CQI head of profession Estelle Clark

Published: 17 Oct 2016

CQI head of profession welcomes government inquiry into corporate governance but calls for wider debate 

The UK must eradicate poor corporate governance if it is to flourish post-Brexit according to the head of the quality profession.

In a warning to government and business, Estelle Clark, CQI head of profession, said she is no longer surprised by examples of governance failures such as Sports Direct and BHS.

“We’ve been aware of examples of poor corporate governance for as long as I can remember, with a reprimand of the people involved," said Clark, CQP FCQI. “But the scandals continue to the point that when there is a new ‘outrage’ I find that my initial response is to be not that surprised. But, of course, we should all be concerned. These examples serve us poorly and should not be what the UK stands for, especially as Brexit approaches."

Clark was speaking as MPs launched an inquiry into corporate governance in the UK, with the area falling under growing public scrutiny and Theresa May announcing her commitment to overhaul the existing system.

As part of its investigations, the Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) committee will focus on executive pay, the duties and responsibilities of directors, and the composition of boardrooms, including worker representation and gender balance in executive positions.

The issues extend beyond the boardroom, with the wider performance of the organisation, in support of all its stakeholders, also being paramount.
Estelle Clark, CQI head of profession

Clark welcomed the investigation but urged the political and business communities to broaden the debate. “I find myself heartened by the stress the government places on these issues, with a clear steer and prioritisation coming from the new prime minster," she told Quality World magazine. "Wider representation on company boards will support a greater and broader challenge to the decision and actions of company bosses.

“The issues extend beyond the boardroom, with the wider performance of the organisation, in support of all its stakeholders, also being paramount.

“Let’s hope the debate broadens out, beyond the board, into operational activities and recognises the linkage of governance to assurance and assurance to improvement – and hence into the province of quality professionals."

in September the CQI and the Institute of Directors launched a groundbreaking report on good governance in the UK, which ranks 100 organisations in a 'good governance index'. The CQI has called on quality professionals to support businesses by offering their unique insight and skillsets in governance, assurance and improvement.

Words: Robert Gibson