Company secretaries are to work with investors to improve the involvement of employees and stakeholders in the decision-making of company boards.
ICSA and the Investment Association are to work on a new set of guidelines to help boards factor in the views of employees and stakeholders in their decisions.
Peter Swabey, policy and research director at ICSA, said: “Many companies already do this effectively, but our guidance is intended to assist those boards that feel the need to act now to improve their engagement with and understanding of the views of their stakeholders, rather than waiting for the Government or the FRC to complete any actions they might take as a result of the current consultation.
“We believe that market-led reform is more likely to create effective solutions and, by bringing together the perspectives of company secretaries and investors, with input from stakeholders and other experts, that we will be able to draw on the existing best practice and develop new guidance which will be practical to implement for companies.”
Andrew Ninian, director of corporate governance at the Investment Association, said: “The investment industry stands fully behind the Government’s efforts to create a corporate Britain that is built for the long term, and this initiative illustrates that the asset management industry is at the forefront of improving corporate governance in the UK.
“Boards have a collective responsibility to make better long-term decisions for all their stakeholders. Our joint guidance will be designed to ensure that the broadest range of views and perspectives are heard around the boardroom table.”
The guidance will tackle a number of issues including how to find non-executives with relevant stakeholder experience; processes for feeding stakeholder views into boardrooms; and how training can be used to improve directors’ understanding of their duties and the “interests of, and impact on, different stakeholders”.