Policy Governance and Organizational Accountability Practices

A Study of Compatibility

Organizational governing boards are well situated to play a pivotal role in fostering accountability and transparency in organizations. Their work on behalf of owners means they can translate owner values and desired outcomes into organizational expectations and their proximity to management means they understand how the organization functions. It is as in that nexus that a board can successfully address organizational accountability — or not.

Countless examples of a lack of governance accountability have birthed a plethora of governmental regulations and well-intentioned agencies geared toward helping boards figure out what it means to be transparent, “deliver” transparency and prove that they are using their resources responsibly. The intention of these efforts — whether it is the carrot of a seal of approval or the stick of non-compliance to a regulation – makes for more accountable organizations. That’s a good thing.

The challenge for boards striving toward excellence is to determine which standards, best practices, guidelines, etc. contribute to better accountability and transparency without sacrificing role clarity and the quality of the board’s governance process. This is especially important for boards that have committed to Policy Governance as their governance approach.

Policy Governance’s very design provides a built-in system of owner accountability. So how does it compare to the accountability standards established by one of those organizations established to encourage and assist accountability and transparency based on a traditional approach to the governance process? I have provided a methodical comparison of just such a set of standards to Policy Governance in a recent white paper, “Are the Charities Review Council’s Accountability Standards and Policy Governance Compatible?” You are invited to explore this topic more fully with this real example of possible compatibility on my website (Resources) page.

Leave a Reply