Corporate Governance & Equalities

A range of risks can be faced by any Board, Governing Body or Corporation in the public, private or indeed voluntary sectors. These risks may be summarised as:

  • Governance and management risks.
  • Operational risks.
  • Financial risks.
  • Environmental and external risks.
  • Compliance risks.

Against this backdrop over-aching risks a wide range of equality and diversity issues need to be considered from both an employment and service delivery perspective, including:


1. The Business Consideration

Do those at the top understand what is meant by the business or economic case for equality and diversity in terms of either employment or service delivery? What is the cost of doing something? What is the cost of not doing something? Success for an applicant in a tribunal can mean thousands of pounds being spent on preparation for the case and subsequent compensation. With the defeat often comes appalling local and national publicity damaging the corporate reputation of the whole organisation raising stringent questions about those in charge. And many discrimination claims bring about the waste of talent with an added detriment on further recruitment AND retention of those already employed.

2. The Organisational Considerations

Do those at the top of the organisation appreciate the steady shift from the individual having to prove a claim of discrimination to one where it is the organisation that often has to prove with tangible evidence that they did not discriminate? The new public duties on equalities and those already in place are part of this agenda.

External scrutiny regimes are increasingly demanding tangible evidence that policies and procedures do far more than tick boxes! Those in a governance role have a clear overarching scrutiny role here which they must sustain and review.

3.The Demographic Considerations

Britain is changing –fast! An ageing population and with it the advent of much more flexibility with the retirement age means that many employers have 4G workplaces – i.e. four generations from 16 to 70 plus! Does the board appreciate and understand the opportunities and tensions these factors can bring to bear on their company or organisation? Do the board themselves reflect the 4G profile in their own membership? The added dimension of economic migrants and greater freedom within the European Union to secure employment – country to country – mean that those at the top must do what they can to secure convivial working environments for everyone as well as ensuring that robust checks are in place to verify entitlement to work in the country.

4. The Legal Considerations

Legislation within the field of equal opportunities has evolved over time and continues to do so. It can be complex and there is a lot of it. Employers and service providers are not only bound by UK legislation but also by European Union Directives. Ignorance of these laws is not a defence. The concept of “Vicarious Liability” for any offensive discriminatory behaviour and conduct goes right to the top of the organisation. It follows clearly that the board will need to satisfy itself that everyone in the organisation is aware not only of their rights but also their associated responsibilities. Tribunal claims have been lost by employers because this balance was not achieved. But in other cases these liabilities have been considerably reduced and transferred to the offender when, under scrutiny, it emerges that hard headed policies with clear procedures were in place, that effective sustained training underpinned this provision and that fast track mechanisms were in place to alert the board about prevailing or imminent problems and issues.Building on all the foregoing range of risks, we take participants through a programme that includes the following dimensions:

  • Understanding and regularly reviewing the ethos and values that underpin the organisation’s work, and ensuring Board members, employees and others involved with the organisation understand these values and how they apply to their work.
  • Maintaining a long-term overview of the organisation and all its work.
  • Ensuring that decision making procedures are transparent and accountable (i.e. people know who makes decisions and how they are made, and decisions are reported to the people who have a right to know about them).
  • Ensuring the needs and interests of relevant people and bodies are considered when making decisions.
  • Ensuring adequate resources are available to carry out activities, and making decisions about how to proceed when resources turn out to not be available.
  • Monitoring the work of the organisation.
  • Ensuring appropriate action is taken when work is not being done properly.
  • Taking legal responsibility for the organisation and all its actions (or inactions).

This one-day training workshops explores all of the above, illustrates specific potential risks, with suggested solutions and action recommendations

For Whom

This workshop is for Directors and Governors of any Board, Governing Body or Corporation in the public, private or indeed voluntary sectors. Senior HR managers looking to support Directors and Governors better may also benefit attending.

This workshop can be delivered workshop in a lecture style over half a day and during non working hours but delivery costs may be the same or higher respectively. Participant specific organisational policies and procedures can be included at additional cost

Aims and Objectives

This one day workshop is designed to give Directors, Governors and Board Members a better understanding of the equalities issues facing their business from Governance, operational, financial, environmental, compliance and operational perspectives.

Content

This intense fun and fast paced workshop is organised within four distinct but related modules.

Exact focus is adapted to meet the needs of individual participant groups, sessions 1 and 2 are usually light touch, session 3 intense and detailed, session 4 medium coverage but one that generates significant issues for the next board meeting.

1.Corporate Governance Principles

This module is the backbone for the whole course connecting as it does with the wider definitions and applications of good governance. Equality issues are not vacuum packed from the Nolan Standards for Good Governance as well as other models including the Foster review, the Carver principles, Ofsted expectations and allied codes of practice. We ensure that these considerations are wrapped around the whole course

2.The Ever Changing World of Work and Service Provision

Modern definitions of equality and diversity are introduced here with a focus on what those at the top should be thinking about in terms of equality of process, equality of choice and equality of outcome for those they employ and those they seek to serve. The module has a hard headed focus upon the economic considerations and demographic facts which dovetail with these definitions bringing about constant change and challenges for those in a governance role

3. The Legislative Framework

The Equality Act 2010 is obviously the starting point but we drill down here into other related statutes and European directives, all which in cumulative terms shape the legal responsibilities and rights of those at the top. We examine three important key concepts here after defining new forms of discrimination and detrimental conduct. These three concepts are:-

  • The Duty of Care
  • The Burden of Proof
  • Vicarious Liability

4. Policy Implementation and Action

A “hands on” practical audit of your corporate approach to equality and diversity issues is facilitated here with the aim of identifying existing good practice, areas for improvement and matters requiring urgent top level priority action. Participants will take away a clear understanding of what needs to be done by them and others when they return to the organisation. And will have a clear idea about external sources of help, advice and information to assist them in this post course activity.

The audit has a focus upon:-

  • The Governing Body
  • Human Resources
  • Access to Services
  • Service User Involvement
  • Partnerships, Contractors and Stakeholders –Procurement
  • Bullying and Harassment