Across all sectors there is an understanding that good governance and robust risk management are necessary to successfully navigate an ever more volatile operating environment.
However, many organisations still rely on separate solutions, spreadsheets, word documents, folders, and email chains for their governance processes.
While most organisations have a basic risk register and a sense of their KPIs and strategic goals, what we are seeing is the need to connect all this information into a more holistic, joined-up approach to governance in order to build a stronger and more resilient organisation that better serves all its stakeholders.
- Mapping connections and relationships across separate governance areas to improve performance
- Controlling threats and opportunities
- Embedding a culture of accountability and assurance across the entire organisation.
Building a joined-up Governance framework
Although building this framework is not complex or difficult to do, it does require a move away from the separate solutions, spreadsheets, word documents, folders and email chains that many organisations still base their governance processes on.
Key areas to focus on to achieve a more joined-up governance framework
- A clear, well-defined, layered set of Objectives, for the organisation, departments, functions, etc., each linked to the level above.
- A comprehensive set of managed Risks linked to these objectives with proportional responses that are reviewed regularly.
- Performance metrics and measures that tell us how well we are meeting our objectives or provide signals for Risk Management or Compliance.
- Compliance requirements linked to objectives, to risks, to performance measures and to actions.
- Clear, assigned, time-bound Actions which arise from all other elements and can be linked back to the defined objectives.
- Focused, well-organised Meetings that address the key governance features managing risks, performance, compliance and result in actionable Decisions.
With increasing regulation across all sectors, there are also well-defined external compliance issues that need to be met. These specific activities need to be scheduled, actioned, tracked, and linked back to risks and objectives to demonstrate assurance and compliance.
Many quality and compliance models are moving to a risk-based approach, aiming to ensure that specific quality objectives link to risks and those risks link to appropriate, managed responses.
Gain a greater sense of ownership
Using a well-designed, visual, digital dashboard gives the board and the senior management team a clear view of risks, objectives and results from the highest level down to specific departments and teams. A good dashboard will let you see an overview of the current status, spot any warning signs or problems, and drill down into the details when needed, enabling the board to actively use the framework to underpin their decision-making processes.
Engagement and collaboration is a crucial element to making this holistic approach work. Mapping a clear path between objectives, risks and actions fosters a greater sense of ownership between the board and the senior management team, especially those in the risk management function. By ensuring focus is in the right place and priorities are correct more actions are driven to completion.
Evidencing these decisions and actions, along with effective and flexible reporting, provides a clear assurance to the regulator that the organisation understands how critical a strong approach to governance and risk management is.
Ultimately if the system is easy to adopt and understand, it can quickly be embedded across the organisation in a cost-effective manner in consideration of its nature, size, and complexity.
Practice good governance with Decision Time
Decision Time, an Advanced company, offers a unique platform that helps finance teams in both the public and private sector to meet their regulatory requirements and track strategic performance more effectively. It’s intuitive and simple to use yet provides powerful insight and invaluable management information to both risk owners and the board.
The platform has been deployed for over 350 organizations across the UK and Ireland, including Royal Mail Pensions Trustees, Prestige Insurance Holdings, NHS Kent & Medway ICB, University of London, Parkhead Housing Association, and HM Land Registry.
"Decision Time has proved an invaluable tool within our business for recording, managing and reporting on risk. It’s intuitive and simple to use yet provides some powerful insight and invaluable management information to both risk owners and our board. Put simply; it has transformed the way we manage risk. There just isn’t a better, more cost-effective solution to managing risk."
By adopting a modern, integrated governance tool and mapping connections and relationships across separate governance areas, finance teams can improve performance, control threats and opportunities, and embed a culture of accountability and assurance across the entire organisation.
Are you a finance professional looking to improve your approach to governance within your team?