Stepping up to the plate and leading by example

The field of governance has emerged in recent years with increased importance. Today there is a clear need to define the personal attributes and performance standards of the estimated five million executive and non-executive directors who lead organisations in the UK. Leaders have to be fit to lead.

Governance involves:

  • establishing and monitoring an effective board structure and composition
  • complying with laws, regulations and voluntary codes of practice
  • developing effective relationships between the company and its shareholders
  • ensuring honest and responsible conduct and behaviour throughout the company
  • dealing competently with relevant stakeholders such as employees, local authorities, community members and clients.


Our suite of National Occupational Standards (NOS) is aimed at existing board members or those aspiring to join board membership. They are designed to underpin best governance practice and focus on five areas:

  •  providing an effective governance structure
  •  providing a strategic direction
  •  ensuring effective management of an organisation and implementation of the strategy
  •  ensuring accountability, managing relationships and communications with stakeholders
  •  providing support to the governing body, the organisation, its key stakeholders and shareholders.

They have been designed to describe what governing bodies of organisations are expected to do as well as provide criteria by which chairs and directors can assess performance in line with these standards.


We have not currently developed any vocational governance qualifications but there are a number of vocational qualifications available across the UK. These include the IAM Level 3 Certificate in Corporate Governance (QCF) and some specialist qualifications from the Institute of Directors. Full details of available qualifications in England, NI and Wales can be found at the Register of Regulated Qualifications. For qualifications in Scotland please visit the SQA.


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