Non-Executive Directors: The Next Phase

Non-Executive Directors: The Next Phase
July 30 2015

Sir Ian Cheshire became the lead government non-executive director (NED) in April, but, marking the launch of his Annual Report, he told an audience at the Institute for Government on 2nd July that his real work had started on 7 May, with the second phase of the NED “experiment”. Government non-executive directors have a growing role, he said – and they will be important over the next 18 months as the government tries to advance its agenda whilst introducing significant spending reductions.  His report highlights five areas, including ALBs, where NEDs can add further value to the reform agenda.

Sir Ian said his priorities were encouraging understanding across government of the role of NEDs – they didn’t offer a panacea, but could make a contribution and new Ministers sometimes didn’t understand this; making sure that the quality of NEDs is maintained and enhanced (and there was a good pipeline); and supporting the central government agenda. This involved supporting the relationship between departments and arm’s-length bodies. The creation of some of these had involved contracting out problems, which in times of austerity might need to be brought back into the department. The NEDs in arm’s-length bodies are an important network, and connections need to be made with departmental NEDs.

To read more detailed analysis on the speech from the IfG, please see here. To listen to the speech in full, the video is available to view here

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