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New national standard defines good governance

by Brian Sims

BSI has launched a new standard to help businesses of all sectors and sizes, implement good governance; this allows the rules for how businesses function, to be set in place and is the basis by which an organisation is directed, controlled and measured. BS 13500 Code of Practice for delivering effective governance of organisations was developed with experts including the Commonwealth Business Council, Cabinet Office, Institute of Operational Risk, UK Policy Governance Association and consumer interest groups. Governance failings of recent years such as the financial crisis of the late 2000s are well-documented but valuable learnings have come out of these errors. Fallout from such events shows the demand for identifying good governance. It is not just about decreased productivity and morale, but reputational damage and diminished confidence. All successful businesses are built upon trust and any breaches will result in damage that can take a long time to repair. Tim George, Deputy Company Secretary at Carillion is currently using BS 13500. He says,” Organisations need to have positive differentiators to set them aside from the competition. Confidence in the quality of an organisation’s governance is a key differentiator.” Major lapses at the heart of organisations do not just lead to decreased productivity and morale, but cause reputational damage and loss of trust. BS 13500 aims to alleviate such failings by enabling businesses to have clear accountability for their actions. It can help minimise risk and will positively impact businesses by helping them be prepared for all eventualities and to achieve success. BS 13500 framework is a non-prescriptive document set to help directors, managers, heads of governance, compliance, corporate social responsibility and risk, as well as trustees and owners to identify what they need to practise good governance. Michael Faber Chairman of the Governance Committee at BSI and Member of the Executive Committee at the Institute of Operational Risk says,” Governance is key to the long term success or failure of any organisation. BS 13500 can raise the profile, understanding and effectiveness of governance, providing a standard of practice that can be consistently applied for all.”

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