"Board Packs - More is not better"

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

There continues to be increasing focus on the size of Board Packs and whether, as a result, Directors are being provided with sufficient analysis of the performance of companies they are leading so as to enable them to discharge their corporate responsibilities effectively.

Market commentary (1) highlights that “…It seems that, far from facilitating effective board decision making, many board packs form an impenetrable barrier instead. This is not just a concern for listed companies or other large and complex organisations, but for organisations from all sectors and of all sizes.”

Clearly there is a significant challenge balancing the provision of sufficient information and the inclusion of well-presented summaries and reasoned recommendations within board packs. However the days of sending 300+ page board packs to Directors at relatively short notice should be gone. Such practices create tensions between executive teams and their staff and non-executive Directors, who can rightly feel that the executive function is seeking to diminish its responsibilities by passing an avalanche of information to the Board. In any well-functioning board there should be an ongoing challenge exercise as to whether the information they are reviewing is appropriate and sufficiently well presented.

In addition, significant efficiencies can be achieved by such continued dialogue for both those preparing and reviewing the board packs.

The role of the Chairperson (who should be supported by the Company Secretary) is key, in that the Chairperson should be ensuring that board packs are fit for purpose.

(1)“Board packs are overlong and unbalanced”, ICSA: The Governance Institute, article 30 January 2018

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