THE IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE BOARD PAPERS

 

The information included in a Board Pack drives the matters that a governing body will consider during a meeting. Too much information impacts on time and resources and can obfuscate the issues under consideration, while too little risks the withholding of information necessary to informed decision making.

So what documents should be presented to the Board?

In general terms your Board Pack should include the following key documents:

1. Agenda

The agenda provides an overview of what will be discussed at the meeting and should confirm the meeting’s purpose and outline matters for discussion and decision.

2. Previous Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes are an important record of what was discussed and decided at previous meetings and are a key element of effective Corporate Governance. There are differing legislative requirements (depending on your entity structure) however what remains constant is the requirement for effective, accurate and timely Minutes. Minutes should be approved at the following meeting, with an appropriate Resolution of the Board recorded.

ACTION ITEM REGISTER

The Action Item Register is a record of the Actions arising from previous meetings, including the responsibility and delivery dates.

The Register is an important tool, allowing the Board to track the progress / status of requested activity.

DOCUMENTATION

This is the heart of the Board Pack, guiding Board discussion and decision-making.

Documentation may include the following:

Strategy: Report on implementation of the Board approved Strategic Plan, associated Business Plan and Management KPIs; Performance information via Financial, Human Resources and Management Reports; Approved Budgets; Committee Reports; Program highlights for the year to date; Documents pertaining to funding activity; Risk Report; and Compliance Update.

The above list is of course not an exhaustive one, and is merely a guide to help you shape your Board Pack. The team at Governance House has the skills and experience to help you improve your reporting and maximise Board meeting time.

Special note on Financial Reports

Financial Reports are among the key Board Meeting documents and are imperative to allowing the Board to make informed and thoughtful decisions. Finance Reports may include:

• A statement of financial position;
• Statement of activities;
• Cash flow forecast;
• Actual results compared to Budget; and
• Operational figures.

TIMING

In order to avoid overwhelming the Board with information, you should only include the most necessary, time-sensitive and relevant documents.

It is also essential to ensure that Board documentation is distributed with sufficient time to allow for detailed review in advance of the Meeting. Best practice requires circulation at least a week in advance in order to allow the Board to form an opinion prior to the meeting and to provide time for sufficient appraisal and reflection on matters for decision.