ICSA: The Governance Institute celebrates rise of governance at 2017 awards ceremony

The team from Land Securities Group plc with (far right) presenter Dominic Holland

The team from Land Securities Group plc with (far right) presenter Dominic Holland

ICSA: The Governance Institute has recognised companies, individuals and teams that are leading the way in corporate reporting, investor engagement and good governance at the organisation’s 2017 awards ceremony. The premier event in the governance calendar was hosted by comedian, actor and comedic writer Dominic Holland and witnessed over 720 governance professionals gathered together at the Hilton Hotel on London’s Park Lane to celebrate the achievements of their peers.

The awards, which are split between categories for corporate reporting and excellence in governance, saw Land Securities Group plc crowned winner of the Best Annual Report for the FTSE 100, Spirax-Sarco plc awarded Best Annual Report in the FTSE 250 and Dialight plc triumph in the Best Annual Report for the Small CAP/AIM category. Legal and General Investment Management took home the accolade for Best Investor Engagement.

In terms of individual honours, Sarah McLaughlin of Allied Irish Banks plc was named Company Secretary of the Year and Katie Hollis of the Pension Protection Fund was crowned Governance Professional of the Year.

Simon Osborne, CEO of ICSA, commented: “The standard of entries is always high, but the quality of this year’s submissions meant that there really were some fiercely fought categories, emphasising just how seriously companies within the FTSE 350 are taking their governance responsibilities. Ultimately, strong governance strengthens corporate reputation and helps to build trust, which is particularly vital at the current time given the political and economic instability we’re all experiencing.”

Osborne added: “I’m delighted that our awards are able to recognise those individuals and teams who are helping to ensure high standards in corporate governance, as well as those companies using reporting requirements to communicate clearly what sets them apart from their peers. Congratulations to our winners and all those companies, teams and individuals shortlisted for an award in 2017. That’s a significant achievement in itself.”

The full listing of the 2017 winners is as follows:

Company Secretary of the Year Sarah McLaughlin receives her award from Jeff Hilk (left) of Diligent & Blueprint OneWorld

Company Secretary of the Year Sarah McLaughlin receives her award from Jeff Hilk (left) of Diligent & Blueprint OneWorld

Annual Report of the Year (FTSE 100) (Sponsored by AWCS: Association of Women Chartered Secretaries)

Winner: Land Securities Group plc, Highly Commended: Marks and Spencer Group plc

Annual Report of the Year (FTSE 250) 

Winner: Spirax-Sarco plc

Annual Report of the Year (Small CAP/AIM)

Winner: Dialight plc

Audit Disclosure of the Year

Winner: Barclays plc

Risk Disclosure of the Year (Sponsored by the Institute of Risk Management)

Winner: Standard Chartered plc

Best Investor Engagement

Winner: Legal and General Investment Management, Highly Commended: Columbia Threadneedle Investment

Board Disclosure of the Year (Sponsored by Prism CoSec Limited)

Winner: Marks and Spencer Group plc

Strategic Report of the Year (Sponsored by Addleshaw Goddard)

Winner: Vodafone Group plc

Remuneration Report of the Year (Sponsored by New Bridge Street)

Winner: BAE Systems plc, Highly Commended: Berensen plc

Sustainability Disclosure of the Year (Sponsored by Deutsche Bank)

Winner: GlaxoSmithKline plc, Highly Commended: Unilever Group

Company Secretary of the Year (Sponsored by Diligent & Blueprint OneWorld)

Winner: Sarah McLaughlin (Allied Irish Banks plc), Highly Commended: Tabitha Kassem (Network Homes Limited)

Governance Professional of the Year (Sponsored by Computershare Governance Services)

Winner: Kate Hollis (Pension Protection Fund)

Team of the Year (Sponsored by Brainloop)

Winner: LV=, Highly Commended: Standard Life (Aberdeen)

Governance Project of the Year (Sponsored by Morrow Sodali)

Winner: Coca-Cola European Partners plc for Project Apollo

Service Provider of the Year

Winner: Prism CoSec Limited, Highly Commended: Burness Paull LLP

The One To Watch (Sponsored by DMJ Recruitment)

Winner: Natalie Gracey (Scottish Widows), Highly Commended: Naomi Rogers (Janus Henderson Investors)

Outstanding Achievement Award

Winner: Paul Druckman

Top governance stories and events in 2017

The Government’s Green Paper on corporate governance reform, revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code and the implications of the BHS pensions ‘scandal’ top the list of key governance stories and events in 2017. That’s according to a detailed poll conducted by ICSA: The Governance Institute in conjunction with recruitment specialist The Core Partnership.

Other governance stories making the list included the Hollywood, BBC and political scandals over abuse of power/sexual harassment, remuneration (including proposals to require listed companies to report the ratio of CEO pay against the average UK worker’s pay and gender pay issues), proposals to mandate large private companies to comply with the UK Corporate Governance Code, Board diversity, the value of workers on Boards, Tesco balance sheet manipulation/Tesco auditors and the LSE shareholder challenge.

“2017 has seen a plethora of governance news, some of which has been largely positive, such as the Government’s pledge to reform corporate governance, and some of which has been far more negative, like the stories of sexual harassment and abuse of power in Hollywood, Westminster and beyond,” stated Peter Swabey, policy and research director at ICSA. “There’s a clear need to create an environment whereby reports of this nature are taken seriously. Good governance is one way in which UK companies can help to enforce cultural change.”

Swabey continued: “The General Election result and the ongoing Brexit negotiations have pushed reform down the political agenda, but the recent launch of the Financial Reporting Council’s consultation on changes to the UK Corporate Governance Code is an ideal opportunity for people to refocus their minds and help to create a better governance environment in which UK businesses can flourish. With Brexit looming, long-term success and sustainability will be inextricably linked to corporate culture and business integrity.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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