations are now so complex with a hybrid of operating platforms, legacy databases plus human interventions that governance arrangements often appear to be lost within a set of ‘internal controls’. Organisations assume that these internal controls will create a governance platform.

Sadly, this is not the case. Good governance in my experience needs to start with the CEO and Board. Often, I have found in many organisations the Board is painfully unaware of the complexity of the organisation’s business model. This sadly permeates into corporate governance becoming at best ethereal and worst benign.

To ensure effective corporate governance the organisation must firstly believe and drive the concept internally and establish and understand the external and internal context that it operates within. The corporate risks that the entity faces needs to be established, evaluated and managed.

The required actions should feed into a single, holistic and easy to use / access governance platform. Such a platform should clearly codify: accountability, direction and responsibility. Easily understood arrangements and controls should be codified in simple to use frameworks.

I have encountered many organisations where compliance systems have been held in old legacy databases, not up-dated or refreshed and technically un-responsive to navigation. Thus, becoming redundant in the eyes of users.

So, what is needed? Often a fresh pair of eyes within the organisation needs to look at what the corporate needs and expectations are, the sector that is operated within in and a thorough evaluation of the effectiveness of the governance platform. Looking at a process approach are ‘outputs’ achieving the required needs.

Marcus Allen has twenty years’ experience as a management consultant. He has worked with over a hundred and fifty organisations on compliance / governance frameworks, covering both regulated and non-regulated arenas. Marcus holds a Master’s degree in Management Learning and Change from the University of Bristol and the highly respected Diploma in Governance Risk and Compliance from the ICA. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and Fellow of the Institute of Consultants.