The Institute's research into Whitehall departmental boards has built up a picture of the skills, knowledge and behaviours associated with effective individual contributions on boards and the overall board performance.
Understanding this context is valuable in helping non-executive directors (NEDs) unfamiliar with Whitehall to perform their independent challenge role effectively.
Through our research, we have developed a detailed understanding of:
- how non executives are currently perceived by board members
- what qualities are deemed to be particularly effective - and those that are not
- what the key differences are between private sector and public sector board environments.
Building on this research, we have been able to provide support to the Cabinet Office in designing and convening the induction for lead NEDs.
In addition, our non-executive directors network is designed to give NEDs across Whitehall the opportunity to meet and discuss common issues they are facing in the context of supporting better departmental board performance.
The Coalition government's major reforms to Whitehall boards raise significant issues over matters such as:
If these are to be overcome, then all involved, ministers, non executive directors and officials, will need to work hard and seriously at it.
There is a need for intensive skills and capability development for those new to chairing boards and those new to boards. The Institute will be monitoring progress as the new boards get underway.