Non-executive recruitment: the role of internal audit

This is the first of five pieces from an internal audit perspective on the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code: Non-executive recruitment (1), Viability statements (2), Audit committee effectiveness (3), Culture (4) and the Workforce voice (5).

Recruiting non-executive directors (NEDs) is important not only for the organisation but for internal audit. As governance leaders, they are conceivably the most important aspect of the safety net on which stakeholders depend. So why shouldn’t their recruitment fall within the governance remit of internal audit.

Fishermen know the daily catch depends on the quality of their nets; they check them, maintain them and value them. Internal audit has a partnership role with the board to ensure that the organisations safety net is also checked, maintained and valued. Starting with recruitment. Although the Code is for the private sector audit leaders in the public (independent directors) and charity (trustees) sectors should still find it relevant.

RECAP. On 16 July 2018 the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published its long awaited update to the UK Corporate Governance Code together with revised Guidance on Board Effectiveness.

The revisions support the government’s vision of restoring trust in the corporate organisations and the broader social reform agenda which aims to improve the standard of living and quality of life for ordinary working people.

Partnering with the board

Chief audit executives (CAE) have a unique role intrinsically linked to governance, strategy, operations and everything in between with a direct reporting line to the lead/senior NED.

Whilst the outside world put NEDs on a pedestal, expecting superhuman powers of reasoning and foresight, CAEs understand that they are ordinary human beings with their own fallibilities, concerns and limited time to contribute. In confidence and with integrity, CAEs have the opportunity to build relationships with their NEDs to become trusted advisors.

Supporting the board…

Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions, and a healthy dose of curiosity Sir Richard Branson