Update Spring 2017

Measuring corporate culture

The Financial Reporting Council’s report on corporate culture and the role of boards describes the loss of trust in business since the financial crash and the important role for boards in ensuring that an ethical culture is in place in order to deliver long-term success.

This need is reflected in the UK Corporate Governance Code which describes the establishment of an ethical corporate culture as one of the key roles of the board.

The high-profile corporate scandals of the recent past illustrate how damaging an unethical culture can be, but the challenge for boards is how to assess and measure culture so that problems can be identified and addressed.

Since 2000, GoodCorporation has been using the Business Ethics Standard to help companies measure ethical conduct in business. Over 600 assessments have been carried out to date in more than 60 countries, with many UK and international organisations using the standard, or variants of it, to help evaluate and measure responsible business practice.

GoodCorporation has now developed a tailored two-part assessment to help boards measure their corporate culture. Assessment using this process will enable companies to identify any problems and work with GoodCorporation to put mitigation strategies in place. We are also developing an ethical culture benchmark, to enable organisations to benchmark their performance against their peers. To talk to us about this service, please contact us via the GoodCorporation website.

Getting data protection on the board agenda

Changing data protection laws are placing greater responsibility on organisations to take broader and deeper accountability for their handling of personal data. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in the UK in just over 12 months’ time as both the Information Commissioner’s Office and the UK’s digital minister have confirmed.

However, a recent survey has claimed that a quarter of all business have cancelled their GDPR preparations because of Brexit on the misplaced assumption that the regulation will not apply. This approach could put businesses at risk from the heavy financial penalties of the GDPR.

The UK’s response to the GDPR is that its requirements are consistent with best practice for handling data. It is currently covered by The Great Repeal Bill and will apply in full until the UK Government chooses to review its domestic data protection laws.

GoodCorporation works with organisations to help them put adequate procedures in place, using our data protection framework, to ensure that robust policies and procedures to protect data are in place. Reports are produced containing performance grades and recommended actions. Contact us for more information or to receive a copy of a sample report.

GoodCorporation assessment work helps demonstrate effective ABC programme to debarment monitor

GoodCorporation has been working with a global organisation, head quartered in the UK, to review it’s anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) policies and procedures following a three year monitorship imposed because of bribery allegations in an overseas territory.

To ensure that the new ABC regime was robust and would provide proper protection moving forwards, the audit committee requested an independent assessment of policies and procedures at group level. GoodCorporation assessed the new programme against the GoodCorporation ABC Framework to identify any gaps and provide a score for each process tested. The findings were then mapped against GoodCorporation’s ABC benchmark to indicate effectiveness compared to other international organisations.

Read the case history in full on our website.

Why child protection and safeguarding is a corporate issue

The first GoodCorporation business ethics debate of 2017 examined the responsibility of corporates to ensure that robust child protection and safeguarding procedures are operating in their organisations.

Sir Roger Singleton, former chief executive of Barnardo’s and chief adviser to the Government on the safety of children, introduced the debate topic with a summary of the key factors central to a meaningful understanding of safeguarding. The discussion centred around the problems many organisations face in embedding good safeguarding practice. Advice was also given on the changing nature of abuse, the importance of knowing the signs and the need to promote safe practice through good training and communication.

A full summary of the debate is on the GoodCorporation website.

In Brief...

How to measure corporate culture effectively?

GoodCorporation lead a roundtable discussion on measuring corporate culture at Citi’s offices in Stirling Square on Friday 5th May.

With investors increasingly looking at optimal ways to measure culture, companies are turning to effective ways of measuring and communicating the health of their own culture.

The discussion focused on existing indices for measuring company performance, their effectiveness as indicators of culture and how meaningful KPIs might be obtained using GoodCorporation’s methodology. Contact us for more information.

Who's afraid of the GDPR?

GoodCorporation posed this question at our latest business ethics debate at the House of Lords.

Richard Brearley, head of compliance (Europe, Middle east, Africa) at Macquarie Group lead the discussion which was attended by general counsel and heads of data protection and privacy heads from leading UK and international companies.

A summary of the debate will be included in our next issue. Contact us if you are interested in attending these events in the future.

Barclays whistleblower scandal shows more needs to be done to reform banking culture

GoodCorporation described the recent whistleblower scandal at Barclays as a real test for the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

In a press statement that was picked up by the media, GoodCorporation described whistleblowing as an “essential component of good corporate governance that needs to be embraced at the top of an organisation”.

Effective boards need to ensure that the right culture is in place. Giving employees the confidence to speak out will allow employees to act as the eyes and ears of an organisation who can spot and report on misconduct as soon as it starts.

Read the comment in full.

First Corporate Human Rights Benchmark reveals weaknesses in practice

The publication of the first Corporate Human Rights Benchmark indicates that companies still have a long way to go in the implementation of effective human rights programmes.

Of the 98 companies included in the benchmark, only six  had scores above 50 per cent and only 18 had scores over 40 per cent.

The benchmark shows a clear gap between the leaders and the laggards, with many companies receiving a zero score against the indicators.

Business’ licence to operate is under more scrutiny than ever before with society showing a zero tolerance approach to human rights abuses.

This is backed by increasing legislation requiring corporates to manage their human rights impact more effectively. France has recently passed its Duty of Vigilance law; Australia is considering its own version of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act and the Dutch government has approved a new law on child labour.

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