CEO Memo: Policy and Advocacy Strategy 2020

How things have changed in one short month. In an effort to flatten the curve and protect the vulnerable members of our community, many of us have shifted to a world of virtual catch-ups and online meetings. At Governance Institute, we are also breaking new ground in this socially distanced world (although I prefer the term physically distanced myself) with our first virtual AGM and the launch of the Virtual Governance and Risk Management Forum.

Despite being in the midst of this transition, we feel that now is a good time to launch our new policy and advocacy strategy and remind businesses that high standards and governance are essential for public trust in organisations — especially in uncertain times. Well-governed institutions deliver better performance and safeguard the interests of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees and the community.  

Our Policy and Advocacy Strategy 2020 reveals our five-year objective, ‘to be the sought-after voice that shapes the governance environment — the go-to authority for governance and risk for members, government, regulators and the community’. To work towards achieving this goal, we have established three broad targets for 2020. 

  1. To support sustainable, purposeful organisations that are both profitable and internationally competitive.
  2. To validate that Australia’s regulatory framework is clear, certain, coherent and fit-for-purpose.
  3. To ensure the competence and professionalism of Australian governance and risk professionals. 

To use a sporting analogy, a great game of sport (of any sort) requires three fundamental ingredients — a good stadium/pitch/field, clear rules that are universally understood and competent athletes. Good governance is no different.

Each of these objectives is supported by a number of initiatives, materials and campaigns.

For objective one, Australia’s governance environment, we will continue to question if business infrastructure is fit for purpose, advocate for the need to reduce complexity and red tape and support public institutions that engender trust and accountability such as a National Anti-Corruption Commission.

To support a better regulatory framework we have already developed guidance to support members with climate change risk disclosure obligations, and we will continue to encourage best practice for boards and committees. We will also examine contemporary issues such as AI, digital trust and governance, and advocate for fundraising reforms for the charities sector.

Our thought leadership and guidance on risk management for directors will spearhead our work to support enhanced competence and professionalism. As part of this work we will also advocate for mandated minimum requirements for company secretaries and risk management professionals, and empower governance and risk professionals with skills and knowledge they need to support best practice across all sectors of the Australian economy.

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Our policy and advocacy activities are supported by long-standing relationships with key stakeholders and our members’ significant expertise and experience, which informs our policy and advocacy positions. To ensure that the Policy and Advocacy Strategy 2020 accurately represents the wants and needs of our members, member representatives have been involved throughout the development process, including:

  • liaising with relevant regulatory and standard setting bodies
  • developing and maintaining working partnerships with key national and international stakeholder groups
  • researching and analysing current and emerging governance issues
  • advocating our policy positions with governments and regulators.

While we have set big targets, we believe that these are important objectives to strive for throughout 2020 and into the future.

As Governance Institute continues to support members with these and other initiatives, I hope all of you are staying physically and mentally safe and maintaining virtual connections with friends and families. Staying connected at this time is more important than ever, and so while we will not have the opportunity of meeting face-to-face, I welcome you all to register for our first virtual AGM on 8 May.

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