Defining governance: An exploration of practitioners’ role and value

In 2021, The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland decided it was time for a fresh look at the value of the governance profession. As the membership body for qualified and accredited governance professionals, it is key that we reflect on the role and ensure we are up to date on its relevance in supporting well-run organisations. Working with governance professionals and company secretaries, we investigated the value the skill set offers, what role the profession performs and the risk not having access to that full skill set can pose within organisations, whether in the corporate, public or not-for-profit sector.

Over a period of several months in the second half of 2021, we discussed the role and relevance of the governance professional with members and non-members. Initially, we held 15 workshops with participants from a wide range of sectors and organisations of varying scale and complexity. While the majority of practitioners were working in the UK, we included the views of our overseas branches as well. We tested our findings in follow-up workshops which concluded in early 2022.

This report is on the relevance of the governance professional and how best to define governance. There will be much for members and non-members to recognise here. In addition to holding up a mirror to your own role, we hope you will find the new definition and understanding of how we work across internal disciplines useful and practical.

This document includes:

  • Foreword
  • Background
  • Our starting place for defining governance
  • The evolution of the role
  • The continued relevance of the governance professional
  • Raising awareness of the profession
  • Answering the question, ‘What do you do?’
  • Why does governance matter?
  • Describing the value of ‘the best job in the world’
  • Traits and key skills of the governance professional
  • A refreshed definition for governance
  • Company secretary, governance professional and relationship to other disciplines
  • Demonstrating relevance

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