Take Away Line
BoardsCount Panorama offers great value: after an engaging online experience, it provides you with a high quality report from which your board can agree its areas of collective strength (and build on them) and also any areas to be strengthened. The service is grounded in research, has been tested in consultancy practice and offered in a previous ‘not-on-line’ version, so you know it works well. The report is designed so that while you can quickly locate the key points, you have to hand all the detailed data so you can get well beyond the headlines. Interested? Sign up here.
What is BoardsCount Panorama?
BoardsCount Panorama is the essential governance assessment tool. It is all online and helps you pinpoint where your board is, in terms of delivering the full range of its governance functions. It is based on a national report, written originally for the social housing sector, that blazed a trail in proposing a self-assessment framework to enhance governance performance. That report was called ‘Treading the Boards’ (Housing Corporation, 2001).
BoardsCount Panorama is designed to take, collate and analyse the views of its key participants – board members or directors, or trustees and other key people who regularly attend board meetings, such as executive directors, if they are not the legal directors. It represents those views in an engaging and visual report, so you can know where you stand and can agree as a board where your current strengths lie, and which areas you may wish to strengthen in the months or years ahead.
Discover more on our new BoardsCount Panorama website pages.
Who is BoardsCount Panoramaä for?
BoardsCount Panorama is designed to support all organisations of all types foster great governance, wherever they may be registered. If you care about your board and want to check in on how well it is doing things, as far as its members are concerned, then BoardsCount Panorama is for you.
Our experience base comes primarily from the civil society context, particularly in the UK and we have some special options that cater for that sector, but the Standard offering is designed help the governing body of any organisations examine its governance performance.
Whoever is responsible for governance in your organisation – typically the Company Secretary or equivalent, but perhaps the Chief Executive, or possibly a senior member of the board of a smaller organisation – would act as the main contact for the process and enrol their organisation for the service.
What do you get from BoardsCount Panorama?
The benefits you accrue from BoardsCount Panorama are numerous. First, you will receive a detailed report that will provide you with:
- Summary charts and tables of the key findings, so you can quickly grasp the big picture
- Detailed data on each of the questions asked so you can pinpoint the causes of higher or lower performance
- Explanatory notes and guidance, so you can get the most from your data, help the board have constructive conversation and draw the appropriate conclusions from it, making commitments for future development as necessary
So, the report provides you with evidence from inside the board about how things are. In this way, it provides a key element of a full governance assessment process, as recommended in a number of Codes of Good Governance. Your outcome will be reassurance about your governance strengths and some clear steps to take to improve it over the months ahead.
The impact of making these changes should be better governance which will in due course lead to a better run organisation and, finally, one hopes – and there is evidence to suggest this is the case – higher organisational performance, in whatever bottom line form that may come.
There is a process benefit too of using BoardsCount Panorama. We have designed the questionnaire completion process to be engaging for board members, so that when they complete their questionnaire, they find it stimulating, perhaps encouraging them to think about things that they may not have thought about much before.
What’s the process?
The process is a simple three-step one:
- You enrol on our website here, completing the short form providing some details about your organisation, agree to the terms, make your payment and you’re away
- Next, you enter the names and email addresses of each of the participants who will be all board members and members of the organisation who regularly attend board meetings, provide us with the timeframe in which you’d like to compete the process, then sit back while our system informs each person to take part and reminds them weekly in the event that they still need more time
- Finally, from the agreed completion date, you are free to draw down your report in a pdf format which you can then print off for each board member and/or prepare a summary of the key points following our guidelines, all explained in the report
What questions do participants answer?
Based upon earlier published work and on a previous version of the same service which was not online, we have a tried and tested set of questions which follow a clear analytical framework. The fundamental question that each board is seeking to have its own answer to is:
- To what extent is our board providing leadership for the organisation (direction, accountability, tone, etc)
Your report – and therefore the questions asked of participants – will seek to provide an answer to this question. How? By asking three further simple subsidiary questions, each of which in turn has four topics associated with it, which in turn again have a number of questions to be answered by each participant, creating the following question ‘tree’:
In the case of most of the questions, participants are invited to rate their current board performance on a 10-point scale, although there is room too to examine good practice, perceptions about development needs, as well as some other creative ways of getting at the key issues. While board members should require no preparation before completing the questionnaire, they should nevertheless expect it to be engaging and perhaps subtly challenging.
What are the options?
We currently offer four options of the online service, depending on your need and interest:
- There is the standard version which should be suitable for all boards
- There is a social housing ‘Code-Check Plus 2010’ option which supports organisations that subscribe to the 2010 version of the National Housing Federation’s Code of Good Governance and offers them an additional analysis of the data against the principles of that particular Code
- There is a voluntary and community organisation ‘Code-Check Plus’ option which supports organisations which subscribe to the Code of Good Governance for the voluntary and community sector in England and Wales, and offers them an additional analysis of the data against the principles of that particular Code
- There is a small charities’ ‘Code-Check Plus’ option which supports organisations which subscribe to the Code of Good Governance, Small Charities, in England and Wales, and offers them an additional analysis of the data against the principles of that particular Code
In addition, we offer two further consultancy packages:
- If you need support, following your report, to facilitate the subsequent discussion at the board and to agree the key actions for the future, we can help
- We can also help support the online process with follow-up interviews with each person, to draw out the key themes and potential actions for the future, if you need even more depth
Just get in touch…
How do we buy BoardsCount Panorama?
Great – you’re ready to buy! Go to our website and click on the Buy Now button and away you go. The introductory prices are modest – for a few hundred pounds you can take a big step forward in your board’s development.
What about Governance Codes?
Three of the options we offer are tailored to give feedback on how participants feel about compliance with the principles of their respective Code of Good Governance. This is not a systematic analysis of compliance with all of the detailed requirements of each code; rather, the intention to see the extent to which each board’s practice complies with the spirit of their code.
We have provided quite a lot of detail on the question of governance codes and BoardsCount Panorama on our website on this page.
For the future?
We will continue to develop BoardsCount Panorama and we have big plans for it. Code-Check options for Scotland and Ireland are planned and we will consider other Codes for other sectors and other countries, including the most recent NHF social housing sector code.
Beyond BoardsCount Panorama, we have in view a number of governance development tools, including a tool to support board member appraisals and a tool to help boards compare their practice against each other. You can see our page on the future here.