The Competency Framework icon

About

The competency framework supports the development of company secretaries and governance professionals by identifying the behaviours they need to perform well in their roles. 

Key competencies that support good governance, and the professional behaviours that exemplify them, are identified and split into three areas: knowledge, practice and values. Together, these provide a clear picture of the role and define what an effective company secretary or governance professional knows, does and believes. 

The framework helps individuals review and plan their professional development, by describing how each competency can be demonstrated in practice at all career stages. It can also be used as a tool to assess the governance capability within organisations.  

The importance of governance

All organisations should aim to embed governance structures that add value.

Effective company secretaries and governance professionals enable the board to set and achieve the strategic goals of the organisation. This requires specialist knowledge combined with strong values, emotional intelligence, and the ability to apply understanding in the particular context of the organisation and its wider environment.

Regulatory bodies continue to develop oversight and leadership requirements across sectors, but good governance has never been solely about following legislative, regulatory, and financial requirements. Sector, global, and stakeholder trends must be understood and acted upon. Organisations must accommodate new business practices, broader board oversight and wider considerations such as environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, sustainability, digitalisation and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

The role of the governance professional

Accommodating these different requirements creates additional layers of expectation. Consequently, the role of the company secretary or governance professional is one of constant adaptation, often incorporating a much wider remit than the traditional concept of company secretarial and governance professional work; as being purely minute taking or record keeping. It follows that those working in governance roles must continually advance and expand their skills, alongside developing the organisation and its governance model.

The role of the company secretary or governance professional has grown significantly, from technical expert to strategic enabler. Skilled professionals who can engage with stakeholders successfully and balance regulatory compliance with their organisation's commercial interests and social purpose are in high demand.

Chartered membership

This demand has resulted in the creation of governance roles outside the traditional secretariat team in some organisations. The Institute's designation of Chartered Governance Professional, alongside the time-honoured designation of Chartered Secretary, recognises and reflects this, offering a range of routes to qualification and resources to support governance careers. Those who achieve Chartered status are qualified to use either designation, or both, and have the flexibility to present their understanding, practice and values according to their professional context.

Being an effective company secretary and/or governance professional means enabling the board to set and achieve the strategic goals of the organisation. This requires mastery of specialist knowledge combined with strong values, emotional intelligence and the ability to apply understanding in the particular context of the organisation and its wider environment.

The modern governance professional

The can-do nature of the modern governance professional means that they are often given additional responsibilities, especially within medium and smaller-sized organisations. This can include responsibility for data protection, compliance, HR or facilities functions, health and safety as well as the oversight of strategic projects.

Some company secretaries will work within in-house or professional service teams, whereas others may be the sole governance professional in their workplace and need to draw on networks and other external resources for support. The framework is sufficiently broad to apply to these different contexts, sectors and stages.

What is a competency framework?

A competency framework is a structure that sets out and defines the knowledge and skills people need to perform effectively in their roles. They can be used to set an objective minimum acceptable benchmarks for performance. 

Individuals and employers can also use competency frameworks to support professional development by identifying knowledge and skills that need to be acquired in order for someone to perform effectively.

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