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Header image for the current page Reviewing board effectiveness for the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health

Reviewing board effectiveness for the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health

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With an ambitious growth strategy to deliver over the next two years, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health needed an independent external review to ensure that its Board was operating effectively.

Associates from Arden & GEM’s Effective Leadership Solutions team undertook a comprehensive evaluation, drawing upon their experience of developing, coaching and operating at board level, and underpinned by knowledge of board frameworks and best practice.

The review was delivered in just 6 weeks with the final report providing detailed observations and recommendations to support the Board’s ongoing development journey.

The challenge

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is the world’s leading body for safety and health with 47,500 members, predominantly in the UK but with an ambition to grow global membership. The organisation has charitable status with charitable objectives and is self-funding through its membership subscriptions and commercial operations.

IOSH wanted to ensure that its board was as effective as possible, operating with objectivity, in line with good practice and with clearly identified development needs.

With experience of developing, coaching and operating at board level, Arden & GEM’s Effective Leadership Solutions team was commissioned to undertake an independent external review, focused on five key areas:

Our approach

Our approach built on a number of board frameworks, with the key roles for a board identified as formulating strategy, ensuring accountability and shaping a healthy, dynamic and diverse culture.

We used these frameworks to underpin our four-stage approach to the board effectiveness review.

1) Evidence
We undertook an evidence gathering exercise which included analysing relevant documentation – such as terms of reference and meeting packs – identifying gaps and formulating hypotheses. The output of this stage was an internal report to highlight areas of focus for subsequent stages and offer insight into learning and development recommendations.

2) Observation
Through observing the Board and committees in a non-intrusive manner we were able to capture data around content, interactions, decision making and leadership behaviour to inform both the interview stage and final recommendations.

3) Interviews
We undertook a series of one-to-one interviews with 20 stakeholders to gain a wide range of perspectives. Interviewers were selected for their expertise in specific areas such as quality and finance. Using a semi-structured approach for consistency of questioning, we were able to explore areas from the evidence and observation stages, also drawing out areas of difference and outlier opinions to inform our final report.

4) Analysis and reporting
A final report was produced covering main observations, recommendations and any risks from a board capacity and capability perspective. The report focused on identifying evidence-based gaps and development opportunities with strengths and weaknesses recorded against each of the five key areas.

Recommendations were based on triangulating what had been read, seen and heard to cover processes, mindset and culture. Prior to wider distribution, the final report as shared with the Chair, as part of a ‘confirm and challenge’ session.

The outcomes

The final report was presented as part of a board meeting in April 2020 so that the messages could be delivered directly from the project team and questions could be taken directly from the Board.

The findings and recommendations are supporting the Board as part of its ongoing journey of change and development.

Find out more about Effective Leadership Solutions here.