Cost calculator reveals the true cost of board meetings

London, 17 May 2018 – A new cost calculator developed by Board Intelligence and ICSA: The Governance Institute has revealed that a single board meeting at a FTSE 100 company in a regulated sector like financial services can cost up to £250,000 and over a 100 days of preparation, while even a small charity with turnover of less than £10 million will typically devote 20-25 days to the task at a cost of up to £4-5,000.

The cost calculator, the first tool of a joint initiative by ICSA and Board intelligence to help boards and those who support them improve the efficiency and effectiveness of board reporting, covers each of the main processes involved in producing and reading board packs: the time spent writing, reviewing, compiling and distributing board and committee papers; and the time the board and committee members spend reading those papers.

Jennifer Sundberg, Co-CEO of Board Intelligence comments:

“Board meetings are fundamental to organisational governance, but need to be properly informed if they are to be cost-effective. As you would expect, the time and costs associated with board preparation were much higher for large or more heavily regulated organisations. However, 20-25 days and £4-5,000 per meeting can be a significant drain on the resources of a small charity reliant on the good will of volunteers and donors. It is clear that the cost is significant irrespective of the size of the organisation or the sector, and we hope that highlighting the hidden costs of board reporting might provide a mandate for change within organisations.”   

Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at ICSA adds:

“Time and money is well spent if it ensures that the board is getting timely and relevant advice and information, enabling it to make better quality decisions that secure the long-term future of the organisation. That is not always the case, however. Research conducted by ICSA and Board Intelligence in December 2017 revealed that the majority of organisations, regardless of the sector or size of an organisation, believe that their board packs are dominated by inward and backward-looking detail, which distracts boards from planning their future strategy. The upshot is that many organisations are spending too long and too much on something that is not serving the intended purpose.”

A self-assessment tool for organisations to benchmark the quality of their board packs, and guidance that draws on good practices developed by ICSA members, will follow later in the year.  

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For further information, please contact Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager:

+44 (0)20 7612 7072

+44 (0)7890 649 143


Notes to Editors:


  1. ICSA: The Governance Institute is the professional body for governance. We have members in all sectors and are required by our Royal Charter to lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’. With over 125 years’ experience, we work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance. Website:
  2. The Board Intelligence platform enables management teams to write shorter, sharper board papers, driving more focused and productive conversations in the boardroom. Over 10,000 executives and non-executives rely on us across companies large and small, public and private, commercial and not-for-profit. For more information please visit:
  3. The cost calculator can be viewed at  
  4. The December 2017 Challenges to Effective Board Reporting research can be downloaded for free at

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